When: 2:00 pm PT
TV: Pac-12 Network
Before anything else, let's discuss what appears to be a piece of very good news:
Cal soph. guard Gabby Green not on trip with team to Los Angeles, won't play against USC tomorrow, expected back in action next week. #ncaaw— Hoopfeed.com (@hoopfeed) January 23, 2016
Gabby Green didn't play against UCLA, and the game went predictably for a team that was woefully undermanned against a really good team. Gabby Green will not play against USC either. But apparently she will be back next week, and that's critically important for this team for a few reasons.
For one, Cal needs Gabby Green long term. For as much as she has struggled with her shot, she's a plus defender, a plus rebounder, and a plus passer. She has the tools to be a great player, and they need her around to develop into that player.
For two, Cal needs Gabby Green so that this year can be about developing skill and developing chemistry, and losing Gabby means that this team is struggling just to find bodies to play, let alone focusing on improving game by game. We'd be in a situation where the entire season could go completely off the rails.
It looks like that worst-case scenario won't happen. Phew.
As for USC, they have problems of their own. Jordan Adams and Brianna Barrett won't be playing due to some sort of academic issue that may or may not be resolved later in the season. Those players make up USC's starting back court. Their absence leaves USC with just 8 players who are expected contributors, and without any major scoring or passing threats at the guard spot.
So this should be a battle royale inside. Cal can throw Kristine Anigwe and Courtney Range. USC can throw out Kristen Simon and Temi Fagbenle. I fully expect whichever team wins that match-up inside will win this game.
The Bears are undermanned, but so are the Trojans. With so much roster change, there's not much value in computer predictions. Let's hope Cal can take this opportunity to steal a road win against a team just as vulnerable as the Bears are right now.