Cal Women's Basketball vs. UCLA Preview + Gamethread

When: 7:00 PT
Audio Stream
: Cal All-Access
Gametracker

I don’t get UCLA. After all of the roster carnage they have just seven healthy players left, and they didn’t look very good against a tough non-conference schedule. And yet here they are, sitting at 7-4 in conference with a viable shot at 2nd place. How?! Well, some of it is being a bit lucky, as UCLA has won two overtime games and two other games that were one possession contests within the final minute.

But there’s no denying that the Bruins have improved as the season progressed, led by the contributions of senior Rebekah Gardner and junior Marcel Walker. The emergence of sophomore guard Thea Lemberger has been the other key to UCLA’s upswing in conference play.

Still, this just isn’t the same Nikki-Caldwell-led team that has beaten Cal seven straight times. It’s not Cori Close’s fault that the Bruins lost so many players to graduation or injury, but this is still a team that plays seven deep with four inexperienced underclassmen. They don’t defend like they did under Caldwell, and they aren’t as efficient on offense. Walker and Gardner are good enough to hide many weaknesses, but this is still a team Cal should have beaten in January, and should beat tonight. The UCLA losing streak ends now.

Our computer overlords (Sagarin) predict: Cal by 9.75

Category

Cal Ranking

UCLA Ranking

Advantage

Cal eFG% v. UCLA Def eFG%

127

199

C

Cal Def eFG% v. UCLA eFG%

96

194

C

Cal TO% v. UCLA Def TO%

99

179

C

Cal Def TO% v. UCLA TO%

228

87

UU

Cal Reb% v. UCLA Reb%

2

165

CC

Cal FTR v. UCLA Opp FTR

162

72

U

Cal Opp FTR v. UCLA FTR

118

242

CC

Cal O-PPP v. UCLA D-PPP

44

205

CC

Cal D-PPP v. UCLA O-PPP

60

132

C

When you look at UCLA’s healthy roster it’s really, really hard to understand how UCLA is competitive, let alone in 3rd place in the conference. When you look at their stats it’s even harder. Cal easily outpaces the Bruins in three of the four factors, though it’s worth noting that UCLA’s early season schedule was brutal and perhaps has an outsized impact on their season total stats.

UCLA’s only advantages is that they are unlikely to turn the ball over or foul much. Everything else is in Cal’s favor. I’m going to be bold and suggest that as long as Cal doesn’t shoot an eFG% of 31% they will be in pretty great shape. I really really don’t see Gen Brandon, Layshia Clarendon, Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray combining to go 14-47 from the field. Boyd in particular had a rough game against UCLA but has clearly been playing her best basketball over the last few weeks which could be the key difference tonight.

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