Jan. 10, 2005
BERKELEY, Calif. -
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
After two close losses in Arizona, California (8-7, 2-4 Pac-10, T7th) travels to No. 4 Stanford (13-2, 5-1, 2nd) Thursday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.
The game counts towards the Lexus Gauntlet all-sports contest between Cal and Stanford. The Golden Bears then will play seven of their final 11 regular season games at Haas Pavilion, where they are 7-1 in 2004-05, beginning with USC on Jan. 20.
Cal, which ranks second in the nation in 3-point percentage at 44.4 and is not far behind Baylor (44.7), is coming off a 66-57 setback at No. 24 Arizona State.
Senior forward Leigh Gregory is three points shy of becoming Cal's 17th 1,000-point scorer. The Pleasant Hill, Calif., product looks to be the first Bear to accomplish that feat since Courtney Johnson (1,077) did so from 1998-01.
Freshman center Jessica Lawson has returned to her early season form, averaging 14.3 pgg and 5.8 rpg over the last four contests. She has posted double-figure points in the last four games, including a career high of 19 at Arizona.
Lawson's backup, senior center Khadijah Coakley, is enjoying her best year to date and also had a career high for points (15) against the Wildcats.
In the backcourt, senior guard Kristin Iwanaga leads the Pac-10 and ranks second in the nation in free throw percentage (94.4) and three-point percentage (64.1). Iwanaga's running mate, redshirt sophomore Sarah Pool, stands fourth in the conference for assists (4.33 per game) and ninth for steals (1.67 per game).
Gregory (12.3 ppg, 9th Pac-10), Iwanaga (10.7 ppg, 18th) and Lawson (10.6 ppg, 19th) all average double-figure points, and senior forward Kiki Williams isn't far off the pace at 9.9 ppg. Williams is second in the Pac-10 in free throw percentage at 89.7 percent.
Cal is averaging 68.1 ppg, which ranks sixth in the conference but is only .1 out of a tie for fourth with Oregon and USC. Last year, the Bears ranked seventh in the Pac-10 at 64.7 ppg. All of Cal's starters average career highs for points. Helping Cal's cause are the Pac-10's best free throw (73.1) and three-point field goal percentages (44.4).
The Bears' defense has been up and down this year. During the team's five-game winning streak, it permitted only 56.8 ppg, but overall, Cal surrenders 67.1 ppg (8th Pac-10). In the loss to ASU, Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer commended her team for its outstanding pressure defense.
Rebounding has been an emphasis for Cal all season. The team ranks last in the Pac-10 in rebounding at 33.3 rpg. Lawson leads the club at 5.1 rpg, with Gregory third at 3.7 rpg and Iwanaga - at only 5-feet 6 inches - third at 3.6 rpg.