Dec. 14, 2012
Welsh-Ryan Arena | Evanston, Ill.
BERKELEY - No. 9 California concludes its four-match road swing with a trip to Northwestern with tip-off scheduled for 11 a.m. (CT) on Monday, Dec. 17 at the Welsh-Ryan Arena.
The Bears enter the game with a 7-1 record - matching the best 8-game start in program history - and are coming off an 84-46 victory at CSU Bakersfield. Cal's run includes convincing victories over potential NCAA Tournament squads St. Mary's and Georgetown and matches seven Cal squads for the best start through eight games. The last California team to begin 7-1 was the 2008-09 NCAA Sweet 16 team.
Northwestern saw it's 6-0 start get derailed by key injuries that brings the Wildcats into the contest on a three-game losing skid. Northwestern has gone 5-1 at home with the lone loss coming in its last home game against Bowling Green, a 60-37 defeat in their first full game without both Maggie Lyon and Dannielle Diamant. Lyon has missed the past two games and Diamant injured herself at the start of the Illinois State game.
Friday's meeting will be the third between the Bears and Wildcats with California winning an 88-76 game exactly 14 years ago in Berkeley (Dec. 17, 1998). The game marks Cal's first in Evanston as the Bears hold a 2-1 series advantage after winning the last two games in Berkeley along with a loss at the Nebraska Invitational in the 1980-81 season.
Fans can listen to Dave Lewis's live call of the game on CalBears.com's premium All-Access player for a monthly fee.
A CALIFORNIA WIN AT NORTHWESTERN WOULD:
NORTHWESTERN (6-3, 0-0 BIG TEN): Northwestern ran out to a 6-0 start but has been derailed the past two weeks by injuries to starters Maggie Lyon and Dannielle Diamant. Senior Kendall Hackney leads the team with 15.2 ppg, and sophomore point guard Karly Roser is averaging 6.9 assists per game, 8.2 ppg and 5.7 rpg.
GAME RECAP: A balanced scoring effort and nearly complete performance was exactly what head coach Lindsay Gottlieb wanted for her No. 11 California Golden Bears following their first loss of the season. Less than a week after dropping a 77-63 decision at No. 4 Duke, Cal returned to the road and responded with an 84-46 victory over CSU Bakersfield Friday night. The Bears were led by 19 points from both Brittany Boyd and Gennifer Brandon in a game that was never close. It was the second consecutive strong offensive outing for Boyd who put up 28 points in the Duke contest five days ago.
IN THE RANKINGS: California returns to the top 10 after moving up two spots to No. 9 in the Associated Press poll and holds steady at No. 11 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll for the fourth consecutive week. The Bears are nearing the highest rankings since the 2008-09 team climbed as high as No. 4 in the country, a program-best mark. 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 - Stanford (1/1), Duke (4/4), UCLA (14/17), and Kansas (22/21) - are ranked this week in addition to Colorado receiving votes in the AP poll.
A LOOK AHEAD: The Bears return to Haas Pavilion for the first time in a month when the nationally-ranked Kansas Jayhawks come to Berkeley on Friday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.
PICK YOUR WEAPON: 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. Four Bears average double figures scoring with a sixth averaging 9.5, and a different Bear has led the team in scoring in six of eight games* (Gennifer Brandon and Talia Caldwell both scored 15 points vs EWU and Brittany Boyd and Brandon both scored 19 vs CSUB - making Brandon, Boyd and Layshia Clarendon the lone Bears with the top output in two games).
TOP BEAR STARTS: California will look to become just the sixth Golden Bears team to begin a season 8-1. In addition to the 2008-09 NCAA Sweet 16 squad, the other California teams to start 8-1 were the `86-87, `92-93, `06-07 and `07-08 teams. The only California team to start a season 9-1 was the 1992-93 team.
BRACKETOLOGY: ESPN.com's Charlie Creme projects California as a No. 3 seed in his first Bracketology report of the 2012-13 season. Creme anticipates five Pac-12 school making the field of 64.
BOYD FINDS HER SHOT: After opening the season 1-for-12 from 3-point range, sophomore point guard Brittany Boyd has improved her beyond the arc shooting from .083 to .350 with six made 3's in Cal's last two games at Duke and CSU Bakersfield. In the recent two-game stretch, Boyd is 6-of-8 (.750) and has made five consecutive 3-point attempts going into Monday's game at Northwestern.