Feb. 24, 1998
Thu. Feb. 26
ARIZONA, Kaiser Arena,
Radio: KALX 90.7 FM
Sat. Feb. 28
ARIZONA STATE, Kaiser Arena,
TV-Fox Sports Bay Area (delayed one hour)
Radio: KALX 90.7 FM
BEARS IN FINAL HOME GAMES: The Cal women's basketball team (5-19, 1-13) returns home to Kaiser Arena for its final two home games of the season this weekend. The Bears host the #7 Arizona Wildcats (18-5, 11-3) on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m., and the Arizona State Sun Devils (10-13, 6-8) on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 2:00 p.m. The Cal-ASU game will be televised on a one-hour taped delay basis by Fox Sports Bay Area.
ABOUT ARIZONA: The Wildcats sit in second place in the Pac-10 Conference (11-3) and boast an 18-5 overall record, including seven wins in their last eight contests. Senior forward Adia Barnes leads the Pac-10 in scoring (22.4 ppg) and ranks fifth in rebounding (7.0 rpg), while senior center Marte Alexander leads the league in blocked shots (1.82 bpg) and field goal percentage (60%).
ABOUT ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils are one of the most improved teams in the Pac-10 this season, sporting a 10-13 overall record and a sixth-place conference standing (6-8), after finishing ninth in the league a year ago. Senior guard Stephanie Freeman leads ASU and ranks 11th in the Pac-10 in scoring (13.8 ppg) and also leads the league in steals (3.09 spg). The Sun Devils have a pair of guards that rank third and fourth in the Pac-10 in assist average - Rameeka Lowe (4.23 apg) and Rechelle Lang (4.12 apg).
SERIES RECORDS: Arizona leads the series with Cal, 14-13, including five straight victories over the Bears. Cal's last win over Arizona was Feb. 11, 1995 in Harmon Gym (94-66). Cal holds a 16-12 series lead over ASU, including eight wins in the last 11 meetings. Cal's last win over ASU was Jan. 4, 1997 in Harmon Gym (99-58).
LAST TIME VS. ARIZONA: Cal suffered its worst defeat of the season Jan. 29, losing at #10 Arizona, 81-44. Arizona ran out to a 23-6 lead to open the game, took a 24-point halftime lead (42-18) and never looked back. Cal shot just 27.6 percent from the field, its second-lowest mark of the season. Courtney Johnson came off the bench to lead Cal with 11 points.
LAST TIME VS. ASU: The Bears dropped their seventh straight game, losing 75-51 at Arizona State Jan. 31. ASU took an early 16-12 lead, and then outscored Cal 25-10 to end the half with a 41-22 lead. Cal closed the lead to just 11 points with 12:46 remaing but could draw no closer. Amber Lacey came off the bench to score 18 points and grab nine rebounds, while Pagie Bowie had 10 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals.
LAST TOP 25 WINS: Cal's last win over a Top 25-ranked team was March 4, 1995, when the unranked Bears upset #19 Oregon State in Harmon Gym, 77-75.
TWO SENIORS BOW OUT: Two Golden Bears will be playing the final home games of their Cal career this weekend - guard Marie Folsom and forward Amber Lacey. Folsom, the Bears only four-year player, has started 13 games during her career, primarily in her freshman season. The native of Chandler, Arizona scored her career-high of 15 points against Arizona in 1995 and recorded her career-best of four steals against Arizona State in 1995. Lacey, playing her final season of eligibility after transferring from Alabama, ranks second on the team in scoring (9.9 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg) this season. She has played in every game for the Bears and started 22 games at power forward. As a high school senior, she led Berkeley High School to the 1993 state title.
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY: The Bears are looking to bounce back from their most heartbreaking loss of the season, a 83-78 overtime loss at #21 Washington last Saturday. Cal came out and took control of the game from the opening tip and led virtually the entire game. With the Bears up by 10 points, 64-54, with 4:43 remaining in the game, the 21st-ranked Huskies woke up and put on a late rush, taking their first lead of the game, 71-70, with 14 seconds remaining. Cal brought the ball back up the court and freshman forward Lauren Ashbaugh, playing in front of her hometown crowd, drew a foul with four seconds left in the game. After missing the first free throw, Ashbaugh sank the second shot to tie the game, 71-71, sending the teams into overtime. Washington then scored the first seven points of overtime and Cal ran out of time, falling by five points, 83-78. Sophomore Paige Bowie scored a career-high 24 points to lead Cal, and junior Jennie Leander recorded her third double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds. A Cal victory would have given the Bears their first Pac-10 road win in more than two years, and the team's first road win over a Top 25 opponent since 1993; a win would also have snapped the Bears 11-game losing streak.
SHOOTING ON THE RISE: The Bears showed definite signs of improvement in terms of shooting percentage last weekend at Washington State and Washington. For the two-game series, the Bears shot 42 percent from the field, including 50 percent (24-for-48) against WSU, only the third time this season the team has hit the 50% mark from the floor. From three-point land, the Bears were 6-for-17 (35%), more than twice their season average from long range (15%). Most notable was the improvement from the free throw line, where the Bears hit 38-of-51 (75%), including a season-best 26-of-35 against Washington. Cal went into the weekend series shooting just 38 percent from the field, 15 percent from three-point land and 64 percent from the free throw line on the season.
BOWIE BOUNCES BACK: Sophomore forward Paige Bowie's game seemed to be revitalized in the two-game series in Washington last weekend, as she broke out of an uncharacteristic shooting slump. Bowie opened the weekend by scoring a team-high 18 points at WSU, including a season-best three treys. Against #21 Washington, Bowie exploded for a career-high 24 points to lead the Bears, and added seven rebounds and four assists. For the weekend, Bowie hit 14-of-29 shots from the field (48%), 5-of-12 from three-point range (42%) and 9-of-11 (82%) from the free throw line.
IN OUR DEFENSE: The Bears are showing a marked improvement in several statistical areas this season, particularly on defense. Last year, Cal ranked at or near the bottom of every Pac-10 defensive category, but this year they are among the best in the league in several categories. The Bears have improved from last in rebounding margin (-4.6) to fourth, outrebounding their opponents by 1.8 rebounds per game this year. Head coach Marianne Stanley's squad has limited the opponents to just 42.1% field goal shooting, which ranks third in the Pac-10.
A TALE OF TWO HALVES: The youthful Cal team has had its ups and downs this season, struggling to put together two solid halves in the same game. In six of the Bears Pac-10 losses, Cal has played the opponent to within two points in one half; however, the margin was 10 points or more in the opponents favor in the other half of those contests. In addition, the Bears have scored 20 points or less in one half seven times this season, with six of those droughts coming in the first half of a game.
ANOTHER TALE: The Bears have put up noticably different numbers statistically in the 10 non-conference games (4-6 record) compared to the 14 Pac-10 Conference games (1-13 record):
Games Points FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Margin Assists TO Margin Non-Conf 10 65.0 .394 .176 .619 +4.7 13.0 1.1fewer Pac-10 14 56.9 .375 .157 .679 -0.4 10.9 5.5 more
THE THREE IS GONE: After relying heavily on the three-pointer a year ago, the Bears have struggled to connect from long range this season. In eight games thus far, the Bears have been shutout from three-point land - Nov. 29 vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay (0-for-4), Jan. 4 vs. Oregon (0-for-6), #14 Stanford Jan. 9 (0-for-10), UCLA Jan. 16 (0-for-14), #15 Washington (0-for-5), Arizona State Jan. 31 (0-for-1), #6 Stanford (0-for-5) and USC Feb. 12 (0-for-5). The Bears are just 32-for-193 from three-point distance (16.6%), after averaging five treys made per game and shooting 29% from long range last season. Before failing to connect on a trey Nov. 29 vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay, the Bears owned a streak of 53 consecutive games with at least one three-pointer made (beginning Dec. 8, 1995).
DOUBLE FUN: Junior Jennie Leander has posted three double-doubles this season, including two in the past two weeks. Leander scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the overtime loss at Washington Feb. 21, turned in a 10-point, 10-rebound performance vs. USC Feb. 12, and recorded a 13-point, 15-rebound performance in the double OT win against George Mason Dec. 19. Senior forward Amber Lacey, a transfer from Alabama, has two double-doubles this season, putting up 19 points and 13 rebounds in the win over Cal Poly SLO in her first game at Cal, and scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in the loss at Hawaii. She came close to claiming her third double-double Jan. 31 at ASU, scoring 18 points and grabbing nine rebounds. A starter in 19 games for the Bears thus far, Lacey recorded just one double-double at Alabama in 32 games, all off the bench. Freshman guard Masa Radovic joined the double-double club with 16 points and a career-high 10 assists in the victory over Oregon State Jan. 4.
CLOSE CALLS: The Golden Bears struggled to stay competitive last season, playing in only two games that were decided by three points or less. This season, however, Cal has been in five contests decided by a three-point margin or less (2-3 record in those games). The Bears have suffered three of their losses by a grand total of five points: 64-63 at UOP, 59-58 to Wisconsin-Green Bay, and 62-59 loss to Saint Mary's. In addition, the Bears suffered a five-point loss in overtime at #21 Washington, 83-78, on Feb. 21.
THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM: In the Bears two one-point losses (UOP, Wisconsin-Green Bay), sophomore wing Paige Bowie came up short on game-winning shots. But given a third chance, Bowie came up big, hitting a three-point basket with three seconds remaining in double overtime to give Cal a thrilling 70-69 victory over George Mason Dec. 19 in the Oakland Tribune Classic.
MAKING A POINT: Before arriving at Cal this season, 6-1 freshman Masa Radovic had never played point guard in her career. A member of the Yugoslavian Junior National Team, Radovic was primarily a wing and shooting guard, but once the Cal coaching staff saw her ball-handling skills and court awareness, they quickly moved her to the point. Radovic has started all 24 games for the Bears, 10 at point guard and 14 at shooting guard. She leads the team in scoring (11.2 ppg) and assists (3.1 apg).
NEXT UP: The Bears wrap up the 1997-98 season with a two-game swing through Oregon next weekend. Cal plays at Oregon State on Thursday, March 5 and at Oregon on Saturday, March 7. Both games tip-off at 7:00 p.m. and will be broadcast live back to the Bay Area on KALX (90.7 FM), Cal's student radio station.
LAST PAC-10 ROAD WIN: The Bears have struggled on the road in recent years in the competitive Pac-10 Conference, with their last Pac-10 road win coming more than two years ago, a 91-83 victory at Washington State on Jan. 24, 1996. Since that win, Cal has lost 15 straight Pac-10 games on the road.
ON THE ROAD: After going 0-13 away from home last year, Cal won two consecutive games away from home early this season, at USF Dec. 3 and against Marshall Nov. 30 in Hawaii. The Bears victory at USF was the first true road win (on an opponents home court) since Feb. 24, 1996. The Bears win over Marshall technically counts as a neutral victory, rather than a road win. Overall, Cal is 1-9 on the road this season, and 1-1 in neutral court games.
BACK-TO-BACK: With consecutive wins over Marshall Nov. 30 and USF Dec. 3, the Bears won back-to-back games for the first time since winning three consecutive games early last season (Dec. 7-20, 1996), all at home. Cal won back-to-back games only once last year, once during the 1995-96 season and just twice in the 1994-95 season.The wins over USF and Marshall are the first back-to-back wins away from home for Cal since March, 1993.