Jan. 2, 2001
BERKELEY - Cal women's basketball head coach Caren Horstmeyer discussed the start of the Pac-10 season with members of the Bay Area media Tuesday afternoon at a lunch at Blakes on Tuesday. The Bears (4-6) open Pac-10 play Thursday against Arizona (10-2) before facing Arizona State (8-4) Sunday. Here's a sampling of Horstmeyer's comments.
I thought that the San Jose State win was a good win from the way that we won it, hitting two free throws at the end to win the game, especially when at times we've struggled from the free throw line. We've worked a lot on free throws and winning games at the free throw line and not losing games at the free throw line. I think we've made some great strides there.
The conference is competitive. I think you have a lot of very good teams within the conference. I'm excited about opening at home. I think we have to go into it as looking at Arizona and Arizona State as definite teams that we can beat. I feel strongly that they are teams that we can beat. We have to do certain things against each team. But, I'm always one to focus on one team at a time. So, Arizona is our first focus, and there's certain things that we'll need to do to beat Arizona. It's our home court. Homecourt pride is very important. We need to execute the game plan we have in place for Arizona.
On Cal's Improved Shooting
I think our field goal percentage has really improved. That's definitely a goal for us to take more of an offensive focus. My teams always have a defensive focus because I feel if you can contain your opponent defensively, then you always put yourself in position to win. However, I think there's a number of things we need to do from an offensive perspective. I think it's important for us to get the ball inside. I think we have some very good post players. I think we have to work inside-outside. I think we have some good guards. I also feel that we have to put pressure on the other team's defense by working the ball inside. We have post players that have the ability to either go to the free throw line or score.
On Whether There's a Favorite to Win the Pac-10
I feel Stanford is the favorite. The loss of Susan King will hurt them a little bit. I think Nicole Powell has done a great job at the point. I think you have a number of teams that could vie for the championship. I think Oregon, Arizona and Stanford are the favorites and Oregon State has come on real strong.
On Whether Cal Can Contend For the Pac-10 Title
I think that we can contend, but I don't think that needs to be our goal. I think our goal is to take one game at a time and build on that and set the foundation and the basis as to where we want to be. Our first goal is to win at home and to beat these two teams (Arizona and Arizona State) coming to our homecourt. If we do that, then I think we put ourself in a position to contend for the championship.
On How Many Losses the Team That Wins the Conference Will Have
I think it will be four or less. But, you're probably looking at least at four. I don't think there's any team in the conference that that's strong to go through the conference without a few losses. I think playing on the road is tough. And, I think you have a number of teams that can upset someone on any given night.
On Whether the Pac-10 Is Down This Year
With a lot of injuries within the conference, I think that's set back some teams as far as not having upsets. You have Oregon who had some good wins early. Its win over NC State is a good win. Stanford has had some good wins. Arizona has done well in the preseason.
I don't know whether I can say if the league is up or down. I think some of the injuries within the conference have prevented us from having more upsets than in the past. I know there's a lot of parity within the league as far as there not being an outright team that you would think can take the championship.