Colorado continues Bay Area road trip at Cal, Golden Bears looking for third straight victory

BERKELEY, Calif. – California (9-3, 1-0) hopes to earn a third straight victory when they host Colorado (7-5, 0-1) Monday night at Haas Pavilion. The Bears hold the series edge against the Buffaloes, winning the last six games. Monday’s contest marks the first time since the 2011-12 season that both teams did not enter the game nationally ranked.

Cal soundly defeated Utah, 67-49, Saturday to begin Pac-12 play while Colorado fell to No. 15 Stanford, 62-55, later that evening across the Bay in Palo Alto. Sophomore Mercedes Jefflo led the Bears with a career-high 17 points, and freshman Penina Davidson scored all 15 of her career-high points in the second half in front of her family visiting from New Zealand. Senior Brittany Boyd recorded her fifth double-double of the season and collected three steals in the game to move past Tammy Story for No. 3 on the Pac-12 all-time steals list with 311 in her career.

“I think that we came back from Christmas practicing better, at a whole different level,” said Cal head coach Lindsay Gottlieb about her team’s resurgence. “It’s raised our team up, other people respond and I was really happy to see them make plays. I’m really just excited about the way that we played as a team, and it’s only one game, but it’s a good start and we’ll go forward from here.”

Colorado had chances to upset Stanford in the second half after overcoming an 11 point deficit but the Cardinals sealed their win by responding with an 8-0 run.

“We’re disappointed, I felt like we had our chances,” said Colorado head coach Linda Lappe. “It came down to a two minute spurt there in the second half when we took the lead and couldn’t sustain it.”

The Buffaloes have lost four of their last five, three of those contests on the road and two of them to ranked teams. Colorado has four players averaging double figures.

Senior forward Jen Reese leads Colorado in scoring at 14.0 points per game while hitting 45 percent from the field and ranking second on the team in rebounding at 7.8 an outing.

Senior guard Lexy Kresl is averaging 10.4 points per game, leads Colorado in assists (5.5 apg) and steals per game (1.2 spg).

Junior forward Jamee Swan, who has come off the bench the last three games, tops Colorado in rebounding (8.3 rpg) and blocked shots (1.8 bpg). She is second on the team in scoring at 13.5 points per game hitting 49 percent from the field.

Sophomore guard Haley Smith leads Colorado in field-goal accuracy at 51 percent while averaging 10.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

There have been 10 triple-doubles in NCAA Division I through games of Jan. 2, three of them by two players in Monday’s game: Colorado’s Lexy Kresl (1) and Cal’s Boyd (2).

The Bears and Buffaloes had three common non-conference opponents this season San Jose State, Missouri and Long Beach State. Cal went 2-1 against those opponents (110-87 vs SJSU, 82-70 vs Missouri, 56-58 OT at LBSU) while Colorado went 1-2 (97-89 OT vs SJSU, 50-53 vs Missouri, 56-62 vs LBSU).

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