A Post Presence

It appears that the No. 7 Cal women's basketball team has successfully weathered a storm that saw the Bears forced to go with one post player for a majority of their early schedule...

The forecast for the rest of the Pac-10 suddenly looks much more bleak.

Cal's 64-48 win against UCLA at Haas Pavilion Thursday not only equaled the best conference start in school history (8-0 in the Pac-10), but it provided a glimpse at how dangerous the Bears can be as Devanei Hampton returns to full strength.

Devanei Hampton recorded her first double-double of the season, notching 11 points to go along with 12 boards, in a game where Cal faced the No. 4 ranked rebounding team in the country.

"We've been waiting and she's been kind of waiting," Bears coach Joanne Boyle said of Hampton. "I told her, ‘You're ready for this. Don't wait anymore. Go and take it.'"

Hampton's work under the glass was undoubtedly a welcome reprieve for a team that has struggled to beat teams on the boards as of late.

In the Bears' latest road trip against Oregon and Oregon State, Cal recorded a rebounding margin of just +3, contributing to two lackluster conference wins. But with the help of what looks to be a healthier Hampton, the Bears dominated UCLA on the glass to the tune of a 36-26 rebounding advantage.

Hampton's show inside the paint was overshadowed only by the return of fellow post presence Rama N'Diaye.

N'Diaye saw the floor for the first time since suffering a torn ACL against George Washington in the second round of last season's NCAA tournament and, while she played just three minutes, managed to pull down two rebounds of her own.

While it is clear the N'Diaye is still quite a ways away from being in full-time playing condition, her return--coupled with the standout performance from Hampton--is finally providing a look at what Cal can potentially be once at full strength.

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