When: 8 p.m. Pacific/11 p.m. Eastern
TV: Pac-12 Networks
I thought the Huskies were sleepers to compete towards the top of the Pac-12, but that hasn't quite happened this year. They have a ton of players with lots of recruiting pedigree, but that just hasn't translated this year. Why?
Well, I haven't really seen Washington play this year. But glancing at the stats, it looks like the issue is a complete lack of inside presence. Remember last year, when Talia Caldwell completely destroyed the Huskies and Cal clinched a conference title? Well, not much has changed since then.
Kelsey Plum and Jazmine Davis make up an excellent guard duo, and Mercedes Wetmore is a solid senior point guard. Offensively, many teams would love to have that kind of a starting backcourt. Unfortunately, Washington doesn't have anybody that can score consistently and efficiently inside. That heaps more pressure on the guards, who are forced to take more and more shots from outside.
Washington also struggles to rebound the ball well, as they sit ninth in the conference in rebounding percentage. They do a decent job of limiting opponents to lower shooting percentages, but when you struggle to force turnovers and grab defensive boards, that ability is minimized.
Keys to the game:
Defend the three point line - Plum, Davis and Talia Walton combine to attempt 18.5 threes a game. For Plum and Davis, hitting threes is nearly half of their offensive production. It's tough to completely prevent them from getting shots off, but if Cal can force them to take poorer looks then all the better.
There will be plenty of pressure on Afure Jemerigbe and Brittany Boyd to keep Plum and Davis in check. This could be a good game for Courtney Range, who seems to be the Cal player most suited to guarding Walton's inside/outside skill set.
Bounce back from Reshanda - Washington will probably play some 4 guard lineups, and Cal should have the advantage inside regardless of which personnel groups the Huskies go with. The question is who will take advantage. Will Washington's quickness give Cal trouble, or will Cal's size dominate the paint? This is a game that, on paper, Reshanda should be able to dominate.
Get out and run - Playing Stanford isn't much fun. They know how to get back in transition and kill any opportunity to run. Washington, on the other hand, plays a more open style and won't be nearly as disciplined in transition. This is a good game for Brittany Boyd to again attack after missed UW baskets and turnovers like she loves to do.