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Ionescu’s Court: Can the Golden Bears beat the Ducks?

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Sa-Bring-It!

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Spokane Regional James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, at 8 PM on the PAC-12 NETWORK, the California Golden Bears will attempt to dethrone the reigning Queens of PAC-12 Basketball.

Can the Golden Bears take down the Ducks? All rise! Ionescu’s court is in session.

SEASON THUS FAR

RECORD: 14-7, 5-5

BEST WINS: BYU, Saint Mary’s, Stanford

WORST LOSS: Harvard, UCLA, Arizona

COMMON OPPONENTS: Saint Mary’s, UCLA, USC, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington, Wazzu, Utah, Colorado

LAST 5 GAMES:

  • W (1/20) Washington, 79-70
  • L (1/25) #21 Utah, 74-87
  • W (1/27) Colorado, 80-60
  • W (1/31) #8 Stanford, 81-80
  • L (2/2) #8 Stanford, 50-75

SUMMARY: After starting the season with nine straight wins, a ten-point loss to UConn brought the Golden Bears back to earth. A loss to Harvard followed and then the PAC-12 schedule arrived.

Thus far, Cal’s conference run has had its share of big wins and close losses. It all started with a split trip to LA, in which they lost in overtime to UCLA but defeated USC. A five-point loss to Arizona and one-point loss to ASU was followed by a sweep of the Washington schools.

Against ranked competition, the Golden Bears have been mostly unsuccessful: 66-76 against #5 UConn, 61-62 against #20 ASU, and 74-87 against #21 Utah. However, splitting their recent home-and-home stand against #11 Stanford has proven that Cal is ready to upset some PAC-12 competition, meaning these next two games present a golden opportunity as they will face off against #3 Oregon and #7 Oregon State.

CONFERENCE COMPARISON*

  • GOLDEN BEARS score 70.2 PPG
  • DUCKS allow 59.4
  • GOLDEN BEARS shoot 43.3% from the floor
  • DUCKS allow 38.0%
  • GOLDEN BEARS shoot 35.0% from three
  • DUCKS allow 30.9%
  • GOLDEN BEARS average 37.1 rebounds
  • DUCKS allow 30.5
  • GOLDEN BEARS allow 70.0 PPG
  • DUCKS score 86.1
  • GOLDEN BEARS allow 43.3% from the floor
  • DUCKS shoot 50.9%
  • GOLDEN BEARS allow 37.6% from three
  • DUCKS shoot 43.3%
  • GOLDEN BEARS allow 33.0 rebounds
  • DUCKS average 38.6
  • GOLDEN BEARS average assists 14.5/13.8 turnovers

(*all stats are from conference play)

PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR

Kristine Anigwe

6’4, Center/Forward, Senior

The Golden Bears are led by Kristine Anigwe, a senior who leads the country in rebounds (15.6 per game) and double-doubles (21 out of 21 games played). If Cal has a shot at beating Oregon, it will be due to Anigwe taking control of the game in similar fashion to what Megan Huff did for Utah, but with a different conclusion.

The night is almost guaranteed to be a historic night for the senior as she is currently tied for first with Colleen Galloway on Cal’s all-time scoring list. Anigwe enters this contest averaging 22.4 points per game and will be eager to upset a top five team in front of a home crowd.

Asha Thomas

5’4, Guard, Senior

A second scorer could make the difference for Cal when they play against Oregon tonight. Asha Thomas is the Golden Bear’s second leading scorer with 10.3 points, but if she can channel the kind of game she had against UConn (a game in which she hit six three-pointers and scored 22 points) then an upset of the Ducks could be possible.

NCAA Womens Basketball: PAC-12 Conference Tournament-California vs UCLA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


IONESCU’S VERDICT

In conclusion, Anigwe possesses the kind of talent to make this game interesting, but the Ducks are playing at a level where one transcendent player is not enough to keep pace with their high-flying offense. Haas Pavilion could be rocking due to a highly ranked team coming to town and Anigwe’s almost assured record-breaking performance, but in the end, the Ducks should dominate, especially in the fourth quarter, and win by double digits.

THREAT LEVEL

7 out of 16 triple-doubles

SCORE PREDICTION

Ducks 85- Golden Bears 72