Cal women’s basketball continues to have awful luck in close games. After dropping close losses to Harvard and UCLA at home, the Bears had similar issues on the road, losing a five-point squeaker to Arizona and a one-point game to Arizona State.
Cal again struggled to stop a star guard on the other side in Tucson, as Aari McDonald lit the Bears up for 36 points on 11-17 FG shooting. This negated a 20 rebound, 19 point performance for Kristine Anigwe. Cal held the rest of the Arizona team to 25% shooting, but the Bears turned the ball over 18 times and only Reece Caldwell hit double figures. Cal’s backcourt rotation of Kianna Smith, Asha Thomas, and McKenzie Forbes shot 4-22. The Bears fell behind in the first half, found their way back, then proceeded to hit a cold stretch at the worst time.
Cal had a far more encouraging performance against Arizona State, taking the lead going into halftime and nursing a narrow lead with under two minutes left. But bad late game luck and execution befell Cal again, as ASU rallied to tie and take the lead with seconds left. A questionable Pac-12 officiating decision probably also robbed Anigwe of a free throw opportunity to win the game, but Anigwe has become someone the refs play hands off on more often than not.
The Bears are now 1-3 in the Pac-12, will likely fall out of the top 25 today and are sinking well below preseason expectations. Cal probably has to sweep their next four games to salvage any hopes of a top four seeding for the NCAA tournament.
Disappointing. But still correctable. Two months left of basketball to play until we hit the Madness.