Nov. 25, 2003
BERKELEY, Calif. -
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS Coming off its second-biggest season-opening victory in the program's 31-year history, California (1-0) embarks on arguably its toughest stretch of the entire season. The Golden Bears play four games - three on the road and possibly two against top 20 opponents - in the next eight days.
The stretch begins at home against San Jose State (1-0) Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. Cal then plays at the Coors Classic in Boulder, Colo., on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 28-29 over Thanksgiving weekend and at No. 5 Texas Tech (4-0) in Lubbock, Texas, on Monday, Dec. 1. Cal opens the Coors Classic against Lehigh (0-2) and will face No. 20 Colorado (3-1) or Idaho State (1-0) in the championship or consolation game. The upcoming road trip features the Bears' only three non-conference road games this year, compared to six non-conference home games.
Barb Smith, Cal's second-year assistant coach, served as an assistant coach at Colorado for nine seasons from 1988-97 and helped the Buffaloes to eight NCAA Tournament bids.
The last time the Bears faced a team in the Top 5 in the Associated Press and/or USA Today-ESPN-WBCA Polls was during the 2001-02 season. The Bears lost back-to-back games to No. 3 Stanford at Maples Pavilion on Jan. 30 (79-52) and at Haas Pavilion on Feb. 2 (79-51).
Cal opened the 2003-04 campaign with a 78-47 victory over South Carolina State on Nov. 23 at Haas Pavilion. In 1997-98, the Bears posted their biggest margin of victory in a season opener - a 36-point win over Cal Poly at Kaiser Arena in Oakland.
The Bears showcased their improved offense and perennially strong defense against the Bulldogs. Cal led 47-11 at halftime, which is the most points the Bears have posted in the first half since equaling that mark in an 89-71 loss at USC on Feb. 11, 1996. In a 101-79 triumph at Arizona State on Jan. 9, 1996, the Bears poured in 51 first-half points. The 11 points allowed is the fewest by Cal in the first half since before the 1995-96 season.