It’s customary to post a box score here, but you really don’t wanna see it. Here’s what happened.
We knew this was an overwhelmingly likely outcome. In women’s basketball, #1 seeds don’t lose on their home court during the opening weekend. It hasn’t happened in a decade. The California Golden Bears were a prohibitive underdog against the Baylor Bears on Monday, and the odds won. Our women’s basketball season is over.
For a quarter, Cal hung in the game. By packing the paint, they discombobulated the Baylor offense, and early aggression from the frontcourt and Kianna Smith provided just enough offense. The Golden Bears were within one possession the entire 1Q, and ended it down only three points, 19-16.
However, the ending was probably already written even with that competitive 1Q, when Cal’s bigs Kristine Anigwe and CJ West both picked up 2 fouls early, while Baylor’s all world frontcourt of Lauren Cox and Kalani Brown had just 1 each, as they started to find easier opportunities to score. Kristine’s 2 fouls (along with 1-8 shooting) in the opening quarter were probably all you really needed to know about how this game would turn out.
The start of the 2Q bore that out. Cal was unable to play aggressively on defense, and a 10-0 Baylor run to open the quarter was effectively the end of the contest.
When Baylor took a 20 point lead late in the 1H, they were shooting 65%, while Cal was shooting 29%. So perhaps on this day, with Baylor’s red hot shooting, this game would have come down this way, regardless of foul trouble. Or whatever the fired up California squad decided to do or not do on the court. We will never know.
What we do know is the inevitable happened.
Baylor 102 - Cal 63
And thus ends the era of Mo Mosley, Recee Caldwell, Asha Thomas, and the great Kristine Anigwe, who broke the Cal single-season scoring record in her farewell in a blue and gold uniform. We now enter a period of uncertainty, and possibly rebuilding. More on that in this week’s conversation with Nick, when we take stock of what was ultimately a disappointing weekend, and season. We’ll also break down this game a little more closely, because we love women’s basketball just that much. Stay tuned.