Nov. 13, 2000
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
California opens the season on the road for the first time since the 1996-97 season. The Golden Bears have four-straight road games before they return home Dec. 2-3 for the Oakland Tribune Classic. First-year head coach Caren Horstmeyer leads Cal in its season opener Friday, Nov. 17, at No. 7 Rutgers, at 7:30 p.m. ET, and then at Fairfield, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m. ET.
This is the first meeting between Cal and Rutgers, while the Bears defeated Fairfield, 82-53, in the team's only meeting in 1986-87. Both teams are coming off successful seasons and offer unique challenges for Cal, especially with the Bears being without the services of forward Kiki Williams for 4-6 weeks (stress fracture in her right tibia) and guard Nicole Ybarra for 2-4 weeks (right ankle sprain).
The Bears swept both of their exhibition games - first a 77-72 victory over a Bay Area Pro-Am team and then an 80-62 triumph over RTU Clondica from Riga, Lativa. The two areas Cal showed the biggest improvement from one game to the next was in its shooting percentage and holding its opponent to a lower shooting percentage. After having only a 38.6 field goal percentage to the Pro-Am team's 46.8, Cal finished the game against RTU shooting 46.7 percent, while holding the Latvian team to 38.9 percent.
Cal returns three starters from last year's 11-17 (6-12 Pac-10) squad. Those are guards Courtney Johnson and Kenya Corley and forward Lauren Ashbaugh. Johnson led the Bears in scoring last season at 11.7 points per game and paced the league with 3.2 steals per contest. Corley is perhaps the most athletic player in the Pac-10 and saw her scoring average more than double from her sophomore (4.2 ppg_ to her junior season (10.5 ppg). Meanwhile, Ashbaugh provides an inside and outside scoring threat and is Cal's top returning rebounder at 6.1 ppg.
Junior Ami Forney is expected to start at center, as she did during the non-conference season last year. Senior Becky Staubes has the tough task of filling the small forward duties of Paige Bowie, who finished her eligibility last year as Cal's 14th all-time leading scorer at 1,043 points.
HEAD COACH CAREN HORSTMEYER
Caren Horstmeyer begins her first season as head coach at California after posting a 221-124 record in 12 seasons at her alma mater Santa Clara. The winningest coach in West Coast Conference history, Horstmeyer guided the Broncos to six postseason appearances, including four NCAA Tournament selections and the 1991 WNIT championship, along with six WCC regular season titles and two WCC Tournament crowns. In the 1990s, Horstmeyer led SCU to four-consecutive WCC regular season titles from 1991-94, and her teams only once finished lower than third in league play. While at SCU, Horstmeyer coached 33 All-West Coast Conference selections, four WCC Players of the Year, one Kodak All-American, one WCC Defender of the Year and one WCC Freshman of the Year. She also has been recognized for her coaching abilities, earning NCAA District VIII Coach of the Year in 1999 and WCC Coach of the Year in 1991 and '93. Caren and her husband, Bill, welcomed into the world their first child, Arend, July 22, 2000. Horstmeyer is assisted by Sue Phillips-Chargin, Shaunice Warr and Camille Burkes.
RUTGERS SCOUTING REPORT
A Look at Rutgers Rutgers advanced to the NCAA Final Four in 1999-00, losing to Tennessee, 64-54 in a semifinal game. The Scarlet Knights finished their season 26-8 and tied for third in the Big East with a 12-4 record. The Scarlet Knights are ranked as high as No. 4 by Lindy's preseason poll and Nov. 7 by ESPN/USA Today and No. 8 by AP. Rutgers returns four starters from a year ago, including senior point guard Tasha Pointer, who averaged 9.7 ppg and 5.5 apg last season. Rutgers also boasts two 2000 Olympians - center Tammy Sutton-Brown (Canada) and Fatime Ndiaye (Senegal).
Cal-Rutgers Series History
This is the first meeting between Cal and Rutgers. Rutgers is expected to return to Berkeley within the next two seasons.
Rutgers Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer (Slippery Rock, 1971)
It took Stringer only five years to lead Rutgers to the Final Four. She is the only coach in men's or women's basketball to take three different schools to the Final Four (Cheney State in 1982 and Iowa in 1993). Her 28-year career record is 621-191 and her record at Rutgers is 101-56.
Rutgers Probable Starters (1999-00 stats)
POS NO NAME HT YR PTS REB F 44 Davalyn Cunningham 6-0 Jr. 5.4 3.4 C 5 Tammy Sutton-Brown 6-4 Sr. 9.2 5.1 G 15 Mauri Horton 5-8 So. 0.6 0.5 G 22 Karlita Washington 5-9 Sr. 5.0 1.8 G 25 Christina Fowler 5-9 Jr. 4.3 1.9
FAIRFIELD SCOUTING REPORT
A Look at Fairfield Fairfield posted a 25-8 record last season and won the MAAC with a 15-3 mark. The Stags return all five starters from last year's team, including their leading scorer, senior center Gail Strumpf (19.5 ppg).
Cal-Fairfield Series History
Cal and Fairfield have played each other only once before. In 1986-87, the Bears defeated the Stags in Berkeley, 82-53.
Fairfield Head Coach Dianne Nolan (Glassboro State, 1973)
Dianne Nolan enters her 23rd year coaching at Fairfield with a record of 358-251. Her 28-year career record is 419-308.
Fairfield Probable Starters (stats are 1999-00)
POS NO NAME HT YR PTS REB F 4 Schrene Isidora 5-11 So. 9.2 4.1 F 15 Allison Thorne 6-3 Sr. 8.4 5.6 C 35 Gail Strumpf 6-4 Sr. 19.5 11.5 G 42 Holli Tapley 5-7 Sr. 13.2 5.8 G 23 Megan Light 5-6 Jr. 8.8 4.0GOLDEN BEAR NOTES
THREE RETURNING STARTERS LOOK TO LEAD BEARS
Cal's nucleus this season features three returning senior starters - guard Courtney Johnson, guard Kenya Corley and forward Lauren Ashbaugh. A 1990-00 honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick, Johnson has earned a reputation as one of the most potent offensive and defensive players in the Pac-10, leading Cal with 11.7 ppg last season and pacing the Pac-10 with 3.2 spg. Perhaps the most athletic player in the league, Corley saw her scoring average more than double from her sophomore (4.2 ppg) to her junior season (10.5 ppg). Ashbaugh provides scoring and rebounding punch for the Bears, as she averaged 8.5 ppg and 6.1 rpg as a junior. She also led the Bears with 22 blocked shots.
BEARS WELCOME FIVE NEWCOMERS
Cal welcomes five newcomers to the 2000-01 team. They include recruited freshmen Kiki Williams (forward) and Latasha O'Keith (guard) and three walk-ons - senior Brook Coulter (forward/guard) and freshmen Luana Coloma (guard) and Jen Deering (forward/center).
BEARS FACE CHALLENGING SCHEDULE
Since Cal is faced with learning a new system from first-year head coach Caren Horstmeyer and her staff, a few more games in familiar surroundings would be helpful. The Bears open the 2000-01 campaign with four-straight road games and play only three of 10 non-conference games at home at Haas Pavilion. Not many teams face a more challenging season opener than Cal - Friday, Nov. 17 against seventh-ranked Rutgers, a 2000 Final Four team. In addition to Rutgers, Cal also faces four other 2000 NCAA Tournament qualifiers -- Stanford, Oregon, Arizona and UCLA - along with three 2000 WNIT teams - Santa Clara, USC and Arizona State.
FIVE TWO SPORT ATHLETES PLAY FOR BEARS
Cal boasts one of the most athletic teams in the Pac-10 with five members of its 15-player roster competing in two sports. Sophomore guard Michelle Wald recently rejoined the basketball team after the Cal field hockey team lost in the NorCal title game last week. Seniors Kenya Corley and Genevieve Swedor spend their springs on the Cal track and field team competing in the jumps and sprints. Redshirt freshman Jen Deering pitches for the Cal softball team, which advanced to its second World Series last year. Finally, senior Brook Coulter joined the Cal basketball team after exhausting four years of volleyball eligibility last season when she was named honorable mention All-Pac-10.
BEARS GO 2-0 IN EXHIBITION GAMES
Cal was 2-0 during its exhibition slate. The Bears first defeated a tough Bay Area Pro-Am team, 77-72, behind a career-high 23 points from senior forward Lauren Ashbaugh. Over the weekend, Cal utilized a 17-0 second-half run to defeat RTU Clondica of Lativa, 80-62. Senior guard Courtney Johnson rebounded from a sub-par shooting performance in the first game to lead her team with 21 points (7-14 FG, 6-8 FT).