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Golf: Rough day for Weaver at Masters

Cal junior Michael Weaver struggled to a six-over par 78 in the opening round of the Masters at Augusta National. Weaver is tied for 82nd place and fifth among the event’s six amateurs.

“It was fun being out there,” said Weaver, who will need a strong bounce-back round on his 22nd birthday Friday to make the cut for weekend play. “It was a little frustrating at times, but that’s the way it goes. I got off to a good start, which was nice and helped settle me down.

“But, I had a couple of bad mistakes and hit the ball in a few bad spots and my score added up pretty high in a hurry, unfortunately.”

“It was the first time a current Cal golfer has ever played in the Masters, so it was a special day and I know one that we’ll all remember for the rest of our lives,” Cal coach Steve Desimone said. “All in all, it was a great day for Michael and a great day for Cal golf.”

Weaver, who qualified for the Masters by finishing second at the U.S. Amateur last summer, had two double-bogeys and only two birdies on Thursday.

He scored 6s on the par-4 third and 11th holes, and also bogeyed the fifth, eighth, 13th and 17th. Weaver already was six over after 13 holes.

 

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Cal rolls out new uniforms, updated Bear logo

 

The Bears' new look

 

Determined to create unity in its look while embracing tradition, Cal athletics unveiled a new visual identity on Wednesday, including uniforms for all its sports and a more ferocious update of its Golden Bear logo.

“To me, it says we’re not messing around,” linebacker Nick Forbes said of the growling Bear logo. “It’s an aggressive Bear. It’ll be true to how we’re going to play next year.”

Nike developed the new line of uniforms, which will be rolled out at the start of the 2013-14 school year on all fronts. The changes are distinct, but hardly a dramatic departure from what fans are accustomed to seeing.

Cal is not following the lead of the Pac-12′s most famous Nike school, Oregon, which seemingly introduces flamboyant, non-traditional new uniforms on a regular basis.

“We’re not trying to create an identity for ourselves — we have one. It’s the University of California,” new football coach Sonny Dykes said. “I don’t think we need to try to get into uniform battles. We’ll let other schools do that because that’s what they’re particularly good at.”

The traditional Cal script is intact, as is the Bears’ blue and gold color scheme, which will be augmented at times by gray. Black is not part of the new package.

Dykes said he expects the football team to wear blue jerseys and gold pants for all home games. On the road, he said a combination of white and gray likely will be used, although he also envisioned blue pants and gray jerseys.

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Football: Allen runs sprints, routes for scouts

Former Cal star Keenan Allen’s first 40-yard dash runs for NFL scouts on Tuesday produced less than awe-inspiring times. The question is: Will it matter much to NFL teams?

Allen was clocked in 4.71 and 4.75 seconds by Mike Mayock of the NFL Network, according to NFL.com, at Proehlific Park in Greensboro, N.C.  

The wide receiver held his own pro day workout for about 30 NFL scouts after bypassing both the NFL Combine and Cal’s Pro Day while recovering from a knee injury he suffered during the 2012 season and reinjured in January while training for the combine. Allen recently told the Sacramento Bee that he’s only about 85 percent back.

He also showed his route-running skills to scouts, with former NFL wideout Ricky Proehl — owner of the workout facility — throwing him passes. According to a report on SBNation, a scout from the Cincinnati Bengals remarked of Allen, “He did an awesome job.”

Allen has been a projected first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, although his stock seemingly has slipped a bit from the upper to middle range of the first round to perhaps later.

The 2013 NFL Draft will take place April 25-27 at Radio Music City Hall in New York City.

 

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Football: Keenan Allen set to run for scouts

Former Cal wide receiver Keenan Allen is scheduled to run Tuesday in his native Greensboro, N.C., with representatives from all 32 NFL teams in attendance 16 days before he’s expected to be drafted in the first round.

Allen said he probably was 85 percent recovered from his left knee injury, which he “tweaked” before the February scouting combine, but that he’d be back at full strength in a few weeks.

Allen suffered a strained posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Oct. 27 against Utah. He missed the final three games of the season, his predraft workouts at the combine and Cal’s pro day.

9

Women’s basketball: Bears fall in Final Four

Up 10 points at halftime, the Cal women’s basketball team lost 64-57 to Louisville in the national semifinals at New Orleans on Sunday afternoon.

Click here for staff writer Stephanie Hammon’s story and a photo slideshow.

Cal shot 58 percent in the first half, then was taken out of its transition game and struggled offensively. The Bears turned the ball over 19 times and were just 4 for 15 from the 3-point line. They also never dealt with Louisville sharpshooter Antonita Slaugher, who shot 6 for 10 from the 3-point arc and scored 18 points.

Cal, which finished its greatest season with a 32-4 record, was led by senior guard Layshia Clarendon, with 17 points.

Louisville (29-8) advances to Tuesday’s national championship game against UConn, which routed Notre Dame 83-65, the day after the Cardinals’ men’s team faces Michigan for the NCAA crown.

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Basketball: Kidd, Knicks win 12th straight

He’s not the player he once was, but 40-year-old Jason Kidd contributed 14 points Sunday as the NY Knicks beat the Oklahoma Thunder 125-120 on the road for their 12th straight victory.

Kidd, who was a freshman at Cal 20 years ago, shot 4 for 6 from the 3-point arc, had six rebounds, two assists and two steals as the Knicks reached 50 wins for the first time in 13 seasons. 

It equaled Kidd’s highest-scoring game since Jan. 5.

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Football: Marshawn Lynch spring game cameo trumped by 7-year-old cancer patient at Nebraska

Cal fans enjoyed a fun surprise a couple weeks ago when NFL star and Berkeley alum Marshawn Lynch showed up and ran for a touchdown in the Bears’ spring game.

Well, the season’s most memorable — and touching — spring game moment took place Saturday in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Jack Hoffman, a 7-year-old brain cancer patient from Atkinson, Neb., was given a Cornhuskers uniform and ran 69 yards for a touchdown in front of 60,174 fans at Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium.

Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Jmisv1Spck

Nebraska star running back Rex Burkhead befriended Hoffman last year and is captain of the support group known as “Team Jack.” A Nebraska football staff member came up with the idea of giving Hoffman a chance to be part of the spring game and the emotional moment became the No. 1 entry on ESPN’s “Top Plays” of the day segment.

“Jack is a fighter, a strong kid,” Burkhead said. “For Jack to get down here and do it, I know it made his day.”

“It was a lot of emotions right at once,” said Andy Hoffman, Jack’s dad. “Very emotional to see that. Husker fans have been so incredible to Jack and our family and especially to this cause.”

Andy Hoffman said his son is on a two-week break from a 60-week chemotherapy regimen and that he is “doing great.” A recent MRI at Children’s Hospital in Boston showed the tumor has shrunk substantially over the past year, according to the father.

9

Women’s basketball: Bears set for Louisville

Can the Cal women accomplish what the Wichita State men could not do, and advance past Louisville into the championship game of the Final Four?

Here’s our preview package of today’s semifinal matchup in New Orleans:

Click here for staff writer Stephanie Hammon’s story on the maturation of Cal sophomore guard Brittany Boyd.

Here is Hammon’s Final Four notebook, including Louisville’s plans for defending Cal star Layshia Clarendon.

And if you haven’t read it, check out Elliott Almond’s profile on Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb.

*****

From the Louisville Courier-Journal, here’s a story on Cardinals’ star Shoni Schimmel, who has averaged 20 points in nine career postseason games and had the memorable stare-down of 6-foot-8 Baylor star Brittney Griner.

*****

Courtesy of ESPN, here’s an analysis of today’s matchup by the network’s four primary women’s basketball experts: Doris Burke, Kara Lawson, Rebecca Lobo and Carolyn Peck:

On No. 2 seed California

Burke: Lindsay Gottlieb is one of the exciting young coaches in women’s college basketball. She is a passionate, dynamic and a positive force with her team. The Bears have a terrific backcourt with Brittany Boyd and Layshia Clarendon, and a relentless commitment to the offensive glass. The team relies on its ability to get into the open floor and score off their defense. In the half court, Clarendon has to deliver for this team to have a chance to win.

Lawson: Cal is a loose and confident group. Their defense and rebounding carry the day and Layshia Clarendon is a very difficult player to guard, fantastic in the mid-range game.

Lobo: The Golden Bears have found a way to win the close games during this tournament — beating their second-round and regional final opponents in overtime. They want to push tempo and have an athletic team that is built to run. Layshia Clarendon is a terrific break-down guard who can also score from three and their inside game is anchored by Gennifer Brandon, who averages 11 rebounds. Cal hits the glass hard and gets second opportunities as a result. They have struggled scoring at times this season against zone defenses and shoot only 61 percent from the free-throw line. I’m eager to see how they handle playing against Louisville’s different defensive schemes.

Peck: Lindsay Gottlieb has to be on cloud nine right now. Cal is dangerous; if the score is kept close, they are always in the position to win. The team is fast and physical, plus they are a defensive team. Layshia Clarendon is a rising star who makes clutch plays. Louisville has to be concerned about rebounding and defending Cal in the paint.

Note:  Lawson and Peck on Sunday morning’s “SportsCenter” both predicted Louisville will beat Cal.

 

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Women’s basketball: Bears head to New Orleans

The Cal women’s basketball team is on its way to the Final Four in New Orleans, where on Sunday it will face Louisville in the national semifinals.

Check out staff writer Elliott Almond’s excellent profile on Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb, who knew early she would have a life in basketball.

How will the Bears do on the nation’s biggest stage? They see no reason why they can’t win it all. Here’s the story.