Women's Hoops Travels to Oregon

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With the first half of Pac-10 play behind it, the Cal women's basketball team was poised to showcase its improved play in the second portion of conference matchups.

Unluckily for the Bears, just when things were settling down - Cal has won two of its last three games - the squad's deteriorating health threw a wrench in the works.

The Bears (7-12, 2-7 in the Pac-10) will attempt to set ailing health aside and post solid performances against Oregon State (9-12, 5-4) and Oregon (15-6, 6-3) this week if they hope to build on their recent wins.

"Oregon and Oregon State both played very well down here," Cal coach Marianne Stanley said. "We weren't playing our best earlier in the season and if we are going to compete up there, we need to step our game up a level."

In the Bears' last matchup against OSU, the Beavers came from behind to defeat Cal, 53-50, at Haas Pavilion. Cal looks to avenge that loss tonight at 7 p.m. at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, Ore.

The Bears will need to rely on Kenya Corley, Kawai Matthews and Amber White to pick up the slack generated from the squad's injuries.

"It's difficult to stay consistent when you are constantly juggling lineups," Stanley said. "Kenya, Kawai and Amber will be playing more minutes and we need them to be aggressive with rebounds and defense."

The loss of Masa Radovic at the beginning of the season to a back injury has forced Stanley to shuffle players at the point guard position. Nicole Ybarra, who is suffering from a sore Achilles' tendon, and senior guard Paige Bowie are both expected to put in minutes managing the floor.

In addition to relying on consistent performances at point, the Bears need solid play from post players Shavaki Jackson and Lauren Asbaugh if they hope to increase their chance of a victory.

"Our post players need to get in their and put up a fight," Stanley said. "Oregon State is a beatable team if Shavaki and Lauren continue to be aggressive."

Jackson, who experienced foul trouble earlier in the season, has had several breakout performances in recent games. The sophomore center posted her second double-double of the season against UCLA last week and leads Cal in conference play with 12 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game.

Although the Bears were able to rebound from their nine-game losing streak, poor shooting continues to plague the team. Against UCLA, Cal shot a dismal 23.9 percent in the second half.

"I think we have demonstrated that we are a good shooting team - our troubles don't necessarily stem from a lack of talent," Stanley said. "It's just that we have lacked patience at times and the only way we can improve is to stick with our offense and always look for the best shot."

Due to the Bears' depleted roster, Stanley is focusing on Cal's game rather than attempting to tailor the lineup to combat the Beavers' style of play.

"We just need to keep it simple at this point," Stanley said.

After its contest against OSU, Cal is slated to take on the Ducks Saturday night.

Oregon, which is currently in fourth place in the Pac-10, is led by standout guard Shaquala Williams. The 5-foot-6 sophomore averages 17.8 ppg, which is good for second in the conference.

William's outstanding shooting ability, combined with Oregon's stingy defense, pose substantial but surmountable obstacles for the Bears. Stanley said the Ducks have shown some inconsistency in their play as of late.

"Oregon is a very competitive team and will be tough competition," Stanley said. "But, they aren't as good as they were last year - their Achilles heel has been showing lately."

Cal's increased confidence, which arrived after its win over Washington, is integral to the team's success on this trip.

"The team is beginning to play with heart," Stanley said. "We are going to need a lot of that on the road this week."


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