When: 11:30 am PT
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Online Stream: Pac-12.com
This might end up being a favorable matchup for the Bears. USC’s go to player is Kristen Simon, who went for 24 when she faced the Bears in Berkeley earlier this year and leads USC in scoring. She left USC’s final regular season game against Arizona early with an ‘undisclosed’ injury. I can’t find any information indicating whether or not she’s likely to play in the Pac-12 tournament. If she’s unavailable then USC is a significantly easier team to beat.
If she plays, Simon is a young but polished low-post scorer and rebounder. Without her, the burden would likely be split among a trio of guards - Minyon Moore, Courtney Jaco, and Sadie Edwards.
Moore is USC’s true point guard, but she’s not afraid to call her own number, with a fouls drawn rate to prove it. Jaco is one of the better shooters in the conference, and Edwards is a solid all-around threat. USC would have to hope that balance would counter the possible loss of Simon.
The winner, of course, is rewarded with an early morning date with top seed Oregon State, who will be trying to state their case for a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. A tough ask, but then there are no easy paths in this particular edition of the Pac-12 tournament.
For whatever reason the Bears have typically given a good showing in Seattle (except, counter-intuitively, in their Final Four season). Last years run ended juuuust short of the final, and provided a nice dose of cheer and optimism at the end of a rough year. Nothing short of a four game winning streak will change Cal’s eventual WNIT destination, but I certainly wouldn’t look down upon a nice win streak in Seattle. Go Bears!