Today, the Oregon Ducks women’s basketball team will travel to the Haas Pavilion to face the 10-5 California Golden Bears at 5:00 ET. Cali performed admirably against all four of the ranked teams they faced this season, but those four games are responsible for three close losses. This team is better than their record, and the Ducks (9-6) need to treat them accordingly. Both of these teams are 1-2 in Pac-12 play, with the Ducks coming off of an expected blowout loss at the hands of an elite Stanford team. The Golden Bears, on the other hand,bounced back after losing by 20 to rival USC by knocking down Oregon State (also 1-2 in conference play) 73-56.
California features three strong basketball players in freshman Reshanda Gray, guard Layshia Clarendon, and Gennifer Brandon. Gray has already made her mark and averages 10.6 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per outing off the bench. Clarendon scores 10.5 every night and also adds 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. On defense, her 1.3 steals per game stand out the most. Brandon is one of the best rebounders in the conference (3rd) with 10.6 boards per game, and she also puts up 8.8 every night with 1.1 steals and blocks apiece.
Through just five games this season, Liz Brenner has already made her presence known by averaging 5.2 rebounds per game and 1.6 steals per game. She has the fifth most rebounds per game on the team and the fourth most steals per game, and Brenner will need to be at her best today with Gennifer Brandon patrolling in the paint for the opposition.
If there’s one player who has been shouldering the load recently, it’s captain Nia Jackson. The point guard has taken on an even bigger role with Amanda Johnson still out, and her 4.1 assists per game are tied for the fifth best in the Pac-12. Jackson is a top defensive player and is tied for third in the conference in steals per game, and it will be imperative for her to keep the Ducks energy level high.
Deanna Weaver will look to keeping playing a big role for the Ducks on offense and puts up 8.8 points per game with 5.6 rebounds per game. She adds 1.2 steals per game to help out defensively, and Weaver has really come on strong recently.
Despite some quality losses and one impressive win over Virginia, the California Golden Bears aren’t that much better than the Ducks. However, they are still the better team and will win 70-68 in a very close game overall. Nia Jackson will lead the charge for the Ducks, but they will fall short with Gennifer Brandon grabbing game MVP honors.