Basketball: Bears routed at Arizona, 99-60

* Click here for our correspondent’s story.

Cal suffered its worst Pac-12 loss in 13 years, losing 99-60 to No. 5 Arizona (27-3, 15-2), which locked up the outright Pac-12 title at McKale Center.

The Bears (17-13, 7-10) trailed 48-27 at halftime and never threatened an Arizona home win streak that reached 37 games.

Cal shot 38.1 percent, turned the ball over 16 times and was outrebounded 42-34.

Cal hadn’t been beaten by a wider margin in a conference game since a 99-53 loss at Arizona in 2002.

“You’ve got to compete, compete start to finish,” said Cal coach Cuonzo Martin. “If shots don’t fall, don’t put your head down.”

Cal closes the Pac-12 regular season Saturday at Arizona State, which handed the Bears a decisive 79-44 in Berkeley on Jan. 22.

Tyrone Wallace led the Bears with 16 points, but had just two until the final 2 minutes of the first half, by which time Arizona led 43-24. Reserve guard Sam Singer scored 13 points while David Kravish and Jabari Bird had 10 points each. Christian Behrens had 10 rebounds.

East Bay product Brandon Ashley equaled his career high with 21 points for Arizona, which had six players in double figures and shot 57 percent.


Women’s basketball: Bears face tough road to Pac-12 tournament championship

A preview of Cal’s trip to Seattle for the Pac-12 women’s tournament, courtesy of staff wrier Elliott Almond:


RECORD: 21-8 overall, 13-5 in Pac-12. Tied for third with Stanford.

NEXT OPPONENT: Quarterfinals at 8:30 p.m. Friday against the winner of Thursday night’s first-round game between fifth-seeded Washington and No. 12 Utah.

CAL UPDATE: The fourth-seeded Golden Bears have one of the conference’s best teams, led by All-Pac-12 seniors Reshanda Gray (Pac-12 player of the year) and Brittany Boyd (Naismith Award semifinalist). Also, Mikayla Cowling and Gabby Green were named to the all-Pac-12 freshman team. Cal, though, might have two big hurdles to reach the championship Sunday in Seattle. It possibly could play hometown favorite Washington (22-8) and then top-seeded Oregon State, which defeated the Bears 73-55 in the regular-season finale last weekend. “Overall, our program is at the point where we want to win championships,” coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “So there is a little disappointment” in tying for third in the regular-season standings.

However, Gottlieb said the competitive Pac-12 campaign prepared Cal for the postseason. “We have a team when things are clicking we can be really good,” she said. “This could be one of our best March runs.”


Basketball: Bears tackle No. 5 Arizona

* Cal at Arizona, 6 p.m. (ESPN)

The Bears (17-12, 7-9) will be in Las Vegas six days from now, opening the Pac-12 tournament with dreams of doing something special in March.

“The most important thing,” Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said this week, “is the next game.”

That would be tonight at No. 5 Arizona (26-3, 14-2), which will be motivated to clinch the outright Pac-12 title.

“I feel like we can play with those guys,” junior guard Tyrone Wallace said. “I don’t think it’s anything that’s impossible.”

He has reasons to feel that way. Cal beat No. 1 Arizona 60-58 in Berkeley last year and is the team that most recently knocked off the Wildcats at McKale Center. That was a 77-69 win on Feb. 10, 2013 in which Wallace had five points, four rebounds and seven assists as a freshman and David Kravish contributed eight points and six rebounds.

Since then, Arizona has won 36 consecutive games, the longest active home-court win streak in the nation. The Cats are 78-6 in Tucson since the start of the 2010-11 season, and Cal is 8-83 all-time vs. teams ranked in the top five of the Associated Press poll.

Continue Reading


Women’s basketball: Gray is Pac-12 Player of Year

Senior forward Reshanda Gray became the second Cal women’s player voted Pac-12 Player of the Year.

Gray joins Devanei Hampton, who won the award in 2007.

Meanwhile, teammate Brittany Boyd earned first-team all-conference honors for the third straight season. Boyd also was named to the all-defensive team.

Gray averaged 18.1 points and 7.2 rebounds for the Bears, shooting 57.6 percent from the field. Her 37 points against Sacramento State are the most scored by a Pac-12 player this season.

Cal’s Mikayla Cowling and Gabby Green were voted by the league’s coaches to the all-freshman team. Mercedes Jefflo was named honorable mention all-defensive team.

Scott Rueck of regular-season champion Oregon State was voted Pac-12 Coach of the Year.


Women’s basketball: Boyd is Naismith semifinalist

Cal senior point guard Brittany Boyd has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy National Women’s College Player of the Year honor.

Boyd is the only Pac-12 player and the only player west of Texas to be selected as a semifinalist for the award, given to the top player in the country. The four finalists will be unveiled on Friday, March 20, and the winner will be announced on Monday, April 6.

The Berkeley High grad is averaging 13.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 3.0 steals. She is the nation’s only player with two triple-doubles, she ranks seventh nationally in assists and is the NCAA active leader with 353 steals. Her 19 rebounds against Sacramento State are the most by a guard from a “power five conference.”

Boyd is the only active NCAA player — and the only player in Pac-12 history — to compile career totals of at least 1,400 points, 700 rebounds, 600 assists and 300 steals.

Boyd also was named to the Wade Trophy (WBCA), Wooden Award (Los Angeles Athletic Club), Nancy Lieberman Award and Dawn Staley Award midseason watch lists.

Other semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy are: Lexie Brown, Maryland; Nina Davis, Baylor; Moriah Jefferson, Connecticut; Jewell Loyd, Notre Dame; Kelsey Mitchell, Ohio State; Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina; Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Connecticut; Breanna Stewart, Connecticut; and Amanda Zahui B., Minnesota.


Basketball: More on Cal commit Davon Dillard

Here’s more on Cal commit Davon Dillard, the 6-foot-5 wing from Gary, Indiana, currently playing at Our Savior New American School in Centereach, N.Y.

Dillard is rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals and Scout, but ESPN gives him four stars, identifying him as the No. 20 small forward prospect in the country.

Dillard gave Cal a verbal commitment Sunday during his official campus visit.

Rivals’ Eric Bossi describes Dillard as  ”physical, tough and can be a very athletic finisher driving to the rim.”

Continue Reading


Basketball: Bears topple Beavers in Kravish’s home finale, land 3-star small forward recruit

It was a good day at Haas Pavilion for the Cal basketball program. The Bears sent off popular senior David Kravish with a 73-56 win over Oregon State in front of 9,893 fans Sunday, and landed their first recruiting commitment for next season.

“You always want to get a win,” coach Cuonzo Martin said. “I don’t care if it’s ugly, if you win.”

It was ugly for a while, but the Bears (17-12, 7-9 Pac-12) used defense and their transition game to fuel an 18-0 run midway through the second half that erased an eight-point Oregon State lead and gave them control.

By the time Jordan Mathews made two free throws with 6:41 left, the Bears had run off a 24-2 burst and built a 60-46 lead.

The victory in their regular-season home finale snapped a three-game losing streak and moved the Bears perhaps one step closer to a possible NIT bid.

Cal’s students used the occasion to chant “Come to Berkekey” to recruiting targets Ivan Rabb, Caleb Swanigan and Davon Dillard, seated together behind the Bears’ team bench.

They got their wish with Dillard, a three-star small forward originally from Gary, Indiana, who announced his commitment to Cal via Twitter. The 6-foot-5, 205-pounder is playing his senior season at Our Savior New American School in Centereach, N.Y.

If Rabb or Swanigan, both five-star frontcourt prospects, decide to follow Dillard, the Bears will more easily replace Kravish, who had 13 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots in his final regular-season game.

The 6-10 native of Lee’s Summitt, Missouri left the floor to a standing ovation in the final minute.

“That’s one of those things you get only one time,” said Kravish, Cal’s career blocked shots leader and No. 5 all-time rebounder. “It still hasn’t hit me I’m not going to play another game here.

“Haas is a great environment for college basketball. I’m going to miss it.”

Continue Reading


Swmming: Cal women cruise to Pac-12 title

Top-ranked Cal breezed to its second consecutive and fourth overall Pac-12 Women’s Swimming & Diving Championship Saturday, winning three more events to pull away from the field on its way to scoring a meet record 1,629.50 points at Federal Way, Washington.

Cierra Runge set meet and school records while winning the 1,650-yard freestyle in 15:40.17, Missy Franklin led a Cal sweep of the 200 backstroke, and freshman Noemie Thomas won her first individual title in the 200 butterfly.

Cal swimmers won 12 swimming events in the four-day meet, breaking the school record of nine set in 2012.

Runge, a freshman who broke the NCAA record in winning the 500 free Thursday and was a member of Cal’s American record-setting 800 free relay Wednesday, was named the Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet.

In the 1650 free, Runge won the race by 14 seconds and just missed Janet Evans’ 25-year-old conference record of 15:39.14.


Basketball: Kravish seeks big finale to career

Cal senior forward David Kravish was struggling to hold onto his confidence. He was coming off a 2-for-11 shooting performance in a loss at Utah and wasn’t satisfied with his contributions to the Bears’ up-and-down season.

Then he got what he called “a nice little kick in the head moment” while on the phone with fiancé Ashton Pohlman before Cal’s game at Stanford a week ago.

“I was beating myself up and she snapped at me,” Kravish said.

“Who’s telling you not to believe in yourself?” she said. “If I was there, I’d punch you right now. You need to believe in yourself before anybody else will believe in you.”

A student at Arkansas and Kravish’s girlfriend since his junior year in high school, Pohlman apparently struck just the right note. Kravish responded with a career-high 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against Stanford, playing once more with the confidence he’s shown much of his career.

Kravish will play his final regular-season home game Sunday against Oregon State, joined for senior day ceremonies by Pohlman, his parents and other family and friends. For most of four seasons, he has been a model of consistency and dependability.

Continue Reading