Nov. 11, 2003
BERKELEY, Calif. - Coming off an 81-72 victory over the Bay Area Pro-Am in its first exhibition, California hosts Team Concept in its final exhibition game Saturday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.
Fans who attend the Cal-Washington football game earlier in the day are invited to save their ticket stubs and attend the women's basketball game for free.
Team Concept, which is comprised of former U.S. college players, is 2-2 on its eight-game collegiate tour, with victories over Massachusetts and Boston University. Before wrapping up the tour in Berkeley, Team Concept battles Virginia Commonwealth tonight, Santa Clara on Nov. 12 and Fresno State on Nov. 13.
Guard Sherrise Smith and forward Amber White, two former Cal players, compete for Team Concept. White finished her Cal career after the 2002-03 season and her 111 games played ranks 11th in school history. As a senior, she earned her third straight team Best Defender Award. Smith, who donned the blue and gold from the 1995-96 season through 1998-99, starred in the MTV reality show "Who's Got Game" during the summer of 2003. The 1999 honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick ranks ninth in Cal history with 292 assists.
The Team Concept game serves as the Golden Bears final preparation for their season opener against South Carolina State on Sunday, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. Two days later, Cal hosts San Jose State at 7 p.m. and then embarks on its only non-conference road trip. The Bears play Lehigh in the opening round of the Thanksgiving weekend Coors Classic on Friday, Nov. 28 at 5:15 p.m. PT and will face either 20th-ranked Colorado or Idaho State on Nov. 29. Before returning home, Cal visits Texas Tech on Monday, Dec. 1 in Lubbock, Texas. The Lady Raiders, who advanced to the 2003 NCAA Elite Eight, are ranked No. 6 in the preseason USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Top 25 and No. 10 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll.
Against the Bay Area Pro-Am, senior guard LaTasha O'Keith led four Cal players in double-figure points with 16 and contributed eight rebounds and four steals. Junior forward Kiki Williams added 15 points, including a critical five points in crunch time. Junior guard Kristin Iwanaga had 12 points, including five in the closing minutes, and junior forward Leigh Gregory posted 10.
Cal led 67-55 following an Iwanaga jumper with 9:03 to play. The Pro-Am went on a 12-2 run to close the gap to two with 3:17 left on the clock. Williams responded with her third three pointer of the game, and Iwanaga drained her second trey to increase Cal's margin to 75-67 with 2:21 remaining. The Bay Area squad, which was comprised of former collegiate players, couldn't get any closer than five points the rest of the game.
The Bears return 11 letterwinners and three starters from last year's team which finished with 10-19 overall record and a 5-13 Pac-10 mark - three more overall and conference wins than the year before. The returning starters are guards Nihan Anaz (10.1 ppg), Gregory (9.2 ppg) and Iwanaga (7.3 ppg). Iwanaga is the Pac-10's career free throw leader at 87.1 percent.
Caren Horstmeyer enters her fourth season at the helm of the Golden Bears. She earned her 250th-career victory with Cal's 2003 Pac-10 Tournament first-round triumph over Arizona State.