11/18/2011 08:00:00

Beaver Basketball Begins

Caltech basketball tips off with the first games of the season on Saturday. Cheer on the women as they face Pacific University in Braun Gym at 4 p.m. The men play Vanguard University in Costa Mesa at 2:30 p.m.

The men are coming off their historic season last year in which they won a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (SCIAC) game for the first time since the 1984–85 season, breaking a 310-game losing streak and drawing nationwide media attention. With a total of five victories and several nail-biters last year, the men tallied the most wins for Caltech basketball in over a decade.

Last year's seniors, Ziying Wang and Ryan Elmquist, who made the free throw with 3.3 seconds left in the game to seal the victory against Occidental in last season's finale, have graduated. But the team returns with its core of sophomores and juniors intact, including the team's leading scorer, junior Mike Edwards, who was third in scoring in the SCIAC last year. Sophomore Todd Cramer, who earned second team all-conference honors last year, led the league in assists as the team's point guard. Sophomore and lock-down defender Mike Paluchniak led the conference in minutes played. The team welcomes two freshmen, forward Andrew Hogue and point guard Bryan Joel, who are expected to make an immediate contribution.

"We're excited," says head coach Oliver Eslinger. "The guys have been working extremely hard. There's a high level of commitment and energy on the court and around campus."

The squad will play their first home game against Pacifica College on November 22. In December, they will play two games in Minnesota before starting SCIAC play against Claremont on January 7.

The women also return with their core of sophomores and juniors, including sophomore and leading scorer Paige Logan, junior shooting guard Sarah Wright, and sophomore guards Rachel Hess and Maryln Moore, a sharpshooter who was second on the team in three-point shooting. Forward Theresa Juarez, who was second on the team in rebounding as the team's all-around player, is the lone senior. The squad features one freshman, Bridget Connor.

After Pacific University, the team faces MIT on November 25 at home at 8 p.m. The women begin SCIAC play on January 5 at Occidental.

Read more about this year's men's and women's teams.

Written by Marcus Woo