March 1, 2004
BERKELEY, Calif. -
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
After winning two of its final three regular season games, California (11-16 overall, 4-14) opens the Pac-10 Tournament against Oregon (14-14, 6-12) Friday, March 5 at 8:15 p.m. at HP Pavilion in San Jose. The Golden Bears are the ninth seed for the third straight year, while the Ducks are the eighth seed. Friday is the rubber match of the season series as each team won at home during the regular season, with Oregon defeating Cal, 77-62, in the Feb. 28 season finale in Eugene.
No. 11 Stanford (21-6) and Arizona (22-7) were crowned Pac-10 Co-Champions with a 14-4 conference regular season mark, but the Cardinal earned the top seed by the tie breaker system. Stanford will face the winner of the Cal-Oregon game Saturday, March 6 at 5 p.m. in the quarterfinals.
Here are the vitals for Cal, which opened the season with its best start in 11 years at 8-2, heading into third-annual Pac-10 Tournament, with the winner earning the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament:
- The Bears' 11 victories are one more than they notched last year (10-19 overall).
- Cal is 1-2 all-time in the Pac-10 Tournament. It's victory was a 46-38 decision over Arizona State in the 2003 Pac-10 Tournament opener.
- After scoring under 60 points seven times during an 11-game losing streak, which stemmed largely from the death of teammate Alisa Lewis on Jan 19, Cal has posted 62 or more points in the last four games for a 66.3 ppg average.
- The Bears held two of their last three opponents - USC and Oregon State - under 60 points, winning both games and posting consecutive league wins for the first time since the 2000-01 season.
- Cal has taken good care of the ball lately, limiting its turnovers to under 20 in eight of the last nine games for an average of 16.3 per game, compared to its season average of 19.1.
- The team may have solved its rebounding problem. Cal is last in the conference in rebounding at 33.3 per game but is averaging 44.7 boards over the last three games.
- Senior guard Nihan Anaz and junior forward Leigh Gregory lead a veteran Cal roster, which includes three seniors, five juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen. Anaz paces the club in scoring for the second straight season at 14.1 ppg. Gregory, who tied her career high of 18 points in Cal's 66-57 win at Oregon State, is second on the team in scoring at 11.5 ppg and is first in rebounding at 4.9 rpg.
- The Bears' bench has led the opponent's bench in scoring six consecutive games, behind the play of senior center Olga Volkova, junior forward/guard Jacqueline Sanchez and sophomore forward Renee Wright.