March 4, 2004
BERKELEY, Calif. - California head coach Caren Horstmeyer was named the 2003-04 Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year, and senior guard Nihan Anaz was selected to the All-Pac-10 team, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced today.
"I'm honored and surprised," said Horstmeyer. "I want to say thank you to all of the coaches that made this happen. The most important thing is that we have had a difficult year, and while my name is on the award, it's an award for my whole staff. It's been a group effort, working with our team and getting through this. To have coaches that can recognize the challenges of the season, and to acknowledge that by giving us this award, is a huge credit to the people that are in the Pac-10."
Horstmeyer, in her fourth year at the helm of the Golden Bears, led the team to an 11-16 overall record and a 4-14 conference mark. The year opened strong as Cal jumped out to an 8-2 start, its best start since 1992-93. In that stretch, Cal won the Oakland Tribune Classic for the first time since 1998 and finished its non-Conference slate with a 6-0 home record, the Bears' first unbeaten non-conference home slate since 1998-99. Cal's 7-2 non-conference record was its best since the 1992-93 team went 8-1. The Bears also defeated No. 22 Oregon for its first Pac-10-opening victory in nine seasons.
Cal received votes in the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches' Poll for five straight weeks, from Dec. 1 through Dec. 29, and received a vote in the AP poll on Dec. 29. However, tragedy struck the Golden Bear basketball family on Jan. 19, as junior forward Alisa Lewis passed away suddenly from bacterial meningitis. Horstmeyer not only had the job of X's and O's, but also that of leading a team back from the sadness and emotional void left by Lewis' death. Horstmeyer did just that, as her team found the strength and courage to continue Pac-10 competition, just four days after Lewis' death. Cal enters the Pac-10 Tournament having won two of its last three games and has surpassed its win total from last season (10-19 overall). Horstmeyer posts a 40-72 overall record in her fourth season at Cal, a career mark of 261-196 and is 19-53 in Pac-10 play. This is her first Pac-10 Coach of the Year honor. She was named the 1991 and 1993 West Coast Conference Coach of the Year, during her stint as head coach at Santa Clara University.
Horstmeyer is Cal's second Pac-10 Women's Basketball Coach of the Year. Gooch Foster was picked during the 1991-92 campaign.
Anaz is a first-time All-Pac-10 selection. This season, the senior leads the Bears in scoring and is 10th in the league at 14.1 points per game. Prior to Lewis' death, Anaz averaged 16.9 ppg. She also led Cal in scoring 17 times over the course of the regular season. The product of Istanbul, Turkey has recorded 20 or more points five times this season, including a career-high 30 points in the Bears' win at Washington State. Additionally, Anaz ranks seventh in the Pac-10 in steals at 1.93 per game and eighth in field goal percentage at 45.9. Other awards Anaz has received this season include Oakland Tribune Classic Most Valuable Player, Pac-10 Player of the Week Dec. 8 and Coors Classic all-tournament team.
Anaz is Cal's first All-Pac-10 honoree since Courtney Johnson was recognized in 2000-01.
The other members of the All-Pac-10 team are Nikki Blue and Noelle Quinn (UCLA), Ebony Hoffman (USC), Andrea Lalum (Washington), Kylan Loney (Arizona State), Giuliana Mendiola (Washington), Shawntinice Polk and Dee-Dee Wheeler (Arizona) and Nicole Powell (Stanford). Powell was named Pac-10 Player of the Year, while Quinn received Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.