Feb. 11, 2002
California (6-17, 1-13 Pac-10, 9th) looks to win its first home game since Dec. 1 when it hosts Washington State and Washington in the final two home games of the season this week. The Bears look to sweep the season series with the Cougars (2-22, 0-14, 10th) Thursday at 7 p.m. and host the Huskies (15-8, 10-4, 2nd) Saturday at 1 p.m. on Senior Day presented by Bank of the West. All youths 17 and under accompanied by an adult are admitted free on Senior Day. No coupon is necessary. Cal seniors Ami Forney and Janet Franey will be honored prior to the game.
The Bears are averaging 1069 fans at home and look to surpass last year's four-year high of 1171 with a strong showing this weekend.
In January, Cal suffered its worst defeat of the season to Washington in Seattle, 85-46, and rebounded to earn its only Pac-10 win of the season with a 62-50 triumph over Washington State in Pullman.
At times this season, the young Bears have shown they can play with anyone. This was the case when Cal took Oregon State to overtime last Thursday before losing, 74-69. Against OSU, Cal's Kristin Iwanaga nailed three-straight free throws with 4.3 seconds on the clock to send the game into OT. Two days later, Cal came out flat in a 76-43 loss to Oregon.
After losing seven seniors from last year's 12-16 (8-10) team, Cal knew this season would be filled with learning experiences for the nine newcomers, which includes six true freshmen.
Forney, Cal's only returning starter from last season, leads the team in scoring (11.9 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg), but she has had an up-and-down second half of the season. It's not unusual for Cal to a have a different leading scorer each night. Forney has led or tied for team high honors in nine games, LaTasha O'Keith in seven, Kiki Williams in five, Iwanaga in three, Leigh Gregory in two and Audrey Watler and Amber White in a game each.
Williams has made the most of starts in the last three games, averaging 14.3 ppg during that stretch. On the year, she is averaging 6.7 ppg. Iwanaga has proven to be the Bears most mentally tough player all season and is coming off a 12 point, 5 rebound performance at Oregon.
The Bears wrap up the regular season in Los Angeles next week before competing in the first ever Pac-10 Tournament, March 1-4, in Eugene, Ore.