Feb. 4, 2002
The young California women's basketball team (6-15, 1-11, 9th) wraps up the regular season with four of the final six games on the road. The stretch begins Thursday at Oregon State (12-11, 8-5 Pac-10, T4th) at 7 p.m. and Saturday at Oregon (12-10, 7-6, T6th) at 7 p.m. The Ducks' McArthur Court is the site of this year's first-ever Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament, March 1-4, which all 10 league teams participate in.
Cal looks to avenge earlier season losses to Oregon (65-53) and Oregon State (80-52) this week.
After opening the season 4-0, the Golden Bears have played many close games but have had some growing pains. Second-year head coach Caren Horstmeyer has had to go through almost a second first season. She lost seven seniors from last year's squad, and this year's team features nine newcomers, including six true freshmen. Two of those freshmen - point guard Kristin Iwanaga and power forward Leigh Gregory - have gained valuable experience as regular starters this year.
The Bears are coming off two losses to No. 3 Stanford by similar scores (79-52 and 79-51) and in the second game were forced to play without starting senior center Ami Forney (flu) and backup center Olga Volkova, who sustained an ankle sprain in the morning shoot around. She is expected to miss at least two weeks. Saturday's home loss to the Cardinal also saw freshman reserve guard Nicol Berry sustain a season-ending ACL tear in her left knee. She will have surgery within the next couple of weeks.
Forney leads the Bears in scoring (12.1 ppg) and rebounding (6.4 ppg). Starting sophomore guard LaTasha O'Keith is second on the team at 9.8 ppg after averaging only 3.8 ppg last year as a reserve. In Forney's absence Saturday, redshirt freshman forward Kiki Williams earned the starting nod and responded with a career-high 18 points.
With Williams slotted in the starting lineup, Cal's bench was limited to only two points from Berry on Saturday. Cal is averaging only 57.1 ppg and often have received limited scoring from its bench. Defensively, the Bears have done many good things this year, including holding nine opponents under 60 points.
Cal seems to have solved its midseason turnover problem, as the team has committed 18 or fewer turnovers the last five games.