With tonight's game against Oregon the Cal women will begin a difficult final stretch to the season that will be the best barometer for how much the team has improved since they started the season 6-8. Since their difficult start the women have rebounded with an impressive 9-2 run through the middle of the Pac-10 season. But most of those wins have come against the bottom of the conference - sweeps of WSU, UW, and OSU, the 8th, 9th and 10th place teams in the conference. In contrast, their last four games will come against Oregon, Arizona, Arizona St and Stanford, the teams in 4th, 7th, 5th and 1st. If Cal is going to stay in 3rd place, they'll have to earn it.
That push begins tonight against the offensively-minded Ducks. Cal put on what sounded like their best Pac-10 performance of the season against the Ducks in Eugene (no, I'm not at all bitter about my inability to see the games). The women jumped out to a 10 point halftime lead, extended the lead to 20 midway through the 2nd half and only allowed the Ducks to close the deficit to 10 in meaningless garbage time. The Bears exploited Oregon's vulnerable defense while simultaneously holding the Ducks to their 3rd lowest scoring total of the season. Will the Bears do it again? Click the stream link above and enjoy the fastest offense women's basketball has to offer!
Here's your quick Keys To The Game:
1) Avoid turnovers, and when they happen, get back in transition. Oregon thrives on quick baskets, but if Cal can force them to score in the halfcourt set Oregon will have a much more difficult time getting their points.
2) Defend the 3 point line, particularly Taylor Lilley. Oregon kept up with Stanford in Eugene almost solely on their 3 point shooting. They'll take any shot they can get. Pressure them on the perimeter Bears!
3) Keep the offensive variety going. Cal beat OSU without Lexi getting red hot. Oregon will probably get their points. Cal can help themselves out by spreading the burden and not letting Oregon key in on Lexi.