For multiple reasons, this is an important game for the Bears. Logically, this is Cal's 3rd game against solid, potentially tournament quality opposition. The Bears have looked like a tournament team against Rutgers and Texas . . . but sport an 0-2 record in those games with two close, painful losses. Losing a 3rd would make for a slim non-conference resume unless the Bears knock off Ohio State in a few weeks at home.
Emotionally? The Bears are taking on their former coach, who presumably knows plenty about how to slow down the sophomores and juniors, and who left last year after a supremely difficult, frustrating season. Losing to Joanne Boyle would be adding insult to injury, because it would seem that she fled to a better situation.
Virginia lost to the same Texas team that Cal should have beaten by a score of 79-53 before bouncing back to beat Hawaii by 17. Virginia's strength? Winning the turnover battle. If Cal can keep it somewhat even then their rebounding prowess and inside depth will probably be enough. Cal couldn't do that against Texas. Do it tonight and they can fly home reasonably satisfied with the trip. Go Bears!