Feb. 10, 2004
BERKELEY, Calif. -
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
Looking to regain its non-conference form, California (9-13, 2-11, 9th) travels across the Bay to No. 11 Stanford (17-5, 10-3, 2nd) on Saturday, Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. The Golden Bears, which opened the season with an 8-2 record, look to snap a nine-game losing streak. Six of the setbacks occurred after the death of junior forward Alisa Lewis on Jan. 19 to bacterial meningitis. Cal last defeated Stanford, 82-73, at Maples Pavilion on Feb. 16, 2001, behind a career-high 34 points from Courtney Johnson.
The Bears' record doesn't reflect how well they have played for most of the season. Cal is 3-8 in games decided by 10 points or less and 0-6 in those close contests during their current losing streak. Two of Cal's defeats have been decided in the final five seconds of games (vs. Arizona and at UCLA).
Cal has done its best to focus on basketball following the death of Lewis, but the impact of her loss can be seen in the Bears' results. Before Lewis' death, Cal was in every game and hadn't lost by more than 11 points. Since Lewis' death, the Bears have endured losses by 18, 19 and 20 points. In four of the six games since the tragedy, Cal has failed to post at least 60 points, compared to three times in the first 16 games before the event.
Cal is coming off road defeats to Arizona State (62-43) and Arizona (77-59), with the Wildcats' 77 points being the most the Bears have surrendered this season. Stanford also got swept by Arizona State and Arizona.
For the sixth-consecutive season, Cal's defense is on pace to rank in the upper half of the Pac-10 Conference. The Bears are currently fifth for scoring defense at 63.7 ppg and fourth for steals at 10.0 per game.
Offensively, Cal is seventh in the conference at 64.6 ppg and third for field goal percentage at 44.5, up from last year's stats of 57.6 and 37.8, respectively.
Senior guard Nihan Anaz and junior forward Leigh Gregory lead the Bears' attack. Anaz is fifth in the Pac-10 in both steals (2.18) and in scoring at 15.7 ppg, which is on track to be the team's highest average since Patrycja Czepiec averaged 15.9 ppg in 1996-97. Gregory ranks 14th in the Pac-10 at 11.1 ppg and paces the Bears in rebounding (5.0 rpg) and field goal percentage (51.6, 5th Pac-10).
Cal's bench had a breakout game at Arizona, outscoring the Wildcats' bench, 23-14, including a season-high nine points from Renee Wright.