Jan. 1, 2005
BERKELEY, Calif. -
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
Coming off its first Pac-10 victory of the season at Oregon State, California (7-4, 1-1) rings in the New Year at home against Washington (5-7, 1-1) Sunday, Jan. 2 at 2 p.m. and versus Washington State (4-7, 0-2) Tuesday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. The Golden Bears are 6-0 this season at Haas Pavilion.
Cal first year associate head coach Sunny Smallwood spent 11 seasons at Washington before accepting the job in Berkeley.
The Bears, who have won six of their last seven, split the opening week of Pac-10 play, falling to then-No. 24 Oregon, 81-50, and beating Oregon State, 77-71. Senior Leigh Gregory led Cal with 21 points against the Beavers, and senior forward Kiki Williams added her first career double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds).
Gregory leads a trio of Cal players who average double-figure points with a career-best 13.5 ppg, followed by senior guard Kristin Iwanaga (11.8 ppg) and Williams (11.0 ppg), also with career-high averages. Sophomore guard Sarah Pool ranks second in the Pac-10 in assists at 5.0 per game. With Williams reassuming a starting role the last two games, junior forward Reneé Wright has the distinction of being the Bears' top spark off the bench (7.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg).
Iwanaga continues to lead the nation in three-point percentage at 72.7 percent and is likely still in the top five nationally in free throw percentage at 94.7 percent. Williams isn't far behind at 93.8 percent. The last NCAA statistical report was Dec. 20 and the next one isn't expected until Jan. 3.
Cal is fourth in the Pac-10 in scoring at 70.9 ppg and paces the conference in field goal percentage (45.8), three-point field percentage (48.8) and free throw percentage (74.4). As of the last NCAA report, Cal led the nation in three-point shooting percentage. Cal likely still holds the distinction, as a check of the percentages of teams 2-5 as of Dec. 20 shows none of them shooting above 48 percent.
Defensively, Cal has been up and down this year. After permitting 75.8 ppg through the first four games, the Bears then held opponents to only 56.8 ppg during their five-game winning streak. But Oregon and Oregon State posted 81 and 71 points, respectively. Overall, Cal is eighth in the Pac-10 in scoring defense at 67.2 ppg.
Rebounding is another area Cal looks to improve on every game, as the Bears are last in the Pac-10 in rebounding offense at 33.0 per game and have been outrebounded in three of their last four games.