Bears to Host Oakland Tribune Classic





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The Cal women's basketball team is finally home after two weekends of road games. But the time to rest is over and it's back to business as usual.

Tomorrow the Bears (1-3) face Cal State Northridge (1-2) in the opening round of the Oakland Tribune Classic at 3 p.m.

Cal is looking for its 21st straight home-opener victory and its eighth championship in the last 12 years. But the Matadors are not going to let it happen easily.

"Winning this weekend will be a challenge that we're going to rise to meet," guard Janet Franey said. "Right now we have a winning streak of one, but we're going to build on it."

After the first four games, the Bears have only one victory to show and a win at home would most definitely help rebuild the team's confidence

"Getting the first win was definitely getting a monkey off our back," head coach Caren Horstmeyer said. "Now we want to get our first tournament win and win this championship."

Cal has a good chance at doing that this weekend. The Bears' latest competition has been against highly touted teams that had trouble shutting down Cal's offense.

In last week's loss to Alabama, guard Courtney Johnson scored a career-high 27 points. In the Bears' next game against Southern Alabama, guard Kenya Corley tallied 22.

To make sure that they continue their winning streak this weekend, the Bears will try to focus less on their opponents and more on themselves.

"We're looking to focus on our game," Horstmeyer said. "We're not going to get so consumed with what they're doing."

While Cal may not want to focus on the other team, Northridge's center, Kristi Rose, is certainly going to get noticed.

Rose leads her team with 15 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game, and will be going head-to-head with Lauren Ashbaugh, Cal's leading rebounder and biggest inside presence.

"They have some players that can put up the ball and score," Horstmeyer said. "Those are the players that we're going to have to contain."

After Rose, the Matadors are thin in the offensive categories. No other player averages more than eight points per game and none has previous experience as a regular starter.

The Bears will face either Loyola Marymount or Florida International on Sunday at 3 p.m. in the second round of the tournament.

The Lions (2-1) have a potent backcourt in guards Taryn Reynolds and Bryn Britton, who average 17.0 ppg and 13.7 ppg respectively.

The Panthers (2-1) will have a distinct height advantage if they play Cal.

Seven players at FIU stand at least six feet tall, and the Panthers have turned that into a 10.6 rebounding advantage per game this season.

WHO'S WHO ON THE DL

Several Bears will be out due to injury this weekend. Guard Kiki Williams will miss this weekend's action due to a pair of hairline fractures on her lower leg and is likely out for another week.

Franey will also be out due to a foot fracture that has kept her sidelined all season. Nicole Ybarra is nursing an ankle sprain, and her participation in this tournament is questionable.

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