Bears Host USC, UCLA

Jan. 18, 2005

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Returning to the friendly confines of Haas Pavilion--where they have scrolled a 7-1 record this season--California (8-8, 2-5 Pac-10, T8th) tries to apply the brakes to a three-game losing streak this weekend when the Bears host USC (12-4, 6-1, T1st) Thursday at 7 p.m. and No. 25 UCLA (11-5, 5-2, T3rd) Saturday at 3 p.m.

The Bears, who are ranked third nationally in three-point shooting (42.9%), converted only one of eight treys against No. 6 Stanford last week in losing 88-53. Coughing up 18 first-half turnovers, Cal trailed 49-17 at intermission and could not rally in the second half despite a career-high 16 points from junior forward Renee Wright off the bench.

While they face a torrid USC team that has reeled off five straight victories en route to a first-place tie with Stanford in the Pac-10 standings, the Golden Bears begin a stretch in which they'll play seven of their final 11 regular season games at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley.

Senior forward Leigh Gregory made history in the loss at Stanford, as she rang up 14 points to become Cal's 17th 1,000-point scorer. The Pleasant Hill, Calif., product, who averages a team-leading 12.4 points per game this season, is the first Bear to accomplish that feat since Courtney Johnson (1,077) did so from 1998-01.

Freshman center Jessica Lawson, who nailed five of seven field goal attempts and corralled five rebounds despite foul trouble that limited her to only 14 minutes of playing time at Stanford, continues to be one of the Pac-10's most productive first-year players. Posting double-figure points in each of her last five games, Lawson is cranking out 10.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per contest in 2004-05, ranking second in both categories among Pac-10 freshmen.

In the backcourt, senior guard Kristin Iwanaga leads the Pac-10 in free throw percentage (94.4) - ranking second in the nation - and three-point percentage (64.1). Iwanaga's running mate, sophomore Sarah Pool, stands fourth in the conference for assists (4.25 apg) and leads the Bears in steals (1.56 spg).

Gregory (12.4 ppg, 9th Pac-10), Lawson (10.7, T16th) and Iwanaga (10.1 ppg, 20th) all average double-figure points and rank among the conference's Top 20 scorers, while senior forward Kiki Williams isn't far off the pace at 9.4 ppg. Williams also is the Pac-10's second-best free throw shooter at 89.7 percent, trailing only teammate Iwanaga.

All of Cal's starters average career highs for points this season, while Caren Horstmeyer's club leads the Pac-10 in free throw (73.4) and three-point field goal percentages (42.9).


A Look at USC (12-4 overall, 6-1 Pac-10, 1st T)
Riding their longest winning streak (six games) in 10 years, the Women of Troy invade Haas Pavilion on the heels of an impressive sweep of No. 25 Arizona State (66-45) and Arizona (67-54) last weekend. USC, which has claimed victory in 11 of its last 13 games dating back to Nov. 28, features one of the nation's most balanced attacks with nine players averaging 5.6 points or more and only freshman guard Brynn Cameron (10.1 ppg) scoring in double figures. Built on defense and rebounding, the 2004-05 Trojans arrive in the Bay Area tied for first place in the Pac-10 with Stanford. In the conference, USC ranks first in offensive rebounding (16.94), second in steals (11.69), third in rebounding margin (+2.5) and fourth in scoring defense (61.6).

Cal-USC Series
USC holds a 29-13 all-time lead over Cal, although the Bears won the most recent match-up, 68-59, in Berkeley. Nihan Anaz paced Cal with 21 points in the victory. The Trojans took the first meeting of the 2003-04 campaign in Los Angeles, 67-47 - a game played just four days after the death of Cal junior Alisa Lewis, who succumbed from bacterial meningitis.

USC Head Coach Mark Trakh (Long Beach State, 1981)
Mark Trakh is in his first season at USC after serving 11 years as head coach at Pepperdine, where he led the Waves to six consecutive postseason appearances and four straight conference titles. Under Trakh's leadership, Pepperdine's overall record was 99-55 (.643)

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A Look at No. 25/19 UCLA (11-5 overall, 5-2 Pac-10, 3rd T)
The Bruins absorbed a pair of losses last weekend at Pauley Pavilion, dropping a 44-42 heart-breaker to No. 25 Arizona State Friday and enduring an 84-73 setback to Arizona Sunday. The two defeats severed a five-game UCLA winning streak and 10-game homecourt victory skein, and toppled Kathy Olivier's club out of a share of the Pac-10 lead. The ball-hawking Bruins, who lead the conference in both steals (12.31) and turnover margin (+6.25), are triggered by one of the nation's top backcourt tandems in junior Noelle Quinn and sophomore Nikki Blue. Both on the Naismith Award and Wade Trophy watch lists, Quinn ranks among the Pac-10's Top 5 in steals (2nd, 3.25), scoring (4th, 16.9), rebounding (4th, 7.1) and assists (5th, 3.63), while Blue is the circuit's No. 2 assist player (5.13) and averages 11.9 points per outing.

Cal-UCLA Series
UCLA owns a 34-9 series lead and has won the last three meetings between the schools. Last season, the Bruins edged the Bears, 67-66, in Pauley Pavilion on Blue's last-second layup. UCLA later beat Cal, 97-69, in Berkeley propelled by Lisa Willis' 31 points and Quinn's triple-double of 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

UCLA Head Coach Kathy Olivier (UNLV, 1982)
Kathy Olivier is in her 12th year as head coach at UCLA. She has steered the Bruins to a 176-157 record, including a third-place Pac-10 finish and NCAA playoff berth last season.

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Cal played five of its first seven Pac-10 games on the road this season, a stretch that saw the Bears muster only one away victory (77-71 at Oregon State Dec. 29). Now, that early road schedule may bode well for the conclusion of the season, as the Bears are home for five of their final seven and seven of their final 11 regular season contests. Cal is 7-1 at Haas Pavilion this season, posting a perfect 6-0 home record in the non-conference season. Cal's seven-game home winning streak, dating back to last year's win over USC, was snapped with 65-52 loss to Washington Jan. 2.

Threading 14 points in a losing effort at Stanford last week, senior forward Leigh Gregory became Cal's 17th 1,000-point scorer in school history. Depositing 1,011 points during her four-year career in Berkeley, the product of Pleasant Hill, Calif., became the first Cal player to join that exclusive club since Courtney Johnson did so March 1, 2001. Gregory has averaged a career high in scoring each season she has been at Cal and currently leads the Bears and is ranked ninth in the Pac-10 at 12.4 ppg. She also is sixth in the conference in field goal percentage (52.4). Colleen Galloway is the all-time best men's or women's scorer in Cal history, accumulating 2,320 points from the 1977-78 season to the 1980-81.

Recent Bears to Join the 1,000-Point ClubLeigh Gregory (2001-present)   1,011 points (17th all-time at Cal)Courtney Johnson (1998-01)     1,077 points (12th all-time at Cal)Paige Bowie (1997-00)          1,043 points (15th all-time at Cal)Jennie Leander (1996-99)       1,144 points (10th all-time at Cal)

Freshman center Jessica Lawson has proven that she is one of the top freshmen in the Pac-10 Conference this year. The native of Edgewood, Fla., is second on Cal in scoring at 10.7 ppg, which ranks tied for 16th in the conference and second among all freshmen, behind Stanford's Candice Wiggins (17.0 ppg, 3rd). Lawson and Leigh Gregory pace Cal with 10 double-digit scoring games in 2004-05, with Lawson posting double figures in each of the last five games to hold or tie for team-high scoring honors in four of those contests. Against Arizona in Tucson Jan. 7, Lawson notched a career-high 19 points. Her 53.5 field goal percentage is fifth in the Pac-10 and tops among all Pac-10 freshmen.

Additionally, she leads Cal and is tied for sixth in the Pac-10 in blocked shots at 1.06 (17 total). Olga Volkova led Cal with 17 blocks in 2003-04. The only other freshman among the top 10 shot blockers in the conference is Oregon State's Tiffany Ducker, tied with Lawson at 1.06. Away from the court, Lawson has won nine straight oratory contests in the state of Florida.

Senior guard Kristin Iwanaga leads the Pac-10 in free throw percentage (94.4) and three-point field goal percentage (64.1) and would rank fifth in the conference in field goal percentage, but she is five makes short of the minimum made field goals. She is second in the nation in free throw percentage and would lead the country in 3-point FG percentage (64.1) but hasn't made the minimum two per game (7 short). The Santa Clara, Calif., product did not attempt any free throws or three-point field goal tries at Stanford, as she managed only two points on one-of-two from the field in 32 minutes of playing time. Iwanaga is third on Cal in scoring with a career-best 10.1 ppg (20th Pac-10) and is second in the Pac-10 in minutes played at 33.69.

Kristin Iwanaga already easily holds the distinction of being Cal's career free throw percentage leader at 88.5 percent (201-227), while her senior teammate, Kiki Williams, is second at 81.6 percent (162-198). Iwanaga looks to graduate as the Pac-10's all-time best for free throw percentage, but she needs to maintain a pace of two made free throws for every game she plays in. She's currently three off the pace, as she's played in 102 games (needs 204 makes). Additionally, if Iwanaga can make a minimum of 250 free throws (at her current pace, may fall just short), she has a chance to graduate as one of the top three free throw shooters in NCAA I, II and III history. Also, Iwanaga is seventh all-time in Pac-10 history in three-point field goal percentage at 42.3 (105-248).

NCAA Division I, II and III FT Percentage Leaders (need 250 made)1. Kandi Brown (Morehead State, DI, 00-04)          91.538 (357-390)2. Brooke Lassiter (La Tech, DI, 98-02)             91.497 (269-294)3. Kristin Iwanaga (Cal, DI, 02-05)                 88.546 (201-227)4. Darlene Hildebrand (Philadelphia, DIII, 92-95)   88.511 (547-618)

Cal ranks sixth in the Pac-10 in scoring at 67.2 ppg after ranking seventh in 2003-04 at 64.7 ppg. The Bears demonstrated the potency of their attack by posting 87 and 89 points, respectively, in their first two games of the season. This year's squad is in pursuit of the school's field goal (46.8), three-point field goal (38.7) and free throw (74.1) percentage records. The Bears are currently at 44.4, 42.9 and 73.4 percent, respectively.

In five of the last six years, Cal has been among the top five in the Pac-10 in scoring defense. After allowing 75.8 ppg over the first four games of '04-05, the Bears permitted only 56.8 ppg during their five-game winning streak. Oregon halted that solid stretch by scoring 81 points in the Pac-10 opener. Cal is ninth in the Pac-10 in scoring defense at 68.4 ppg but has played good defense in two of its last four games (held WSU to 56 points and ASU to 66). Cal is forcing its last four opponents into 22.3 turnovers per game, including 25 against Stanford, and 23 against both the Cougars and the Sun Devils.

Cal Scoring Average Best in 9 Years1994-95   75.61995-96   71.81996-97   60.61997-98   60.91998-99   62.31999-00   62.12000-01   64.62001-02   56.82002-03   57.62003-04   64.72004-05   67.2

Cal rallied from two 11-point first-half deficits to defeat Hampton, 67-60, in its final non-conference game of the season Dec. 21. With the victory, the Golden Bears extended their home non-conference winning streak to 12, posting 6-0 marks each of the last two seasons. The last time Cal lost a home non-conference contest was against Colorado (66-47) Dec. 8, 2002. Against Hampton, Kristin Iwanaga rallied Cal from 30-27 down at the half by scoring 17 of her career-high 22 points after the break.

After coming off the bench in the first nine games of the season, senior forward Kiki Williams has started all seven Pac-10 games. During that stretch, she has posted three of her seven double-figure scoring games, including a season-high 16 points in a road win at Oregon State. The native of San Rafael, Calif., posted her first career double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds) against the Beavers and followed that up with a new career high of 11 rebounds vs. Washington. Williams, who is second in Cal history in free throw shooting (81.6%), would rank eighth in the nation in free throw percentage this season as of the Jan. 17 NCAA report but hasn't made the necessary 2.5 per game to qualify this week. She is currently second in the Pac-10 from the foul line this year at 89.7% (35-39). Williams also is shooting a career-best 40.4 percent (4th Pac-10) from long range (23-57), elevating her to 10th all-time in school history for three-point percentage at 31.5 percent. Last season, Williams started 25 of the 27 games she played in and contributed 6.4 ppg and 3.4 rpg and is at a career-best 9.4 ppg and 3.1 rpg in 2004-05.

After starting the first eight games of the season, junior forward Renee Wright has excelled in her new role as super sub. She came roaring off the bench to hit six of 11 field goal attempts for a team-high 16 points in only 23 minutes in last week's Stanford game. Wright - one of three Cal players with Sacramento ties - has averaged 9.5 ppg and 3.1 rpg in the last eight games and is the Bears' top player off the bench with season averages of 7.8 ppg and 3.4 rpg. She's also the team's fourth-best three-point shooter, hitting 40.4 percent of her chances (12-30), placing her eighth in school history in career three-point percentage at 35.4 (28-79).

Cal's most experienced seniors - Kristin Iwanaga, Leigh Gregory and Kiki Williams - serve as captains this season. Iwanaga was a captain as a freshman and a junior, while Gregory earned the distinction as a junior. This marks Williams first year as a team captain. The trio have played a combined 302 games in a Golden Bear uniform. Iwanaga and Williams played their 100th game for Cal against Arizona, and have now both played in 102 contests. Gregory has donned the blue and gold in 98 games and will play her 100th against UCLA Saturday.

Senior center Khadijah Coakley posted a career-high 15 points and tied her career high of six rebounds at Arizona and swiped a career-high three steals at ASU...Coakley is second on the team with 10 blocks...senior guard/forward Jacqueline Sanchez tallied a season-high eight points at ASU and snared a season-high three boards at Arizona...sophomore guard Keanna Levy tied her career high of three assists at ASU.

Cal signed the No. 6 recruiting class in the nation, according to Blue Star Index. Joining the Bears in 2005-06 are Oakland's Devanei Hampton and Alexis Gray-Lawson, El Cerrito's Shantrell Sneed, San Francisco's Jené Morris and Modesto's Ashley Walker. Hampton, Gray-Lawson and Walker are ranked among the Top 50 players nationally in this year's high school senior class by either Blue Star and/or Mike White's All-Star Girls Report. Blue Star has Hampton tabbed No. 10 and Gray-Lawson No. 17, while All-Star Girls Report lists Hampton at No. 15, Gray-Lawson at No. 25 and Walker at No. 48. The NorCal Scouting Report, which ranks players in Northern California, lists Hampton at No. 3, Walker at No. 4, Gray-Lawson at No. 5, Sneed at No. 6 and Morris at No. 7.

BEAR BITS: Freshman guard Seda Erdogan will not dress for the Bears while her amateur status is in question...freshman guard Kelly O'Connell will redshirt this season due to a partial tendon tear in her right foot...she had surgery on Jan. 10...Aminata Soumaré saw her first minutes of the year vs. WSU...six different players have led the Bears in scoring this year (Gregory 5, Lawson 5, Iwanaga 4, Williams 2, Pool 1, Wright 1) and seven have led in rebounding (Lawson 6, Iwanaga 3, Williams 2, Gregory 2, Coakley 1, Foster 1, Pool 1)...Sarah Pool leads Cal and ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in assists (4.25), and she also paces the Bears in steals (1.56)...Cal is 6-4 in games decided by 10 points or less this year, reversing previous trends in years past.

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