In the middle of the most important part of their season, the Cal women’s basketball team (17-5, 9-2 Pac-12) has found themselves on a six-game winning streak. Defeating Arizona (8-4, 1-10) 65-46 in Tucson, Arizona, the Bears now have their 17th consecutive victory over the Wildcats. Cal did exactly what they were predicted to do in this game — win, and win easily.
The highest score for the Bears was someone completely new; freshman Gabby Green scored 18 points in the game, a career best and a game high , despite only averaging 7.6 points per game so far this season. She also had seven assists, five rebounds, three steals and one blocked shot in the game. This was the first breakout performance for the young guard from Oakland, despite starting in every game this season.
The game started out with the Wildcats keeping the score close, Cal holding only a 12-8 lead after the first five minutes of the game. After that point, Cal’s defense really came on, and the Bears proceed to shut out Arizona from scoring a field goal in the following 10 minutes, while Cal scored 17 points during that time. The Bears went into the half with a 33-16 lead, the second game in a row where they have held their opponents below 20 points in the first half. Cal’s defense had a huge presence in the game with the Wildcats only shooting 22.2 percent from the field.
In the second half, Arizona had much more success on offense, scoring 30 points. This included the Wildcats’ Candice Warthen scoring 13 of her 17 points in the second half. However, the Arizona defense was not able to hold off the Cal offense, with the Bears increasing their lead to as much as 26 points with seven minutes left in the game.
Senior Reshanda Gray also had a strong game, scoring 17 points off 7 for 9 shooting. Gray also had three blocked shots, which contributed to the Bears’ 10 blocked shots in the game, tying the team’s season high. Right behind her was fellow senior Brittany Boyd, who also shot 7-of-9 and had 15 points in the game. She also had six rebounds and three assists.
With the win, the Bears improve to the third-ranked team in the Pac-12 over No. 12 Stanford, who now resides in fourth place after a loss to No. 10 Arizona State. With an upcoming game against Arizona on Sunday, two games against Stanford and a season finale against Oregon State still to come this season, the rankings for the Pac-12 Championship tournament are still very unclear. The matchup on Sunday will show where this team deserves to be ranked in the conference as Cal has not lost since hosting the Sun Devil’s at home in January.
While the team has clearly made progress in its increased scoring ability — especially coming from a variety of the players on the team — and better defense — including Gray’s improved play and decrease in fouls — this win only does so much. This team has much tougher challenges ahead, which test this team’s ability to stay together and retain the confidence they have had during their winning streak.
Alaina Getzenberg covers women’s basketball. Contact her at [email protected]