Another game, another awe-inspiring outing by Cal’s star sophomore Kristine Anigwe.
Kristine Anigwe notched her eighth double-double of the season with a monstrous performance, scoring 39 points and grabbing a career-high 16 rebounds to lead Cal (12-0) over Arkansas State (2-10) with a score of 80 to 55. This is coming on the heels of another impressive performance in which she put up 32 points and 15 rebounds against No. 20 Oklahoma. After being named National Freshman of the Year last season, Anigwe has her sights set on carrying Cal to the NCAA Tournament.
And after an undefeated start to the season, Cal looks well on its way to being a part of March Madness this season. The 12-game winning streak is the Bears’ longest since winning 16 straight during the 2012-13 season, in which they reached the Final Four.
This win did not come as much of a surprise. The Bears were seen as heavy favorites coming into the game, especially after their upset win over No. 20 Oklahoma. Cal took care of business, beating a team that has now lost 10 of its past 12 games.
Senior Courtney Range hit a milestone of her own by becoming the 27th player to join Cal’s 1,000-point club after her 11 points that night pushed her to 1,007 career points. Range scored her 1000th point early on in the first quarter and was the only other Cal player to score in double digits. Junior Mikayla Cowling had herself a well-rounded performance with a season-high eight assists, six rebounds and five steals.
Throughout the game, the Red Wolves looked like a team that was young and inexperienced. That is fitting of a team that has seven true freshmen on the roster, after graduating their entire starting five from last season. Senior Dominique Oliver led Arkansas State in scoring with 16 points, and true freshman Jada Ford contributed 14 points, but the team shot only 31.6 percent overall.
As has been the theme throughout their dominating 12-game stretch, the Bears jumped out to a quick lead behind some great defense and never looked back. At the end of the first quarter, Cal found themselves up 21-11, and that lead would grow to the final margin of 25 points. The Bears also took care of the ball a lot better, with only 18 turnovers against the Red Wolves after turning the ball over 33 times against the Sooners. Cal made sure not to give up its comfortable lead this time around.
The win over Arkansas State wraps up non-conference play for Cal, which has now won 16 games straight against non-conference opponents. The Bears will enter conference play as one of two Pac-12 teams still undefeated. Utah is the only other Pac-12 team without a loss this season after No. 15 Colorado was upset by Wyoming. Last season, Cal went 4-14 in Pac-12 play to finish 10th in the standings and missed out on the NCAA tournament. But if this 12-game winning streak is any indication, the Bears are set on proving that the last season was a fluke.
Jeffrey Liu covers women’s basketball. Contact him at [email protected]