Cal Hosts South Carolina State in Season Opener Sunday

Nov. 17, 2003

BERKELEY, Calif. -

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This Week:         Game on KALX Radio (90.7 FM)Sun.,	Nov. 23	South Carolina StateHaas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA	     2:00 p.m.

Boasting an experienced roster, California opens the regular season at home against South Carolina State Sunday, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. All youth wearing a team jersey are admitted free. South Carolina State, which won both of their exhibition games, opens its regular season at San Francisco on Friday.

The Golden Bears play six of their nine non-conference games at home this season. Following a home tilt against San Jose State on Tuesday, Nov. 25, Cal embarks on a three-game road trip - two games at the Colorado-hosted Coors Classic Nov. 28-29 of Thanksgiving weekend and a meeting with sixth-ranked Texas Tech on Dec. 1.

Behind four players in double-figure points, Cal defeated the Bay Area Pro-Am, 81-72, in its first exhibition game on Nov. 2. Senior guard LaTasha O'Keith led the group with 16 points, followed by 15 points from junior forward Kiki Williams. The Bears shot only 25 percent in a 66-57 loss to Team Concept. Williams was the only Cal player to post double-digit points with 15.

Cal looks to build on last season's 10-19 overall record and 5-13 Pac-10 mark, which was three more overall and conference victories than the year before. The team also posted its first Pac-10 Tournament victory over Arizona State.

Cal is a veteran unit this season, returning 11 letterwinners, including three seniors and six juniors. The Bears also welcome back three starters - guards Nihan Anaz and Kristin Iwanaga and forward Leigh Gregory. Anaz, a senior, earned 2002-03 team co-MVP honors with Iwanaga after averaging team bests for points (10.1 ppg) and steals (1.5 spg). Iwanaga, who is a two-year starter at point guard, tallied 7.3 ppg and led the Bears in assists (2.9 apg) and three-point shooting (39.4 percent). A two-year starter at power forward, Gregory averaged 9.2 ppg last season and is the team's top returning rebounder at 4.9 rpg.

The Bears have added freshmen Keanna Levy (guard), Emmelie Geraedts (center) and Julia Numair (guard). Levy was the 2003 Gatorade Iowa High School Player of the Year, and Geraedts, at age 18, is the youngest member of the Dutch national team. Numair, who was named league MVP as a senior at Oakland's Bishop O'Dowd High School, is the team's only walk-on.

Defense should be a strong point for Cal again this season, but look for the offense to be jumpstarted by the returning weapons and the key additions. For the last five years, the Bears have ranked in the upper half of the Pac-10 for scoring defense. In 2002-03, Cal was fifth in the Pac-10 for scoring defense at 64.2 pgg and ninth for scoring at 57.6 ppg.

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