Bears Host Inaugural Contra Costa Times Classic

Dec. 1, 2004

BERKELEY, Calif. - ****Complete release will be posted later this morning****

California, which leads the Pac-10 in scoring at 79.9 ppg, looks to rebound from three close losses in Hawaii as hosts of the inaugural Contra Costa Times Classic, Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 4-5, at Haas Pavilion. The first 250 youth will receive a free mesh drawstring backpack beginning one-hour (2 p.m.) prior to the start of Sunday's Cal game (3 p.m.).

Pepperdine (1-4) faces Tennessee Tech (3-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday followed by Cal vs. Cal State Northridge (1-0) at 3 p.m. Cal entertains either Pepperdine or Tennessee Tech in the championship or consolation game at 3 p.m. Sunday. CSUN plays in the earlier game regardless of Saturday's results.

In 1978, Cal began hosting the Golden Bear Classic, which became the Oakland Tribune Class from 1991-03. The Contra Costa Times is the new title sponsor. Cal claimed the Oakland Tribune Classic title for the first time in five years in 2003 with a 66-61 win over Tulane.

Cal is glad to be back home for its final five non-conference games after an 0-3 performance at the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Hawaii. The Bears opened the tournament with a 96-89 loss to TCU, which is ranked No. 23 nationally this week, after leading 68-62 with under-nine minutes to play. The Bears then led Idaho by 13 points in the first half before falling 82-72 and lost to host-Hawaii 70-68 after pulling even at 62-62.

Nov. 21, Cal opened 2004-05 with an 87-55 triumph over Navy at home and closed last season's home slate with a 68-59 victory over USC.

While the Bears are last in the Pac-10 in scoring defense (75.8 ppg), they lead the conference in scoring offense at 79.9 ppg. Three Cal players rank in the top 13 in the league in scoring -- senior forward Leigh Gregory (19.0 ppg, 3rd), senior guard Kristin Iwanaga (12.5 ppg, 11th) and freshman center Jessica Lawson (12.3 ppg, T12th).

Sophomore guard Sarah Pool, who missed last season with a back injury, is second in the Pac-10 in assists at 7.25 per game. Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer is hopeful that freshman guard Kelly O?Connell will see time this weekend after missing the last four games, including an exhibition, due to a partial tendon tear in her foot.

Senior forward Kiki Williams has performed the best off the bench, averaging a career-best 9.5 ppg.

The team ranks in the top three in the Pac-10 in shooting in all areas -- first in three-point shooting percentage (53.1), third in field goal percentage (47.6) and third in free throw percentage (71.2).