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#6 Cal 72, Oregon 45: Bears Sail Past Ducks

Balanced scoring, good defense and typically dominant rebounding propelled Cal to an easy win.

Layshia Clarendon: Very good at the basketballs.
Layshia Clarendon: Very good at the basketballs.

As I mentioned in the game preview, Oregon has had a trying season, so there wasn't really any reason to expect anything dramatic during the game. And, as expected, the Bears cruised to an easy win. Cal went on a 30-6 run to start the game, then put things away with a 19-0 run in the 2nd half after Oregon briefly cut the deficit to 12 points. Down to their 3rd string point guard, Oregon struggled with turnovers. Meanwhile, Cal dominated the glass and put on a strong defensive effort to win going away.

Those who watched the game on the Pac-12's official stream will likely feel that the most interesting part of this game were multiple technical fouls by both teams, and the reaction to those fouls by Oregon's play-by-play announcer. Oregon's Megan Carpenter was assessed the first technical foul of the game after an official review. Later, Layshia Clarendon was T'd up for going after a loose ball too aggressively. Talia Caldwell almost got called for a high elbow, and in the 2nd half Oregon's Liz Brenner was T'd for, presumably, saying something the officials didn't appreciate.

This became a much bigger deal than it should have been because of how Oregon's announcer reacted. Feel free to glance at the gamethread or various twitter accounts to get a description. Those watching the stream really didn't get the chance to see replays of any of these 'incidents,' but none of them struck me as unusual, and none of them appeared to have any sort of sinister intent. Just the usual things that happen in a basketball game between players unafraid to be physical. I've glanced at a few different articles on multiple websites, and I haven't found comments from either coach discussing the plays in question. Suffice to say that I don't feel the need to talk about Oregon's announcer any more, as he made much ado about nothing*. Now we can all move on and focus on what matters: that Cal basketball is pretty good.

What I was most pleased about was Cal's defense, specifically their ability to prevent Oregon from getting shots off. We all know that the Westhead offense loves to move quickly, but Cal forced Oregon to spend most or all of the shot clock a few different times. Undoubtedly, injured point guards played a role in Oregon's troubles, but I though Cal did a great job of slowing the Ducks down and taking them out of their usual offense. Oregon had just two fast break points, which means that the Bears did a tremendous job in transition as well.

Cal's offense wasn't brilliant, but it was plenty good enough. Four Cal starters scored in double figures, and Brittany Boyd had 8 assists to 0 turnovers. Layshia Clarendon led Cal in scoring and did well to stay composed despite constant booing from the Oregon crowd in the 2nd half. Talia Caldwell and Gen Brandon both had their way inside, and Mikayla Lyles had another solid game off the bench hitting a couple 3s.

Prior to the game I was expecting Cal to take a bit of an RPI hit due to Oregon's weak record. But as it turns out, today turned out to be a pretty good day for Cal relative to the teams they will likely be competing against for NCAA tournament seeding. Penn State had already dropped a game to an unranked foe earlier this week, but Tennessee and Kentucky also lost today, which should further solidify Cal's standings both in the human polls and the computer numbers. Look for more posts over the next week or two about Cal's position as March draws ever closer.

The team, of course, will be focused on hosting Arizona and Arizona State, two teams who enter the Bay Area struggling badly. Arizona has lost five in a row, ASU five of six. But that's no excuse for a let up from the Bears. I have no doubt that Cal will be ready to play and extend their winning streak from seven games to nine.

*OK, I lied. A final word on the Oregon announcer: When the Pac-12 announced that they would be airing many but not all Pac-12 women's basketball games, we were also told that every conference game would be aired online. It's not like Cal fans were all signing up to listen to an Oregon broadcast of today's game - these feeds are advertised to all fan bases. This isn't a secret.

When you listen to Roxy Bernstein call a Cal game on local Bay Area radio, he sounds very different than if he calls a game on the Pac-12 network. An announcer's job is to tailor his call of a game to his audience. If Oregon's announcer was unaware that fans of both Oregon and Cal would be listening, then that's a mistake by the Pac-12. Hopefully this is all a learning experience for the conference and every institution. Also, hopefully, every game is on TV next year.

Also, I really like Dave Lewis, and I wish Cal/the Pac-12 would air his call over the video streams for Cal home games. Dude's a pro.