One of Cal's greatest female athletes tangles with perhaps the greatest rusher ever in Cal football history. Who goes on? Vote now!
Cast your votes by noon on Friday! The winner goes onto face the Andre Carter-Syd'Quan Thompson winner.
norcalnick has been covering AGL all year long, and he gives the footnotes as to why she should be a Hall of Famer.
When she’s on, one of the most dominating offensive players in Cal history. Holds the single game record for points (47, in double OT). Played arguably the single greatest offensive game in Cal history when she scored 37 of Cal’s 54 points to defeat top 10 Stanford. Also a great defender and was named to the Pac-10’s all defense team. Leads Cal in career games played. 3rd most career points in Cal history. Most 3 pointers made in Cal history.
There are plenty more stories like that this year. She started Pac-10 play on a hot streak.
Maybe playing a brutal schedule that included 4 teams ranked in the current AP top 10 prepared the Bears for the rest of the Pac-10. Maybe 12 games was enough time for the freshmen to get comfortable enough in the offense to allow Lexi to play to the level she was always capable of. Maybe this is just the mother of all hot streaks (though I doubt it). Whatever the reason, her performances speak for themselves. To wit:
FGs 3 pt. FG FTs Pts Rbds Asts TOs vs. UCLA 6-16 3-5 5-11 20 8 1 4 vs. USC 8-14 2-5 2-2 20 8 1 2 vs. Washington 7-14 0-4 5-7 19 3 1 1 vs. Washington St. 11-22 3-7 4-6 29 6 1 2 vs. Oregon 7-17 1-5 4-4 19 4 0 3 vs. Oregon St. 13-31 4-7 17-20 47 3 2 4 Percentage/Average 46% 39% 74% 25.67 5.33 1 2.67
Alexis Gray-Lawson: Last 6 games
She's shooting spectacularly (effective field goal percentage of 51.3), she's drawing fouls, she's getting to the line, and she's not turning the ball over much despite handling the ball on essentially every possession. She's dominating despite being the clear number one option for opposing defenses to focus on. She's dominating despite playing more than 35 minutes a game and playing the entire 50 minutes of Saturday's double OT barn-burner.
After Washington made one of two free throws, the magic began. Cal began the next possession with 1:41 left and Natasha Vital missed a 3 pointer near the end of the shot clock. Who was in the perfect position for the offensive board? Alexis Gray-Lawson, of course. Twenty-four seconds later she was dribbling the ball on the right wing, stopped, and launched a contested three pointer. Swish. Four point lead. Washington, to their credit, refused to go down easily. The Huskies scored 8 points in the final 50 seconds around 4 Natasha Vital free throws to send the game to overtime. The final three pointer, a buzzer beating shot from the left corner by Sami Whitcomb, was over a clearly pained and fatigued Gray-Lawson. Ooooovertime!
Fast forward to 1:38 in overtime. Both teams have traded a bucket and a bunch of turnovers. Lexi was clearly diminished with her sprained ankle - she had not attacked the hoop during overtime and even missed two free throws. Then she again received the ball on the right wing, dribbled the ball through her legs a couple times, spotted up and launched a three with a defender in her face. Swish. (I'd like to note that I spontaneous yelled "SHE IS SO [expletive] AWESOME" after both of Lexi's clutch 3's). This time Cal would maintain their lead as UW missed a few 3 pointers and Cal sank their free throws. Victory!
Gray-Lawson has had the ability to take over games for periods of time in previous seasons, but she was rarely the first scoring option when Ashley Walker emerged as an elite player when Gray-Lawson injured her knee in the 2006-07 season. With Walker leading Cal in scoring Gray-Lawson became more of a distributor to Cal’s successful low-post players and recorded nearly a 2-1 assist to turnover ratio in 2008-09. With Walker and Devanei Hampton graduating, the offensive burden fell to Gray-Lawson. At times the transition was difficult this year as Gray-Lawson adjusted to playing with five freshman and to being the clear number one threat on the Golden Bears. But when Pac-10 play started Gray-Lawson took over, combining her outside shooting talent with a hard nosed ability to drive the ball and draw fouls, and she led the conference in scoring during the Pac-10 schedule. I would attribute the scoring explosion to Gray-Lawson getting comfortable in her new role and more cohesion with the aforementioned freshmen.
The case for Russell is laid out below. He made it all the way to the Sweet 16 before falling to Jason Kidd.
LeonPowe: Superman. One of the 3 best running backs (some would argue the best ever) to play at Cal. Finished in the top 5 in Heisman as a junior. Carried Cal to a #7 National ranking at the end of the 1991 season. Hurdled a Purdue player well before anyone else did it.
Cal's all-time leading rusher was perhaps the biggest recruiting coup in school history. Controversy surrounded White's decision to move from Crespi HS to Berkeley, since he was a Prop 48 student who had not achieved a qualifying SAT score. A summer of tutoring revealed that Russell was dyslexic, and he would go on to earn his degree in social welfare in four years with a B average.
He would also go on to become Cal's all-time leading rusher, behind 1,000 yard efforts in 1991 and 1992. Fifteen times he rushed for at least 100 yards in a game, including a 229-yard effort in Cal's record setting 52-30 beatdown of USC in 1991. With White, the Bears reversed a decade of futility and won back-to-back bowls in 1990 and 1991. His '91 season, with 1,177 yards rushing and fourteen touchdowns earned White first-team All-America honors from the Walter Camp Foundation and the FWAA.
Now thanks to Prd74, we all get to bask in Russell's greatness a little; his freshman campaign in 1990 had some great moments, including a 99 yard kickoff return against Miami in the first video and an utterly insane run starting at 4:24 in the second vid.