Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
After an impressively thorough demolition of St. Mary's, the Bears are back on the court to take on another in-state foe.
The Cal-Poly Mustangs actually strike me as similar to the St. Mary's Gaels - a solidly fundamental team that serves as a solid warm up for tougher competition. The fact that the Mustangs recently beat Oregon State should concern Cal fans, though for non-obvious reasons. I don't expect Cal Poly to pose much of a threat to a Cal team seemingly firing on all cylinders so early in the season. But it is a little concerning that Pac-12 teams other than Stanford and UCLA are dropping games they should win left and right.
The major question for Cal Poly this year is if they can replace the production lost from the graduation of Kristina Santiago, who averaged 23.4 points/game last year, good for 5th in the country. She led Cal Poly to a Big West regular season title and WNIT appearance.
So far this year it's been sophomore Ariana Elegado and 6'5'' junior Molly Schlemer leading the charge offensively. But it shouldn't be a surprise to see Cal Poly players scoring points - the Mustangs have consistently had a great offense over the last few years under long time head coach Faith Mimnaugh. Unfortunately, Poly's defense has been as bad as the offense has been good, and this year looks no different - top 25 Oklahoma State dropped 90 on the Mustangs 10 days ago.
This should be another decent test for Cal's defense. Mimnaugh's teams aren't typically turnover prone and they can score. Can the Bears shut them down just the same way they did to Lehigh and St. Mary's? I hope so. If all goes to plan there won't be any actual drama to this game, but every strong performance is another indication that Cal is reaching their very high potential.