#28 California Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

California Golden Bears

Overall Rank: #28
Conference Rank: #4 Pac-12
#28 California Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview
California Team Page


California was one of the better teams in a pretty competitive Pac-12. They ended up tied for third in the conference with a 13-5 record and earned a four seed in the NCAA Tournament. Once there, they lost a heart breaker to Texas in the second round after cruising past Wichita State. Moving forward, the Golden Bears have some reloading to do. Gone are Reshanda Gray, Brittany Boyd and Mercedes Jefflo, who was dismissed from the team, and that is a lot of production to replace. Those three accounted for 40.8 points, 17.8 rebounds and 9.8 assists per game.

2014-15 Record: 25-10, 13-5
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Lindsay Gottlieb
Coach Record: 103-34 at California, 159-73 overall

This is a very young team, but the frontcourt could still be one of the best in the conference. Mikayla Cowling, a 6-2 sophomore, started 26 games last season and is the team’s top returning scorer with 10.0 points per game. Her versatility in the scoring department can make her tough to defend and Cowling could be in for a big season. Courtney Range figures to join her in the starting lineup. The 6-3 junior is one of the more experienced players on the roster having played a key role for the Bears over the last two years. As a sophomore last season she averaged 8.7 points and 5.4 rebounds. Her scoring is really coming around and she could easily be a consistent double digit scorer. Penina Davidson showed glimpses of potential as a freshman last year, but only played 11.8 minutes per game. She will be pushed for minutes by incoming freshmen Kristine Anigwe and Chen Yue. Anigwe is one of the top post prospects in this class and she will make a big impact right away. She was a McDonald’s All-American and Arizona’s Prep Player of the Year. At 6-4, she can block shots, but she is pretty polished in the scoring department as well for a freshman. Yue may be a little more raw offensively, but at 6-7, she can make things happen on the defensive end this season.

The backcourt loss of Boyd was expected, but losing Jefflo leaves few options for the backcourt. They will have to build around Gabby Green, a 6-2 sophomore who averaged 6.7 points and 3.2 assists in 2014-2015. Green can run the show and is very effective on the glass, but she will need to work on her outside shot a little more. Green has proven to be effective as a slasher on the wing, but she will likely spend more time with the ball in her hands this season. Freshman Asha Thomas leads a group of backcourt newcomers that also includes Breanna Cavanaugh and MaAne Mosley. Those are the only four guards left on the roster and that is just one sophomore and three freshmen. There is talent, and a little bit of versatility from the frontcourt in a pinch, but the lack of depth and experience is a big concern.

Final Projection:
Losing Jefflo in September set this team back a little bit. She was the team’s most prolific outside shooter last season and Green, the second most prolific three-point shooter, was terribly inconsistent and will have to spend more time worrying about running the team. The bigs can knock down shots on occasion, but one of the three incoming freshmen guards will have to turn into a reliable shooter, while at least one of the others will need to provide depth off the bench. That is asking a lot from freshmen, especially considering the more highly regarded freshmen are forwards and centers. Yet, the frontcourt is good and the backcourt should be alright as long as Green continues to develop her game. In the end, as long as the backcourt can stay healthy, that is enough for this Cal team to get back to the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Gabby Green, Sophomore, Guard, 6.7 points per game
Asha Thomas, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Mikayla Cowling, Sophomore, Forward, 10.0 points per game
Courtney Range, Junior, Forward, 8.7 points per game
Kristine Anigwe, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.8 (62nd in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.6 (140, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.2 (20, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.4 (58, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.9 (188, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.0 (137, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 63.4 (312, 12)
Rebound Margin: 1.0 (145, 8)
Assists Per Game: 16.5 (16, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.5 (137, 10)

Madness 2015 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#17 Kristine Anigwe
#70 Chen Yue
#72 Asha Thomas
#95 Breanna Cavanaugh


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