It’s hard to imagine Cal coach Joanne Boyle being more frustrated with her team than she likely is right this moment.
Cal’s DeNesha Stallworth – Deb Gumbley file photo
The Bears hustled home Sunday after being swept in Washington for the first time since Boyle took over the program six years ago.
Her team is on a major roller-coast ride. A 30-point loss to Stanford is followed by a home sweep against the the Arizona schools and then this.
“The whole trip has been evaluating ourselves,” said Boyle after the game in quotes provided by the Cal athletic department. “I just talked to them about what happened in a week’s time. From going from the Arizona weekend to this weekend and what’s changed. I don’t know. I’ve said this all year – we’re not a team that’s competing. We’re not working hard, we don’t play together. I’m uncertain of what’s going on. I’m there to help them. I don’t think it’s offenses or defenses. It’s either you work hard, like we do in spurts, and you choose to do that for 40 minutes or you don’t.”
Boyle doesn’t want to use youth as an excuse. This is an experienced Cal team in many ways.
“We won the WNIT Championship last year, and four of those kids played in that,” Boyle said. “I don’t think we’re in youthful team in that we don’t have kids who have played major minutes. For the freshmen in the mix, I get that. But our sophomores have played 30 some minutes a game for a year and a half.”
There is no break here for the Bears. The L.A. schools are coming to town, and while Cal will be able to settle into the comforts at home, the margin is slim against the second- and third-best teams in the Pac-10, a pair of teams that look NCAA Tournament-worthy.
“We just have to bounce back,” DeNesha Stallworth said. “Coach said this is the first time that we went 0-2 in the Washingtons. This is something that we just have to take pride in and come back next week stronger versus the L.A. schools. When adversity hits us, we just don’t know how to act. I don’t know if it comes with youth or growth or I don’t know what it is. For us personally, we just have to learn how to come together as a team and just figure things out.”