Nov. 12, 2002
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
California entertains Banska Bystrica from Slovakia Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at Haas Pavilion in its final of two exhibition games. Ticket holders to the Cal-Arizona football game earlier that day are invited to attend the women's basketball exhibition for free by presenting their ticket stubs. Next week, ticket holders to the Big Game (Nov. 23) are invited to attend for free the women's basketball season opener vs. Rutgers on Nov. 24.
The Golden Bears defeated Team Concept, a team of former college players, in its first exhibition of 2002-03, 69-57, on Nov. 1 at Haas Pavilion. Junior center Timea Ivanyi led a quartet of Cal double-figure scorers with 15 points. The Bears led by 21 points (65-44) with 8:12 to play, but Team Concept was able to chip into the lead with all of Cal's starters on the bench.
Junior guard LaTasha O'Keith, a 2002 honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick, is Cal's top returning scorer from last season at 9.2 ppg. Cal must replace Ami Forney, last year's MVP and an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection, who averaged 11.6 ppg and 6.9 rpg. The other returning starters are sophomore point guard Kristin Iwanaga (7.1 ppg, 2.9 apg), senior forward Amber White (5.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and sophomore forward Leigh Gregory (8.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg).
Last year's squad relied on nine newcomers, including seven freshmen, on its way to a disappointing 7-21 overall record and ninth-place finish in the Pac-10 at 2-16. The underclassmen all received ample playing time, and this year, the Bears add the experience of junior college players Nihan Anaz (guard), Ivanyi (center) and Jacqueline Sanchez (guard). Sanchez has yet to see any game action this year due to a torn quad muscle, but she is back practicing with the team on a limited basis. Her status for Saturday's game is questionable.
Unfortunately, the Bears will be without Anaz for between two to eight games to start the season as the NCAA reviews her previous ties to a professional team abroad.
After four straight seasons among the top four in the Pac-10 for scoring defense, the Bears look for their offense to join the conference leaders this year. At 63.2 ppg, the Bears were third in the league for scoring defense in 2001-02 but ranked ninth in scoring at 56.8.
There is evidence that the offense may be more explosive this year. Cal returns six of their top seven scorers from a year ago, and the JC transfers and freshmen Sarah Pool (guard) and Rene? Wright (forward) all bring scoring punch.