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Golden Nuggets: MBB Reaction, WBB Takes on Arizona

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Three former Cal Bears received NFL All-Pro Honors.

NCAA Womens Basketball: California at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Considered scrapping GN today because who wants to really talk about the two brutal losses by the MBB program, and there aren’t many articles to link. But part of being a Cal fan is living the bad and the good, plus I want to bring everyone’s attention to the WBB game today. So here I am!

Men’s Basketball

Just the two press conferences with some excerpts, all from Cal Athletics.

On USC’s half-court zone:

”I felt like the press had our guys on their heels, and then it carried over in our sets. We practiced all week attacking gaps and lanes and Marcus and Kingsley flashing and really wanting the ball. I went with the big lineup because I felt like we could capitalize with two big guys in the paint with Metu out for the first half. Having two bigs in the paint to finish, we had really good looks at the rim but just weren’t able to capitalize.”

On consistent first half scoring holes:

”It’s frustrating, but our guys aren’t trying to do that. They are trying to do the right thing. They are young, it’s a proces, and we have to just focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. These guys who are freshman are going to be sophomores next year, and then juniors and then seniors, and really good. You have to focus on what the light at the end of the tunnel is as opposed to what’s going on right now.”

California Freshman Forward Justice Sueing

What accounts for the team’s scoring droughts:

”The ball wasn’t going into the hoop for us for however minutes through the first half, and it is really just us needing to get better look, I think. In film tomorrow we will really be able to break down and analyze it to see what we can do to raise our field goal percentage.”

On if it helps to have a quick turnaround after a loss:

”Definitely. We are going to stick together. We lose together, we win together and tonight we lost but we always gotta keep pushing forward. We have a big game on Saturday against UCLA, and we hope to pick it back up and get the win then.”

California Freshman Guard Juhwan Harris-Dyson

On disappointment after tonight’s loss:

”Against Stanford we had a big deficit. This game we had a big deficit. Like Justice said, sometimes you get out of it, sometimes you don’t, but we need to look forward to UCLA because that is our next coming game.”

On first-half struggles:

”Our guys have to come out of the gate ready to throw the first punch. It’s hard to pinpoint. You could say it’s youth, but at the same time, I have older guys in there. Tonight I went with King, Marcus, Don, so it’s really hard to pinpoint why we wait for the other team to throw the first punch before we react. We try to put the best lineup out there to give us the best fight, give us the best chance from the start of the game. You see me juggling the lineups a bit, so we can put guys out there that will bring it from the start. It’s just a situation that for some reason, we don’t have good starts. We weren’t aggressive in the first half, we didn’t look to attack the zone like we did in the second half. A lot of aggressiveness allowed us to get good looks in the second half -- penetrating the kickouts, penetrating the dump balls to the big guys. We didn’t capitalize on all the offensive rebounds in the first half. We had 17 offensive rebounds— when you get 17 of those, you have to get 10 of those to go down. That’s 20 points, and that’s the difference right there. We have to do a better job of capitalizing when we get steals. We have very little room for error.”

On confidence in zone defense:

”I feel good about it, as long as our guys are being aggressive. You see us out there, our guys getting a couple chippy fouls, and I’m okay with that because it’s a sign of aggressiveness. I feel good about it. Are there many teams in this league that will knock down those shots with their four and five man? I don’t think so. I feel good about our progress.”

California Senior Forward Marcus Lee

On causes of the team’s first-half deficits:

”We’re starting off slow, and that starts with me every time. We look to get paint cuts and get ourselves going through me. That’s just something I have to figure out, and get tougher about.

On how the team can have better starts in the first half:

”We just need to come out fired up. We come out in the second half fired up with energy after the game settles in, but we have to do that in the first half. We need to throw the first punch instead of sitting back and waiting for it.”

On UCLA’s three-point shooting:

”They’re a great team. They can shoot from all five positions, and that’s really hard when you have to play defense because you have to spread out wider on that and still play help defense. They played that really well, and played to their strengths.”

California Freshman Forward Justice Sueing

On taking more shots lately:

”I’m just trying to read the defense really. I’m trying to see my opportunities to score. I’m going to make the right play at the end of the day, and get my teammates involved. I felt like I could have donea little better today to get my teammates involved, but we dug ourselves in a pretty big hole. We will figure it out soon.”

On dealing with large deficits in games:

”Of course it’s frustrating for all of us on the team, but we’re working to fix that, and we need to fix it sooner than later because it’s becoming kind of repetitive. But you know, we’re going to go into film tomorrow, and will just try to figure that out.”

On the team’s use of the press today:

”We were just trying to be the aggressor. In the first half they had us on their heels, and we had to switch that around so we started getting after them in the second half and the results showed. We cut the game to 11, but a hole is a hole and it’s hard to dig yourself out of that, especially in Pac-12 play.”

Women’s Basketball

  • After losing to ranked UCLA and ASU teams, the Bears need to beat Arizona to feel good about themselves. The Wildcats are struggling this year, so this would be a brutal loss. The game will be on at 11am on Pac-12 National (which means I can watch it live!!), Bay Area and Arizona. If there’s no livethread I will make some comments in this post and you can too.
  • Here’s an article about Kristine Anigwe’s homecoming to ASU, published before that loss. I’m posting a lot of excerpts, avoiding now-outdated-due-to-the-previous-game info, but you should read the whole thing.

Cal went 13-0 against a lesser schedule during the last nonconference season and then had to sneak into the NCAA Tournament as the Pac-12’s seventh-best team. The Bears went 9-2 against a loaded nonconference slate this season and proved the ability to beat opponents when Anigwe is playing decoy.

“I felt like I had to put up 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds) every game, and it was stressful,” Anigwe said. “The night before games, I would think: ‘How am I going to do it? They know all of my moves.’

“But, now I’m getting better at trusting my teammates and watching it evolve.”

...

Anigwe moved to Phoenix from London at about 6 months old and found basketball when middle school and then club coaches starting clamoring for her 6-foot-plus frame in seventh and eighth grade.

“I didn’t know she was going to be good. She wasn’t good, at all. She didn’t know anything about the game. I can remember her going to the wrong basket,” Anigwe’s mom, Annette said. “Thank God, she found basketball.

“I just do the pushing. She does the work.”

It’s a work in progress.

...

Anigwe wants to be efficient, play within the flow and rhythm of the offense — things that sometimes don’t show up in the box score or when she’s demanding that teammates cut off her possession in the high post.

“I know I don’t make the right reads all the time. I just want a game where I can play and I don’t want to hear it from my mom,” Anigwe said. “I’m trying to find myself as a basketball player …

“I experienced all the highs of college basketball at 17, getting all the love and all the fans. You’re playing well, so you don’t really realize the importance of winning. But if I want to be the WNBA’s No. 1 draft pick, I have to really win. I have to be a dominant player and elevate everyone else around me.”

Misc.

  • The women’s water polo team was picked to finish 2nd this upcoming season, behind Furd, by the MPSF Coaches Poll. Play begins in two weeks.
  • Congrats to Cameron Jordan, Alex Mack, and Mitchell Schwartz for being named to NFL All-Pro teams. Jordan was a first-team All-Pro while Mack and Schwartz were second team.

I’ll be trying to catch up on other pros in the Tuesday article... with all the losses our current teams have suffered, its best not to think too much on the loss by Goff and others...

Go Bears!