Aug. 15, 2012
BERKELEY - On the heels of one of the best years in program history, the California women's basketball team has stacked its nonconference slate with a bevy of talented teams, head coach Lindsay Gottlieb announced Wednesday. The Golden Bears will take on 11 teams in nonconference play with five of those teams advancing into the 2011-12 postseason, including an Elite Eight participant in Duke and a Sweet 16 finalist in Kansas.
"The 2012-13 non-conference slate reflects the lofty goals we have for our program this year," Gottlieb said. "We want to measure ourselves against some of the nation's best. On the road and in Haas Pavilion, we'll face teams that have both talent and a history of success. With games against teams from the Big East, ACC, Big 10 and Big 12 conferences, we'll certainly face great challenges before we get to the competitive Pac-12 schedule."
The Bears hit the ground running with an exhibition against Vanguard on Nov. 1 at Haas Pavilion. The Lions advanced to their 11th straight NAIA Tournament last year. The exhibition game kicks off a six-game home schedule. A Nov. 9 game against Lehigh will officially tip off the 2012-2013 campaign for the Bears.
From there, WNIT participants Saint Mary's and Cal Poly head to Haas Pavilion. Last year, the Gaels lost in the second round of the WNIT, finishing at a 22-1 clip with the 22 wins tying the second most in school history. After winning the Big West Conference Regular Season Championship, Cal Poly earned a spot in the WNIT, losing to Pac-12 power Washington in the first round.
On Nov. 23 and 24, Cal hosts the Cal Classic by Doubletree, welcoming Cal State Fullerton, Georgetown and Eastern Washington for a power-packed, four-game tournament. The Hoyas advanced to the second round of last year's NCAA Tournament, marking their second consecutive trip to the second round. Cal and EWU square off in the opener with Fullerton taking on GU in the second game on Nov. 23. The winners will square off for tournament title rights on Nov. 24.
The Bears then hit the road for their first road trip - a swing of Virginia and North Carolina. Cal takes on perennial women's basketball powerhouse Old Dominion in Norfolk, Va., on Nov. 30. The Bears then head northeast to the fabled Cameron Indoor Stadium for a Dec. 2 match-up with Duke. In 2012, the Blue Devils advanced to their third straight Elite Eight.
"Our already exciting and challenging schedule is highlighted by our trip to the East Coast," Gottlieb said. "We've got a date with Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium to start off our home-and-home series. I know that's a match-up that our fans will relish."
The Bears return to the Golden State for a Dec. 7 game at CSU Bakersfield. Cal then heads to the Midwest, taking on Northwestern on Dec. 16 in Evanston, Ill. A hot-starting team, the Wildcats opened the 2011-12 campaign at 9-1 - marking their best start through 10 games in over 15 seasons - further bolstered by an upset win over then-No. 23 LSU.
Cal heads back to the friendly confines and raucous fan atmosphere of Haas Pavilion to close nonconference play. On Dec. 21, the Bears take on Kansas. The Jayhawks, who posted a 21-13 record last year, reached the Sweet 16 for the third time in program history in 2012. Cal then hosts George Washington on Dec. 28. In the offseason, GW hired Jonathan Tsipis as its head coach after Tsipis spent nine seasons studying under women's basketball legend Muffet McGraw at Notre Dame. The game against George Washington closes the nonconference schedule for Cal.
"Our student-athletes are looking forward to putting on their Cal jerseys for the 2012-13 season," Gottlieb said. "We hope our loyal Bear fans will get their tickets and be there for every thrilling moment in Haas."
Last season, Gottlieb became the first women's basketball coach to win 20 games in her first season at Cal, guiding the Bears to 25 victories, a second-place finish in the Pac-12 and a spot in the Pac-12 Tournament final. Cal defeated Iowa, 84-74, in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to top-seeded Notre Dame. Guard Layshia Clarendon, Cal's most recent addition to the 1,000 career-point club, was a WBCA All-West Region honoree and a first-team All-Pac-12 selection, after pacing the team with 12.8 ppg. A pair of Pac-12 All-Freshmen honorees - Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray - added a youthful spark to a squad that had zero seniors on the roster. Forward Gennifer Brandon returned after sitting out the 2010-11 season with a stress fracture in her shin to set Cal's single-season rebounding record (346).
The 2012-13 Pac-12 schedule will be released at a later date.
California Women's Basketball 2012 Nonconference Schedule
Home games in bold at Haas Pavilion