After losing two of its top players to graduation and the first 16 picks of last year’s WNBA draft, the California Golden Bears figured to be in rebuilding mode to start the 2015-16 season after a Sweet 16 run a year ago.
The Golden Bears signaled that it might be more of a reload than rebuild after scoring back-to-back road wins to start the season. Cal defeated Austin Peay, 67-58 in the season opener on Nov. 13 and then scored a 75-71 win at No. 8 Louisville on Nov. 15.
In the win at Austin Peay, four Cal players totaled double figures, led by 23 points from standout junior forward Courtney Range. With the win, Golden Bears head coach Lindsay Gottlieb improved to 4-1 in season openers while at Cal.
Against Louisville, Cal used their significant size advantage to outrebound the Cardinals, 50-27 and earn the upset. Range and freshman Kristine Anigwe each scored 19 points to lead the way, while Range also had 13 rebounds. The win over Louisville was the first top-10 team victory since a 67-55 win at Stanford on Jan. 13, 2013. Anigwe, a McDonald's All-American and one of the country's best incoming post players, grabbed eight rebounds and was 8-of-10 from the floor.
Cal will look to build upon its impressive start, returning home to play UC Riverside (Nov. 20) and Cal Poly (Nov. 22) this weekend.