When: Noon PT
TV: Fox Sports 1
So, Friday night was painful. I think there are plenty of extenuating circumstances, but at the same time, Cal lost to a team they probably shouldn't have lost to. But they have a chance to immediately bounce back this afternoon against a team from the Big East.
Based on early returns, it's possible that George Washington is a tougher, better team than Georgetown. The Hoyas are 1-1 after a narrow win over Richmond and a narrow loss to South Dakota State. We Cal fans have pointed out the relative youth we've had on the floor, but it's nothing compared to what Georgetown is using. Head coach Keith Brown has used a seven player rotation, only one is a junior or senior. That one upperclasswoman? Point guard Samisha Powell, currently averaging 10 points and 4.5 assists per game.
But it's a duo of freshmen posts who are really fueling the Hoyas. 6'5'' freshman center Natalie Butler and 6'2'' freshman forward Shayla Cooper are averaging a combined 32.5 points and 21.5 rebounds. This game should be a real defensive challenge for Cal's post players, especially considering the possibility that the post rotation will still be very thin due to illness and/or injury.
That is really a major storyline of the game. On Friday, Cal was without both Gennifer Brandon, Justine Hartman, and Kyra Dunn. Dunn, obviously, will still be out until the end of the fall semester, but Brandon and Hartman may or may not be available. If they aren't, a ton of pressure will be on Reshanda Gray and Courtney Range to play great defense and avoid foul trouble. Gray played a full 40 minutes on Friday after having never played more than 32 minutes in any one game, and will possibly be asked to do the same again.
This is a game that could be very fast and very high scoring. So far this year, Georgetown has pushed the pace, and their offense has been spectacular while their defense hasn't been. As you might expect from a team with two good post players, Georgetown has been shooting well. As you might expect from a team with a bunch of freshmen playing major minutes, turnovers have been a problem. Cal hasn't broken out the full court press much, probably because they don't have the bodies they need to play such a high intensity strategy. I hope it's available to use against the Hoyas, because against such a young team it could be devastatingly effective.
Defensively, the Hoyas haven't done much of anything well so far, but it's only two games, so who knows? It's up to Cal to exploit the mistakes that young teams are bound to make. Time to start a winning streak! Go Bears!