Women’s Basketball preview: at Cal – NCAA Second Round

cal texas basketballNCAA Championship Second Round
Game 34: No. 5 seed Texas Longhorns at No. 4 seed California Golden Bears
Date/Time: Sunday, March 22 | 8 p.m. Central
Site: Berkeley, Calif. | Haas Pavilion (11,800)
TV: ESPN2 / WatchESPN - Melissa Lee (play-by-play), Mary Murphy (analyst)
Radio: KVET 103.1 FM iHeart Austin or TexasSports.com - Craig Way (play-by-play), Kathy Harston (analyst)
Live Stats: NCAA.com

Game NotesGet Acrobat Reader | Bracket

TEXAS-CAL SERIES
• Texas and California will meet for the seventh time in program history on Sunday. Texas leads the all-time series, 4-2. It will be the first time Texas and Cal face in NCAA Championship competition.
• Texas and Cal are 2-0, respectively, on their home courts in the series. Texas won the only two meetings on neutral courts.
• Texas won the last meeting, 61-60, at the Rainbow Wahine Showdown in Honolulu, Hawai'i on Nov. 26, 2011.
• The Longhorns are 2-0 against Pac-12 Conference teams this season -- both were road victories (87-81 OT at Stanford, 75-65 at UCLA).
• Texas leads Cal in points per game during the series, 78.0-to-66.5.

TEXAS IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
Sweetness: Texas is seeking its 12th appearance in a Regional Semifinal (Sweet 16) on Sunday. UT has not advanced to the round of 16 since the 2003-04 season, a team coached by then-assistant Karen Aston.
Round of 32: The Longhorns have advanced to the round of 32 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2003-04 and 2004-05.
28th Dance: Texas is playing in the NCAA Championship for the 28th time, including the sixth time in the last seven seasons. The Longhorns' 28 appearances in the field ranks fourth all-time. Texas has appeared the NCAA Championship field in 28 of 32 seasons, since the NCAA Women's Championship began in 1983.
Seed No. 5: UT is a No. 5 seed for the second consecutive season and fourth time overall (4-3 record). The Longhorns are 4-0 in the first round as a No. 5 seed, including a 66-64 first-round victory over WKU on Friday. A win on Sunday would mark the first Regional Semifinal appearance as a No. 5 seed.
Aston in the Dance: Head coach Karen Aston is making her third appearance in the NCAA Championship as a head coach. Aston took Charlotte to the big dance in 2009 after earning the Atlantic 10's automatic bid. As an assistant coach at Texas from 1998-99 to 2005-06, Aston held a 7-7 record in the NCAA Championship (seven appearances in eight seasons), including an appearance in the 2003 Final Four.

POSTSEASON PLAY ONLY
In four postseason games this season:
• Texas is holding opponents to 61.5 points per game on 34.8 percent shooting from the field.
• Texas has a +8.5 rebound margin.
• Junior center Imani McGee-Stafford is the team leader in scoring (14.8 ppg) and rebounding (11.0 rpg) in just 23.0 minutes per game.
• Junior guard Empress Davenport is the second-leading scorer (9.8 ppg).
• Junior guard Celina Rodrigo leads in assists (4.3 apg).

AGAINST TOP-25 OPPONENTS
• Texas is 4-2 against opponents ranked in the Associated Pres (AP) Top 25 this season, including a 2-1 mark away from home.
• Cal is ranked No. 24 in the latest AP poll.

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STARTING LINEUPS
• In 33 games, Texas has used 12 different starting lineups.
• Friday's lineup against WKU was the fifth different starting five. All five -- Rodrigo, Davenport, Sanders, Taylor, McGee-Stafford -- had NCAA postseason experience entering the game.
• 10 of the 11 Longhorns who average at least 10 minutes per game, have started a game this season.
• Sophomore center Kelsey Lang has started in a team-high 31 games and junior guard Brady Sanders has started in 27 games.

POINTS IN THE PAINT
• Texas is out-scoring its opponents in the paint with a +13.0 margin this season.
• The Longhorns have scored 40+ points in the paint in seven games this season, including 48 points in Friday's NCAA First Round game against WKU.

MISS MARCH
• All-Big 12 First Team center Imani McGee-Stafford has four double-doubles in the last six games.
• She opened the NCAA tournament with 24 points (10-13 FG) and 15 rebounds in 30 minutes against WKU.
In her six starts this season, McGee-Stafford averages 15.8 points (.632 FG%), 9.5 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks.
Per 40 minutes, she averages 21.8 points, 15.8 rebounds and 4.6 blocks
• In nine career postseason games (Big 12 and NCAA tournaments), McGee-Stafford averages 13.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.

LAST 10 GAMES
• Since starting the conference season 4-8, Texas has won eight of its last 10 games entering Sunday.
• During the last 10 games, the Longhorns are averaging 67.5 points and holding opponents to 58.9 points -- an 8.6 scoring margin.
• Texas began its first 12 games of conference play shooting 26 percent from 3-point range, but is now shooting 36 percent from beyond the arc in the last 10 games.
• Junior center Imani McGee-Stafford is the team's leading scorers during this period, averaging 12.3 points in just 21.0 minutes. McGee-Stafford also has team-highs of 9.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 1.3 steals, and a .554 field goal percentage.

DEEP BENCH
• In the last eight games, UT's bench has out-scored the opponent's bench by an average margin of +20. (26.5-6.5).

Brian Kendall

Part-time journalist turned full-time blogger, Brian is an online staff writer at Horns Illustrated and serves as senior staff writer for digital marketing agency Speak Social. Brian currently resides in Austin and you can read his blog at the following address: briankendall.wordpress.com

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