When: 7:00 p.m.
Tonight's game will feature one of the more unique individual match ups the Bears will face all season. Nevada is a solid team who could potential contend in a solid Mountain West conference. Their feature player? 6'8'' Mimi Mungedi, from Libreville Gabon. The senior opened the season with a 24 point performance in a win over UC Santa Barbara after averaging around 10 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks/game last year.
Starters and rotation
5'8'' Junior guard Terilyn Moe
5'8'' Junior guard Kelsey Kaelin
6'0'' Junior forward Emily Burns
6'0'' Junior forward Nyasha LeSure
6'8'' Senior center Mimi Mungedi
Moe and Mungedi are the feature attractions - after losing two key senior scorers, they stepped up in game one. I mentioned Mungedi's monster performance, but how about Moe's triple double with 19 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists? The ball will generally be in Moe's hands, and the offense will generally look to get the ball to Mungedi. I would not be shocked to see a high/low double team at times.
LeSure is another traditional post player who will crash the glass hard - Nevada as a team will challenge Cal on the boards, and their chances of pulling the upset will likely hinge on an advantage in that category. Anna Cameron and Julia Shelbourn are experienced, back-up post players who don't offer as much in terms of dominant rebounding as the starters. I don't know what the guard rotation is behind Moe yet, as she played every meaningful minute against UCSB.
Keys to the Game
Flood the paint defensively
For most of the last few years, Cal has been team that should, for the most part, focus on getting the ball inside because they lack consistent outside shooters. Well, Nevada might be even more extreme. The do not have a single player on the roster who shot better than 29% from deep last year, and nobody that is a remotely high volume shooter. This is an excellent game to run a ton of 3-2 zone, flood the paint with bodies, and take advantage of a team that should really struggle to hit jumpers. Feel free to double team Mungedi with impunity.
Obviously, getting a 6'8'' player into foul trouble is generally going to be a goal. But Nevada generally lacks depth - or, at least, the type of depth that can compete with Cal's athleticism and talent level. If any of their key contributors have to sit for significant lengths of time, the Bears should feast.
Keep feeding the freshmen minutes and opportunities
Let's be honest: This is a game Cal should win with relative comfort. Right now it's about getting experience and confidence for Cal's freshmen. Gabby Green and Penina Davidson had frustrating opening nights shooting the ball. Getting them minutes and buckets will pay dividends down the line when Cal needs them.