Dec. 24, 2001
After opening the season with a 4-0 record, California (4-5, 0-2) enters this Friday's Pac-10 home opener against USC (6-5, 2-0) looking to break a five-game losing streak. The Bears then entertain UCLA (3-7, 0-2) Sunday at 2 p.m. in both teams final game of 2001.
Four of Cal's five losses have been by six points or less and were winnable games. The young Bears squad was unable to maintain its composure during the final five minutes of the games. Most recently, Cal opened the Pac-10 season with a 66-61 loss at Arizona, and the score was tied at 59-59 with 2:52 to play.
Senior center Ami Forney, the only returning starter from last season, is unquestionably Cal's offensive leader. The co-captain paces the team in scoring (15.3 ppg, 8th Pac-10), rebounding (6.2 rpg, 10th Pac-10), field goal percentage (57.4, 1st Pac-10) and blocked shots (0.4).
With freshman forward Leigh Gregory, who averages 10.9 ppg, out 1-3 more weeks with a knee injury, the Bears' offense is struggling. Against Arizona, they were sparked by a career-high 16 points from Kiki Williams but didn't find a second offensive weapon against ASU.
Freshman guard Jackie Lord, who missed the first seven games with an ACL injury, made her Cal debut against Arizona. She is expected to provide the Bears a much-needed outside scoring threat. After missing all three of her shots against the Wildcats, she drained her only attempt - an NBA-range three-pointer - vs. the Sun Devils.
While Cal searches for offensive answers, their defense continues to be steady. The Bears rank second in the Pac-10 for scoring defense at 57.0 ppg and have yet to surrender 70 or more points this year.
The Bears' defensive leader is junior 6-0 forward Amber White, who guards an opponent's top player regardless of her position. She leads the team and ranks fourth in the league with 2.3 spg. White also has emerged as an excellent playmaker for the Bears, leading the team at 4.4 apg (6th Pac-10), including 12 assists in the loss to Arizona.