Feb. 27, 2004
BERKELEY, Calif. -
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
Coming off consecutive Pac-10 wins for the first time in three seasons, California (11-15, 4-13, 9th) wraps up the Pac-10 regular season at Oregon (13-14, 5-12, 8th) Saturday, Feb. 28 at 1 p.m. at McArthur Court. The two teams will meet again in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament on Friday, March 5 at 8:15 p.m. at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. If Cal defeats Oregon Feb. 28, the teams will tie for eighth, but the Bears will be the eighth seed and home team in the tournament opener based on the head-to-head tie breaker.
Cal opened the Pac-10 slate against Oregon in Berkeley Dec. 27 and posted its first conference-opening win (61-57) in eight seasons on Fox Sports Net. The victory over the Ducks pushed the Bears record to 8-2 overall, their best start in 11 seasons. After experiencing the death of teammate Alisa Lewis and an 11-game losing streak, the Bears defeated USC, 68-59, in their home finale Feb. 21 and upended Oregon State in Corvallis, 66-57, on junior forward Kiki Williams' 22nd birthday. Oregon upset No. 10 Stanford, 67-66 Feb. 26.
Here are some of the positive trends that have led to the Bears' recent success:
- Cal has outrebounded its last two opponents, 49-46 vs. USC and 50-42 at Oregon State, breaking a streak of eight consecutive games in which the Bears had lost the battle of the boards. The 50 rebounds was a season best.
- The Bears' bench has outscored the opponent's bench in each of the last five games, including 29-23 against the Beavers on Thursday. This is a welcome trend, as the season opened with Cal's bench outscoring the opponent in the first five games.
- In five straight and seven of the last eight games, Cal has committed under 20 turnovers. During that stretch, the Bears are averaging 16.6 turnovers per game, while their season average is 19.3.
- Cal is 11-7 when scoring at least 60 points this season and 0-8 when held under 60 points. The Bears have held their last two opponents under 60 points, the first time they've accomplished that feat since a 56-52 loss to Arizona State Jan. 10.
- Junior forward Leigh Gregory has been Cal's most consistent scorer lately. Gregory has posted double-figure points in six of the last nine games (12.3 ppg during that span), including a season-high 18 points at OSU. For the season, she is second on the team in scoring with a career-best 11.5 ppg.
- Junior guard/forward Jacqueline Sanchez and sophomore forward Renee Wright, both Sacramento-area products, have been a dynamic duo off the bench for the last three games. Sanchez is averaging 9.0 points and 7.3 rebounds during that span, while Wright is at 8.3 ppg and 6.0 ppg. Sanchez's season averages are 4.6 ppg and 3.3 rpg, while Wright's are 3.9 ppg and 2.9 rpg.