Jan. 7, 2002
California (5-8, 0-4 Pac-10) looks to break a seven-game Pac-10 losing streak dating back to last season when the Golden Bears host Oregon (9-6, 4-2) Thursday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. Saturday, the Bears entertain Oregon State (8-7, 4-2) at the same time.
The Golden Bears returned home late Sunday night from five days and four nights in the Bahamas for the Nassau Knockout. Cal opened the tournament by breaking its seven-game losing streak with an 80-45 win over Lipscomb. The 80 points was a season high for the Bears.
In the championship game, Cal fell to Bucknell, 59-56, dropping the Bears record to 2-5 in games decided by seven points or less. The young Bears - seven freshmen and four sophomores - have been competitive in every game this year but need to stay focused in crunch time.
Cal has been in every game this year in large part because of its defense. The Bears lead the Pac-10 for scoring defense at 57.7 ppg after ranking fourth the last two seasons. Unfortunately, Cal's defense often looks shaky in the final five minutes of games.
Senior center Ami Forney, the only returning starter from last season, has been Cal's most consistent offensive threat this season. She is averaging 14.8 ppg (8th Pac-10), 6.4 rpg (9th P-10) and leads the Pac-10 for field goal percentage (57.3). Forney and Kristin Iwanaga were named to the Nassau Knockout all-tournament team.
Freshman forward Leigh Gregory returned to the Bears lineup in the Bahamas after missing four games with a knee injury. She tallied eight points on 4-of-4 shooting in 18 minutes in her first game back vs. Lipscomb.
The Bears have a variety of offensive weapons. The challenge has been to get at least three of them to contribute in double figures each game. Even junior reserve forward Audrey Watler, who entered the Lipscomb game averaging only 1.8 ppg, scored a game-high 18 points on 9-of-9 shooting against the Lady Bison.