Dec. 7, 2001
California looks to break a two-game losing streak when the Golden Bears host Saint Mary's in their final non-conference home game, Sat., Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. The teams face each other for the first time in four years.
In this week's AP poll, the Bears received 2 votes. The last time Cal received votes in the AP poll was after upsetting No. 9 Colorado State, 80-75, in 1998.
Cal lost to Georgia, 54-48, in the championship game of the Oakland Tribune Classic last Sunday and dropped a 55-52 decision to USF on Wednesday after leading by 15 points with eight minutes to play.
The Golden Bears opened the season 4-0 thanks to strong offensive and defensive efforts in each game. Over the last two games, the Bears offense has struggled, averaging only 50.0 ppg after averaging 69.8 ppg in the first four contests. The defense has stayed constant. Cal began the week leading the Pac-10 in scoring defense at 55.2 ppg and after the loss to the Dons, the Bears are still surrendering only 55.2 ppg.
Rebounding has been a dominant area for the Bears this year, which is somewhat surprising as they only boasts two players 6-2 or taller. Cal has out-rebounded its opponents in all six games (margin average is +6.0) and seven-straight games dating back to last season. It's been a team effort as no one averages over 5.3 rpg (Ami Forney).
Forney, a senior center/forward, has been Cal's most consistent offensive threat this season. She leads the team in scoring at 14.5 ppg after averaging a career-best 10.0 ppg last season. Freshman forward Leigh Gregory is also averaging in double figures at 10.5 ppg. Gregory and redshirt freshman forward Kiki Williams have split starting duties at the power forward spot. After Gregory, there's a sharp drop off in scoring with three players averaging around 7 ppg.
After the game with the Gaels, the Bears have a 13-day break for final exams. Cal returns to action Dec. 21 at Arizona for the Pac-10 opener. The Bears Pac-10 home opener is Dec. 30 against USC. The early start to the Pac-10 season is due to the first ever Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament taking place in March.