Only about a minute had gone by since Cal forward Robert
Thurman lost the ball after putting the ball on the floor following an
Faced with the same situation again, Thurman made the play
that led to a Cal victory.
Thurman's assist on Justin Cobbs' 3-pointer with 2:51
remaining gave the Bears the lead for good, and a suffocating final defensive
sequence helped Cal slip past Oregon State on Thursday night, 71-68 in front of
8,261 at Haas Pavilion.
"I got the offensive rebound before and it got stripped,"
Thurman said. "Justin was wide open. It seemed to be the best play at the moment."
Thurman's assist was one of a handful of key plays he made
down the stretch, helping the Bears erase a 52-40 deficit early in the second
Thurman finished with eight points, six rebounds and three
assists in 20 minutes. On the possession immediately following his turnover,
Thurman slammed home a miss by Allen Crabbe to tie the game at 64-64. He then
blocked a shot by Oregon State's Devon Collier with seven seconds left that
helped preserve the victory.
"I just had my legs," Thurman said. "I'm 275 pounds. Some
games I can't move as well; others, I can jump and move. I'm a better rebounder
and can play longer."
Crabbe had 15 points and seven rebounds while Cobbs finished
with 14 points and tied a season-high with seven assists. As a team, the Bears
had a season-high 25 assists on 30 made baskets.
Richard Solomon had 12 points and seven rebounds. David
Kravish had 12 points and five rebounds.
The Bears (12-8, 4-4 Pac-12) allowed the Beavers (11-9, 1-7)
to shoot 60 percent from the field in the first half, and Oregon State led
51-40 with 15:49 remaining. During the ensuing media timeout, Cal coach Mike
Montgomery challenged his team to play with more passion and effort.
"We were just getting our butts kicked," Montgomery said. "I
explained in no uncertain terms that there is no excuse for sitting back. We
had to be the aggressor. I don't think anybody disagreed with my analysis of
the situation to that point."
The Bears apparently were listening. After the Beavers'
Roberto Nelson made a free throw to make it 52-40, Cal scored seven straight
points, getting a 3-pointer from Brandon Smith and buckets inside by Kravish
and Solomon. It stayed close for several minutes before the Bears made another
push, putting together another 7-0 run to turn a 59-53 deficit into a 60-59
lead with 6:31 left.
"(Montgomery) really just let us have it," Thurman said. "I
think we really needed it. We really picked it up. We really played much better
defense. When we play good defense, the offense usually comes with it."
The Bears polished off the game with a terrific defensive
sequence. The Beavers got the ball trailing by three and 17 seconds left. After
Thurman blocked Collier's shot with seven seconds remaining, Oregon State
couldn't even get another shot off before time expired.
"The way wins are coming, any win is big at this point,"
Thurman said. "It was a huge win because it showed we can come back. Just because
we're down, it doesn't mean we are out."
The Bears erased a 52-40 deficit with 15:49 remaining to come back and beat the Beavers, 71-68. Cal had four players score in double figures, but the key player of the game arguably was forward Robert Thurman, who made a handful of big plays down the stretch. The biggest came with 2:51 left when he corralled an offensive rebound and threw it back out for Justin Cobbs, who drained a 3-pointer to give Cal a 67-66 lead. It had been back and forth before that for a short while, but that gave the Bears the lead for good.
Moments earlier, Thurman had a putback dunk off an Allen Crabbe miss to tie it back up at 64-64.
Crabbe finished with 15 points and eight rebounds; Cobbs had 14 points and tied a season-high with seven assists. Richard Solomon added 12 points and seven rebounds.
Cal had a season-high 25 assists on 30 baskets. The Bears also made a season-high nine 3-pointers.
Cal improves to 12-8, 4-4 in the Pac-12. The Bears host No. 10 Oregon on Saturday afternoon.
The Beavers led by double-digits for much of the first half but a late run by the Bears cut the deficit back down to single-digits. Cal had it down to six after a 3-pointer by Brandon Smith and a layup by Bak Bak, but Oregon State's Ahmad Starks scored with one second left to give the Beavers the eight-point bulge at the intermission.
Both teams came out sizzling, with Cal shooting 58 percent and Oregon St. shooting 67 percent at the first media timeout of the first half. But while the Bears ultimately cooled off, the Beavers continued to shoot at a high efficiency throughout the half. OSU is shooting 60 percent at halftime, while Cal has dropped to 36 percent.
We're just under a half-hour away from tipoff here at Haas Pavilion for
tonight's men's basketball game between the Bears and Oregon State. Big
night for the Bears, who are playing their first home game in 19 days.
Cal enters 11-8, 3-4 in the Pac-12. Oregon St. is 11-9, 1-6 in
conference play. Stay tuned here and on Twitter (@CalBearBlog)
throughout the evening for updates.
Cindy Tran doesn't have to look very far to find competition
in the 100 backstroke.
The Cal junior is the two-time defending NCAA champion in
the event. As of now, the top candidates to deny her a three-peat are
practicing in the same pool every day.
Tran has the best time in the nation this year in the 100
back with a mark of 50.42. The two next best times belong to her teammates.
Freshmen Rachel Bootsma and Elizabeth Pelton rank second and
third, respectively. Bootsma, a 2012 Gold Medalist in the 400 medley relay, is
No. 2 at 50.54. Pelton has the third-best time with a 51.26.
"Even without them here, I had to push myself every single
day," Tran said. "They're pushing me to be even better."
The internal competition is a direct result of Cal
establishing itself as the premier women's swimming program in the country. The
Bears have won three of the past four NCAA titles and are producing Olympians
on a regular basis. Senior Caitlin Leverenz won the bronze medal in the 200
individual medley at the London Games last summer.
"Naturally the expectations with everything we've done are
going to be heightened," Tran said. "It's naturally getting more competitive
now, and our competition is not just against other schools. It's within our own
team. It's challenging, but we're not afraid of the competition and the
challenge. The girls on the team have embraced it. It's helped us grow."
The Bears split their first dual meets of the Pac-12 season
against Arizona and Arizona State last weekend. This weekend, No. 7 Cal
welcomes No. 1 USC to Spieker Aquatics Complex on Friday and No. 12 UCLA on
Leverenz, the 2012 Honda Sports Award for Swimming after
winning two individual and two relay titles at the NCAA championships, is the
lone senior on this year's team. Swimmers like Pelton and Bootsma lead an
impressive collection of younger talent that the Bears hope can continue to
keep the program at the top of college swimming.
"Winning is of course the outcome you want, but you have to
try to focus on getting better and the things you can control," Tran said. "Swimming
is an individual sport but it's hard to swim by yourself," Tran said. "The
support and help you give to each other is so important. That's the great
things about college swimming. It's a dynamic you're never going to find by
going pro or in a club."
Cal's sports programs continue to do terrific work in the
classroom. At today's Intercollegiate Athletics staff meeting, athletic
director Sandy Barbour announced the top three men's and women's programs during the fall
semester in terms of grade point average, and it included a record-setting
The women's golf team compiled a cumulative GPA of 3.466,
which is the highest ever for any athletic team during one semester at Cal. The
women's volleyball team had the second-best among women's programs at 3.297
while the women's tennis team was third at 3.212.
The men's tennis team had the best team GPA among all of Cal's
men's programs with a 3.310. Men's golf was second at 3.163 and the men's water
polo program was third with a mark of 3.116.
"The work that is put into it, you better take pride in it,"
Barbour said. "You've not only put in an incredible amount of work and effort
and skill, but you've achieved it."
There is an internal competition among Cal's sports teams
when it comes to academic performance. Since different programs can't compete
against each other in the playing arena, they use the classroom setting to
compare themselves against their peers on campus.
"We're incredibly competitive about what we do from an
athletic results standpoint," Barbour said. "But we're actually more
competitive in the classroom because it's apples to apples. They're sitting in
the same classrooms. There's really a wonderful competitive drive and
competition over performance in the classroom. Given the skills and the
aspirations of the young people we recruit and the kind of coaches that are
naturally attracted here, I think it's certainly something we are proud of and
something we honor and celebrate."
Cal guard Brittany Boyd was 100 feet away from the basket
and she knew she was going to score on the other end.
With just over two minutes left and the seventh-ranked Bears
holding on to a two-point lead over No. 20 Colorado on Friday night at Haas
Pavilion, Boyd went soaring past the end line to save a ball that was heading
out of bounds. The ball wound up in the hands of teammate Gennifer Brandon, who
gave it to guard Layshia Clarendon.
As Clarendon headed down the court, Boyd came streaking past
her up the sideline yelling for the ball. Clarendon found her, and Boyd didn't
stop running until she converted a layup on the other end to put Cal in front
58-54 with 2:11 remaining.
The Buffaloes would get no closer, and Cal held on for a
There were a lot of storylines to Friday's win. Cal erased a
32-16 halftime deficit. The Bears overcame a 13-28 performance from the free
throw line. Eliza Pierre provided a spark off the bench.
But Boyd's end-to-end heroics as the game wound down was the
signature sequence of the evening.
"I actually didn't expect the ball back," Boyd said. "But I
was wide open and Layshia saw me. Nobody was guarding me so I just attacked the
Boyd may have not expected the ball back, but she certainly
wanted it. And there was no doubt in Clarendon's mind she was going to return
the ball to her teammate.
"When someone steps up and makes a play, I'm going to give
the ball right back to them," Clarendon said. "I knew she wanted it. That's one
of my favorite things about this team. We're all so capable of making plays
that get us going."
With the score tied 54-54 and 3:45 left, Boyd made the Bears'
final two field goals. Clarendon made one of two free throws with 15 seconds
remaining, and Colorado missed two 3-point attempts before time expired.
Boyd's endgame contributions erased a sluggish start for the
sophomore. She had three early turnovers and sat out a chunk of the second half
with foul trouble. She finished with 10 points and five rebounds.
"I just had to have a short memory," Boyd said. "There was a
whole second half left of basketball. I had to figure out what to do better. It
didn't really bother me."
Cold shooting by the Bears and hot shooting by the Buffs
allowed Colorado to establish a 32-16 lead with 4:08 left in the first half.
But Cal closed the half with an 8-0 run, including Pierre's 3-pointer with 7.5
seconds remaining to make it 32-24.
The game was suddenly manageable, and the Bears put the heat
on Colorado with trapping pressure defense in the second half that forced turnovers
and allowed Cal to do what it does best - run.
The Bears forced 19 turnovers that led to 20 points. Cal
scored 12 points in transition.
"We changed it to our style," Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb
said. "We started to press and that changed the energy. I had a feeling we
would fight through it."
Gottlieb acknowledged it wasn't the Bears best performance
of the season. But considering they still came back to grind out a win against
a nationally ranked team, it was one of the team's most satisfying.
"It certainly wasn't one of our prettiest wins, but it was
one of the wins I will be most proud of for a long time," Gottlieb said. "Colorado
is really good. This really speaks to our resolve and believing we can win any
which way. In conference play when you play unbelievable teams like Colorado,
to not have a loss on one of your imperfect nights says a lot about the young
woman I am fortunate enough to coach."
The win kept the Bears tied with Stanford atop the Pac-12
standings at 6-1 (16-2 overall). Cal will next host Utah on Sunday at 2 p.m.
The Bears outscored the Buffaloes 43-24 in the final 24 minutes of the game to pull out a 59-56 win. Gennifer Brandon had another double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Layshia Clarendon had 12 points, five rebounds and five assists.
The Bears ended the first half on an 8-0 run, including a 3-pointer by Eliza Pierre with 7.5 seconds left, to trail 32-24 at the half. Poor floor shooting and hot shooting by the Buffaloes allowed Colorado to lead comfortably for most of the half. But the Bears clamped down on defense and slowly whittled into the deficit during the latter stages of the half.
Cal is shooting just 23 percent from the field (8-35) while Colorado is connecting on 50 percent of its shots (12-24). But the Buffs were over 60 percent for much of the first half before it came down.
Colorado has connected on 5 of 11 3-point attempts while the Bears are just 6-14 from the free throw line. Cal has forced the Buffaloes into 10 turnovers, six of those coming on steals. Pierre, who has hit the only two 3-pointers for the Bears, leads Cal with six points.
Usual starters tonight for the Bears -- Brittany Boyd, Layshia Clarendon and Afure Jemerigbe in the backcourt with Gennifer Brandon and Talia Caldwell up front. Brandon is coming off a National Player of the Week honor, including last Thursday's overtime win over USC in which she tied a school record by hauling down 26 rebounds to go along with 23 points.
Big Night tonight at Haas Pavilion (the women's team seems to be having a lot of those lately). The No. 7 Bears host No. 20 Colorado in another pivotal Pac-12 showdown. Cal (15-2, 5-1) is tied with No. 6 Stanford atop the conference standings and needs a win over the Buffaloes to keep pace. Colorado is also 15-2 with its only two losses coming to Cal and Stanford. Just under three weeks ago in Boulder, the Bears squeaked out a 53-49 victory over the Buffs.
Tonight marks the sixth time in the past seven games the Bears have faced a ranked opponent, and their only loss during that time came against Stanford. Cal turned around and then beat Stanford in its next game.
Stay tuned all night here and on Twitter (@CalBearBlog) for updates throughout the night.
There will be a flurry of activity at the Hellman Tennis
Complex this weekend as Cal's men's and women's tennis teams host the ITA
The annual tournament is held at 15 sites across the
country, with four schools competing at each venue. The winner of the two-day
event at each site advances to the ITA National Team Indoor Championship.
The Bears are one of the host sites and seeded first on both
the men's and women's side. The men's event goes first, with the No. 14 Bears hosting
No. 38 Boise State Friday at 10 a.m. The following match will pit No. 20
Michigan against No. 35 Santa Clara. The championship and consolation matches
will be played Saturday.
Then it will be the women's turn, with the No. 7 Bears
taking on No. 59 Fresno State at 10 a.m. on Sunday. In the second match, No. 41
Saint Mary's will play No. 51 UNLV. The losers will meet in the consolation
match Monday morning at 10 a.m. with the championship match to follow.
The women's draw will have some familiar faces, as both
Fresno State and Saint Mary's took part in the Cal Winter Invitational last
weekend. The Bears swept that competition, as sophomore Zsofi Susanyi won the
singles title and teamed up with freshman Klara Fabikova to take the doubles
Susanyi enters the weekend as the No. 7 singles player in
the country. Teammate Anett Schutting is ranked No. 9, giving the Bears two of the
top-10 singles players nationally. Susanyi advanced to the NCAA semifinals last
season as a freshman, and both her and Schutting made it to the semifinals of
the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in New York during
the fall season.
Cal has two other ranked singles players - freshman Lynn Chi
at No. 109 and senior Annie Goransson at No. 110. But the Bears also lost 2011
NCAA singles champion Jana Juricova to graduation.
"Zsofi and Anett had a great fall. We have a strong
returning group," Cal coach Amanda Augustus said. "We have two really good
freshmen this year. They've really stepped up. I think we're going to have a deep
Although Schutting played No. 1 singles last weekend at the
Cal Winter Invitational, Susanyi figures to assume that role for most of the
season, including this weekend.
"Anett played a bit of No. 1 last weekend, but Zsofi will
play No. 1 this weekend," Augustus said. "Zsofi has the experience. She played
No. 1 last year for a bit when Jana was out hurt. She understands playing that
position. She learned a lot from Jana. She's ready for it."
Augustus said while it looks like Susanyi and Schutting are
set as the top two players, it's Nos. 3-6 that are still fluid. Doubles is
still competitive too, and with promising freshmen like Chi and Fabikova in the
mix, it may take a while to sort out the Bears' lineup.
"We may try a couple of different lineups," Augustus said. "This
is the time of year to figure out what our strongest lineup is."
It's a good thing Michelle Chevalier isn't still issuing
Skittles to Cal forward Gennifer Brandon. She'd be forced to make frequent runs
to Target or Costco to maintain her supply.
Chevalier, Brandon's adopted mother, used to give the small
candies to Brandon based on how many rebounds she would pull down in a club or
high school game. Considering she set Cal's single-season rebounding record
with 346 last year, Brandon would probably be brushing her teeth a few extra
times at night if Chevalier's reward system were still in place.
Brandon's dominance of the boards has continued into this
season. She leads No. 7 Cal into Friday night's game against No. 20 Colorado at
Haas Pavilion ranked ninth in the country with an average of 11.4 rebounds per
game. And she tied a Cal record by hauling in a staggering 26 rebounds during
an overtime win over USC last week.
"All my coaches have always said to box out," said Brandon,
a junior. "I'm just like, 'Get the ball. Get the ball.'"
She's been getting the ball a lot lately. A quick and
explosive jumper with a nose for rebounding, it's hard for anyone else on the
floor to grab a board when Brandon is in the paint.
"She was putting up Dwight Howard numbers," USC coach
Michael Cooper said after his team's loss to the Bears.
Brandon said she's always had a rebounding mentality, from
the moment she started playing basketball at age 12. She started by playing
one-on-one at the park with her older sister, Kimberly.
"She would always win," Brandon said. "We didn't like
playing against each other. She would always complain to my mom when I backed
her down that I would double-dribble every time."
One of Kimberly's friends invited both Brandons to try out
for her club team in Southern California, BBG (Blessed By God). Basketball then
became a serious thing. Kimberly went on to play at Arizona State and Gennifer
earned her scholarship to Cal.
Chevalier and her husband, Andre, were the club coaches.
After a couple of years, the sisters grew close to the coaches. The Chevaliers
ended up offering to adopt the Brandon girls, partly to alleviate the hardships
experienced by their biological mother, Valencia Brandon. Valencia was
struggling to raise five children on her own after her husband and the kids'
father, Gregory, died in 1997.
Gennifer and Kimberly moved in with the Chevaliers. That's
when "everything blew up" with basketball, according to Gennifer.
"My mom was struggling," Gennifer said. "We didn't have a
home. We were living out of motels and stuff like that. They saw the potential
that my sister and I had, so they thought it was best since they were coaches."
Gennifer may have gotten much of her leaping ability and
basketball acumen from her father, who played at Creighton and was drafted by
the Seattle SuperSonics. She wears No. 25 to honor her father, who wore the
same number in college.
Brandon is still close to Valencia, talking often with her as
well as her adopted parents. She talked to all of them after her record-setting
performance against USC.
Brandon had 11 rebounds at halftime against the Trojans, but
was disappointed with her play. She said she sometimes "gets into her own head,"
wondering why she isn't playing better and if she is helping the team enough.
When that happens, she's charged teammate Mikayla Lyles to snap her out of it.
"I asked Mikayla to remind me when she sees that I'm not
myself," Brandon said. "You can tell from people's expressions or body
language. I told her to please remind me to get out of my head. I'm just thinking
too much about what I'm doing wrong. How can I help the team more? Am I
bringing enough energy? I get so caught up in my own thoughts that I don't feel
like I'm in reality. I'm focused on what had happened, rather than what I
should be doing to help make it better."
Lyles spoke to Brandon before the start of the second half
against USC, and Gennifer dominated the floor. Along with her 26 rebounds, she
finished with 23 points, 17 in the second half and overtime.
Brandon shows no ill-effects of the stress fracture in her
shin that forced her to sit out the 2010-11 season. Like many athletes, Brandon
said watching from the sideline improved her game once she returned to the
"I tried to look at it from a different perspective,"
Brandon said. "What can I get out of it? Everything happens for a reason. I
feel more educated about the game, seeing it from a different perspective -
just watching rather than being a part of it. I've been a lot more focused in
trying to grasp what the coaches are saying."
Five former Cal football players are on the NFC roster for Sunday's Pro Bowl in Honolulu -- tied for fourth among all college programs being represented in the game.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, Washington Redskins special-teamer Lorenzo Alexander and safety Thomas DeCoud and tight end Tony Gonzalez of the Atlanta Falcons all made the roster for the NFC. Rodgers and Gonzalez will sit out the game because of injuries.
Georgia, Miami and Tennessee lead with six alumni on Pro Bowl rosters. Cal is tied with Texas for fourth.
The women's tennis team is hosting the Cal Winter Invitational this weekend at the Hellman Tennis Complex. The Bears welcome No. 42 Saint Mary's, No. 60 Fresno State and Santa Clara to town for the three-day tournament. The event kicked off this morning and goes all day for the next three days. Action begins at 10 a.m. each day.
Gennifer Brandon knew this was the time. This was the time
Cal's women's basketball team could either undo the benchmark win it registered
over Stanford last weekend, or prove the Bears should continue to belong among
the nation's elite.
Trailing 62-56 with 1:42 left in regulation, Brandon's
mindset changed. And because of that, so did the game.
Brandon had eight points, seven rebounds and added a steal
and a block down the stretch, and the No. 7 Bears came back to notch a 71-63
victory over USC in overtime on Thursday night.
"I was basically in a daze," said Brandon, who tied Colleen
Galloway's school record with 26 rebounds and scored 23 points. "One of our
sayings when someone tries to come in to our house is 'Not today.' I just kept
saying, 'not today'."
With the Bears (13-2, 4-1 Pac-12) struggling to find a rhythm
in the first half, Brandon gave Cal a jolt of energy just before halftime. She
stole a ball right out of a USC player's hands, hauled in an offensive rebound
then stepped back for a jumper, and forced a jump ball on defense. That helped
the Bears establish a 36-31 halftime lead.
But the Trojans, who entered the game atop the Pac-12
standings at 4-0, held their own in the second half. And when Ariya Crook
drained a fallaway 3-pointer as the shot clock expired, it gave USC a 58-53
advantage with 2:44 remaining.
It was the last field goal USC would score on the night.
Four free throws helped the Trojans take the 62-56 lead, but
that's when Brandon exerted her will. She made two free throws. She came up
with a steal, was fouled, and made two more free throws. And when Layshia
Clarendon missed a jumper on Cal's final possession of regulation, there was
Brandon to put back the miss and tie the game at 62-62 with 14.7 seconds left.
Neither team scored in the overtime period until Brandon
grabbed a rebound and fed Brittany Boyd for a coast-to-coast layup. Brandon
then registered another offensive rebound and stuck a jumper to give the Bears
a 68-63 lead with 40 seconds left in the extra session.
The Trojans scored just a single point in overtime and Cal
wrapped up the win.
"We all know Gen has some unfathomable leaping and
rebounding talents," Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "But there are times when
she is in a zone. This is one of them where you feel like if the ball is
anywhere in the vicinity, she is going to get it and she's going to finish."
Gottlieb believes her team is built in such a way it can win
in a variety of ways. Thursday, the Bears were forced to do so with defense.
Cal held USC to 34 percent shooting, and was essentially a wall down the
"I thought feel of the game started to shift midway through
the second half," Gottlieb said. "We couldn't quickly take the lead. We had to
chip away. They're good. But our defensive intensity never wanted. We want to
make more shots. We have to be better with that. We have to figure out what we
need to do. But there's no question our defensive intensity and speed and
rebounding is pretty unreal if we play at that level."
Gennifer Brandon had a career-high 26 rebounds to go along with 23 points and the No. 7 Bears held USC without a field goal for the final 7:44 to win in overtime. Layshia Clarendon led the Bears with 27 points. Cal is now 13-2, 3-1 in Pac-12 play.
Cal trailed 62-56 with 1:42 to go in regulation when they pulled off a thrilling comeback. Brandon made two free throws to cut it to 62-58, and then came up with a steal and was fouled. She made two free throws again to make it 62-60 with 1:08 left. Brandon then forced overtime with a putback with 14 seconds left. USC couldn't get off a final shot on its last possession of regulation.
Neither team scored for the first three minutes of overtime, but then the Bears exploded for transition layups by Brittany Boyd and Clarendon to lead 66-62 with 1:26 remaining. The Trojans scored just a singluar free throw in the extra session.
The Bears scored the final six points of regulation, the last on a putback by Gennifer Brandon with 14.7 seconds left, and have forced overtime. Brandon has 21 points and 21 rebounds! Clarendon has 22 to lead the Bears.
Layshia Clarendon has 15 points and Gennifer Brandon has pulled down 11 rebounds as the Bears used a late run to open up a 36-31 halftime lead. Cal scored seven of the final nine points of the first half, including a 3-pointer by Brittany Boyd with 23 seconds left. Moments earlier, Clarendon converted a short jumper off an inbounds pass.
Brandon was a real presence during the latter portions of the half. She had a steal, an offensive rebound that led to her own jumper and then forced a jump ball on the defensive end that gave the ball back to Cal.
Boyd has eight points and Brandon has six. Surprisingly, the Bears are being outrebounded 24-23 and they have given up an uncommon 11 offensive rebounds. But Cal has 12 offensive rebounds itself. The Trojans have 12 second-chance points and the Bears have nine.
Just about 45 minutes away from the women's basketball team's game against USC here at Haas Pavilion. This is the Bears' first game since their landmark win Sunday over Stanford, which ended the Cardinal's 81-game conference winning streak. This also is a big game, as the Trojans come in 4-0 in Pac-12 play.
Stay tuned here and on Twitter (@CalBearBlog) throughout the night for updates.
Today, two Olympic Gold Medalists from Cal are on a plane headed for Afghanistan, where they will take part in the "Olympic Heroes Tour" organized by Armed Forces Entertainment. Water polo player Heather Petri and rower Erin Cafaro are joining wrestler Rulon Gardner and rower Susan Francia to visit American troops on a handful of bases to show off their gold medals, shake hands and take a lot of pictures.
Cafaro says she was told it is a way for the troops to thank them. But she says it's actually the other way around.
"They said they want to say thank you to us, but we're going to say thank you to them for putting their lives on the line and serving our country," Cafaro said.
Cafaro won gold in the Women's 8+ event in both 2008 and 2012 while Petri,a four-time Olympian, helped the American win gold in London.
Cafaro and Petri, who have each gotten involved in other philanthropic causes since becoming Olympians, both actively sought out the trip to Afghanistan. The tour will last 10 days.
"I'm really excited I'm getting to go have this experience," Petri said. "I don't think a lot of us understand their lives. They afford us the right to compete. It's a way to go over there and say thank you."
In the days leading up to her departure, Petri had a message on her Facebook page asking people to e-mail her thank-you letters to distribute to the troops. Some of those who contributed letters are the members of Cal's current women's water polo team.
Petri has been busy since returning from London. In October, she took part in a swim across the San Francisco Bay to benefit cancer research. Then in November she visited underprivileged communities in Rwanda and Uganda to work with "Right To Play," an organization that attempts to empower and educate children facing adversity through play.
After her swim in the Bay, Petri was afforded the opportunity to visit the hospital the raised funds would actually go to, meeting patients and doctors and learning how the money would be used.
In Uganda, she visited refugee camps on the border of Congo where she said "thousands of kids were trying to learn and play and be kids."
"You hear about these things, but actually seeing them in person blew me away," Petri said. "To hear their testimonials was incredible."
Cafaro, along with some of her boat mates, visited the Walter Reed Hospital after winning gold in 2008. It's those kind of experiences that motivate her to pursue the experience she is currently undertaking.
"That was kind of my first validation that what I was doing isn't just selfish," Cafaro said. "It was a moment that was bigger than me. So to go over and thank them for serving our country, I'm so pumped and ready to go."
Cafaro also has recently gotten involved with "Transition Possible," a San Antonio-based organization that works with wounded veterans and adaptive athletes to provide the means for them to continue to be involved with athletics and lead productive lives. After returning from Afghanistan, Cafaro is immediately flying to San Antonio to for an event.
"I think it can only make me a better and more understanding person," Cafaro said. "I hope to make it a part of me. Everybody has their philanthropic causes. This is another way for me to serve my country."
Cal's No. 7 women's basketball team beat No. 5 Stanford 67-55 this afternoon at Maples Pavilion, ending the Cardinal's 81- game conference winning streak. Here are the highlights courtesy of pac.12.com:
Cal announced its 2013 football schedule Thursday, and one of the highlights is the fact that the Big Game is moving back to the end of the season.
Because of television commitments and scheduling changes necessitated to create bye weeks, the Big Game has been played at different points throughout the season in recent years. But in 2013, the Bears will close out the regular season with their annual showdown with rival Stanford on November 23 at Stanford Stadium.
The season opens with three straight home games -- vs. Northwestern, vs. Portland State and vs. Ohio State. The Buckeyes went 12-0 this season and finished ranked No. 2 in the final Associated Press top 25. Northwestern also had a fine season, going 10-3 and winding up as the nation's No. 17 team.
Cal will face a stiff test immediately in Pac-12 play, as the Bears travel to Oregon to open the conference season. Cal plays Washington State, Oregon State, Arizona and USC at Memorial Stadium; Oregon, UCLA, Washington, Colorado and Stanford on the road.The two teams the Bears don't play from the Pac-12 South this season are Arizona State and Utah.
The Pac-12 Championship Game will take place on Saturday, Dec. 7.
The full schedule is below:
2013 CAL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Day, Date -
Sat., Aug. 31 - Northwestern
Sat., Sept. 7 - Portland State
Sat., Sept. 14 - Ohio State
*Sat., Sept. 28 - at
*#Sat., Oct. 5 - Washington
*Sat., Oct. 12 - at UCLA
*Sat., Oct. 19 - Oregon State
*Sat., Oct. 26 - at Washington
*Sat., Nov. 2 - Arizona
*^Sat., Nov. 9 - USC
*Sat., Nov. 16 - at Colorado
*Sat., Nov. 23 - at Stanford
!Sat., Dec. 7 - Pac-12 Championship Game (ESPN or
Home Games in Bold at Memorial Stadium, Berkeley,
CA; *Pac-12 Game;
!Pac-12 Championship Game at Home Site of Pac-12 Regular-Season Champion;
#Homecoming; ^Joe Roth Game; All Times and Television Selections to be Announced
at Later Dates
Cal coach Mike Montgomery said his team is going to have to start realizing it can't get by on just talent alone.
"A lot of it has to do with mental preparation," Montgomery said. "We'll continue to work on that in terms of understanding every game we play is going to be an absolute dogfight. We have to be prepared for that. We have to have the mindset that if someone pushes us, we have to push back."
When asked if his team has the personality to change its way of thinking, Montgomery said: "We'll see. It's certainly not the first time we've seen that. We have to continue to challenge them. It has to be important to you. You have to understand physically we're not superior to everybody. We can't just walk out on the floor and just be better than everybody. We really have to compete to have a chance. I don't think that's totally ingrained in us.
"At some point, the kids have to step up and decide what they want to be and how they want to be perceived, and what they want to do."
David Kravish and Allen Crabbe appeared in the interview room following tonight's game, and both lamented the lopsided nature of the loss to Washington. Both acknowledged the team has to play with more energy.
The good news, Kravish said, is it's still early in the conference season.
"Losing is never fun," Kravish said. "We have another game in a couple days so it's another chance to turn it around. Right now we're 1-2 in conference. There is still plenty of time to turn this around. It's about finding passion and that drive as a team, as a group, always out there playing hard for each other. We still have time. We just have to turn it around."
The Bears played the Huskies basically even in the second half, but could never slice into the deficit. Washington cruised to a 62-47 win, dropping the Bears to 9-6, 1-2 in the Pac-12.
David Kravish tied a season-high with 17 points, but Allen Crabbe, the Pac-12's leading scorer at 21.7 points per game, was held to just 9. It's the first time Crabbe has failed to score in double-figures since scoring just three during a win at Utah last February.
Justin Cobbs also scored nine. It's the first time this season both Cobbs and Crabbe have not scored in double-digits.
Both teams shot under 40 percent, with Cal shooting slightly higher. But the game was decided on the glass, where the Huskies registered 20 offensive rebounds that led to 16 second-chance points. Washington outrebounded Cal 48-33 overall. The Bears also went just 6-for-16 from the free throw line.
Next up for the Bears is another home game against Washington State on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Cal scored just two points during the final 7:18 of the first half and trails 34-20 at halftime. The score was tied 18-18 before the Huskies went on a 16-0 run to take command. A layup by Bak Bak with 2:44 left finally broke Washington's run.
Both teams are shooting under 40 percent from the floor but unfortunately for the Bears most of the other stats heavily favor Washington. The Huskies are dominating the glass, outrebounding Cal 30-13. That includes 15 offensive rebounds for Washington, which have led to 11 second-chance points. Cal also is just 3-for-10 from the free throw line.
Allen Crabbe, the Pac-12's leading scorer at 21.4 points per game, has just five at the half.
We're just over a half-hour away from tipoff here at Haas Pavilion for the men's basketball team's conference home opener against Washington. Big week for the Bears with home games against the Washington schools. Legitimate chance to be 3-1 in Pac-12 play. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Both of these games will present stiff challenges.
Stay tuned here and on Twitter (@CalBearBlog) throughout the game for updates.
Jeff Powers once scored a school-record 14 points in a
quarter for De La Salle High School in Concord. Other than that, Power says "I
wasn't a volume scorer in high school."
Turns out Cal doesn't need him to be one in college, either.
The walk-on junior guard figures to get more playing time because
of injuries to Brandon Smith and Ricky Kreklow, and even though he nailed both
of his 3-point shots during Saturday's win over USC, what coach Mike Montgomery
wants most out of Powers is for him to use his smarts to help the team any
which way he can.
"Jeff is just going to be given more opportunities and
hopefully he can capitalize on them," Montgomery said in advance of Wednesday's
Pac-12 showdown against Washington at Haas Pavilion. "He's a smart player. He
understands he's not going to just blow by people and throw down dunks and that
kind of stuff. He's trying to contribute to others in terms of a passer, know
what he's doing and be in the right spot."
Powers is playing more than he anticipated because of the
Bears' injury woes. He's averaged 12 minutes during the past four games.
"With Ricky and Brandon out, we need some help off the
bench," Powers said. "I think against USC I did prove that I could come in and
play and give some valuable minutes to the team. It definitely helped my
confidence a lot."
At 6-7, Powers is versatile enough to play both wing spots
for the Bears. And although his reputation is as a sharpshooter, the Bears need
him to simply play a solid all-around game to give Cal some stability off the
"If I didn't hit those two (3-pointers) and we won and I got
to play and got some rebounds and loose balls, I would have been completely
happy with that," Powers said. "Not playing a huge amount of minutes so far
this season, I was a little nervous. I think I came in and proved I can play. I
think I definitely helped the team, and I helped us get the win. We definitely
needed that win."
Cal's No. 7 women's basketball team couldn't beat No. 5
Stanford on Tuesday night, but the Bears notched a big victory in the
A boisterous crowd of 4,849 came out to Haas Pavilion to see
the "Battle of the Bay," a much anticipated showdown of regional rivals and
top-10 teams. In the end, the Bears couldn't solve the Cardinal's
Pac-12-leading defense and fell 62-53.
Tuesday was one of Cal's best chances to beat Stanford in
recent years. The Bears are ranked No. 4 in the RPI and have notched quality
wins over Georgetown and Kansas. But Stanford, ranked No. 1 in the RPI,
extended its conference winning streak to 81 games.
Cal was the last team to beat Stanford in a conference game,
back in 2009. The Cardinal has beaten the Bears 42 of the past 45 times the
teams have met, the type of numbers Stanford has against a lot of its Pac-12
"Obviously we want to win one of these pretty soon and make it
the rivalry it should be," Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "Our players are
hungry and working for it."
The good news for the Bears is it wasn't like they were
dominated or thoroughly outplayed by their nemesis to the south. In fact, Cal led
from the 13:08 mark of the first half until the Cardinal went back in front
34-33 with 16:39 left in the game. The game was tied 46-46 with 8:46 remaining
when Stanford scored eight unanswered points to take control.
The Bears will get another shot at the Cardinal in their
next game, Sunday in Palo Alto.
"Five days is going to seem like forever," said Cal guard
Layshia Clarendon, who led the Bears with 17 points. "I'm sure we're ready to
go at them again."
The Bears certainly did some things well, most notably one
of the things they seemingly always do well - crash the offensive glass. Cal
registered 21 offensive rebounds which led to 22 second-chance points. But in
the end, the Bears simply couldn't ever get it going offensively against
Stanford's impeccable defense. The Cardinal entered the night leading the
Pac-12 in scoring defense (51.8 points allowed per game) and field goal
percentage defense (32%).
Stanford made it hard for Cal to get its post players going,
sagging off the Bears' perimeter players and taking away passing angles inside.
The Bears attempted a season-high 21 3-pointers and made only two.
"They have the No. 1 defense in the Pac-12 for a reason,"
Gottlieb said. "They're really good. They play percentages. They take away what
is easiest. We know they are a great defensive team and nothing is easy. But I
did feel like we had some looks we can knock down."
The Cardinal pulled away in the second half to win. Stanford, which leads the Pac-12 in both scoring defense and field goal percentage defense, held the Bears to just 8-for-33 shooting in the second half (24 percent). Layshia Clarendon led the Bears with 17 points. Point guard Brittany Boyd had a career-high nine rebounds.
The Bears are now 12-2 (2-1 Pac-12) with their only two losses coming to teams ranked in the top-5. Cal's next game is also against Stanford, this time in Palo Alto on Sunday.
Brittany Boyd came up with a steal and layup with one second remaining in the first half and the Bears lead Stanford 31-29. The Bears are displaying patience on offense, and although the Bears are shooting just 37 percent, they only have five turnovers. That has resulted in just six points off turnovers for the Cardinal.
Stanford, meanwhile, is shooting 52 percent. But Cal has nine offensive rebounds that have led to 11 second-chance points, which is the slim difference in the game right now.
Layshia Clarendon leads the Bears with 10 points. Stanford All-American Chiney Ogwumike has 14 points to lead the Cardinal.
Big Crowd now being entertained by the Golden State Warriors dunk team....
We're less than an hour away from tipoff for the Battle of the Bay -- the No. 7 women's basketball team hosting No. 5 Stanford at Haas Pavilion. Huge game for the Bears tonight. They can get the early upper hand in the Pac-12 race and end Stanford's 80-game Pac-12 win streak. Stay tuned for updates throughout the game here and on Twitter (@CalBearBlog).
The women's gymnastics team opened the 2013 season by winning its four-way meet with Arizona, Auburn and Kentucky on Sunday afternoon at Haas Pavilion. Watch the announcement of the results at the end of the meet:
The women's gymnastics team is getting ready to open the 2013 season with a home meet Sunday against Arizona, Auburn and Kentucky. It will be the first meet under new coach Justin Howell. The meet begins at 2 p.m. and will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks on a tape-delay basis. It will air next Wednesday (Jan. 9) at 5 p.m.
Here' s a look at Cal's event management staff preparing for the meet at Haas Pavilion.
It's hard to determine what is going to be tougher for the
Cal women's basketball team - its initial portion of the Pac-12 schedule or its
eventual NCAA Tournament draw.
The seventh-ranked Bears (10-1) begin conference play Friday
night at Utah, the first of a grueling eight-game stretch to kick off the
Pac-12 season. Seven of Cal's first eight conference opponents have a combined
record of 39-5. Five of those games will come against teams ranked in this week's
Associated Press top 20.
"We start out with the toughest schedule of anyone," Cal
head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "If you look at the conference right now, we're
playing eight of the toughest ten games right off the bat. We need to be ready
when it's conference play. We've had a really good week of practice. I think
the players are in a really good mindset, knowing how hard this opening stretch
After playing the 9-2 Utes, the Bears must play Sunday at No.
20 Colorado, which enters Pac-12 play at 11-0. Then it's back home to play No.
4 Stanford on Tuesday at Haas Pavilion, followed by a rematch with the Cardinal
in Palo Alto the following Sunday.
After a home game against USC, the Bears host No. 16 UCLA
and then welcome Colorado and Utah to Haas Pavilion.
"It's as much about hating to lose and wanting to win as it
is about tactics," Gottlieb said. "One thing this team does really well is stay
in the moment. I've never had a hard time motivating them for a nonconference
game as they may be look ahead to a bigger school. It's no different in
conference. They totally realize that a win on the road at the beginning of
conference is as big as a Stanford game or a UCLA game in three weeks."
The Bears have proven they are ready for this tough stretch
to commence. Their only blemish is a loss at No. 4 Duke, and they have quality wins
over Georgetown and Kansas. It's the best start in program history.
But winning the Pac-12 is the ultimate benchmark for a
program now among the nation's elite. And that quest starts this weekend in challenging
"I think it was appropriate to take time to tell them that
they earned the best start in program history," Gottlieb said. "That's a great
achievement, but none of them are satisfied with that. Now, it's the second
season. They know this is a whole different animal now that we're in the Pac-12.
There's no question that we've re-focused on that and put the first part of the
season behind us."
The Men's Basketball Team begins Pac-12 Conference play Thursday night against UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. Coach Mike Montgomery talks about his team heading into the conference slate and previews the Pac-12 race, courtesy of Pac-12.com.