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Falling into place: Cal looks to maintain momentum against Saint Mary’s

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KYLE GARCIA TAKATA | SENIOR STAFF

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NOVEMBER 18, 2022

After Stanford football comes to town for the 125th Big Game, Cal women’s basketball treks 12.5 miles east over to Moraga to compete against Saint Mary’s. Fresh off a victory against the Vandals, the Bears look to further improve their record this weekend.

Cal will attempt to ride the momentum against Saint Mary’s and start its first win streak of the young season. With such a balanced performance against Idaho, the Bears appear to have found their groove and hope to carry this play style over to Sunday’s competition.

After three games so far this season, both Cal and Saint Mary’s sport a 2-1 record, although one team has scored significantly more in these contests. The Gaels have scored in the 60s for two of their games and popped off in game two of the season with an 88-point performance. These three contests produced a total of 219 points, wit the team averaging 73 points a game.

The Bears, on the other hand, scored more than 80 points in both of their victories and just fell short of 80 in their one loss to Notre Dame. Their 249 total points in these three games outscores Saint Mary’s by 30 and Cal has also averaged 10 more points a game than its opponent.

“This is who we want to be,” said head coach Charmin Smith. “We know we have multiple weapons.”

In 14 total games between these teams, the Bears have walked away with 11 victories and have won nine of the last 10 matchups. Back in 2021, Cal’s 73-55 domination over Saint Mary’s featured spotlight performances from Evelien Lutje-Schipholt and Jayda Curry, who scored a combined 38 points in the game.

The Bears’ balanced scoring once again brought them success as four players scored in the double digits. Five players reached the double-digit mark in Wednesday’s game against Idaho, although Curry was not one of them. Fans hope the star player will bounce back against Saint Mary’s after a 2-8 shooting performance.

The Gaels will depend on Taycee Wedin and Ali Bamberger to continue to lead the pack after scoring in double digits all three games this season. However, if the Bears can continue to play their game with poise and shut down these two scorers on the opposing team, their chances of victory remain high.

“We have this in us offensively every night,” Smith said.

The Bears like how their offense is looking this early in the season, especially the balanced production from Kemery Martín, Peanut Tuitele, Leilani McIntosh, Ugonne Onyiah and Lutje-Schipholt in their last game played. The next step to round out Cal’s game will be improving its defense.

In the matchup against Idaho, the Bears gave their opponents too many opportunities to score on fast breaks and in the paint. The Bears made some needed stops when necessary, but better lockdown defense will make them a double-edged sword on the court.

“It’s just going to take time for people to get into a rhythm, get into a flow. And it is starting to show,” Smith said. “Where we are headed is really scary for our opponents because we can be really good.”

Seeing multiple different players come into their own — especially on a night when Curry was silent — exemplifies the versatility and depth this Cal team has started to develop early on. Fans should be excited to see this team continue to progress every game.

With the pieces starting to click for Cal and how the team has performed against Saint Mary’s in the past, this matchup will be a fitting test to see if the Bears will continue their upward trajectory. Who will be the leaders and playmakers, and who will be the blame takers?

Contact Joshua Kamins at 

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NOVEMBER 17, 2022