Nov. 14, 2001
After posting a 1-1 record during the exhibition season, the California women's basketball team opens the regular season at home against San Diego State, Sunday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m. The Golden Bears are in search of their 22nd-straight home opening win. In exhibition play, Cal defeated the Bay Area Pro-Am Team, 61-55, and lost to KSC Szekszard, a Hungarian club team, 53-49.
San Diego State posted a 1-1 record in its two exhibition games this season. The Aztecs open the regular season Nov. 16 vs. Cal Poly before travelling to Berkeley. Coach Barb Smith's team returns four starters from last year's 13-15 (5-9 Mountain West) team. The Aztecs lead the all-time series with the Bears, 4-1, including a 63-49 victory in San Diego last season.
The Bears' schedule is conducive to the make-up of the team. After playing seven of 10 non-conference games on the road last season, six of their nine non-league games are at Haas Pavilion this year.
In the exhibition season, senior forward/center Ami Forney led the Bears with 11.5 ppg and 9.5 rpg and shot 62.5 percent from the field. Freshman point guard Kristin Iwanaga was the most impressive of the newcomers, averaging 10.0 ppg while shooting 52.9 percent from the floor.
Overall, Cal returns one starter in Forney, five additional letterwinners and features nine newcomers. Junior forward Amber White and sophomore guard LaTasha O'Keith are the Bears other top returners. After seeing most of their minutes as reserves in 2000-01, both of them are tabbed as starters this year.
Among the newcomers, freshman forward Leigh Gregory and junior college transfer Audrey Watler also were impressive during the preseason. Cal's best long-range threat this season will likely come from freshman guard Jackie Lord, who is expected to be back from an ACL injury by December.
Last season, Cal finished with a 12-16 overall record and an 8-10 Pac-10 mark (T6th). The eight Pac-10 victories were the most by the program since the 1992-93 season. The Bears also snapped 15-game losing streaks to Stanford and Oregon during a five-game conference winning streak.