Bears Hope to Bounce Back from Stanford Losses Against Oregon Schools





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The only way last week would have been any tougher would have been to roll in the No. 1 team in America.

The Cal women's basketball team faced then-No. 3 and currently No. 2 Stanford in back-to-back games last week. In the end, the Bears left the court on both occasions on the end of sound beatings at the hand of one of the nation's best.

The second loss was the most disappointing because Cal was able to hang with the vaunted Card for most of the first half, before falling 79-51.

Tonight, Cal (6-15, 1-11 in the Pac-10) will be at Oregon State looking to build on what was a solid effort for most of the first half before the Cardinal pulled away.

To do so, the Bears will have to manage without some key components and their leading scorer looking to get back to full strength.

Center Ami Forney missed the second Stanford game with the flu, but will make the trip to Oregon. Cal coach Caren Horstmeyer said Forney has practiced this week and hopes to have her leading scorer as close to 100 percent as possible.

"She still doesn't have the same energy she had before she had the flu," Horstmeyer said.

Backup center Olga Volkova will stay in Berkeley to rehab a sprained ankle suffered in shootaround prior to last Saturday's game with the Card.

The third and most serious casualty from the Stanford series was reserve guard Nicol Berry, who partially tore the ACL in her left knee and will miss the rest of the season.

Berry's 26 steals this season are fourth on the team even though she only plays 12.4 minutes per game.

"She made things happen from a defensive perspective," Horstmeyer said. "She's a hustle player."

The Bears will need a collective effort, hustle-wise, on this weekend's road trip. The Beavers (12-10, 7-6) feature the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year, Felecia Ragland. The senior is following up her stellar 2000-01 season by leading the conference in scoring at 19.8 points per game.

Saturday, Cal faces Oregon (12-10, 7-6) and the 2000 Pac-10 Player of the Year, Shaquala Williams, who missed last season with a torn ACL. The junior is pouring in 17.2 ppg this season.

With Forney's stamina an issue and Volkova in Berkeley rehabbing, Kiki Williams could play a pivotal role again for Cal.

Against Stanford, the redshirt freshman tallied a career-high 18 points starting in place of Forney. Her point total was nearly three times her season average (6.2 ppg).

Horstmeyer was happy to see Williams breakout and would like to see her become a steady force for the remainder of the season.

"We've always known Kiki has the ability to score," Horstmeyer said. "What she has to work on is her consistency."

The Bears only average 57.1 ppg with Forney being the only player averaging double figures (12.1 ppg). Guard LaTasha O'Keith isn't far from double digits at 9.8 ppg.

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