#22 Cal WBB vs. #15 ASU: Gamethread & Preview

Can Charli Turner-Thorne cause another 40 minutes of torture for Cal fans? - Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Will Brittany Boyd be available for the biggest game left in Cal's regular season?

When: 4:00 pm

TV: Pac-12 Networks

The unanswerable question right now is the status of Brittany Boyd. Cal's star point guard would undoubtedly play 40 minutes in this game barring foul trouble, but it's entirely possible she won't play at all thanks to an ankle injury suffered in the 2nd half on Friday against Arizona. She came back in a boot and crutches, and Coach Gottlieb said they didn't know if she'd be ready for ASU.

Cal lost by nine to ASU in Tempe in part because their most essential player only managed 29 minutes of court time due to constant foul trouble. That was actually the theme for the entire game, as the Bears committed 32 fouls and had seven players finish with four fouls or more.

Since rising into the top 10 national and beating Cal, Arizona State has struggled. True, their record has been decent (5-3) but four of those wins were by 3 points or less over teams that ASU should generally not struggle with, and it includes two blowout losses to Stanford plus a shocking humiliation from previously winless-in-the-Pac-12 Arizona.

The scouting report for ASU is the same as always - a solid all-around team with lots of balance, mostly because their head coach will substitute early and often. Nine players average 15 minutes/game or more, and nobody averages more than 26/game. That one player is senior point guard Deja Mann, who leads ASU in scoring with just 11/game.

Keys to the Game (if Boyd plays)

1. Play your game: Tempe loss aside, I think Cal is the better team. Maybe I'm a homer (I am) but I don't care. If Boyd plays and Cal plays just like they've been playing since losing to USC, they'll win this one comfortably.

Keys to the game (if Boyd can't play)

1. Defend like you've never defended before: Cal will have to win with defense, because they probably won't be able to win with offense. The good news is that Cal has one of the best defenses in the conference, and Arizona State is prone to getting shut down. Cal's defense was decent (minus the fouling) in Tempe, but it will have to be at another level without Boyd.

2. 40 minutes of composure from Jemerigbe and Jefflo: If Boyd can't go, Cal will only have three true guards on the roster who have played more than 5 minutes/game. Courtney Range will obviously play as a guard to supplement Cal's backcourt depth, but the pressure will be on Jemerigbe and Jefflo to play heavy, heavy minutes without foul trouble, and to initiate the offense successfully. Without a point guard, any possession that ends with a decent look at the basket will have to be considered a success against a defense as good as ASU's.

3. No fouls: There will be at least four player on Cal's roster who just can't get in foul trouble - Gray and Brandon need to control things down low, and Jefflo and Jemerigbe simply don't have many back-ups. After getting fouled out in Tempe by ASU's vastly superior depth, Cal will have to play clean basketball this afternoon.

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