Women's Basketball Opens Season Against Bay Area Pro-Am Team

Oct. 30, 2000


This Week:Sun.	Nov. 5	Bay Area Pro-Am	Team      Haas Pavilion		2:00 p.m.

The veteran 2000-01 California women's basketball team opens the season with an exhibition game against a Bay Area Pro-Am team Sun., Nov. 5, at 2 p.m., at Haas Pavilion.

Caren Horstmeyer begins her first season as head coach at Cal after posting a 221-124 record in 12 seasons at Santa Clara. The winningest coach in West Coast Conference history, she takes over a Cal program that was on the brink of having its first winning season in six years last year before the injury bug struck about half the team.

After starting the 1999-2000 season with a 5-2 mark, Cal finished the year 11-17 overall and 6-12 in the Pac-10. When Cal was healthy again at the end of the season, it showed its potential by winning four of its final six games, including a road win against NCAA Tournament qualifier UCLA. The Bears two losses at the end of the season to USC and No. 20 Arizona were by a combined nine points, contributing to the 10 games Cal lost by 10 or fewer points last year.

The foundation for winning at Cal over the last three years has centered around defense. The Bears have seen their scoring defense improve from 70.9 ppg in 1997-98 to 67.7 ppg in 1998-99 to 64.6 ppg in 1999-00, which ranked third in the league.

While the coaching staff may be new to Berkeley, Cal is stocked with veteran players motivated to lead the team to the NCAA Tournament. The Bears 15-player roster features seven seniors and two juniors. They also return three of last year's starters, which boast a combined 244 games of experience, including 131 starts.

The Bears three returning starters - seniors Courtney Johnson (5-8 guard), Kenya Corley (5-8 guard), Lauren Ashbaugh (6-2 forward) - were among Cal's top five scorers last season. Cal must fill the shoes of two 1999-00 starters -- small forward Paige Bowie and center Shavaki Jackson. Bowie finished her four-year career as the school's 14th-all-time scorer (1,043 points). Jackson ranked second on the team in scoring (11.6 ppg) and first in rebounding (8.7 rpg) last year but opted not to return to the team for the 2000-01 season.

Caren Horstmeyer begins her first season as head coach at California after posting a 221-124 record in 12 seasons at her alma mater Santa Clara. The winningest coach in West Coast Conference history, Horstmeyer guided the Broncos to six postseason appearances, including four NCAA Tournament selections and the 1991 WNIT championship, along with six WCC regular season titles and two WCC Tournament crowns. In the 1990s, Horstmeyer led SCU to four-consecutive WCC regular season titles from 1991-94, and her teams only once finished lower than third in league play.While at SCU, Horstmeyer coached 33 All-West Coast Conference selections, four WCC Players of the Year, one Kodak All-American, one WCC Defender of the Year and one WCC Freshman of the Year. She also has been recognized for her coaching abilities, earning NCAA District VIII Coach of the Year in 1999 and WCC Coach of the Year in 1991 and '93.Caren and her husband, Bill, welcomed into the world their first child, Arend, July 22, 2000.Horstmeyer is assisted by Sue Phillips-Chargin, Shaunice Warr and Camille Burkes.

Cal faces an 11-member Bay Area Pro-Am team for its first exhibition game of the season. Six members of the team are former Bay Area collegiate basketball players - Ashley Hill (Santa Clara), Marlene Henderson (USF), Andrea Kagie (USF), Yvonne Gbalazeh (Stanford), Valerie Gillon (USF), Christina Batastini (Stanford). Hill played for Horstmeyer at Santa Clara. Jon Greenberg is the team's head coach.

Cal's nucleus this season features three returning senior starters - guard Courtney Johnson, guard Kenya Corley and forward Lauren Ashbaugh. A 1990-00 honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick, Johnson has earned a reputation as one of the most potent offensive and defensive players in the Pac-10, leading Cal with 11.7 ppg last season and pacing the Pac-10 with 3.2 spg. Perhaps the most athletic player in the league, Corley saw her scoring average more than double from her sophomore (4.2 ppg) to her junior season (10.5 ppg). Ashbaugh provides scoring and rebounding punch for the Bears, as she averaged 8.5 ppg and 6.1 rpg as a junior. She also led the Bears with 22 blocked shots.

Cal welcomes five newcomers to the 2000-01 team. They include recruited freshmen Kiki Williams (forward) and Latasha O'Keith (guard) and three walk-ons - senior Brook Coulter (forward/guard), sophomore Luana Coleman (guard) and redshirt freshman Jen Deering (forward/center).

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