Women's Hoops Opens Pac-10 Season at Home for First Time Since 1997-98
Jan. 1, 2001
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN BEARS
California (4-6) opens the Pac-10 season at home for the first time since the 1997-98 season this year. Arizona (10-2) comes to town Thurs., Jan. 4, followed by Arizona State (8-4) Sat., Jan., 6. The home games to start league play are a welcome treat as the Golden Bears have just finished playing seven of 10 non-conference games on the road. Starting on the road the last two seasons, Cal opened league play 0-4 and 0-6, respectively. In '97-98, the Bears split with the Oregon schools at Kaiser Arena.
The Bears also enter the conference season coming off a win for the first time since the 1995-96 campaign when they claimed a road win at Boise State (76-62). Last week, Cal capped the non-conference season also with a road win, a 66-64 thriller over San Jose State.
Defense continues to be the focal point of Cal's success. The Bears are averaging a five-year low for scoring defense at 64.2 ppg. When Cal does score 70 or more points, it also has been successful with a 2-1 mark.
Despite being held scoreless in just four minutes against San Jose State due to the flu, senior guard Courtney Johnson continues to lead the Bears in scoring with a career-best 13.6 ppg average. Senior forward Lauren Ashbaugh is second on the club in both scoring and rebounding with career-bests of 11.1 ppg and 7.0 rpg. Following an 18-point performance at SJSU, senior guard Kenya Corley has seen her average climb to 10.4 ppg.
Junior center Ami Forney has combined with Ashbaugh to form a formidable rebounding tandem for the Bears. Forney, who sat out the Spartan game after getting her wisdom teeth removed, averages a career-best 8.1 rpg.
Off the bench, Cal's top contributors have been Genevieve Swedor, Amber White and Latasha O'Keith. The Bears post depth was given a boost with the return of freshman forward Kiki Williams vs. San Jose State. She missed the first nine games with a stress fracture in her tibia.