Oct. 28, 2002
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
California tips off the 2002-03 season with the first of two exhibition games Fri., Nov. 1, against Team Concept at 7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. The Bears other exhibition contest is against Banska Bystrica of Slovakia Sat., Nov. 16, at 7 p.m.
Third-year Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer gave birth to a girl (8 lbs, 5 oz, 21 inches, name to be determined) today and is expected to rejoin the team on Nov. 6. While she is on a brief maternity leave, assistant coach Barb Smith will serve as acting head coach, and director of basketball operations Carol Alfano will serve as an assistant coach. Prior to assuming her current position at Cal, Alfano was a veteran basketball coach, including 19 years at the helm at Virginia Tech.
Seven of 10 players on Team Concept are former Pac-10 players, including Stanford's Enjoli Izidor and Cori Enghusen, and USC's Tiffany Elmore.
Cal's regular season tips off at home Sun., Nov. 24, against Rutgers at 2 p.m. The Bears open with six straight and eight of their first nine games at home. The lone road contest is Dec. 21 at Saint Mary's.
This year's Cal squad features a mix of veterans and youth. Eleven letterwinners and four starters return from 2001-02. Junior guard LaTasha O'Keith , a 2002 honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick, is Cal's top returning scorer from last season at 9.2 ppg. Cal must replace Ami Forney, last year's MVP, who averaged 11.6 ppg and 6.9 rpg. The other returning starters are sophomore point guard Kristin Iwanaga (7.1 ppg, 2.9 apg), senior forward Amber White (5.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and sophomore forward Leigh Gregory (8.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg).
Last year's squad relied on nine newcomers, including seven freshmen, on its way to a disappointing 7-21 overall record and a ninth-place finish in the Pac-10 at 2-16. The underclassmen all received ample playing time, and this year, the Bears add the experience of junior college players Nihan Anaz (guard), Timea Ivanyi (center) and Jacqueline Sanchez (guard).
After four straight seasons among the Top 4 in the Pac-10 for scoring defense, the Bears look for their offense to join the conference leaders this year. At 63.2 ppg, the Bears were third in the league for scoring defense in 2001-02 but ranked ninth for scoring at 56.8.
There is evidence that the offense may be more explosive this year. Cal returns six of their Top 7 scorers from a year ago, and the JC transfers and freshmen Sarah Pool (guard) and Rene? Wright (forward) all bring scoring punch.