Cal falls to USC, drops to bottom of Pac-12 standings

Photo of Ornela Muca dribbling in front of a USF defender
Josh Kahen/Senior Staff

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Cal is officially 0-7 on the season and alone at the bottom of the Pac-12. As today’s game against USC was the Bears’ last of the year, Cal has nowhere to go but up in 2021.

While this was a 23-point blowout, the blue and gold had several individual performances to feel optimistic about. Freshman forward Ugonne Onyiah had the game of the night for Cal, logging 16 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and three steals on an efficient 8-15 shooting from the field.

Dalayah Daniels and Evelien Lutje Schipholt both chipped in 11 points on the night, in addition to grabbing a combined 19 rebounds. Rounding out the Bears’ impressive showings was freshman center Fatou Samb, who had nine points and three rebounds on the night.

Additionally, Cal had only 13 turnovers, which is much less than the 24.3 the team averaged heading into this game. Energy was not something that the Bears lacked, for they outscored the Trojans 12-7 in second-chance points. Another positive takeaway was that Cal once again showed its “never quit” attitude in the face of a loss, outscoring USC in the final frame.

Cal’s ball handling was better this game than in its previous games, but it could not stop USC’s offensive firepower.

The two-headed dragon of Jordan Sanders and Endyia Rogers was too much for the Bears, as they were both extremely efficient from the field. Sanders and Rogers poured in a combined 50 points, almost outscoring Cal by themselves. The potent duo shot an efficient 8-12 from the field and shot a combined 7-11 from beyond the arc.

Outside of Sanders and Rogers, USC also got plenty of help from its supporting cast. Junior guard Desiree Caldwell chipped in 12 points, and freshman forward Amaya Oliver chipped in 11 points and eight boards.

To put it simply, the Trojans got better shots than the Bears did due to their superior ball movement. Furthermore, USC capitalized on its offensive opportunities better than Cal did. The Trojans had more points off of turnovers and made all but one of their free throws, while the Bears shot 7-12 from the free-throw line.

USC also shot 47.6% from the field compared to Cal’s 36.5% and had 19 assists compared to the Bears’ 13. Moreover, Cal shot too many three-pointers even though it is not a spectacular three-point shooting team, shooting 1-11 on the night. Meanwhile, USC shot a blistering 12-26 from three, good for 46.2% from distance.

Cal’s lack of depth due to injuries was put on display this afternoon, as it got 0 points from its bench compared to USC’s 30.

Justin Kim covers women’s basketball. Contact him at [email protected].