Nov. 4, 1999
SAN MATEO, Calif. - Wednesday, November 3, was the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Media Day at Scores Legendary Sports Restaurant in San Mateo, Calif. Following are some of the comments from Cal head coach Marianne Stanley regarding the 1999-2000 season.
Last season was a breakthrough season for the Bears as they became more competitive within the Pac-10. What are your expectations for the 1999-2000 campaign?
"We want to improve. For the first time, we will have all four classes of players who have played with me and my staff. So, it's nice having your own players, who know your system. Even though we only have one senior - Paige Bowie - that four-year cycle has been completed. We look forward to building on what we did last year. We finished the season strong, winning four out of the last six games. We've added some new faces to the lineup. We're going to have a stronger year than ever. I temper that knowing that the teams in the top three or four positions probably won't have any slippage. So for us to move up and improve, it is going to be a real challenge. I think we have a good nucleus coming back and a good group coming in. It's going to help us get better and better. That's our goal this year - improvement."
What type of advantage does moving into the new Haas Pavilion offer the team this year?
"Students have already dubbed the arena "The Haas of Pain" and have made up t-shirts. It's great for the Cal community and the student body and the people who support Cal athletics to see this building come to fruition. If you loved Harmon Gym for its atmosphere, just look at the Haas Pavilion as that and magnify it by 10. It's great to see the wonderful aspects of Harmon Gym retained, but the noise level and the quality of the interior has improved 10 fold. It's exciting. The kids are jazzed. Everyone is excited about it. I don't know if that translates into wins. Maybe the atmosphere will give us an edge. Certainly, it's nice to be back on campus, playing on your home court. It's going to help our kids to have the consistency and cohesiveness in their routine and help us be a better team. It's great for the university."
What type of impact do you expect from the experienced newcomers you've brought into the program this year?
"Half the team is comprised of new players. Five new players and one player who was out for the year - Masa Radovic - is back from back problems."
On Masa Radovic
"Right now we're crossing our fingers. Masa was on the Pac-10 All-Freshman team two years ago. Last year as a sophomore, she had to redshirt. She's back practicing. It's pretty much week to week with her. So far so good. She is a tough kid, who wants to play. She's doing well so far, and she has a major impact on how we look, enhancing everyone else's ability when she's out there playing. She's a big part of what I hope will be a resurgence of our team."
On Amber White
"We have one freshman, Amber White, from Narbonne High School in Harbor City. Amber is an excellent defensive player - a six foot rangy, two, three, four player. She plays multiple positions. She is playing very well. She will definitely see playing time as a freshman and help us a great deal."
On Nicole Ybarra
"The three JC kids we're very excited about. Nicole Ybarra is a point guard out of Sacramento, very savvy, good court sense, a great passer. We need to get her scoring a little more for us. She's enamored with the pass as most traditional point guards are. They tend to want to dish and not shoot when they're open. But, Nicole has the ability and has a complete game. We're pretty excited about her."
On Becky Staubes
"Becky Staubes is a 5-10 point guard out of Mesa College in San Diego. She's a different style point guard. But, I like big point guards. She's more of a scorer, a slasher to the basket. Becky is very sharp and is going to give us stability and depth at the point, which is something we haven't had in the three years I've been at Cal."
On Genevieve Swedor
"She's a junior college player from Hobbs, N.M. She originally hails from Switzerland. She's a great athletic talent. She had a great two-year career at Hobbs. She's someone we're looking forward to giving us good quality minutes in the post. Right now, I'd mark her in the starting lineup inside. She's a raw talent, super quick, very aggressive. Somebody who I think is going to do great things for us."
On Kawai Mathews
"Kawai transferred to Cal from San Diego State. She's someone we recruited out of high school. She was in the same class as Courtney Johnson and Kenya Corley, two players we were very excited to get. Now, to also get Kawai too is an added bonus. She's a very experienced player, who we're expecting good things from."
What does Paige Bowie mean to the team as the only senior?
"I think Paige shot the ball better a year ago. We're looking for the leadership of someone who knows the ropes and knows what it takes to get the job done. Being the only senior, I think Paige feels a sense of urgency about getting it done this year. Our goal is to move up in the conference and have a chance at postseason play. She's a person who can get others around her motivated and excited to pursue that type of challenge. She's someone who shoots the ball extremely well but is not a one dimensional player in terms of being able to just stand out there and shoot the basketball. She has versatility. I think now that we've added some depth inside and at the point, it's going to help her not feel the pressure so much to do all of the scoring. That could give her a sense of freedom she hasn't had the past three years. It's a big year for her personally and for her role with the team. It's going to be exciting."