No. 19 UCLA visits No. 21 Cal in rare non-conference contest
- No. 19 UCLA (7-2) vs. No. 21 California (7-2)
- Monday, December 21, 6 p.m. PT
- Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
- Live Stats
- Series: 47-21 UCLA
- Promotions: Free mini flashlights (first 500 fans), Teddy Bear Toss to benefit Good news Bears charity, $3 ticket with teddy bear donation
- Pac-12 Bay Area (Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, Guy Haberman), Pac.12.com Live Stream
- UCLABruins.com (Dave Marcus)
Pac-12 teams No. 19 UCLA (7-2) and No. 21 California (7-2) meet for the 69th time Monday evening. However, the game is a rare non-conference tilt. The teams are only scheduled to meet once during the Pac-12 schedule so the programs decided to schedule a non-conference game against each other during pre-conference play to give both fanbases the opportunity to see the Bears and Bruins play in person. However, the teams have no plans to schedule another non-conference matchup in the future as it may hurt each program’s chance to get at least eight or nine wins in the pre-conference play.
UCLA head coach Cori Close explained the logic based on statistical work on RPIs conducted by Washington State head coach Mike Neighbors in an article by Pac.12 writer Kevin Danna:
“Mike Neighbors has done a great job of letting us know how we can raise our conference profile by our schedule,” said Close. The Bruins are playing Cal in a non-conference game this year since the two only play once in the league slate, but will not do so anymore after this season on the logic behind Neighbors’ advice – it takes away one opportunity for one of those teams to get to that magic No. 8 or 9 victories out of conference.”
The meeting between the pair of Pac-12 foes will not count toward their conference records but will count toward their overall records.
Both teams have players on the Naismith Trophy’s Early Season Watch List: UCLA sophomore guard Jordin Canada and Cal junior forward Courtney Range.
- UCLA checks in a No. 19 in the Associated Press poll released today. The team is not ranked in the USA Today Coaches poll released last Tuesday but received 50 votes, just one less than the other unranked team, Princeton.
- The game at Cal represents the second of three straight road games for UCLA. The Bruins have won five games in a row on the road, dating back to last season.
- In their last outing Friday evening, the Bruins trounced Sacramento State 109-76. Senior guard Nirra Fields led all scorers with 22 points, her second consecutive 20-point effort and added seven rebounds. Sophomore forward Monique Billings tied her career-high with 20 points and added seven rebounds as well.
- The 109 points scored at Sacramento State was the most by a Bruin team since UCLA beat Cal Poly 107-83 on Nov. 20, 2007.
- UCLA is limiting opponents to an average of 67.2 points per game. The Bruins’ scoring offense of 82.2 ppg is second in the Pac-12.
- UCLA’s two losses have come against top 10 teams: South Carolina (68-65) and Notre Dame (92-84, OT).
- Jordin Canada has scored in double figures in 14 straight games.
- Billings has hauled in five or more rebounds in 10 straight games.
- Fields ranks No. 15 on UCLA’s career scoring list with 1,497 points. She needs 40 to pass Necie Thompson (1,536 – 1981-83) for 14th.
- Top performers:
- Jordin Canada 17.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 5.9 apg
- Nirra Fields 16.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.2 apg
- Monique Billings 13.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg
- Kacy Swain 9.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg
- Kari Korver 8.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg
- Kennedy Burke 7.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg
- The Bears check in at No. 21 in the Associated Press poll and No. 20 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The team had last week off due to final exams.
- The Bears have swept the regular season meetings vs. UCLA in each of the last three years and has won the last seven meetings.
- Four of Cal’s five starters are averaging scoring marks in the double figures.
- Freshman forward Kristine Anigwe has won the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week four out of the six times the award has been given this season including three times in a row from Nov. 30 to Dec. 14. She is the second-highest scoring freshman in the country, averaging 21.0 points per game. She is No. 21 overall and second in the Pac-12.
- Sophomore guard Gabby “Grabby” Green leads the Pac-12 in steals and is ninth in the country for steals per game (3.33 spg).
- Cal’s last game was an 87-80 overtime thriller at home vs. Nebraska. Anigwe led the team with a third consecutive double-double (29 points, 10 rebounds). Three other Cal players were in double figures include Mikayla Cowling (19 points), Courtney Range (19) and Asha Thomas (17).
- Top performers:
- Kristine Anigwe 21 ppg, 9.3 rpg
- Courtney Range 13.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg
- Asha Thomas 12.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.0 apg
- Mikayla Cowling 12.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.1 apg
- Gabby Green 5.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 5.2 apg, 3.33spg