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