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Women’s basketball: No. 15 Bears rout Pacific in opener

Sophomore Courtney Range scored a career-high 27 points and the No. 15 Cal women opened their season with an 84-64 win at Pacific.

Range, whose previous career high was 12 points, also grabbed 11 rebounds for her third career double-double. She shot 10 for 13 from the floor.

Senior forward Reshanda Gray had 17 points and seven rebounds in just 18 minutes and senior guard Brittany Boyd had 12 points, eight assists, four rebounds and three steals.

Freshman forward Mikayla Cowling scored 18 points in her college debut, 17 of them in the second half. She also had seven rebounds.

The Bears improved to 23-2 all-time vs. the Tigers.

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Women’s basketball: VanDerveer shares with Gottlieb

A terrific story by Janie McCauley of the Associated Press.

Read and ask yourself, “Would a men’s basketball coach ever do this?”

*****

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press

BERKELEY, Calif. — Sleep-deprived and feeling a bit down, coach Lindsay Gottlieb took a stroll last March a day after California’s season ended in the NCAA tournament. She was still absorbing being abruptly thrown into the offseason.

Her phone buzzed with a text message. Hall of Fame Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer, whose team was still playing, wrote: “Do you have any scholarships left?”

Gottlieb had an open spot — but wanted to know who her colleague was talking about. VanDerveer provided a quick rundown on a 6-foot-3 forward from New Zealand named Penina Davidson. Gottlieb texted back with one word, “Interested!!!!!!” with “about 5,000 exclamation points,” she said.

The rival coaches worked together to find Davidson a new home when the young woman’s test scores didn’t get her into Stanford, a thoughtful gesture by both sides not seen every day in college athletics.

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Women’s basketball: Media pick Bears to win Pac-12

A panel of 17 media members has picked the Cal women’s basketball team to win the Pac-12 Conference title, ending a streak of 15 straight years that distinction went to Stanford.

The Bears picked up nine first-place votes and scored 194 points, compared to seven first-place ballots and 190 points for Stanford. Oregon State secured the remaining first-place vote and finished third in the poll.

The Pac-12 coaches gave Stanford a slight edge over Stanford for the league title.

Cal guard Brittany Boyd and forward Reshanda Gray were chosen to the five-player preseason all-conference team.

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Women’s basketball: Cal picked second in Pac-12 poll

For the second straight season, the Cal women’s basketball team was picked to finish second in the Pac-12 Conference, according to the annual coaches poll.

The Bears got three first-place votes to finish behind perennial champion Stanford. Oregon State was close behind in third place.

Cal has three starters back — including All-America candidates Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray — from a 22-10 that advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

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Women’s basketball: Jemerigbe to play in Spain

Former Cal guard Afure Jemerigbe signed a professional contract with Spanish League newcomer CB Al-Qazeres.

CB Al-Qazares will play in the Liga Femenina de Baloncesto, the top women’s basketball league in Spain, for the first time in team history for the 2014-15 season after earning promotion from the second tier of the Spanish women’s basketball pyramid last season.

Jemerigbe led the Golden Bears to a 22-10 record last season, averaging 12.1 points and 4.2 rebounds.

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Women’s basketball: Visit by Louisville highlights Bears’ challenging nonconference schedule

The Cal women’s basketball team announced its nonconference schedule on Wednesday, a challenging 11-game set that includes a rematch of the Bears’ 2013 Final Four game against Louisville.

The Cardinals, Elite Eight participants at 33-5 last season, will visit Haas Pavilion on Sunday, Dec. 21. Louisville beat Cal 64-57 in the Final Four at New Orleans two seasons ago.

“Each and every year, we want to bring one of the nation’s top teams into Haas Pavilion, where we have one of the most exciting college basketball atmospheres you can find,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “We are thrilled that Jeff Walz and Louisville will be coming to town, and I know our fans will be ready for a ‘Final 4 rematch.’

“Most importantly, it’s a game that will garner national attention and allow our players to play on the biggest stage.”

The Bears’ regular season opener is Sunday, November 16 at Stockton against Pacific. The home opener will be Tuesday, November 18 against Nevada.

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Women’s basketball: Bears ink New Zealander

The Cal women’s basketball team has signed Penina Davidson, a 6-foot-3 forward who plays for the New Zealand national team.

A native of Auckland — the same hometown as former Cal player Sean Marks — Davidson joins a Cal recruiting class that already was ranked among the top 20 in the nation.

“We are thrilled to add a person and player of Penina’s caliber in the late signing period,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “Nina comes from a ‘basketball family’, and that’s evident in her versatile game and high basketball intellect. She’s big and strong and will provide a solid post presence, but also has an array of skills facing the basket.”

Davidson is a member of the New Zealand women’s national team where she most recently competed at the 2013 FIBA Oceania Championships, scoring five points and pulling down eight rebounds for the Tall Ferns in the championship series against the Australia senior national team that was coming off a bronze medal finish at the London Olympics.

Davidson also competed for New Zealand at the 2012 Four Nations Challenge in China where she averaged 15 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in nine total games against China, the United States and Australia. She was named to the final all-tournament team, one of just two non-Americans selected.

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Women’s basketball: Brandon to Chicago Sky

Cal’s Gennifer Brandon was taken by the Chicago Sky with the 22nd pick of the WNBA draft on Monday night.

Brandon is the fourth Cal player to be drafted by the league, following Layshia Clarendon (2013, 9th pick), Ashley Walker (2009, 12th pick) and Alexis Gray-Lawson (2010, 30th pick).

The Golden Bears are the only Pac-12 program with a player drafted by the WNBA each of the past two seasons.

Brandon was a  three-time All-Pac-12 selection, finishing her career as Cal’s all-time leading rebounder with 1219 career boards, a mark that ranks fifth in Pac-12 history.

 She holds the Pac-12 single-game rebounding mark of 26 and finished her career as one of just four players in California history to record over 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds. Brandon averaged of 9.2 points and 9.6 rebounds per game for her Cal career.

 

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Women’s basketball: Bears ousted at Baylor

Outscored 41-23 in the second half, the Cal women (22-10) were eliminated from the NCAA tournament after a 75-56 loss to No. 2 seed Baylor (31-4) at Waco, Texas.

Afure Jemerigbe scored 17 points to lead the seventh-seeded Bears and Brittany Boyd had 15 points and seven assists.

All-America guard Odyssey Sims led Baylor with 27 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals.