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Pac-12 WBB Media Day: Bears Picked for Last

October 12, 2021
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Media Day for the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball was Tuesday at the conference headquarters in San Francisco.

Cal did not get much love. Stanford, the defending national champ, was a virtual unanimous pick to repeat as conference champs in the preseason poll.

The Bears, who endured a 1-16 season a year ago, were picked by the conference coaches to finish last again. 

But head coach Charmin Smith, who was joined at the event by sophomore wing Dalayah Daniels and junior guard Leilani McIntosh (above), is not one to bemoan the past. She does feel the Bears can learn from it and actually come out better off.

“I am excited about these young women here (Daniels and McIntosh) and the women on our team,” she said. “They have worked extremely hard. We are in a much better place than we were at this time last year. We are excited to get started.”

The fact the Bears are able to work indoors is an instant upgrade from a year ago. “I could start with not practicing on outdoor tennis courts with portable baskets,” Smith said when asked for specifics. “We’ve got people back who weren’t healthy last year, Cailyn Crocker, Jazlen Green, Alma Elsnitz. They are all back practicing with us, going full court and everything. Those are the most significant pieces that make us in a better place than last year.”

With the injuries to those players and others and pandemic restrictions, on some nights the Bears were lucky to field a team. 

“With six or seven players available, we started games in foul trouble,” Smith said. “Knock on wood, nothing compares to that. We can feel positive that whatever adversity we face knowing we’ve been through toughest times we have ever had.”

Even as the losses piled up, the Bears were gaining valuable playing experience.

“Last year was a blessing in disguise in some ways. Not many freshmen get two freshman years. We are going to use that to our advantage,” said Daniels, who led the Bears in scoring with an average of 11.9. “We have a lot of new pieces on our team and a lot of people coming back. A lot of the coaching we’ve been having is going to pay great benefits for us this year. We have a great coaching staff behind us.”

Pac-12 Conference
Coaches and players at media day. Bears second from left 

Daniels feels her role will change this year, for the better.

“For me, coming in I was pretty versatile and I was playing everywhere,” she said. “I think this year it is going to be a lot easier on me because I am going to be able to play a stretch four and be able to have a simpler role.”

“The experience in general, it wasn’t like a full season, but it was like six of our freshmen could see how college basketball is,” McIntosh said. “And I think that really helps us, getting those games under our belt.” 

Smith talked about what the return of Crocker and Green will mean.

“The leadership that they bring, the energy that they bring,” she said. “Those two...You are talking about two Pac-12 starting guards that we didn’t have. The team is really excited to have their voice back, their game back in practice every day. 

“I am just happy for them. They’ve worked extremely hard to come back from their injuries. It’s not easy, and then the pandemic it’s even tougher. I am really glad to have them back out there.”

So are their teammates. 

“They are the biggest trash talkers on the team,” McIntosh said. “Every time we hit the court it’s competition and that pushes you to be better. On the court, I have been playing with Cailyn since like sixth grade. Just knowing everything that she does. And everywhere she is we have that connection. I got close to Jazlen. She is a knock-down shooter.”

As a freshman two years ago, Green averaged 8.8 points, Crocker, 7.5.

Smith will enter the season with an entirely new coaching staff, Her assistants, Paul Reed, Kelly Cole and former Cal player Eliza Pierre are all in their first year on the staff..

And they will find a team and a leader that is ready to show the world last season was not a true sample.

“When you take the beatings that we took in terms of the number of wins last year, it makes you hungry,” Smith said. “We’re fired up. We want to beat up on some other people. I’m excited to get out there with this group.” 







 

Pac-12 WBB Media Day: Bears Picked for Last

1,348 Views | 20 Replies | Last: 12 min ago by wvitbear
Schroeder71
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Stanford tops 2021-22 Pac-12 women's basketball preseason coaches poll | Pac-12

It appears that the conference believes that 7 conference teams will likely earn postseason play. The bottom five [ASU, USC, Utah, Washington & Cal] will fight it out for the scraps. Lindsay Gottlieb vs Charmin Smith should be interesting...All of the bottom five are obviously beatable. GO BEARS!
SFCALBear72
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Schroeder71 said:

Stanford tops 2021-22 Pac-12 women's basketball preseason coaches poll | Pac-12

It appears that the conference believes that 7 conference teams will likely earn postseason play. The bottom five [ASU, USC, Utah, Washington & Cal] will fight it out for the scraps. Lindsay Gottlieb vs Charmin Smith should be interesting...All of the bottom five are obviously beatable. GO BEARS!

This is why they play the games. These are mere "predictions". This is a deep and experienced roster hungry for success. I expect them to surprise quite a few teams. Get your tickets for a fun ride ahead.
Schroeder71
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New pictures of everyone available.for the fans to finally witness (below)
2021-22 Women's Basketball Roster - University of California Golden Bears Athletics (calbears.com)

St Martins is not an exhibition game since they are facing WSU & Oregon prior to Cal. St Martins has no player taller than 6-1 according to their roster. They had better drill the three pointer to be competitive.

Cal has 15 players divided into a group of eight guards and another of seven front court players (SF, PF & C).
Has anyone heard the pecking order of the point guards as well as the shooting guard positions in camp? I'm hoping that everyone is healthy and ready to participate in the exhibition vs Westmont on October 28th, correct?
Also, does anybody have the inside scoop that the Bears might utilize pressure (full court press or half court trap)
to take advantage of the large roster this season. Since Cal is not a high percentage shooting team it would only make sense that they should attempt to force some turnovers and score some easy baskets. Just thinking...

GO BEARS!
stu
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I have no inside info but if they're healthy I'd expect to see a lot of Leilani, Jazlen, Cailyn, and Alma in lineups with three guards. Jayda and Karisma might also turn out to be very good, dunno.

If everyone (or almost everyone) is healthy we should have the versatility and depth to play many different types of lineups, everything from five guards to one 6-foot guard and four bigs.

stu
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Thanks for pointing out the pix. Does anyone else think Jayda Curry looks a little like Charmin Smith?
HoopDreams
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Go Bears!

https://instagr.am/p/CU8Yg5FBrLl
wvitbear
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So are you going to the open practice? You can ask all your questions then. This is to S 71.
UrsineMaximus
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With all these guards they should go small and run the court while creating absolute havoc on defense with pressure everywhere! Hopefully Smith will adapt her coaching scheme to take advantage of this opportunity.
smh
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stu said:

Thanks for pointing out the pix. Does anyone else think Jayda Curry looks a little like Charmin Smith?
mumble-grumble -> headshot's page not printable (safari / firefox).

maybe in a couple week's gameday handouts / programs have snaps.
annarborbear
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I think we end up being the team that nobody wants to face. We have size and now experience on the front line. Good shooting coming back from injury. Jayda Curry a natural scorer and eventual leader. A potentially different and less predictable offense under new assistant coaches. Eliza to show how to defend and apply constant pressure.Two grad players who also bring team play and experience. And Charmin showing how she never let the team give up even under last year's miserable circumstances, with no one transferring out. I think we can finish as high as sixth and pull some upsets.

I also just noticed that Kelly Cole's Twitter handle is "ShotDoctor". Our prayers for some improved shooting form and mechanics may also be answered over time.
annarborbear
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A couple of more things from viewing the video conference:

1. Daniels says that she will be concentrating on being a stretch four. That means that we probably will see a lot of three guard line-ups accompanying her. However, we may also see a lot of Bush since she is a very good rebounder for her size when playing the three.

2. McIntosh says she is working on being a "three level " player - meaning that she must be able to shoot from the perimeter, from the midrange, and going to the basket. And she also is working on getting her shots from the outside off faster. That also makes me optimistic, because it shows the immediate influence of Cole in identifying which individual improvements will lead to team improvements.
wvitbear
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Mcintosh made big improvements last year with her shooting. From 19% from 3 point land to 30%. A couple of more per cent and she will be a good three point shooter.
stu
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annarborbear said:

... Daniels says that she will be concentrating on being a stretch four. That means that we probably will see a lot of three guard line-ups accompanying her. However, we may also see a lot of Bush since she is a very good rebounder for her size when playing the three..
Evelien is also a good rebounder and IMHO looked comfortable at SF last season.
wvitbear
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Eva almost averaged 7 rebounds per game. The yer before she was in the top 5 in blocked shots. Offense is another matter. More of a garbage player there.
annarborbear
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Bush also had a lot of double/doubles at Harvard, so she can additionally give us some scoring when she is in there. Averaged 10 ppg, 8 rpg, 53% shooting, and was the second leading rebounder in the Ivy League her sophomore year.

We may end up with a core line-up, and then a lot of shifting substitution patterns depending on the match-ups with other teams. Will also be interested to see if Mastrov can earn some minutes with all of this added competition. She seemed to complement and make others better when she got in last year. But have to remember that she is really just a freshman.
annarborbear
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wvitbear said:

Mcintosh made big improvements last year with her shooting. From 19% from 3 point land to 30%. A couple of more per cent and she will be a good three point shooter.
Her missing element was a mid-range game. Lots of opportunities if she can come up with that.
wvitbear
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She improved her fg % from 30.2 % to 35.8 % (midrange). And her free throws from 73.3% to 84.4%. So her shooting improved all around.
annarborbear
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wvitbear said:

She improved her fg % from 30.2 % to 35.8 % (midrange). And her free throws from 73.3% to 84.4%. So her shooting improved all around.
I recall her passing up midrange shots and always going to the basket instead. But my memory is not as good as it used to be. But actually taking the midrange shots that are available is the change that I think they want to see.
HoopDreams
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I'm excited for the season and think it will be a completely different year

Last year we had zero depth at guard, inexperience across the board (especially front court) and the Covid situation

We will still be a young team and maybe still a year away, but the team has heart and talent, and I like what Coach Charmin is building

The Pac12 is loaded so our record may not fully show how much progress the team has made, but we will have a good run
wvitbear
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She developed a floater last year.
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