WBB: Tourney projections and a new recruit

Coach G says that we've all got to take it one game at a time. - Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

All the news that's fit to link during a bizarro two week break for basketball games.

Welcome to a weird week of limbo. Thanks to an earlier Pac-12 tournament, there is a two week gap between games, broken only by the Selection show this coming Monday.

While it can be tiresome to wait for so long between games, it's probably a good thing for this particular Cal team. The Bears were beat up by the end of the year, and I suspect they could benefit from a break. I have no proof, but wonder if all of the various aches, pains and sprains were a factor in Cal's difficulty playing defense in their loss to Washington State.

Bracketology

According to ESPN's Charlie Creme, Cal is a projected 6 seed getting sent to College Station in the Texas A&M pod. The Aggies are a pretty good team, and I wouldn't relish the prospect of facing them on their home floor. On the other hand, the other 3 seeds are all pretty good too, and the chances of the Bears NOT playing on the home floor of a higher seed seem slim. So, all things considered, I would take ESPN's projections over some of the alternatives. Another bracket projection also has Cal as a 6, this time against Penn State. Six of one, half a dozen of the other I suppose.

As I've said before, Cal's seed will depend on how the committee views losses to George Washington and UW without key players that will be healthy for the tournament, and that adds a level of uncertainty to projections. Cal's recent two game losing streak almost certainly harms their chances of advancing to the 2nd weekend, but it might have actually increased the chances of getting to the elite 8 by moving further from some of the juggernaut 1 seeds. In any case, the speculation will end next Monday, and we'll have an open thread for the Selection Show for those who can't make it to the Field Club for the official party.

Lyles makes progress in effort to conquer all media

I mean, when you've done all this as an undergrad, what else do they need to teach you in graduate school?

Off the court, Lyles has served as an ESPNW blogger, worked as a reporter for Comcast Sports Net, taught a class at Cal entitled "Story of the Student-Athlete", collaborated on the multimedia website ThisIsCalBasketball.com and participated in awareness and inclusion projects such as "Br{ache The Silence" and her own "We A.R.E. Pride" event.

Well, there must be something, and her hard work has earned her the Robin Roberts Broadcasting Scholarship to do just that. Congrats, and well deserved!

2015 Recruiting update

And so, in the middle of the post season, arguably the biggest news of the week was a new recruiting commitment. Cal's recruiting over the last few years has been very consistent. With only occasional forays to other west coast states and international products, Cal has focused almost entirely on California high school recruits. With the exception of a game or two started earlier this year by Hind Ben Abdelkader, I don't think Lindsay Gottlieb has given a single start to a player who didn't play their high school ball in California. Hell, other than Lauren Greif (Oregon), neither did Joanne Boyle.

And generally speaking, that's a good strategy. You can reach a Final Four just by keeping the best talent in this state at home. (Man, that was awesome, wasn't it?) But that's hard to do. Stanford, UConn, UCLA and various other attractive programs are going after and securing that talent as well. So for 2015, Coach G is casting her net a bit wider - a recent tweet from Texas indicates just how widely that net might be.

The result? Two 4-star prospects, one from Arizona, the other from New Jersey. Full recruiting lists are a bit nebulous at the moment but both are very likely to be top 100 players (perhaps even both top 50) as senior year evaluations are made by the various recruiting services.

Kristen Anigwe (recently named the Arizona prep player of the year) has been committed for a while now, but the big news this week was the commitment of Bre Cavanaugh. We've talked briefly about how the 2015 recruiting class is going to be critically important because of the players (Boyd and Gray) that the Bears will be without that year. Anigwe and Cavanaugh are a great start to that end.

Cavanaugh looks to be a bit more of a combo guard rather than a pure point guard, but again that's based on just a few whispers of scouting. Cal needs more than two players anyway, (expect a class of at least 5 players) so Coach Gottlieb very well might bring in a pure point guard anyway. At the very least, one obvious gaping hole has been filled.

If you're curious, here's video of Cavanaugh as a junior in a New Jersey state championship game. You can get a very tiny sense of her ability as a shooter and ball handler. I'll come back to scout more over the off-season.

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2014 recruiting

We all know plenty about Gabby Green and Mikayla Cowling, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't watch this nifty local news report on the local teammates who will bring their many years of chemistry to Berkeley next year (h/t Calfanatic on Bear Insider):


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