Dec. 2, 2001
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
California entertains No. 13 (AP and USA Today-ESPN polls) Georgia in the championship game of the 11th-annual Oakland Tribune Classic today at 3 p.m. Before the Bears game, Central Connecticut State (0-4) meets UNLV (4-1) in the consolation game at 1 p.m.
The Golden Bears look to match the program's school best 5-0 start in 1981-82 with a victory against the Lady Bulldogs. Cal advanced to the championship game of the Oakland Tribune Classic for the 11th-straight year with a 72-38 victory over Central Connecticut State Saturday. However, the Bears haven't won the tournament since 1998 when they defeated ninth-ranked Colorado State, 80-75.
The win over the Rams was the Bears last victory over a team ranked in the AP Poll. Cal's last win over a team ranked in the USA Today-ESPN poll came against No. 23 Oregon (68-57) last year.
Georgia and Cal have only had one previous meeting with the Lady Bulldogs earning an 80-68 win in the second round of the WNIT, March 27, 1981, in Amarillo, Texas.
There are only two undefeated teams left in the Pac-10 Conference - Stanford (7-0) and Cal (4-0).
Freshman forward Leigh Gregory leads Cal in scoring at 11.0 ppg. She started the first two games but has come off the bench during the last two contests. Senior forward/center Ami Forney also is averaging in double figures at 10.8 ppg. Forney was limited to only 6 minutes of action against CCSU due to a shoulder injury sustained in the first minute of play. She is listed as probable for today's championship.
As a team, Cal is outscoring its opponents by 14.3 ppg through four contests. The Bears are averaging 69.8, while giving up 55.5. The outstanding defensive average is not surprising as Cal ranked fourth last year in the Pac-10 for scoring defense and have traditionally been a strong defensive team. The offense has only begun to take off over the last two years. In 2000-01, the Bears averaged 64.6 ppg, which was the best since 1996-97.
Cal has also done a good job on the boards, holding the edge in all four games.