Cal Women's Basketball vs. USC: Preview + Gamethread

When: 8:00 PT
TV: FSN/CSNBA
Audio Stream: Cal All-Access
Gametracker

Cal’s critical three game stretch is two thirds over, and so far so good. In fact, Cal has been so good at taking care of business and USC has been on such a slump that this game no longer seems any more important than any other game left on the schedule. Heck, a road trip to Corvallis seems scarier!

Of course, this game still matters for a few reasons. Firstly, USC is still in the RPI top 50 and is likely to stay there, so it’s still a valuable resume win. Secondly, Cal needs to win every game they should win to maximize their tournament seed.

And perhaps most importantly, this is Cal’s chance to avenge their only blowout loss of the season. Only one team has beaten Cal by more than 5 points, and that was USC by 20. Taking it to the Trojans would send a powerful message about how much the Bears have improved. Since that loss to USC the Bears have won 9 games by an average margin of 12 points, with just one overtime loss to Stanford mixed in. I don’t know how much stock the selection committee puts into ‘finishing strong’ but Cal is in position to finish very strongly. Beating USC and showing improvement from the first half of the season has to be a part of that.

Tempo-Free Preview

Our computer overlords (Sagarin) predict: Cal by 7.86

Category

Cal Ranking

USC Ranking

Advantage

Cal eFG% v. USC Def eFG%

117

101

U

Cal Def eFG% v. USC eFG%

94

200

CC

Cal TO% v. USC Def TO%

117

324

CCC

Cal Def TO% v. USC TO%

225

22

UUU

Cal Reb% v. USC Reb%

2

110

CC

Cal FTR v. USC Opp FTR

163

169

-

Cal Opp FTR v. USC FTR

120

110

U

Cal O-PPP v. USC D-PPP

51

148

C

Cal D-PPP v. USC O-PPP

63

140

C

USC does two things really well – they don’t turn the ball over and they can hit 3 pointers. Those three pointers were key as USC shot 7-15 against the Bears earlier this year. Of course, the best way to defend against three point shooting is by preventing your opponent from getting the shot off at all. That means hounding Ashley Corral.

But of course it wasn’t just 3 point shooting that doomed the Bears against USC. Interior defense was a big problem. Cassie Harberts and Christina Marinacci both went for season highs in scoring, combining for 46 points on 13-23 shooting while also managing 15 rebounds. Cal’s posts need to go out and prove that they aren’t going to be outplayed by anybody in this conference and dominate on both ends accordingly.

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