Bears Entertain Bay Area Pro-Am Team on Sunday

Oct. 29, 2003

BERKELEY, Calif. - The California women's basketball team tips off the 2003-04 season with an exhibition game against a Bay Area Pro-Am team on Sunday, Nov. 2 at 2 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.

The Golden Bears return 11 letterwinners from last year's squad and welcome two newcomers. Cal's top veterans are returning starters Nihan Anaz, Leigh Gregory and Kristin Iwanaga.

A Look at the Key Players

Anaz, a 5-9 senior guard from Istanbul, Turkey, led the Bears in her inaugural year in Berkeley last season at 10.1 points and 1.5 steals per game.

Gregory, a 6-0 junior, has earned the starting nod at power forward since arriving on campus two years ago. The Pleasant Hill, Calif., product improved in every major statistical category from her freshman to her sophomore season, including averaging 9.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.

Iwanaga, a 5-6 junior point guard, also has started the last two seasons. The Santa Clara, Calif., native posted 7.3 points per game as a sophomore and holds the distinction of being the Pac-10's career free throw leader at 87.1 percent.

The Bears must fill the shoes of departed starters Timea Ivanyi at center and Amber White at small forward. Ivanyi was second on the team in scoring at 9.8 points per game in her only season with the team. White was selected Cal's best defender three years in a row.

The freshmen are guard Keanna Levy from Waterloo, Iowa and center Emmelie Geraedts from Weert, The Netherlands. Levy, 5-10, comes to Cal after being the selected the 2003 Iowa Gatorade High School Player of the Year, while Geraedts, 6-2, brings experience playing for the Dutch national team. The Bears also might have a couple of walk-ons.

Cal is a veteran unit this year with nine of 13 players on its roster being upperclassmen -- three seniors and six juniors. Sophomores Sarah Pool (guard) and Renee Wright (forward) are the other underclassmen on the team, both of whom earned significant playing time as freshmen.

The Records

Cal finished 2002-03 with a 10-19 overall record and in ninth place in the Pac-10 Conference with a 5-13 record. Their overall and conference wins were three more than they notched the previous season. Head coach Caren Horstmeyer, who enters her fourth year at Cal, posted her 250th-career win with the Bears' triumph over Arizona State in the opening round of the Pac-10 Tournament. The Bears also showed improvement in close games, posting a 6-7 mark in contests decided by 10 points or less, compared to 2-9 in those types of games the year before.

Bears' Defense Key to Success

Defense is expected to continue to be the hallmark of Cal basketball, as the Bears have ranked in the upper half of the Pac-10 for scoring defense for five straight years. In 2002-03, Cal was fifth in the league in that category at 64.2 ppg, but it surrendered only 60.6 ppg in non-conference games. The Bears look to increase their scoring average this year after averaging less than 60 points per game over the last two campaigns.

A Look at Bay Area Pro-Am and Beyond

Eight of 10 players on this week's Bay Area Pro-Am team played their college ball in the state of California, including former USF athletes Molly Shanley, Vilma Tamuleviciute and Krista Knapp, along with Saint Mary's Crystall Miles-Threatt.

Following the Bay Area Pro-Am, Cal hosts its final exhibition game against Team Concept on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. Former Bears Sherrise Smith and Amber White are on Team Concept's roster. The regular season tips off with Cal entertaining South Carolina State in Haas Pavilion on Sunday, Nov. 23

Cal hopes to take advantage of six of its nine non-conference games being at home, as well as a period of six consecutive home contests during the month of December (Oakland Tribune Classic, Nevada, Canisius, Oregon and Oregon State).

One of Cal's toughest stretches of the season occurs over Thanksgiving weekend. The Bears will play Nov. 28-29 at the Coors Classic in Boulder, Colo. -- Lehigh in the first round and Idaho State or Colorado (2003 NCAA Sweet 16 appearance) on day two of the tournament. Before returning home, the Bears then travel to Texas Tech -- a 2003 NCAA Elite Eight qualifier -- to battle the Red Raiders on Dec. 1.

The third-annual Pac-10 Tournament returns March 5-8 to HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

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