California is a familiar foe to Chelsea Gray, whose best friend plays for the Golden Bears.
California is a familiar foe to Chelsea Gray, whose best friend plays for the Golden Bears.

Sunday’s matchup between No. 4 Duke and No. 10 California has extra implications for the Blue Devils and star point guard Chelsea Gray. Gray, a California native, has strong ties to the Golden Bear program. Her cousin, Alexis Gray-Lawson, was a standout guard at California from 2006-2010. Chelsea grew up watching her play and attending games.

The Blue Devils (5-0) will host the Golden Bears (5-0) at 2 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium Sunday with Gray facing a team that she still has connections to.

Her best friend, and high school teammate, Afure Jemergibe, is a leading guard on the team, averaging 10.2 points per game this season. Gray explained that she does not feel extra pressure, but this game is at least a little bit different. “There may be a little bit more of excitement, I wouldn’t say pressure,” Gray said. “This is the first time me and Afure have ever played against each other.”

Gray has led the Blue Devils to a very impressive start thus far, scoring 16.4 points per game. She is also averaging 5.0 rebounds and a team-high 7.0 assists per game.

“I’ve just been more composed in picking my spots a bit more carefully,” Gray said. “I’ve been playing off my teammates a lot more and been feeding off of each of my teammates.”

The Blue Devils are beating opponents by an average of 35.2 points per game through their first five games. Gray was quick to attribute the hot start to teamwork and chemistry.

“Our camaraderie out there on the court really shows,” Gray said. “We are feeding off of each other to make nice plays defensively and offensively.”

The Blue Devils have yet to face a ranked opponent, however, with their toughest test coming in Wednesdays’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup against Michigan Wednesday, in which they beat the Wolverines 71-54.

California has gotten off to an impressive start as well and comes into Cameron Indoor Stadium unbeaten. The Golden Bears have also made easy work of their early opponents, averaging 84.0 points per game.

The Blue Devils are planning on sticking to their usual practice routine and gameplan, but are making some adjustments.

“We have to play certain teams differently depending on their strengths and weaknesses,” Gray said. “But we prepare for each team the same, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”