Jan. 1, 2001
Note: Saturday's Cal-Arizona State game features a give-away of Pac-10 caps to the first 500 fans.
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
California (4-6) opens the Pac-10 season at home for the first time since the 1997-98 season this year. Arizona (10-2) comes to town Thurs., Jan. 4, followed by Arizona State (8-4) Sat., Jan., 6. The home games to start league play are a welcome treat as the Golden Bears have just finished playing seven of 10 non-conference games on the road. Starting on the road the last two seasons, Cal opened league play 0-4 and 0-6, respectively. In '97-98, the Bears split with the Oregon schools at Kaiser Arena. Cal is also in search of its first Pac-10 opening win since the 1994-95 season (87-83 win vs. WSU at home).
The Bears enter the conference season coming off a win for the first time since the 1995-96 campaign when they claimed a road win at Boise State (76-62). Last week, Cal capped the non-conference season also with a road win, a 66-64 thriller over San Jose State.
Defense continues to be the focal point of Cal's success. The Bears are averaging a five-year low for scoring defense at 64.2 ppg. When Cal does score 70 or more points, it also has been successful with a 2-1 mark.
Despite being held scoreless in just four minutes against San Jose State due to the flu, senior guard Courtney Johnson continues to lead the Bears in scoring with a career-best 13.6 ppg average. Senior forward Lauren Ashbaugh is second on the club in both scoring and rebounding with career-bests of 11.1 ppg and 7.0 rpg. Following an 18-point performance at SJSU, senior guard Kenya Corley has seen her average climb to 10.4 ppg.
Junior center Ami Forney has combined with Ashbaugh to form a formidable rebounding tandem for the Bears, ranking first and tied for sixth, respectively, in the Pac-10. Forney, who sat out the Spartan game after getting her wisdom teeth removed, averages a career-best 8.1 rpg.
Off the bench, Cal's top players have been Genevieve Swedor, Amber White and Latasha O'Keith. The Bears post depth improved with the return of freshman forward Kiki Williams vs. San Jose State. She missed the first nine games with a stress fracture in her tibia.