Layshia Clarendon and Talia Caldwell are back in action against George Washington. - Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
Cal's final non-conference test gives the Bears an opportunity to head into Pac-12 play with the best start in program history.
When: 7:00 pm PT
Video Stream: Pac-12.com
Audio Stream: Cal Bears All-Access ($$$)
A 10-1 start is an exciting sounding number for the Cal women, and although the Colonials are a decent team with a 6-5 record, there's no reason to think that they should be able to slow Cal's momentum. Especially playing 3,000 miles away in Haas Pavilion. George Washington's best performance might actually be a loss. The Colonials gave typically tough Rutgers a tough game on the road before falling by 4 points, and that's an indication that the Bears can't just show up and win without playing some solid basketball. But GW also lost by 16 to the same Georgetown team that Cal beat solidly, which is a good reason for Cal fans to remain optimistic.
Players To Watch:
Danni Jackson - On a team with extreme balance, senior guard Danni Jackson leads the team in minutes, assists and steals. She's not a good finisher, but she knows how to distribute and she sets up what little offense the Colonials manage. It's her defense that really should draw your attention - three steals per game is pretty impressive.
Tara Booker - The senior wing is GW's most efficient scorer and best rebounder. She's really their only legitimate threat from behind the arc, but she can mix it up down low as well. She's the only player that might present a match-up problem for the BEars.
Keys to the Game:
Poise under defensive pressure - GW's calling card is defense, particularly forcing turnovers. More than 20 per game, in fact. That will likely mean plenty of full court press, plenty of trapping, and plenty of ball pressure. Cal has generally delt with pressure well, but it's occasionally been an issue against teams like Old Dominion or Duke.
Offensive Rebounds - GW's defense has been excellent so far despite mediocre performances on the glass. So even if Cal has some trouble controlling the ball or getting off good shots, there's every reason to think that Cal can get tons of 2nd chance points. Which is, at this point, typical. But still awesome.
Don't be afraid to play aggresively, or even foul - GW is shooting below 60% from the line this year, good for 332nd in the nation. Cal should be able to play a deep rotation, so tight, physical defense should cause GW plenty of problems, especially if they can't punish Cal's aggression on the free throw line. Make them afraid to come anywhere near the paint!