The Bears, coming off an impressive home win against St. Mary’s, look to make it 2-0 vs. the Santa Clara Broncos. While Santa Clara shouldn’t be quite as tough as the Gaels (particularly since the game is at Haas) they were solid in the WCC last year and return enough talent that a win can’t be taken for granted. They have two pre-season WCC picks back from a 23 win team and a decent amount of size for a mid-major. Let’s take a look:
PG Emily Wolph, 5’4’’ So.
G Taylor Berry, 5’9’’ Jr.
F Lori Parkinson, 6’0’’ Sr.
F Marie Bertholdt, 6’0’’ Sr.
F Morgan McGwire 6’2’’ Jr.
G Kyla Martin, 5’5’’ Jr.
F Carleigh Patrick, 6’0’’ Fr.
G Naomi Jimenez, 6’0’’ Fr.
F Beth Carlson, 6’1’’ Sr.
G Nicole Vander Helm, 6’0’’ Fr.
In a close season opening win over Idaho St, Santa Clara leaned heavily on their starting 5, with each playing at least 26 minutes, and they provided the vast majority of on-court production. Facing a step up in competition, expect more of the same.
It’s the trio of starting forwards that make the Broncos go. Parkinson, Bertholdt, and McGwire collectively averaged 33 points and 19 rebounds at almost identical usage and efficiency rates. Their skill sets are a bit different (McGwire is more of a shooter and is willing to step out, while Bertholdt draws lots of fouls) but the production is very steady.
Berry is a low usage combo guard who helps out on the glass. Wolph is the point guard, coming back from (I assume) a major injury because she took a redshirt year last year. She’s back, and she scored 20 points in the season opener after taking over in the 4th quarter.
Keys to the game
Rebounding equity - despite all of Cal’s size and athleticism, they have been outrebounded twice, and now they face a team that has a decent amount of size themselves. Santa Clara’s trio of starting forwards aren’t used to losing the rebounding battle, and they’ll look for 2nd chance opportunities.
Get more shooting contributions - Asha Thomas’ 3 point explosion was enough against St. Mary’s, but if Cal is going to beat teams that constantly clog the paint they will eventually need more help from other guards. Let’s start tonight!
A good night for transition basketball - Santa Clara isn’t a great ball handling team, and you would expect them to be turnover prone against Cal’s length. nothing better than some easy buckets off of turnovers to keep Cal’s offense humming.