Cal women’s basketball started this season 9-0 — the best record in school history. Since then, the team has fallen to only two wins out of five games and out of the national rankings. While discouraging, this rough patch is going to define how the Bears write the story for the rest of their season.
Cal will be taking on Washington this Sunday afternoon in Haas Pavilion, and all eyes are on the Bears to see if they can turn their season around. After a convincing 14-point win over Washington State on Friday, the Cal is going to be on a mission to win two games in a row for the first time in longer than a month of play as the team faces off against the purple and gold.
The Huskies will come in with their own chip on their shoulders after dropping their last game to Stanford by almost 40 points. After such a detrimental loss, it’s no doubt that Washington will be coming in with a dedicated mindset to make sure the team does not go winless on this road trip.
Washington, only 8-10 for the year, has struggled this season to find its footing. Junior guard Amber Melgoza has been the engine of the Huskies offense, averaging close to 19 points per game. Unfortunately for the Huskies, no other player is scoring in double digits. Melgoza, herself, has had an up-and-down year, only shooting 39 percent from the floor without other offensive options to fall back on.
With Melgoza as the primary offensive threat for Washington, the Huskies have only been able to field the 11th-best offense in the Pac-12. Also bad for them (but good for Cal), they rank just as low on the other side of the court, giving up almost 70 points a game.
With the Huskies having an offense that’s not hard to stop and a defense that can’t get any stops, Cal should have a field day in Haas Pavilion.
Star senior Kristine Anigwe has maintained her excellent play all season, currently leading the NCAA in rebounds. With the Huskies roster featuring no rotation players taller than 6’1”, Anigwe is bound to have a monster night in the paint.
On the opposite end of the offensive spectrum, freshman McKenzie Forbes has been heating up as the season goes on. With more minutes and more responsibility, Forbes has finally found her place as the sharpshooting and crafty guard she was recruited as, knocking down 42 percent of her triples since conference play started.
Joining Forbes as a new face this year, graduate student Receé Caldwell has turned on the offensive burners during the last few games. Throughout the season, Caldwell has been able to contribute to the Bears in every way but scoring, leading the team in assists and making key plays every game. Against Pac-12 competition, however, it seems that Caldwell has finally found her offensive rhythm, matching Forbes as the Bears’ best shooter over the last five games.
Cal’s win versus Washington State showed us that the Bears are not to be disrespected. Against the Huskies, the Bears will be looking to do much of the same damage to their opponent as they try to fight their way back into the top 25.