After an easy win over Sacramento State, the Bears are back to finish a quick homestand before a trip to Hawaii. Standing in the way of a happy trip are the Illinois Fighting Illini. Obviously this game is a tougher challenge than Sacramento St. - Illinois is a Big 10 team after all - but the Illini are only 2-2 and don't have much history of women's basketball success. They have already lost two games to major conference opposition, including a Friday night 3 point defeat in Oregon to the Ducks.
Last year Cal defeated Illinois on the road by 4, in a game that was dominated by DeNesha Stallworth and Talia Caldwell. They also got a great shooting night outside from Lindsay Sherbert. Illinois was led by forward Karisma Penn, who is back along with most of the rotation from last season.
Conventional wisdom would favor Cal, since the Bears won on the road last year and both teams are largely unchanged (except for Cal's stellar class of freshmen). But Illinois is a veteran group with a few new players sprinkled in, and they gave Cal a run for their money last year. Hopefully Cal's superior inside depth will eventually wear down Illinois. Go Bears!