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Cal Women's Basketball @ Arizona State Game Thread

DSCN4573 (via <a href="">norcalnickcgb</a>)
DSCN4573 (via norcalnickcgb)

Note: For the men’s open thread vs. ASU Scroll down!

Time: 2 PM PST/5 PM EST
TV: None
Radio: Radio
Streams: None

Gametracker link

Few people truly know and understand the inner workings of the NCAA tournament selection committee. Comparing two teams from across the country with no common opponents to decide who plays who and where? But those rare few who claim to understand the process see Cal as a team right on the edge of an invitation to the NCAAs, which makes today’s game against Arizona St. potentially a functional play in game.

Nobody would punish Cal for losing to Stanford next Saturday. But they very much will punish Cal if they lose in the desert and get swept by the Sun Devils. If Cal wins they will probably end the season alone in third in the Pac-10. Lose and the Bears could fall as far as fifth. I don’t want to say that this game is the difference between the NCAAs and the NIT, but…this game is probably the difference between the NCAAs and the NIT.

Another intriguing plotline for this game is redemption for the one that got away. When Arizona St. came to Berkeley, Cal appeared to have the game in complete control after a strong second half run gave the Bears a 10 point lead with four minutes to play. But Cal’s offense stagnated, Danielle Orsillo caught fire, and the Bears missed a golden opportunity to put space between themselves and the middle of the conference. They will get one more chance today, with potentially even more on the line. So what does Cal need to do?

1) Win the rebounding battle. ASU is one of the better rebounding teams in the Pac-10 and they pulled down 13 more boards than the Bears last time. In a way it’s impressive that Cal should have beaten ASU anyway despite losing a battle that’s so integral for most of Cals success this season.
2) Get a better game from Alexis Gray-Lawson. For most of Pac-10 play Lexi has done a fantastic job of recognizing when she’s hot and taking over, and recognizing when she’s not and letting her teammates do the work. When Cal played ASU she only shot 6-20 from the field. Cal has shown in the past few games that they don’t need 30+ points from Lexi to win – they just need her to be smart and efficient. I think that’s what the Bears will get from her today.
3) Bottle up Danielle Orsillo. She’s the key to ASU’s chances. Against the Bears she shot better than 50% and nearly scored a third of ASU’s points, finishing with 20. But in shocking losses to UW and WSU Orsillo scored 4 and 6 points respectively. Take away Orsillo and you take away ASU’s chances.