March 3, 2003
Up Next: Radio: KALX (90.7 FM) and on Calbears.com Fri., 3/7 Arizona State (HP Pavilion, San Jose, Calif.) 8:45 p.m.
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS California (9-18 overall, 5-13 Pac-10) opens play in the second annual State Farm Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament against Arizona State (15-12 overall, 7-11 Pac-10) Friday, March 7. The Sun Devils earned the conference's No. 8 seed while the Bears are No. 9. The winner will advance to face top-seeded Stanford (23-4 overall, 15-3 Pac-10) in the quarterfinals Saturday at 5 p.m. The tournament runs March 7-10 at HP Pavilion (6,828) in San Jose.
The Bears are coming off a pair of road losses to Arizona State, 61-47, and Arizona, 68-51, in the final regular season games last weekend. ASU and Cal split their two meetings this year with each club winning on its home floor. The Bears won, 72-67, in the first week of conference play back in December. Kiki Williams, one day removed from her 21st birthday, was the only Bear to finish in double figures last Thursday at ASU, as she came off the bench for a season-high 16 points.
Nihan Anaz leads the Bears in scoring with 10.1 points per game. She is followed closely by Timea Ivanyi who averages 10.0 ppg and a team-high 5.1 rebounds per contest. Leigh Gregory adds 9.4 ppg. The Bears are scoring 58.9 points per game on .383 shooting while allowing their opponents 65.3 points on .439 shooting. Cal has a +1.3 rebounding edge (37.7-36.5), thanks in part to outrebounding four of its last seven opponents by at least seven boards.
Kristin Iwanaga currently ranks No. 1 in both Pac-10 and school history with a career free throw percentage of .874. She has shot at an .889 clip from the line this year, which also marks the program's single-season best, supassing Mia Kuusisto's .877 standard set in 1986-87. Iwanaga also is fourth all-time at Cal in three-point percentage with a career .387 rate.
Cal has a very balanced attack with no one player dominating in any one statistical category. As an example, the Bears have recorded an assist on 67 percent of their baskets this year, the best of any team in the Pac-10. Eight different players have led the team in scoring at least once, and nine have done so in rebounding. In addition, the top three scorers are all within one point of each other and 11 players each average at least 10 minutes of play.
Over the last 14 games, the Bears are allowing their opposition to shoot just .243 from beyond the three-point line, and only three teams have made more than three treys during the stretch. In conference games only, Cal is tied for first in three-point field goal percentage defense at .273.