Cal Women's Basketball At UCLA Preview & Gamethread

When: 7:00 PT ; UCLA Video Streaming (free!) ; Cal Audio Streaming ; Gametracker

UCLA is in deep, deep trouble. First, they lost a brilliant coach that revived a flagging program. Then they lost an elite recruit (to us! Hooray for Justine Hartman!). Then their best player for the season when Jasmine Dixon tore her Achilles tendon. THEN Antonye Nyingifa their best remaining rebounder, interior defender and 2nd leading scorer, tore her ACL.

So needless to say, it’s been a nightmare, lost year for the Bruins. And with the possible exception of Stanford, Cal is the clear nightmare matchup for UCLA. Cal has four excellent post players standing 6’2’’ or taller. UCLA basically has 6’1’’ Markel Walker. In fact, they are down to eight healthy scholarship players, which should sound familiar to Cal fans. This game should be a bloodbath.

Considering their injury issues, it’s not a surprise at how UCLA has struggled against a schedule designed to showcase a team expected to be much better. The Bruins have played the 55th toughest schedule in the nation and have suffered blowout losses to Baylor, LSU and Tennessee

Category

Cal Ranking

UCLA Ranking

Advantage

Cal eFG% v. UCLA Def eFG%

62

251

CC

Cal Def eFG% v. UCLA eFG%

101

149

C

Cal TO% v. UCLA Def TO%

177

202

C

Cal Def TO% v. UCLA TO%

202

122

U

Cal Reb% v. UCLA Reb%

2

233

CCC

Cal FTR v. UCLA Opp FTR

106

136

C

Cal Opp FTR v. UCLA FTR

83

201

CC

Cal O-PPP v. UCLA D-PPP

42

219

CC

Cal D-PPP v. UCLA O-PPP

89

118

C

UCLA has struggled this year, but the numbers are still shocking. Last year, they were 30th in the nation in points per possession allowed, and now they are 219. Last year they were 4th in the country in forcing turnovers, and now they are 202nd. The 2nd best rebounding team in the country is now the 233rd best. Everything that defined UCLA last year, everything that made them elite, is gone.

As a result you get a chart that . . . doesn’t look a ton different from last week’s Dartmouth chart, in that Cal has the advantage in nearly every category. Granted, UCLA has played a tough schedule and Cal’s advantages come at smaller margins . . . but still, this is a game that Cal should arguably win comfortably, even at home. Crazy.

I’m not going to go so far as to blame Cori Close – this year is basically a massive injury mulligan, and even if UCLA were fully healthy it would have been a mild rebuilding year anyway after losing a few key seniors. But the precipitous decline in UCLA’s defense after losing Nikki Caldwell must be a little scary for Bruin fans.

On the Cal side of things, it’s worth noting that Cal’s turnover rate has crept downward after three straight solid ball-handing performances against Santa Clara, Ohio St. and Dartmouth, and now rests in the ‘Meh’ range, rather than the ‘Oh God why?!’ range. Hopefully that’s a trend and not just a 3 game blip!

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