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Prep for Pac-12: Poignant matchups for Cal against UCSD, FAMU

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DECEMBER 15, 2022

Coming off a decisive win against Pacific, the Bears look to close out the semester strong and head into the winter on a win streak. With this pair of games taking place at home and featuring two sub-.300 record teams in UC San Diego and Florida A&M, Cal seems to have the upper hand.

The Bears (7-2) take on the Tritons (2-5) Friday night, as Cal aims for win number eight to match last season’s 8-2 start. UCSD will try to bounce back after losing its last two games in an effort to turn its season around in the early stages.

In their previous matchups, the Bears have taken home the victory, each time in double-digit fashion. These two teams last competed in San Diego last year — which resulted in a 64-54 Cal win, highlighted by Jayda Curry dropping 20 points.

In the games played between these teams, the Tritons have averaged 57.8 points a game, while the Bears scored 300 points in the four total competitions. With how dominant Cal has been in the past against UCSD, can the Bears continue this streak?

Watch for UCSD’s Sydney Brown and Izzy Forsyth — who are each coming off of a 15-point performance in their last game — to counter the Bears’ offense. Unfortunately for the Tritons, their efforts fell just short of a victory in early December.

On Cal’s side, fans hope Kemery Martín’s dominant offensive display of 21 points against Pacific carries over to this week’s matchup, along with double-digit points put up by Curry, Peanut Tuitele and Evelien Lutje Schipholt. If the Bears can establish an early lead and improve on their defense in the second half to close out the game, history can well repeat itself in favor of the blue and gold.

Two days later, the Bears pick back up at Haas Pavilion to go head to head with the Rattlers (2-6) before starting conference play. This will be one last tune-up game for Cal to prepare for its first Pac-12 matchup against Stanford.

FAMU won its last competition in a close 77-75 game against Tuskegee University, transmogrifying its losing deficit into an overtime victory. The Rattlers head to California after facing Mississippi State on Thursday. FAMU is tasked with facing two tough competitors with similar records, giving the Bears the upper hand for Sunday’s game.

The Rattlers lean on the team’s points per game leader and top three-point shooter, Dylan Horton, who leads the team with 17.9 points a game and a 55.6 3PT FG%. Alongside Ahriahna Grizzle, the second top scorer, they look to take down the Bears in order to work their way back to a .500 season record.

In each of these teams’ last appearances, the Bears and the Rattlers racked up similar stats for points scored in the paint and points off turnovers — but differed substantially in fast break points and bench points.

FAMU took advantage of converting on turnovers last time out on the court, scoring 20 fast break points. This is a significant edge for the Rattlers since Cal has not only struggled to execute on these types of plays, but also has difficulty defending against fast breaks.

On the Bears’ side, their 16 bench points in the last matchup against Pacific more than doubled that of the Rattlers’, thanks to Cal’s depth and Charmin Smith’s strategic use of her bench. Both fast break plays and players coming off the bench could prove to be deciding factors in Sunday’s face-off.

After these two games, the chase for a spot at the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas begins, as Cal waits in anticipation for the 18 straight games on the path to a playoff berth.

Contact Joshua Kamins at 


DECEMBER 15, 2022