Cal Hosts First Round Tilt of WNIT Tourney

Anna Hiatt/Staff

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On Monday night the field of 64 teams for the NCAA women's basketball tournament was announced. Cal was not one of them.

With a modest 18-13 record, the Bears appear to have been too much of a stretch for the NCAA committee to reward them with a bid.

It wasn't until much later on Monday night that the Bears were finally picked for the WNIT.

That means when the first and second rounds are played at Haas Pavilion later this week, Cal will be spectators, just like everyone else.

But before the hoopla that is the NCAA tourney begins, the Bears will play their first round game against UC Davis tonight at 7 p.m. in the very same gym.

This is the first time in Joanne Boyle's term as head coach of the Bears that they will not be playing in the Big Dance. It also marks the first time since 1987 that Cal has competed in the WNIT.

Despite being in only their third year as a Division I program, the Aggies have not played like a small-time team this season. They were five points away from being in their first-ever NCAA Tournament, falling to UC Riverside in the Big West Tournament championship game, 71-67.

UC Davis comes to Berkeley with a 21-10 record, averaging 65.3 points per game, but boasts only a 9-6 non-conference record.

The Aggies actually beat St. Mary's by more points (12) than the Bears did (three) earlier this season. Oddly enough, the winner of this game will face the winner of the Gaels and Utah match-up in the second round.

Cal will hope to have back leading scorer Alexis Gray-Lawson back in action for tonight's contest. Last Saturday at the Pac-10 Tournament, the senior fell going up for a rebound and landed on her head and neck. She was taken off on a stretcher, but released from the hospital later that night.

Gray-Lawson is still listed as day-to-day. But if her 35-point sprained ankle performance in the win over Washington says anything, it is if she can physically play, she will be out there, especially if it gives her one more chance to play at Haas.

And if this season has said anything of this Cal team, it is they'll need her out there.


Contact Joseph Cannon at [email protected]

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