Cal Women's Basketball vs. Washington State Preview & Gamethread

When: 3:30 pm PT
TV: FSN/CSNBA
Video Stream: Cal Bears All-Access
Audio Stream: Cal Bears All-Access
Gametracker

Well, the Bears got a gift yesterday from Oregon State - the Beavers knocked off USC to send Cal into a momentary tie for 2nd place in the Pac-12. I say momentary because the Bears can actually move into 2nd place alone with a win today against the Cougars, which sounds pretty darn good after starting 0-2 in L.A.

Washington St. looked poised for a break out season. They survived a tough non-conference schedule with a record of 6-6 that included close loses to excellent teams like Gonzaga and Louisville. Then, in the conference opener against Oregon, Ireti Amojo sustained a season-ending knee injury.

Wazzu held on to beat the Ducks, then Oregon St. and Utah, but since then they’ve lost three in a row amidst increasingly poor offensive performances. Before Amojo’s injury, WSU was averaging 66 points/game. Since the injury they’ve averaged just 57. That decline isn’t a pace issue, either – the Cougs are simply scoring less often per possession. Some of it is probably just random variation, but when you lose your starting shooting guard and 2nd most efficient player it’s bound to negatively impact your offense.

Even without Amojo the Cougars are a very balanced team, with seven players averaging between 8.7 and 5 points/game. Jazmine Perkins is the player to watch – she leads the Cougs in scoring and rebounding, which is surprising considering she’s only 5’10’’. Carly Noyes is an efficient scorer, and at 6’5’’ she is the post that you would expect to control the boards, though that hasn’t been the case this year.

Our computer overlords predict: Sagarin Predictor: Cal by 8.71 points

Chart concept borrowed from MGoBlog, all stats courtesy of wbbstate.com and are accurate as of 1/22 . One letter indicates 10 place advantage in national rankings, two letters indicate 100 place advantage, three indicates 200 place advantage, etc.

Category

Cal Ranking

WSU Ranking

Advantage

Cal eFG% vs. WSU Def eFG%

111

93

W

Cal Def eFG% vs. WSU eFG%

101

168

C

Cal TO% vs. WSU Def TO%

98

67

W

Cal Def TO% vs. WSU TO%

186

52

WW

Cal Reb% vs. WSU Reb%

2

165

CC

Cal FTR vs. WSU Def FTR

106

218

CC

Cal Def FTR vs. WSU FTR

101

319

CCC

Cal O-PPP vs. WSU D-PPP

41

92

C

Cal D-PPP vs. WSU O-PPP

59

163

CC

Cal’s dominating win over Washington and Stanford’s expected destruction of Washington St. has knocked the stat chart more heavily in Cal’s favor. Interestingly, Wazzu’s biggest weakness is in foul differential – the Cougars commit lots of fouls and don’t draw many in response. Perhaps the Cougs aren’t afraid to foul because they are one of the few teams in the conference that play a rotation as deep as Cal’s. And if there was ever a team to hack and send to the line, Cal would probably be the team of choice. Might we see a foul fest today?

In any case, I'd like to see a strong defensive effort today. The Cougars have really been struggling to score lately, and Cal should be able to hold WSU to many one-and-done possessions. WSU doesn't turn the ball over much, but I'd still be curious to see how much trouble Cal can cause by pressing and trying to force a good ball handling team into mistakes.

With Stanford up next, this one is a critical game to win. Go Bears!

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