Softball: Henderson breaks career wins mark

Senior Jolene Henderson became the winningest pitcher in Cal softball history, posting her 120th career victory in the Bears’ 4-1 win over Utah at Levine-Fricke Field.

Henderson passed U.S. Olympian Michele Granger, who won 119 games for the Bears from 1990-93.

“We’ve had a number of All-American pitchers here at Cal that have pitched at the Olympic level and the USA level, and here comes Jolene and she has now broken the mark to be the all-time winningest pitcher,” Cal coach Diane Ninemire said. “That is a phenomenal accomplishment by a great player and a great team player.”

Henderson struck out five, walked one and allowed five hits and one earned run against the Utes. Her season earned run average is 0.94.

Her current career record is 120-26 with a 1.22 ERA. In 972 innings, she has struck out 1,016 batters.

“The best part about it,” Henderson said, “is that my team has won all these games. I’ve never won a game all by myself but Cal has had so many people put in so much energy in to all these wins in all these four years. It all plays a part.”

Granger, who won an Olympic gold medal in 1996 at Atlanta, was 119-52 at Cal with an 0.46 ERA and a then-NCAA record 1,640 strikeouts. She pitched 25 no-hitters, including five perfect games. 


Football: Marshawn Lynch’s cameo TD run highlights Bears’ modified spring game

Ex-Cal running back great Marshawn Lynch injected a surprise lift for the approximately 5,000 fans who checked out the Bears’ spring game on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

Lynch, now with the Seattle Seahawks, scored a 22-yard “touchdown” before the current Bears got down to showing what they’ve worked on the past four weeks.

Click here for Carl Steward’s report.


Women’s basketball: Bears win NCAA opener

Here is Stephanie Hammon’s story on the Cal women at the NCAA tournament:

Cal women’s basketball coach Lindsay Gottlieb is sticking to her original assessment of Fresno State — No. 15 seeds don’t get much tougher than the Bulldogs.

The Bears won their NCAA tournament opener for the second straight year, topping Fresno State 90-76 on Saturday at United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

But Cal, seeded No. 2 in the Spokane region, took awhile to seize control against the hot-shooting Bulldogs (24-9). And though the Bears led the entire second half, it was never by too comfortable a margin.

Click here for the rest of the story.



Basketball: Syracuse game thread

Click here for my game story, plus a photo slide show.

And here for Jon Wilner’s story on Allen Crabbe’s frustrating night.

FINAL SCORE: Syracuse 66, Cal 60. Bears got within six late, no closer. There will be no Sweet 16 for the Bears (21-12) — a drought that dates back to 1997. Solomon career-highs of 22 points, 14 rebounds. Crabbe scored eight points — nearly 11 under his average — on 3 for 9 shooting. Cobbs scored five on 2 for 9. Crabbe declined to address his future afterward.

Cal finished at 39 percent from the field, 4 for 21 from the 3-point arc. The Bears had 17 turnovers.

Syracuse (28-9) is headed to Washington D.C. for its fourth Sweet 16 appearance in five years, despite shooting 39 percent from the field and missing 15 free throws.

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Women’s basketball: Cal dives into NCAA play

Here is staff writer Elliott Almond’s preview of the Cal women’s NCAA tournament opener Saturday against Fresno State:

Lindsay Gottlieb expects Cal’s last game to help the Bears prepare for Fresno State in the NCAA tournament opener Saturday in Lubbock, Texas.

The Bears fell to UCLA 70-58 in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals while shooting a paltry 29.5 percent for the game and missing all 11 3-point shots in the first half.

“We talked about never being comfortable and understanding that great teams will come out and give us their best game — and we have to always be ready for that,” Gottlieb said.

Fresno State coach Raegan Pebley expects Cal (28-3) to be more than ready.

“They only lost three games and they’re still averaging in the 70s in points per game,” she said. “I have a hard time saying that they’re not a very good shooting team or on a downhill slide with their shooting percentages. You have to look at their body of work.”

Based on a season of success, the second-seeded Bears should roll over the No. 15 Bulldogs in a 1:20 p.m. game at United Spirit Arena.

But Fresno State (24-8) has plenty of postseason experience, playing in its sixth consecutive tournament. The undersized Bulldogs are looking for their first tournament victory against a team President Barack Obama has chosen to reach its first Final Four.

Click here for the rest of this story.

Brittany Boyd (15) and Cal open NCAA play against Fresno State. (Nhat V. Meyer/Staff)



Basketball: Cal signee Mathews’ squad falls in state Division I championship game

Cal signee Jordan Mathews suffered a back bruise after a first-half fall and his Santa Monica HS lost 73-57 to Pleasant Grove of Elk Grove in the CIF state Division I championship game Friday night at Sacramento.

Mathews, who had games of 37 and 41 points during the SoCal regional playoffs, later banged his knee in a collision, accoring to the L.A. Times.

The four-star guard fouled out early in the fourth quarter and finished with nine points on 3 for 10 shooting.

Santa Monica finished the season 29-7.


Football: Bears ready for modified spring game

Following Friday’s final spring practice, coach Sonny Dykes said the Bears will play strictly offense vs. defense in Saturday’s 4 p.m. spring game at Memorial Stadium.

Because of a series of injuries — few of them serious — the Bears don’t have enough players available to split into two full squads for the spring game.

So the offense will square off against the defense, with the defense scoring points for stops, forcing turnovers, etc.

The event, which will be shown live on the Pac-12 Networks, precedes Cal’s NCAA tournament basketball game against Syracuse at HP Pavilion. Tipoff for the basketball game is expected at about 6:40 p.m. on TBS.

Despite the schedule conflict for many fans, Dykes is pleased for coach Mike Montgomery’s squad.

“I’m happy that they’re playing,” he said. “I’m looking forward to going home and watching them get to the Sweet 16.”

Dykes said he plans to share the quarterback reps among the three leading candidates for the starting job — Zach Kline, Jared Goff and Austin Hinder.

As to when he and his staff might settle on a No. 1, Dykes said, “We want it to happen as quickly as possible, but we’re not going to force it.”

Admission to the spring game is free.


Basketball: Which Cal player needs to deliver big?

First, my picks for the all-time five-man teams (plus one reserve) at Cal & Syracuse:

CAL: PG Jason Kidd; SG Phil Chenier; SF Lamond Murray; PF Shareef Abdur-Rahim; C Darrall Imhoff; 6th man Kevin Johnson.

SYRACUSE: PG Pearl Washington; SG Dave Bing; SF Carmelo Anthony; PF Derrick Coleman; C Rony Seikaly; 6th man Billy Owens.

So, is there anyone on the current team poised to deliver the kind of performance Saturday that will earn him a permanent place in Cal lore?

I want your vote on which player will have to muster an extraordinary game for the Bears to upset the Orange on Saturday evening:

— Allen Crabbe

— Justin Cobbs

— Richard Solomon

— David Kravish

— Tyrone Wallace

— Robert Thurman

— Someone else

I’ll be curious to get your consensus.


Basketball: Cal, Oregon fans planning to `Light Up San Jose’ for NCAA games at HP Pavilion

Cal and Oregon fans may create a bright gold-and-yellow blur Saturday in HP Pavilion and on national television for Saturday’s round of 32 doubleheader.

The Pac-12 Conference foes combined their promotional efforts as both try to pull off upsets to reach the Sweet 16. They’re calling it “Light Up San Jose.”

Cal is asking fans to wear gold when the No. 12 Bears face No. 4 Syracuse. Likewise Oregon is telling its fans to wear yellow as the No. 12 Ducks face No. 4 Saint Louis in Saturday’s opener.

It’s created a unique instance of Pac-12 cooperation amid fan bases. “That’s exciting to have a lot of Pac-12 fans here and having Oregon cheering for us,” Cal junior guard Justin Cobbs said. “We really appreciate that and we’ll be there for them, also.”

In an email sent by Cal athletics to ticketholders, fans were given a five-item checklist of how to approach Saturday’s game. Included was a request to arrive in time for Oregon’s 4:10 p.m. game against St. Louis.