When: 2:00 pm PT
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Well, this is kind of a big one. A weird thing to say when the Bears are 13-2, but they are on a two game losing streak and a home sweep would raise the very real specter that these Bears aren’t ready for the step up in competition that is Pac-12 play.
Losing to ASU and OSU, while painful, is understandable. Losing to Oregon, without Sabrina Ionescu, would be a much bigger problem.
It’s tough to get a read on the Ducks. They have started conference play 0-3, and all 3 losses have been by at least 16 points. But two of those losses came without Sabrina Ionescu, who is probably the best freshman in the conference, and the 3rd came in Palo Alto. Ionescu shot 4-18 in her first game back from a broken hand, and if she’s similarly rusty then the Bears should be solid favorites. If she’s back to being an efficient, borderline triple double threat then the Bears will be on upset alert.
Oregon’s other major threat is 6’4’’ freshman Ruthy Hebard, who is shooting an insane 71% for the season. That’s down to ‘just’ 60% in conference play, but she’s clearly Oregon’s best offensive option.
The Ducks have a potentially potent offense, but the defense simply hasn’t stood up to Pac-12 offenses. Cal will hope that trend stays true this afternoon.