Feb. 2, 2004
BERKELEY, Calif. -
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
Riding an unfortunate wave of close defeats, California (9-11, 2-9, 9th) looks to snap a seven-game losing streak when the Golden Bears travel to the desert this week to play teams in the top half of the Pac-10. Cal plays at Arizona State (13-6, 7-3, 4th) on Thursday, Feb. 5 at 5:30 p.m. PT and then at Arizona (16-5, 8-2, 2nd) on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 3 p.m. PT.
Five of the Bears' final seven regular season games are on the road. After Cal's trip to Arizona, it visits Stanford Feb. 14 before returning for its final home series against UCLA and USC Feb. 19 and 21, respectively.
The Bears are 3-7 in games decided by seven points or less, including a 1-6 mark in the Pac-10. Cal has lost its 11 games by an average of 7.2 ppg. Not counting the 20-point USC loss - the first game after Alisa Lewis' death - the Bears have lost the other 10 games by an average of 5.9 ppg.
Cal looks to redeem itself this week from a two-point loss to the Wildcats and a four-point setback to the Sun Devils last month. For the sixth straight season, Cal's defense ranks in the upper half of the Pac-10. The Bears are fourth in scoring defense at 63.1 ppg. Cal poured in 71.1 ppg during the non-conference season but is averaging only 61.7 ppg during Pac-10 contests, placing the Bears sixth in the conference at 65.9 ppg overall.
Two other areas Cal has excelled in this season are field goal percentage (45.4, 2nd Pac-10) and steals (9.95 per game, 4th Pac-10).
Senior guard Nihan Anaz and junior forward Leigh Gregory have been Cal's most consistent performers this season. Anaz leads the club in scoring (16.0 ppg, 5th Pac-10) and steals (2.35 spg, 4th Pac-10). Her scoring average is on pace to be the program's highest since Eliza Sokolowska poured in 18.8 ppg in 1994-95. Gregory is second on the team in scoring at 11.0 ppg and leads the team in rebounding (5.4 rpg) and field goal percentage (53.4, 4th Pac-10). In Cal's last game vs. Washington, Gregory led Cal with 16 points after tallying 14 against Washington State.
Off the bench, senior center Olga Volkova is Cal's top performer at 5.3 ppg and 4.8 rpg. Cal can use all of the help it can get in the rebounding department, as the Bears are last in the league at 32.5 rpg, 5.2 rebounds less than they averaged a year ago.