Cal Women's Basketball: Bears Face Major Challenge Against No. 1 Baylor

Baylor's imposing frontcourt duo of 6-foot-4 Lauren Cox (15) and 6-foot-7 Kalani Brown (21) will make things difficult for Cal and Kristine AnigwePhoto by Rob Ferguson - USA TODAY Sports

Cal's Kristin Anigwe must go against Baylor's 6-7 Kalani Brown in second-round NCAA Tournament game in Waco, Texas

NO. 8 SEED CAL (20-12, 9-9 Pac-12) vs. NO. 1 SEED BAYLOR (32-1, 18-0 Big 12)

WHERE: Ferrell Center, Waco, Texas

WHEN: Monday, 6 p.m. Pacific time


LIVE STREAM: Click here

AT STAKE: The winner of this second-round women’s NCAA Tournament game between Baylor and Cal earns a trip to Greensboro, N.C., for a Saturday Sweet 16 game against either Florida State or South Carolina.

SERIES HISTORY: Cal has faced Baylor six times, and Baylor leads the alltime series 5-1. Baylor has won the last five meetings between the teams, including NCAA Tournament games in 2014 and 2017. Cal’s only win in the series was in 1981, when the teams met in Amarillo, Texas. Cal lost by at least 13 point in each of the five meetings since then.

ANIGWE’S BIG CHALLENGE: Cal’s 6-foot-4 Kristine Anigwe has run up against a lot of defenses designed to stop her this season, but nothing approaches what she will face on Monday. Baylor’s 6-foot-7 senior Kalani Brown was named a second-team All-American by ESPNW this season, and she is aided by 6-foot-4 Lauren Cox, who, like Brown, was a first-team all-Big 12 selection. Anigwe, also named a second-team All-American by ESPNW, will have her run of 33 straight double-doubles challenged by this imposing Baylor frontcourt duo. When Baylor and Cal played in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, Anigwe had 20 points and 11 rebounds while Brown managed just eight points and six boards. But Brown played just 15 minutes in Baylor’s 86-46 blowout win, and Anigwe also committed 11 turnovers in the kind of triple-double players would rather avoid.

CAL STORYLINES: Cal rolled past ninth-seeded North Carolina 92-72 in its first-round game on Saturday. The Bears shot 61.4 percent from the field in the second half to overcome a three-point halftime deficit . . . Cal has won six of its last seven six games, losing only to Stanford 72-54 in the Pac-12 tournament . . . Asha Thomas scored 19 points against North Carolina, and Recee’ Caldwell had a season-high 12 assists. . . . CJ West came off the bench to score 13 points on Saturday, and the 6-foot-4 West figures to get a lot of playing time against Baylor’s big frontcourt. . . . Anigwe, who was named a second-team All-American this season by ESPNW, had 18 points and 22 rebounds against North Carolina and is averaging 22.8 points and 16.5 rebounds this season. . . . Baylor’s only loss this season came against Stanford, a team Cal beat by a point in Berkeley.

BAYLOR STORYLINES: Baylor, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, has won 24 games in a row after beating Abilene Christian 95-38 in its first-round NCAA Tournament game on Saturday. . . . Monday's game will be played on Baylor's home court. Baylor has won 38 straight home games at the Ferrell Center, and that includes a 16-0 home record this season. The Baylor Bears have won 15 straight home games in the NCAA Tournament . . . Baylor leads the nation in field-goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot 31.2 percent, and it is fourth in field-goal percentage on offense (50.0 percent). . . . Baylor also leads the nation in rebounding margin, averaging 16.8 more boards than its foes. No other Division I team is even close . . . Second-team ESPNW All-American Kalani Brown played just 18 minutes against Abilene Christian, but still had 17 points and 11 rebounds . . . The 6-foot-7 Brown is averaging 15.8 points and 8.1 rebounds while playing just 25.8 minutes per game . . . Lauren Cox, who is 6-foot-4, averages 12.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 28.9 minutes per contest. . . Baylor’s only loss this season came on Dec. 15 at Stanford, a 68-63 Baylor defeat in which Brown and Cox combined for just seven points.