The Bears now stand at 4-0, with four wins over mid-major competition that range from ‘mildly nervous’ to ‘100% routine.’ The USF Dons stand between Cal and a 5-0 start, and I fully expect the Bears to get there.
USF is 3-1, but their 3 wins have been narrow wins over weak teams, and their one defeat was by 38 points to Washington State. The early indications are that USF is not a team ready to compete with Pac-12 quality opposition.
Last year was a high water mark for USF - they won the WCC conference tournament as a 6 seed with three wins by a combined 8 points before losing decisively to Stanfurd in the tournament.
That level of modest success has been rare for USF, who had been turned around by former Stanfurd star Jennifer Azzi, who unexpectedly stepped down as coach after the season. She has since been replaced by another former Cardinal, Molly Goodenbour.
PG Anne Seilund, 5’9’’ Jr.
G Rachel Howard, 5’10’’ Sr.
G Kalyn Simon, 5’9’’ Jr.
G Ninni Salmi, 6’2’’ Fr.
F Michaela Rakova, 6’3’’ Jr.
C Zayn Dornstauder, 6’4’’ So.
G Nia Alexander, 5’9’’ Jr.
F Claudia Price, 5’11’’ Sr.
F Alicia Roufosse, 6’3’’ So.
USF plays a ton of players, to the point where I didn’t bother trying to list them all. So far, 12 different players have received 10+ minutes of playing time in an individual game. I don’t know if there’s been so much flux in the rotation because of injuries, or because they want to give everybody a shot to earn their way towards more playing time, but the box score results are rather chaotic.
Still, four players have started every game, played at least 20 minutes/game, and have averaged at least 7 points each. Howard is the best pure shooter and takes the most shots - she’s dangerous from any spot on the floor. Rakova has been a reliable inside scorer and rebounder. Simon and Seilund have been solid secondary scorers. Nobody else has played consistently enough and impacted the box score consistently enough to say much about.
Regardless of exactly how USF deploys their players, this is a game Cal should win about as comfortably as their last few games. USF is missing their two leading scorers from last year’s 9-9 WCC squad, and Cal has already beaten two teams (St. Mary’s and Santa Clara) that will probably finish ahead of USF in the standings. This should be a comfortable double digit win if the Bears are playing up to their ability level