Cal women's basketball coach Lindsay Gottlieb has raised expectations after making the school's first trip to the Final Four last April.
Now she hopes the 21st-ranked Golden Bears can sustain that level of excellence and someday be considered in the same breath as Connecticut on the women's basketball landscape.
They still have a way to go after losing 80-47 to the top-ranked Huskies on Sunday in the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden.
"Expectations are higher, but isn't that what we wanted?" Gottlieb said. "It's hard to maintain that level of excellence. This team's best days are in front of us."
UConn's sensational sophomore Breanna Stewart matched her career high with 29 points.
Brittany Boyd, Cal's star guard, finished with nine points, but was 3-for-23 from the field.
Creighton 68, CAL 54
Doug McDermott overcame a slow start to finish with 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Creighton defeated Cal. The Golden Bears (8-4) shot just 36 percent and were held 21 points below their average of 75 a game. Justin Cobbs led the Bears with 13 points.
USF 77, AMERICAN 69
Avry Holmes scored 15 points and Tim Derksen added 13 more as USF snatched a win over American. Neither team could break open much of a lead in the tight second half until USF (7-5) pulled away in the final two minutes with a 13-6 run.
SOUTH CAROLINA 78, St. MAry's 71
Brad Waldow scored 20 points, but it wasn't enough for the Gaels against the Gamecocks in the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii.
UNLV 92, Santa Clara 71
Five players scored in double figures as the Running Rebels motored past the Broncos in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic. Santa Clara's Jared Brownridge led all scorers with 22 points. -- Staff, wire report