CAL

LAST SEASON: 18-16, 7-11 (sixth in the Pac-10).

COACH: Lindsay Gottlieb, first season at Cal; 4th overall, 56-39.

KEY PLAYERS: Junior guard

Layshia Clarendon (13.2 points, 5.4 rebounds), junior center

Talia

Caldwell (9.4 points, 8.6 rebounds), sophomore wing

Lindsay Sherbert (8.1 points, 4.8 rebounds).

SCOUTING REPORT: The Bears lost leading scorer DeNesha Stallworth (13.3 points, 6.4 rebounds), who transferred to Kentucky. They also lost coach Joanne Boyle, who departed for Virginia after six seasons in Berkeley. But Cal was picked to finish third in the coaches' poll. ... Gottlieb led UC Santa Barbara to consecutive Big West titles in her three seasons. She served as Boyle's assistant for three seasons at Cal. ... The team also has the No. 5 -rated recruiting class that got a boost when Brea's

Justine Hartman opted out of her commitment to UCLA because of a coaching change in Westwood. ...Depending how fast the freshmen mature the Bears could rotate as many as 10 players into the lineup. ... The Bears expect 6-3 freshman forward Reshanda Gray of Los Angeles, point guard

Brittany Boyd of Berkeley and Hartman to have an immediate impact. ... Cal opens the season Sunday at No. 16 Rutgers. The biggest nonconference game, though, is Nov. 27 when the Bears face Boyle and Virginia in Hawaii.

-- ELLIOTT ALMOND