The Bears will look to close out their three game home stand with a win over the improved Arizona Wildcats and potential all Pac-10 performer Ify Ibekwe. This is something of a swing game for the Bears: teams that want to compete in the top 3rd of the Pac-10 need to sweep their competition at home, and Thursday’s win over Arizona St. gives them the opportunity to do just that. But Arizona will bring just as much talent and intensity as the Sun Devils, and they will want the road split after falling to Stanford at Maples two days ago.Arizona appears to be playing an ‘Oregon-lite’ style of basketball this year, routinely going for 70-80 points and dropping 109 on the Ducks last week. In addition to Ibekwe, Davellyn Whyte and Soana Lucet both average double figures for one of the most efficient offenses in the Pac-10.
Last year the Bears swept the Wildcats by bottling up Whyte and Lucet. Ibekwe still got her points and rebounds, but the Bears didn’t let anybody else beat them and dominated the boards. That will likely be the formula again this year, but with Whyte and Lucet both a year older and a year wiser, and with a stronger supporting cast that will be difficult.
Beyond their high-scoring trio Arizona boasts a point guard averaging 6 assists per game in Shanita Arnold and one of the better 3 point shooters in the Pac-10 in Brooke Jackson. The bottom line is that Arizona is a well-rounded, dangerous team. If Cal earns the sweep they would carry lots of positives into the Washington road trip and the Stanford debacle would fade from the memory a bit. A loss, well, let’s not think about that right now.