It's Cal's (presumably now annual) School Haas Rock event, in which the Bears play really early in the day and a bunch of school age children come to make an almighty ruckus! The early start time isn't exactly great for MY ability to watch the game (and really, what's more important than that!) but it's a cool event for the kids and I get the sense that the players and coaches really enjoy it as well.
UC Riverside is this year's opponent. The Highlanders were a middle-of-the-pack team in the Big West last year, but have gotten off to a good start this year with a pair of easy wins over Fresno State and San Diego State. And there's reason to suspect that Riverside could be pretty good this year. The 2014-15 season saw nine different contributors in the regular rotation. Eight of those players are back this year. This is a veteran group, with 10 total juniors and seniors on the roster. The Bears just might be on upset alert this morning.
PG Annalise Ito, 5'11'' Senior
G Brittany Crain, 5'8'' Senior
G Michelle Curry, 5'8'' Sophomore
G Clemence Lefebvre, 6'0'' Sophomore
F Rejane Verin, 6'1'' Junior
G Simone DeCoud, 5'5'' Junior
G Akilah Martin, 5'6'' Senior
F Inara Nyingifa, 5'11'' Junior
Crain, Ito, DeCoud and Curry are all returning starters, and even though DeCoud hasn't started yet this year, she'll likely pick up starter's minutes and points. The biggest addition looks to be Rejane Verin, a transfer from UNLV. Verin is currently leading UCR in points and has been a solid rebounder and paint defender in the early going.
You will note that UCR is going to play four guards, and although those guards have decent height for a mid-major, they will, as usual, be giving up significant size to Cal. Also, yes, Inara is the sister of Atonye Nyingifa.
Keys to the Game
1. Keep the turnover margin close
Last year, UC Riverside forced 577 turnovers while only coughing up the ball 359 times themselves. That's an average margin of +7 a game. For UCR to win this game, the margin will likely need to be at least that big, if not larger. This will be a good test to see what the Bears learned from their experience against Louisville's pressure defense.
2. More rebounding dominance
Cal's personnel doesn't seem so different that the Bears should change from being a good rebounding team to being an elite rebounding team. But we got an elite rebounding team against Louisville, and there's no reason to expect that a team like UCR (rebound margin of -6/game last year) would be able to keep the Bears off the glass.
3. Getting more out of the bench
UCR is an up-tempo team. That means lots of running and more possessions, and potentially more fouls. Cal will almost certainly need to use more than the (essentially) six player rotation that beat Louisville, particularly if anybody gets in foul trouble. Considering UCR's personnel, I'm guessing Mosley gets some run today.