Nov. 7, 2012
BERKELEY - The No. 13/15 Golden Bears open the 2012-13 season when they host Lehigh on Friday, Nov. 9, at Haas Pavilion. Under the direction of second-year head coach Lindsay Gottlieb, the California women's basketball team will look to build off the momentum from last year's NCAA Tournament run beginning with Friday night's 7 p.m. tip-off.
Lehigh returns nine letterwinners from last year's 17-13 campaign that ended with a two-seed in the Patriot League tournament. The Mountain Hawks graduated their top two scorers from last season and are predicted to finish fifth in the league under coach Sue Troyan. The Bears and Mountain Hawks have played once, a 66-47 California victory in Boulder, Colo., on Nov. 28, 2003.
The Bears were picked to finish second in the conference by the Pac-12 coaches and media, and are coming off an 25-10 season in 2011-12 that saw them advance to the NCAA Second Round in addition to finishing as the Pac-12 regular season and tournament runner-up. Cal returns four starters, led by Preseason All-Pac-12 selection Layshia Clarendon and Pac-12 All-Freshman team selections Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray.
Fans can listen to Dave Lewis's live call of the game on CalBears.com All-Access. The game will also be streamed live for free on the Pac-12 Platform at http://pac-12.com/live/calbears.aspx.
Admission to the season opener presented is free to all Cal students who present a valid ID in addition to anyone presenting their Washington or Oregon football game ticket.
GAME RECAP: No. 13/15 California used a stifling defense and balanced offensive effort with five players scoring in double-digits to dismantle Vanguard, 98-57, in a Thursday night exhibition game at Haas Pavilion. Junior Gennifer Brandon led the way with a 16-point, 11-rebound double-double effort while fellow post player Reshanda Gray and Talia Caldwell added 19 and 17 points, respectively. Sophomore Brittany Boyd flirted with a triple-double on the night with 16 points, six assists and six steals, and senior guard Layshia Clarendon added 13 points, all coming in the first half. The Bears collected 16 steals and forced the Lions into 25 turnovers on the night with a suffocating defense that earned 46 points off turnovers on the night.
CONSENSUS TOP 15: California will enter 2012-13 as a consensus top-15 program after earning preseason rankings of No. 13 in the Associated Press poll and No. 15 in the USA Today Sports/ESPN Coaches Poll. The Golden Bears also picked up No. 14 rankings in the preview editions of both Athlon Sports and Lindy's. The marks are the highest preseason rankings since the 2008-09 team was picked No. 9 overall. That team, led by Alexis Gray-Lawson, went on to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 with a 27-8 final record.
NO. 2 IN THE PAC-12: The Bears were selected to finish second in the Pac-12 Coaches' and Media Polls, a statement across the region that the Bears are solidly in the upper echolon of Pac-12 programs entering 2012-13. The Bears received one first-place vote (out of 12) in the coaches' poll and two first-place votes (out of 14) in the media poll. Stanford was the preseason favorite in both polls to win the league. "That's probably where we would have expected to be coming off of last year," head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "We finished second. The difference for us this year is almost the entire same group comes back. Last year it was about establishing ourselves and who do we want to be, what brand of basketball do we want to play and making a name for ourselves. We're trying to become one of the few elite teams in women's college basketball." California finished second in the regular season and in the conference tournament last season.
CLARENDON PICKS UP PRESEASON HONORS: Senior guard Layshia Clarendon was selected to the Preseason All-Pac-12 team as voted by members of the media. Clarendon helped lead California to an NCAA Second Round berth and Pac-12 runner-up finish last season in addition to being named a WBCA All-American for the first time in her career. The All-Region VIII honoree was also named to the All-Pac-12 first team, averaging 12.8 ppg. After scoring 20 points in the conference final against Stanford, she was also named to the All-Pac-12 Tournament team. Clarendon will head into the 2012-13 campaign 138 points shy of being in the top-10 in program history in career points scored (1,230).
FIRST GAME BURST: The Golden Bears are 23-16 all-time in season openers, including 0-1 under coach Lindsay Gottlieb after her Golden Bears dropped a 73-70 game on the road at No. 16 Rutgers last season. California is a remarkable 20-3 in season openers that double as home openers, including a 9-1 mark since Harmon Gym was rebuilt into the current Haas Pavilion in 1999.