Jan. 6, 2003
Up Next: Radio: KALX (90.7 FM) and on Calbears.com TV: none Thu. Jan. 9 at Oregon MacArthur Court, Eugene, OR 7:00 p.m. Sat. Jan. 11 at Oregon State Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, OR 7:00 p.m.
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
After wrapping up the non-conference portion of its schedule with a split in the state of Georgia last week, California (5-6 overall, 1-1 Pac-10) resumes Pac-10 play in the Great Northwest this week. The Golden Bears play Oregon (5-8, 1-3) Thursday, Jan. 9, before visiting Oregon State (7-6, 1-3) Saturday, Jan. 11.
Three Cal players and assistant coach Kirsten McKnight have ties to the state of Oregon. Freshmen guards Lexie Helgerson and Sarah Pool hail from Portland and Central Point, respectively. Senior forward Audrey Watler played two seasons at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg before transferring to Cal, and McKnight previously played and coached for the Ducks.
Last week, Cal posted back-to-back wins for the second time this year with a 69-60 triumph against Mercer. The Bears recorded a split in the opening weekend of Pac-10 play, falling to Arizona and defeating last year's Pac-10 Tournament champion, Arizona State, 72-67.
While Cal has struggled somewhat defensively over the last four games, the Bears' offense continues to show signs of improvement. After averaging only 56.8 ppg last season, Cal is averaging 61.2 ppg this year.
Offensive rebounding has been critical to this improvement, as the Bears average 15.4 per game in that category to their opponents' 10.8.
Leading the offensive charge is sophomore power forward Leigh Gregory, who has seen her average climb from 8.8 ppg as a freshman to 10.1 ppg this year. She also leads the club in rebounding at 4.7 rpg after clearing 3.7 per contest last season.
Also in the post, junior center Timea Ivanyi is putting together solid numbers at 9.0 ppg and 4.5 rpg. She also paces the regulars on the team in field goal shooting at 51.1.
Numerous players have shown their capabilities to spark Cal off the bench, with 11 of 16 players averaging at least 10 minutes per game. In the Bears' 11 games, seven different players have led or tied for team-high scoring and rebounding honors. Despite not leading the team in scoring on the Georgia trip, Helgerson, a 5-3 walk-on, provided a critical six points in the Mercer win and notched a career-high 10 points at Georgia. Forward Kiki Williams had a team-high 15 points vs. the Bulldogs, which also equaled her season best.