Nov. 27, 2003
BERKELEY, Calif. -
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
After scoring at least 90 points for the first time in the last six seasons, California (2-0) embarks on arguably its toughest stretch of the entire season. The Golden Bears play three games - possibly two against top 20 opponents - over four days. Cal's only non-conference road trip of the season begins at the Coors Classic in Boulder, Colo., on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 28-29 over Thanksgiving weekend and concludes at No. 5 Texas Tech (4-0) in Lubbock, Texas, on Monday, Dec. 1. Cal opens the Colorado-hosted tournament against Lehigh (0-2) on Friday and will face No. 16 Colorado (3-1) or Idaho State (2-0) in the championship or consolation game on Saturday.
Cal opened the 2003-04 season with home wins over South Carolina State (78-47) and San Jose State (90-67), which broke the previous Bears' women's points record for Haas Pavilion and for points scored under head coach Caren Horstmeyer (previous in 83-59 win over UCLA on March 1, 2001.) The 168 points is the most the Bears have scored in back-to-back games since they tallied 181 in 1995-96 (101-79 win over Arizona State and 87-80 OT loss to USC).
Barb Smith, Cal's second-year assistant coach, served as an assistant coach at Colorado for nine seasons from 1988-97 and helped the Buffaloes to eight NCAA Tournament bids.
The last time the Bears faced a team in the Top 5 in the Associated Press and/or USA Today-ESPN-WBCA Polls was during the 2001-02 season. The Bears lost back-to-back games to No. 3 Stanford at Maples Pavilion on Jan. 30 (79-52) and at Haas Pavilion on Feb. 2 (79-51).
The Bears showcased their improved offense and perennially strong defense against South Carolina State. Cal led 47-11 at halftime, which is the most points the Bears have posted in the first half since equaling that mark in an 89-71 loss at USC on Feb. 11, 1996. In a 101-79 triumph at Arizona State on Jan. 9, 1996, the Bears poured in 51 first-half points. The 11 points allowed is the fewest by Cal in the first half since before the 1995-96 season.
Senior guard Nihan Anaz and junior forward Leigh Gregory lead Cal at 15.5 and 15.0 ppg, respectively. Gregory leads the team at 7.0 rpg. After averaging 57.6 ppg last season, the Bears are averaging 84.0 ppg this season. Eight different players are contributing at least five points per game for the Bears. Sophomore forward Rene? Wright and walk-on freshman guard Julia Numair are the team's top scorers off the bench at 6.5 ppg.