Cal women's basketball has released their full schedule for the entire year, and you can see it here. There aren't really any surprises, since the names of Cal's non-conference opponents had previously been released. What new info we have is the Pac-12 schedule, game times, and TV info.
The news is generally excellent. At least 20 of Cal's 29 games will be televised, including all but one conference game. Even better, twice national TV will be on hand to broadcast from Haas, against Duke and Stanford. Cal will make a 3rd ESPN appearance against UConn.
The ‘bad' news is that Cal's other non-conference games may be hard to find. When Northwestern comes to town the game will air on the Pac-12 Network, but otherwise the rest of the non-conference schedule hasn't been picked up yet. I don't know if there's any chance of the Pac-12 Network airing more of those games as start times get announced.
The other piece of bad news is that the Pac-12 is persisting with their plan to have rivals play each other twice in the same week. It's a better situation than last week, as Cal gets the weekend home game and the double header has been moved to later in the season - precisely at the mid-point of the Pac-12 schedule, as it turns out. It's still a dumb situation, but it's marginally less annoying than last year.
This season, the Bears won't host Colorado or Utah, and they won't travel to Oregon or Oregon State. That might make for a marginally tougher conference schedule than other schools, but it also might make for stronger RPI numbers. However, speculating on the impacts of the unbalanced schedule is difficult to do so far in advance.
Like last year, Pac-12 games will typically be played Friday and Sunday, with occasional exceptions - for example, an unusual 2:00 pm Monday game in Arizona on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Which Arizona does observe, in case you were wondering).
Hopefully, you get the Pac-12 Network. While 20 games are already set to be televised, 17 of them will be on the conference's own TV channel. BOO DIRECTV!
While I've got your attention, here's some brief thoughts on one of the few bits of off-season news.
Many of you likely followed along as the Bears enjoyed a spectacular trip to China. As you likely already know, basketball teams are allowed to take overseas trips once every four years, an allowance that most major teams take advantage of as an opportunity to bond and get in some extra practice. Probably doesn't hurt recruiting either. But this particular trip was publicized as a part of the Pac-12's efforts to advertise itself in the growing far East market. I'll leave it to Larry Scott to decide if Cal's trip was a success from that standpoint, but the Bears seemed to have fun and they got to play some basketball, so I'm cool with it.
There's not a ton of meaningful basketball insight to take away from the trip. While I'm sure Coach G and the Bears were trying to win games, they were also probably trying to get playing time for younger players, try out new plays, tinker with lineups . . . the type of stuff you would typically associate with pre-season games. Beyond that, we have no idea what the talent level was of the teams Cal played against. They were typically semi-pro teams with players older than the Bears.
In the end, Cal lost two of three games, all without their best interior player in Gennifer Brandon. The only real takeaway I'd offer is that Courtney Range will play major minutes as a freshman, especially for any games missing the veteran presence of Gennifer Brandon. Range was the first player off the bench and played both inside and at the wing, a level of versatility that Cal will need. It's hardly a surprise to see Range play well in major minutes early, but it's still encouraging.
Meanwhile, all we can do is sit back, relax, hope that Gen Brandon is on the mend, and wait for the season to start.