Women's Hoops Battles Stanford

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The Cal women's basketball team is going to have to try and weather the Pac-10's most potent long-range air attack with limited anti-aircraft firepower.

If there is one bright spot for the wounded Bears, it is that the war will be waged on their home soil tonight at 7:30.

Cal (7-14, 2-9 in the Pac-10) has had so much trouble staying healthy this season that the prospect of a locked and loaded Stanford team does not seem as daunting as the overcrowded infirmary that has become the Bears' training room in recent weeks.

"We still have several key injuries," Cal coach Marianne Stanley said. "We are pretty banged up and that's a concern, but everyone has to deal with injuries. It's just the nature of the business. We'd like to go into the game against Stanford with everybody healthy, but that's not the case."

Cal is looking for its first win against its cross-Bay rivals since the 1992-93 campaign, and is hoping to avenge a 83-57 ambush at the hands of the Cardinal (15-6, 8-3) last month.

While the Bears were overwhelmed in the previous meeting, they are understaffed for tonight's matchup. Last week, Stanley announced that Masa Radovic, who was slated to be the team's starting point guard this season, will miss the rest of the season due to three bad discs in her back. Backup post player Genevieve Swedor will also miss tonight's game with back trouble.

One bright spot for the Bears is the probable return of forward Ami Forney. She has been out with a stress fracture in her foot for six weeks, but is listed as probable and will likely play in limited minutes against Stanford.

The Bears' leading scorer, Courtney Johnson (12.1 points per game), did not make last week's trip to Oregon due to the lingering effects of a concussion she suffered in a nonconference game against Santa Clara.

This week, Johnson participated in non-contact workouts, but had not been cleared to play as of yesterday. She is listed as questionable and her play tonight will be a game-time decision.

Johnson is the team's starting point guard and one of Cal's best defenders. She leads the Pac-10 in steals with 3.24 steals per game.

The Bears will hope for her defensive presence in trying to defend a Cardinal team that leads the nation if three-point field goal shooting with a 43 percent mark. Stanford is also leading the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, hitting 46.5 percent of its shots. Cal ranks dead-last in the conference in both of those categories.

The Card are led in its three-point barrage by sophomore wing Lauren St. Clair, who has hit an astounding 59.3 percent of her shots from behind the arc in Pac-10 play. Freshman guard Jamie Carey has completed the lethal one-two punch, nailing 47.3 percent of her threes this season.

But Stanford does not rely on outside shots as its only offensive weapon. The Cardinal boast a commanding presence down low with 6-foot-6 center Carolyn Moos (13.3 ppg) and power forward Bethany Donaphin, who leads the team with 6.2 rebounds per game.

All of these Stanford weapons are complemented by floor general Milena Flores. The senior point guard is averaging 6.0 assists per game, and is leading the league in that category for the third straight season.

Despite its superiority on the offensive end, the Cardinal is not overlooking the ninth-place Bears.

"I think that our team would make a horrible mistake to look at records or standings and determine how you go into the game," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "We have a great rivalry, a very positive rivalry. We are looking forward to seeing the Haas Pavilion and playing there."


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