Nov. 14, 2012
BERKELEY - The No. 12 Golden Bears host East Bay rival Saint Mary's in a Thursday night tip scheduled for 7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. NOTE: Thursday's match time was originally scheduled for 11 a.m. but has been pushed to 7 p.m.
On the heels of a commanding 80-48 victory against Lehigh of the Patriot League, California sets its sights on a local school and will look to continue its stellar performance against non-conference Golden State opponents. Since the 2003-04 season, the Golden Bears have gone 28-1 in non-conference games against schools from California, the lone blemish being a 68-66 stunning loss to San Jose State during the 2009-10 season.
Saint Mary's will look to add another mark to that record after going 1-1 last week on the road at a pair of other northern Pac-12 schools. The Gaels fell 70-68 at Washington in the opener before rebounding to defeat Oregon 78-69. The Gaels and Bears have met 18 times with last season's tilt in Moraga ending in a 65-55 Cal victory.
BEARS ON THE AIR
A CALIFORNIA WIN WOULD:
GAME RECAP: Junior Gennifer Brandon played under the weather but felt sky high after posting a double-double in No. 13 California's 80-48 season-opening victory against Lehigh Friday night at Haas Pavilion. Brandon posted 17 points and 10 rebounds to pace a balanced Golden Bear attack that featured five different scorers hitting double figures. Sophomore Brittany Boyd tallied 16 points, senior Layshia Clarendon added 14 and the duo of Afure Jemerigbe and Reshanda Gray both scored 10 points to cap the night. The Bears ran hard out the gate, collecting a 14-0 lead and holding the Mountain Hawks scoreless for over six minutes in front of the crowd of 3,528 at Haas Pavilion. The lead swelled to as many as 26 in the opening stanza before the teams went into the break with California leading 44-20. The Golden Bears used a balanced second half to keep the margin at a comfortable pace en route to the 80-48 victory.
IN THE RANKINGS: California enters the week ranked No. 12 in both the Associated Press and the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Polls. The Golden Bears were previously ranked No. 13 and No. 15, respectively, in the preseason polls, 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. Four teams on this year's schedule - Duke (3/3), Stanford (4/4), Georgetown (25/rv), Kansas (rv/25) - are ranked this week in addition to UCLA receiving votes in both polls.
A LOOK AHEAD: California hosts Cal Poly next Monday in a double-header with the Cal women's volleyball team. Lindsay Gottlieb's team will hit the court at 5 p.m. at Haas Pavilion, and all fans with a volleyball ticket to the 8 p.m. match against Utah will receive free admission to the women's basketball game.
BRANDON'S DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Junior Gennifer Brandon's double-double (17p-10r) against Lehigh in the season opener was the 16th of her career. The Sylmar native collected six double-double's as a freshman in 2009-10 and nine double-double's as a redshirt sophomore in 2011-12.
PIERRE STEALS THE LIST: Count senior Eliza Pierre as one of the top defensive players in Cal history. Pierre stands at No. 5 in the Cal history books with 206 career steals after her three-steal effort against Lehigh pushed her past Laura Baker's 204. The record of 295 steals is held by Mazetta Garrett (1979-84). Pierre also stands at No. 2 in the Pac-12 active career list behind Chucky Jeffery of Colorado (216).
CAL ON THE BOARDS: Senior Talia Caldwell and junior Gennifer Brandon combine to make the Cal post players possibly the most dominant on the boards in the Pac-12. Caldwell is the active Pac-12 leader with 750 rebounds, and Brandon is not far behind at No. 4 on the active list with 653 boards. No other duo in the league combines for over 1,200 rebounds, let alone the 1,403 by these two.
BALANCED ATTACK: One thing Coach Gottlieb is preaching this season is the balanced options that her team possesses on the offensive end of the court, and the numbers back up that assertion. Five Bears hit double figures in Cal's 80-48 victory against Lehigh in the opener, led by Gennifer Brandon's 17, and eight of 10 players scored in the game.