You know, entering this game - or any California Golden Bears game after a certain point in the season - it began to sound silly to say, "[Team X] can beat Cal if they go zone and Cal goes into a shooting slump."
Teams have tried and failed at doing exactly that all season to the point that it was pointless to just keep mentioning repeatedly. Teams have consistently known they've had to manage Cal's rebounding and have failed to do so.
But UCLA finally made the "obvious" approach to Cal work in their 70-58 win in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals on Saturday night, as reported by Viet Nguyen of BearInsider.com.
"They went zone, and we missed our first couple shots," said Gottlieb. "And I think that was an issue for us. Then the way that we missed shots, the long rebounds let them get out in transition, and that was just disastrous. So I think the difference was missing early shots and them converting those to lay‑ups."
UCLA coach Cori Close said after the game that part of it was about emotion that fueled the X's and O's and that pretty much sums up what one might suspect given the way Cal's season has gone.
UCLA now moves on to face Stanford, which beat Colorado 61-47, in the Pac-12 title game at 5 p.m. PST on ESPN2.