Nov. 16, 2002
BERKELEY - California held off a feisty Banska Bystrica team to win 70-61 Saturday night in the Golden Bears' final of two exhibition games at Haas Pavilion.
"There were certain things that were glaring that we need to work on," said Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer, who coached her first game this season since giving birth to her daughter, Kylie, on Oct. 28. "I was a little disappointed from a defensive perspective. To be honest, we've worked more offensively than we have defensively, and I think that very well showed tonight."
LaTasha O'Keith led the Golden Bears with 14 points off the bench in the exhibition win. Cal centers Timea Ivanyi and Olga Volkova scored 10 points each and point guard Kristin Iwanaga led her team with six assists and six rebounds. The 10 points topped Volkova's regular-season high of five.
"I was really excited about Olga," said Horstmeyer. "Olga had one of the best games that we've ever seen her play. This is the Olga that we had really truly recruited, and it's just taken her time to get over her knee."
Volkova suffered an ACL injury during the 2000-01 season at Merritt College before transferring to Cal.
Banska Bystrica, a Slovakian club, led for long stretches of the first half and exchanged several leads with Cal in the second. The Bears took the lead for good in the second half when 6-0 sophomore Leigh Gregory scored on two post moves over 6-5 Livia Libicova to make the score 57-56 with 5:18 to play. Gregory's buckets keyed a 17-5 run for the Bears over the final 5:55 of the game. Ivanyi chipped in six points and blocked Banska Bystrica's final shot of the game during the run.
"The passion we played with was limited early on," said Horstmeyer. "I thought we played with a lot more passion as the game went on. We really picked up our defense when we went to a full court (press). All I did was tell them to pick up in the full court, just to try and get us more fired up, and it seemed to work, and it frazzled the other team. I thought that was the key to the game."
Banska Bystrica caused problems inside for Cal, especially in the first half, when 6-6 center Lenka Zimova scored eight first-half points on 3-of-4 shooting. Zimova, who picked up four first-half fouls, fouled out with 15:10 remaining in the second half to finish with 10 points. But Banska Bystrica still had an inside presence with Libicova (10 points) and 6-5 Denisa Svarova (8 points).
Banska Bystrica guard Daniela Uhrikova tossed in 11 in a losing cause.
Twenty-eight-year-old forward Andrea Belanska led her club with 13 points and four steals but shot just 4-of-21 for the game. Frustrated by a tough Cal defense and a poor shooting performance, Belanska picked up two technical fouls - the first with 3:18 remaining and the second with 2:52 left - and a seat on the bench the rest of the way. Iwanaga, who scored six points and had no turnovers, made 3-of-4 free throws to make the score 64-59. Banska Bystrica scored just two points the rest of the game.
Cal shot 51 percent for the game, while Banska Bystrica shot just 39 percent. The Bears outrebounded Banska Bystrica, 35-31. The Bears had 21 assists on their 25 shots and were aided by 14 steals. O'Keith and Iwanaga topped Cal with four steals each.
"We had 21 assists on 25 baskets," said Horstmeyer, "and shooting 51 percent. Those were areas we really struggled in last year."
Cal opens the regular season Sunday, Nov. 24 at home against Rutgers at 2 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.