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Inexperienced Bears will have to start small

By Dean Caparaz, Daily Planet Correspondent
Friday November 02, 2001

Forney the lone returning starter  


SAN JOSE – Caren Horstmeyer expects her new–look Cal women’s basketball team to play small ball to start the season. 

The expected starting lineup doesn’t have much height, so the Golden Bears will have to rely on running and scrappy play to succeed. Cal got strong guard play last year from Courtney Johnson (15.2 points per game) and Kenya Corley (12.8 ppg), its two leading scorers who have exhausted their eligibility. But this year’s team will rely even more on its non–post players. 

“It might not be pretty, but the goal is, find a way to win,’” Horstmeyer said. 

The second–year Cal coach talked about her changing squad Thursday at Pac–10 Women’s Basketball Media Day at the Compaq Center in San Jose, where the conference’s teams gathered to preview the upcoming season. 

Last season, Cal had a 12–16 (8–10 in the Pac–10) record to tie for sixth in the conference. This year, Pac–10 coaches tabbed Cal to finish tied for eighth with UCLA. The media poll picked the Bears ninth. Stanford earned the top spot in both polls. 

The Bears return just one starter – forward/center Ami Forney – after losing seven seniors from last year. They bring in nine newcomers, but two of the brightest – sophomore center Olga Volkova and freshman guard Jackie Lord – enter the season recovering from ACL injuries.  

Volkova will help offset the loss of Lauren Ashbaugh, a forward/center who scored 7.8 ppg and pulled down 5.8 rebounds per game. Volkova, a 6–foot–4 Ukrainian center, injured her knee last year while playing for Merritt College in Oakland. If she does play in Sunday’s home exhibition against the Bay Area Pro Am team, she would come off the bench. 

“We know (Volkova) is an elite athlete that can give experience, smarts and then size, ability to score and good defense,” Horstmeyer said. “But right now, she’s limited to (practicing in a) half court (setting). We’re trying to get her back to full court. The status of her knee really right now is uncertain.” 

For the foreseeable future, Horstmeyer will operate with just one true post player – Forney – in the starting lineup. Horstmeyer’s other likely starters include forwards Amber White and Kiki Williams asdf