Feb. 23, 2002
LOS ANGELES -
California wraps up the regular season Sunday at USC at 1 p.m. The game can be seen live on Fox Sports Net. The Golden Bears (7-19, 2-15, 9th) lost a defensive battle to UCLA Friday, 58-48, while USC (14-12, 10-7, T4th) couldn't hang on to an eight-point halftime lead over No. 2 Stanford, falling 78-60.
Sophomore guard LaTasha O'Keith paced Cal with nine points, as the Bears only shot 22.6 percent as a team, while the Bruins weren't much better at 33.8. The Bears did grab a season-high 49 rebounds (Bruins had 48).
Heading into this week's action, Cal knew that it would be facing UCLA in the opening round of the inaugural Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament. Now, they know that the Bruins will wear their home uniforms as the No. 8 seed, while the Bears are considered the visitors as the No. 9 seed.
Sunday, Cal looks to avenge a 69-53 loss to USC in the Bears Pac-10 home opener back in December. O'Keith and Ami Forney paced Cal in that game with 17 and 16 points, respectively. The difference in the game was a 50-29 rebounding edge for USC. Last year, Cal beat USC in Los Angeles, 61-55.
The Bears need one victory to escape equaling the worst Pac-10 record in school history. Cal's two Pac-10 wins have come against Washington State, including a 76-63 victory over the Cougars last Thursday. The win gave the Bears their first sweep of the season series since the 1992-93 campaign. In last week's game vs. WSU, Cal tied the school record for three-point percentage in a game (min. 10 attempts) at 72.7 with its 8-of-11 performance.
Cal's defense has been a strong point this year, as it is ranked No. 3 in the Pac-10 in scoring defense at 63.7 ppg, while the Bears have struggled offensively this year (57.3 ppg). When Cal scores 60 or more points, they are 7-3, otherwise it is 0-15.
Forney, a senior center, is looking to finish her Cal career on an upswing, posting back-to-back double-doubles against WSU and Washington. She has six double-doubles this year and 13 for her career and leads Cal this year in scoring (11.5 ppg), rebounding (6.7 rpg) and blocked shots (9).
The Bears most consistent offensive threat of late has been redshirt freshman forward Kiki Williams. She has tallied double-digit points in five of her last six games. Ukrainian sophomore Olga Volkova had missed five games with an ankle injury and now has to sit out this week's games as Cal and the NCAA investigate her amateur athletic status. She may have to sit out as many as eight games with some of her injured games counting towards that total.