Women's Basketball Travels To UIC Thanksgiving Tournament

Nov. 20, 2000


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California looks for its first win of the season as it continues its four-game road swing this week at the Illinois-Chicago Thanksgiving Tournament. The Golden Bears open the tournament Friday, Nov. 24, against Alabama at 4:30 p.m. CT. Illinois-Chicago and South Alabama play each other at 7 p.m. CT The consolation game is slated for Saturday at 1 p.m. CT, and the championship is at 3:30 p.m. CT.

The Bears began the 2000-01 season with losses to Rutgers (66-47) and to Fairfield (64-63). Cal did a good job sticking with Rutgers, a 2000 Final Four team, for most of the game and were up by one vs. Fairfield with 9.4 seconds remaining.

While Cal came up on the short end in both games, the Bears have continued its trend over the last two years as a strong defensive team, allowing its two opponents an average of 65.0 ppg. Last year, Cal ranked third in the Pac-10 for scoring defensive at 64.6 ppg.

Different players have emerged as leaders in Cal's first two games. Lauren Ashbaugh and Courtney Johnson were Cal's top scorers against the Scarlet Knights with 11 points each, with Ashbaugh also posting her fifth career double-double by adding 10 rebounds. Against the Stags, Ami Forney tallied her second career double-double with 17 points (matched career best) and 11 boards. In her first regular season game with the Cal basketball team after playing four years of volleyball, Brook Coulter came off the bench to post 15 points, including two three-pointers in the final 1:18 of the Fairfield game.

The rash of injuries, which struck Cal for most of last season has shown an early trend of continuing. Freshman Kiki Williams played in the first two exhibition games but has missed the last two weeks with a stress fracture in her tibia. She will likely miss 2-4 more weeks. Meanwhile, junior Janet Franey may get cleared to play for the first time this week after rehabilitating a stress fracture in her foot. Courtney Johnson is slowed by a calf muscle tear and Nicole Ybarra is playing with a sprained ankle.

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.

A Look at Alabama (1-0 overall, 0-0 SEC)Alabama opened its season with a 66-42 road victory against Samford, Nov. 17. The Crimson Tide host Tulane, Nov. 22, before facing Cal, Nov. 24. Joni Crenshaw led Alabama in its opening game with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Last season, Alabama posted a 15-14 record and lost in the first round of the WNIT Tournament.

Cal-Alabama Series History
This is the first meeting between Cal and Alabama.

Alabama Head Coach Rick Moody (Troy State, 1976)
Rick Moody is in his 12th year at the helm of Alabama with a 235-106 record, which is also his career record. He has led Alabama to eight NCAA appearances, including a trip to the Final Four in 1994.

Alabama's Probable Starters 
POS NO NAME HT YR PTS REBF 11 Shun Hunter 5-11 So. 2.0 3.0F 33 Joni Crenshaw 6-1 Sr. 16.0 14.0C 45 LaNisha Cartwell6-2 Jr. 3.0 5.0G 21 Shondra Johnson 5-9 Jr. 16.0 4.0 6.0 apgG 12 Nicole Carruth 5-8 Sr. 11.0 0.0

,b>A Look at Illinois-Chicago (0-1 overall, 0-0 MCC)
UIC opened its 2000-01 season with a 57-40 loss to Southern Illinois, Nov. 18. The Flames travel across town to take on Chicago State, Nov. 21, before hosting their Thanksgiving tournament.

Cal-Illinois-Chicago Series History
Cal and UIC played for the first time last year in the opening round of the Oakland Tribune Classic with the Bears coming away with a 66-44 win. Courtney Johnson led Cal with 12 points.

Illinois-Chicago Head Coach Tim Eatman (Talladega, 1988)
Tim Eatman is in his third year as head coach at UIC with a 19-38 mark at the school. In four plus years as a collegiate head coach, he has a record of 55-70. He began his coaching career as head coach at his alma mater, Talladega, from 1988-90.

Illinois-Chicago Probable Starters 
POS NO NAME HT YR PTS REBF 35 Stephanie Jost 6-3 Sr. 0.0 5.0F 42 Amanda Bartz 6-0 Sr. 5.0 5.0C 50 Ekaterina Yakimenko 6-4 Sr. 2.0 2.0G 21 Lekesha Williams 5-6 So. 13.0 1.0G 30 Erin Partaker 5-10 Sr. 6.0 3.0

A Look at South Alabama (1-0 overall, 0-0 Sun Belt)South Alabama opened the season under first-year head coach Rick Pietri with a 79-48 victory over Jacksonville State, Nov. 17. Jamene Curd led USA in its opener with 14 points. The Jaguars play Jackson State Nov. 20 before heading to the UIC Tournament. Jessica Webb is the Jaguars top returner, having averaged 9.7 ppg and 7.6 rpg as a junior last year.

Cal-South Alabama Series History
This is the first meeting between Cal and South Alabama.

South Alabama Head Coach Rick Pietri (South Alabama, 1987)
Rick Pietri begins his collegiate head coaching career in 2000-01 at his alma mater, where he was a men's basketball manager from 1983-87. He joins USA after spending six seasons as a area head high school coach.

South Alabama Probable Starters 
POS NO NAME HT YR PTS REBF 34 Jessica Webb 5-11 Sr. 9.0 6.0F 52 Jamene Curd 6-0 Jr. 14.0 1.0C 45 Lyletha Gamble 6-0 Jr. 6.0 11.0G 12 Chelsea Bell 5-5 Fr. 10.0 2.0G 40 Taneshia Russell5-11 So. 10.0 4.0

The senior duo of Lauren Ashbaugh and Genevieve Swedor, along with junior Ami Forney, appear primed to have career years in the post in 00-01. Ashbaugh has logged a team-high 85 games since arriving in Berkeley in 1997, including a team-best 55 starts. All that experience has helped Ashbaugh show improvement each season, including posting a career-best 8.5 ppg and 6.1 rpg (9th Pac-10) as a junior. This season, she was named a tri-captain with seniors Courtney Johnson and Becky Staubes and posted her fifth career double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) against No. 7 Rutgers in the season opener.Forney recorded her second career double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds) in Cal's 64-63 loss at Fairfield. The Newark native is second on the team at 12.0 ppg and leads Cal with 7.5 rpg. After averaging only 2.1 ppg and 1.6 rpg last season, Swedor is off to a better start at 6.0 ppg and 4.0 rpg.

Since Cal is faced with learning a new system from first-year head coach Caren Horstmeyer and her staff, a few more games in familiar surroundings would be helpful. The Bears open the 2000-01 campaign with four-straight road games and play only three of 10 non-conference games at home at Haas Pavilion. Not many teams faced a more challenging season opener than Cal - against seventh-ranked Rutgers, a 2000 Final Four team. In addition to Rutgers, Cal also faces four other 2000 NCAA Tournament qualifiers - Stanford, Oregon, Arizona and UCLA - along with four 2000 WNIT teams - Alabama, Santa Clara, USC and Arizona State.

Cal boasts one of the most athletic teams in the Pac-10 with five members of its 15-player roster competing in two sports. Sophomore guard Michelle Wald recently rejoined the basketball team after the Cal field hockey team lost in the NorCal title game. Seniors Kenya Corley and Genevieve Swedor spend their springs on the Cal track and field team competing in the jumps and sprints. Redshirt freshman Jen Deering pitches for the Cal softball team, which advanced to its second World Series last year. Finally, senior Brook Coulter joined the Cal basketball team after exhausting four years of volleyball eligibility last season when she was named honorable mention All-Pac-10. In her first regular season game with the Bears against Fairfield, she came off the bench to post 15 points in 16 minutes of actions, including two three-pointers in the final 1:18, which almost propelled Cal to its first win of the season.

Cal coach Caren Horstmeyer announced the signing of four outstanding prep basketball players Nov. 15, including three of the top 20 seniors in Northern California. Leigh Gregory, Kristin Iwanaga, Alisa Lewis and Jackie Lord have all signed National Letters of Intent to play basketball at Cal beginning with the 2001-02 season. They are part of Horstmeyer's first recruiting class. Gregory, a 6-0 power forward from Carondelet High School in Concord, led her team to a 29-3 record as a junior and was tabbed as one of Rivals.com's Top 20 seniors in Northern California. Iwanaga and Lewis were also named to Rival's elite list. A 5-6 point guard from Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Iwanaga has helped propel her team to an 82-3 record during her first three seasons. A former Bay Area post player at Fairfield High School, Lewis is in her first year at Gonzaga Prep in Spokane, Wash. Lord, a 5-8 athlete who can play both guard positions, paced Brea High School (Los Angeles area) to the Division II state title as a junior.

California led by one with 18.7 seconds left but ended up losing to Fairfield, 64-63, Nov. 19, after Ayanna Brown nailed two free throws with 9.4 ticks on the clock. Brown led the Stags with 20 points and 12 boards in her first career start. Cal almost successfully rallied from 10 points down in the first half to defeat Fairfield for its first victory under first-year head coach Caren Horstmeyer. The Bears trailed by five with 1:36 remaining when senior guard/forward Brook Coulter almost successfully propelled the Bears into a come-back victory with her first of two three-pointers with 1:18 on the clock. Junior Ami Forney led Cal with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Coulter added 15 points in only 16 minutes of playing time. Coulter is a fifth-year senior playing her first season on the Cal basketball team after a successful four-year volleyball career in Berkeley. The Bears held a 43-39 rebounding edge overall and a 21-12 advantage on the offensive glass. Cal led the Pac-10 in 99-00 in offensive boards with 17.0 per game.

Cal gave a strong effort but opened the 2000-01 season with a 66-47 loss at seventh-ranked Rutgers, Nov. 17. Senior forward Lauren Ashbaugh led Cal with her fifth double-double of her career - 11 points and 10 rebounds. Senior guard Courtney Johnson came off the bench to post 11 points and two steals. Tasha Pointer came off the bench to lead Rutgers, a 2000 Final Four team, with 13 points, six rebounds and five assists. Tammy Sutton-Brown added 10 points for Rutgers. Cal stuck with Rutgers for most of the contest and never let the Scarlet Knights run away with the game. For most of the first half, the Bears kept the Scarlet Knights lead within 10 points and were within eight points at 27-19 following a Johnson layup with 3:16 until halftime.

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