Falling to 0-13 on a season would be tough for any team, but the Bears remain consistent with their winning mindset. While the final box score does not suggest it, there were positive takeaways from this game.
As the famous Ernie Banks said, “The only way to prove that you’re a good sport is to lose,” and Cal’s effort in yesterday’s game was a perfect example of honoring a sport and playing the right way.
Cal was facing a 22-point deficit heading into the second half and could have easily thrown in the towel and let the margin balloon to 30 or 40. Instead, the Bears remained persistent and made the game close. They outscored Colorado by seven points in the second half and even held them to a single-digit scoring output in the final frame. This has been a consistent trend in many of the Bears’ games this year, displaying their ‘never quit’ attitude and willingness to build winning habits during tough times.
The Bears also had an impressive 10 blocks on the night compared to Colorado’s two. Dalayah Daniels and Ugonne Onyiah decided to have a block party on Super Bowl Sunday, combining for 7 blocks. While blocks aren’t necessarily indicative of good defense, they are indicative of effort, which is important to building a winning program. On offense, Onyiah and Daniels combined for 23 points on 9-16 shooting.
Due to Cal’s injuries in the backcourt, many of the ball-handling responsibilities this season have fallen on sophomore guard Leilani McIntosh. Tonight was no different, as Cal needed all of McIntosh’s efforts to remain close in this game. She was the Bears’ leading scorer with 13 points, and she earned those points while shooting an efficient 6-11 from the field. On top of that, she led the team with five assists and four steals, while even chipping in a block.
The blue and gold did, however, struggle with turnovers, and allowed the Buffaloes to get good looks as a result of those turnovers. Colorado converted 26 points off of 17 Cal turnovers, forcing the Bears to pay for their mistakes.
Another discouraging trend this season has been the Bears’ free-throw woes, and those woes continued Sunday. Cal took 10 shots from the line but could only convert on half of its attempts. While getting to the free-throw line that many times is an encouraging sign, it does not do any good for the Bears if they come up empty. Clearly, making all of their free throws would not have changed the end result tonight, but the blue and gold’s struggles from the line could be costly in the future.
Catch Cal kick off its Oregon road trip with a Friday night matchup against the Ducks. The game will be at 4 p.m. and will be on Pac-12 networks.
Justin Kim covers women’s basketball and men’s water polo. Contact him at [email protected]