Success Will Come
LOS ANGELES – Despite the loss at USC, California women's basketball (0-7, 0-4 Pac-12) continues to prove that their freshman class is getting better with every minute played. Two of the three Bears to record double-digit points on Monday were freshmen including forward Ugonne (Michelle) Onyiah who finished with a career-best 16 points while forward Dalayah Daniels recorded her second-consecutive double-double (third overall.)
The stats for Daniels continue to impress as she is the only freshman in the Pac-12 with three double-doubles and she has now played back-to-back games without a substitution. Meanwhile, Onyiah, who received her first collegiate start, played 32 minutes in both of this weekend's games. The Eastvale, Calif., native shot 53.3 percent (8-for-15) against the Trojans and disrupted plays throughout the game's entirety. This was evidenced by her three steals and two blocks – both career highs. Sophomore forward Evelien Lutje Schipholt was the third Cal player with more than ten points, tallying 11, along with seven rebounds and six assists (a career high).
As a team, the Bears dominated the paint 44-28 and did well to limit their turnovers. Entering the game with an average of 24.3 per game, Cal turned the ball over 13 times overall and just three times in the second half (once in the fourth quarter). The team's average committed personal fouls remain the lowest in the conference and now the lowest in the country. With just five against the Trojans, it is the fewest in a game for the Bears in over four years. Now, with an average of 12.2 per game, the Bears are ranked No. 1 in the nation among teams with six or more games. Cal also won the offensive rebounding game against USC 13-11 on Sunday and recorded their most assists (13) since Feb. 21, 2020 against Oregon.
"This is all about building for the future," head coach Charmin Smith said. "This is about building for when the expectation is to cut down nets and make deep runs into the tournament. Right now, we have to keep playing until the final buzzer because we have to continue to work on things. I am continuing to teach in every moment…so that we can be better and have some success."
After a 10-day break, the Golden Bears will be back in action when they head to Arizona to face Arizona State and Arizona on January 1 and 3 respectively. Times for those games are still TBD.
With three key players out for the season due to injury, Cal women's basketball continues to improve with every game. They are propelled by a group of young freshmen and sophomores who will assuredly find success as they lead the program in the months and years to come.
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