Dec. 21, 2004
BERKELEY, Calif. -
After an eight-day break for final exams, California (5-3), which leads the nation in three-point shooting, entertains Hampton (3-5) Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. in its final non-conference game of the season. Kiesha Beard had a team-high 16 points in Hampton's 64-58 setback at UC Davis Dec. 20.
This is the first meeting between Cal and Hampton (Hampton, VA) - a 2004 NCAA Tournament qualifier - of the MEAC. The Bears' men's team faces Hampton Dec. 22 at Haas Pavilion in the first round of the Office Depot Golden Bear Classic.
The Golden Bears look to win their 12th straight home non-conference game, completing back to back seasons with 6-0 home non-conference slates. Cal also is in search of its fifth consecutive win overall after overcoming a 12-point second-half deficit to defeat Long Beach State, 69-64, in its last contest Dec. 12.
Four Cal players average double-figure points led by senior forward Leigh Gregory (13.8 ppg), followed by senior guard Kristin Iwanaga (11.8 ppg), freshman center Jessica Lawson (11.1 ppg) and senior forward Kiki Williams (10.8 ppg).
Cal averages 73.2 ppg due to strong shooting across the board - 46.5 percent from the floor, 51.1 percent from three-point range and 73.5 percent from the charity stripe. The Bears rank first in NCAA Division I play in three-point percentage (48-of-94). Iwanaga, who recently had a streak of seven consecutive treys snapped, leads the country in three-point shooting at 76.0 percent.
After a sluggish defensive start to the season, the Bears' team defense has dramatically improved. Cal surrendered 75.8 ppg through the first four games but has given up only 56.0 ppg over the last four contests, including an opponent season low of 41 points against Tennessee Tech. Williams leads a talented Bears' bench, posting double-figure points in four of eight games. Freshman forward Krista Foster's play (5.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg) off the bench has elevated her to probable starter status for the Hampton game. Foster tallied eight points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals in a season-high 28 minutes of action against Long Beach State.
After wrapping up a five-game home stand against Hampton, the Bears play five of their next seven games on the road. The stretch begins at Oregon Monday, Dec. 27 and at Oregon State Wednesday, Dec. 29. Cal then returns home for its Pac-10 opener against Washington Jan. 2.