Bears and Wildcats Clash in Tucson
TUCSON, Ariz. – Cal heads to Tucson for a showdown with No. 6 Arizona on Sunday, January 3. The Golden Bears and Wildcats will tip off at 11am PT on Pac-12 Network/Arizona/Bay Area.
Cal will look to bounce back after a tough defeat on New Year's Day at Arizona State. The Bears led for the majority of Friday's game and carried an advantage as large as 11 points in the third quarter. In the waning moments of the contest, the Bears had possession of the ball while trailing by one point. With 7.8 seconds remaining, Cal ran one final play, but was unable to score and the Bears ultimately fell 56-53.
Cal had a good game overall and its defense held the sun Devils to just 18 percent shooting for the first seven minutes of the contest. Three Bears ultimately finished the game with double-digit points for the third time this season. Freshman forward Dalayah Daniels (6-for-8) led the team with 20 points and six rebounds while sophomore guard Leilani McIntosh tied her career-high with 15 points and set a career-best in steals (6 – all in the first half). Meanwhile, freshman forward Ugonne (Michelle) Onyiah contributed 10 points, five rebounds and a pair of blocks. Onyiah has now started in back-to-back games and she has scored double-digit point totals in both. In her two starts, she has averaged 13.0 points, six rebounds, two blocks, and two steals. The Bears did well on the boards Friday night, winning the defensive rebound battle 20-18 while also dominating in the paint 28-12. Cal also recorded a season-high 12 steals, its most as a team since also tallying 12 against ASU in the first round of the 2020 Pac-12 Tournament.
Daniels leads the team in average scoring (13.0 points) and rebounds (7.4 – sixth in the conference) and is tied for second on the team in both total blocks (six) and steals (eight). The Seattle, Wash. native has a team-best five games with double-digit points and she has reached that mark in each of the last three games with two double-doubles during that time. She is the only freshman in the Pac-12 with three double-doubles and has the second-most overall. Her three double-doubles are also the second-most in the country out of all freshmen. She has played all 40 minutes in each of the last three games and is averaging 37.6 minutes per game – second on the team behind McIntosh (37.7). Furthermore, her 301:43 total minutes played are the most out of any player in the Pac-12 and the ninth-most in the nation. After committing 13 personal fouls against ASU, the Bears are still atop the country with the fewest average personal fouls per game among teams with eight or more contests (12.9).
The last time Cal and Arizona faced off was March 6, 2020 when the Bears fell to the Wildcats in the second round of the Pac-12 Tournament. However, just five days earlier, Cal upset No. 13 Arizona in Tucson 55-54. Cal leads the all-time series between the schools 38-32.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
Arizona is currently 7-1, 5-1 Pac-12 and is ranked No. 6 in the AP top-25 poll, its highest ranking in program history. The Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season (81-54) on Friday when they took on No. 1 Stanford.
Senior guard Aari McDonald is averaging the second most points per game in the Pac-12 with 19.1. She has scored in double-figures in 74-straight games which is the longest active streak in the nation. Her 19 made threes are ranked second in the conference and she is the NCAA's career scoring leader among active players. Junior forward Cate Reese is the only other Wildcat averaging double-digit points this season (12.5) and she boasts a team-leading 50 percent field goal percentage. On the other end of the basket, senior forward Sam Thomas is ranked fifth in the conference with 11 blocks so far this season.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
Sunday's 11am PT game at No. 6 Arizona will be available to watch via Pac-12 Network/Arizona/Bay Area. Live stats will also be available here. Fans can receive additional in-game updates and behind-the-scenes information by following the Bears' social media accounts (Twitter: @CalWBBall, Instagram: @CalWBBall and Facebook: Facebook.com/CalWBBall).
The Golden Bears will return home for their first games at Haas Pavilion of 2021. They will face Oregon State and Oregon on Jan. 8 and 10 respectively. Both contests will be televised on Pac-12 Network.