The Cal women, seeded No. 7 in the Notre Dame regional of the NCAA tournament, take on Fordham in their opener Saturday at Waco, Texas.
Junior point guard Brittany Boyd said the Bears (21-9) are ready for the challenge ahead.
“A lot of people got more confident,” Boyd said. “We’re still learning, but I think since the beginning of the season we’ve made a humongous leap.”
The game tips off at 1 p.m. on ESPN2.
Click here to read staff writer Stephanie Hammon’s full story.
Cal junior Brittany Boyd is one of five finalists for the 2014 Nancy Lieberman Award, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced. The award goes to the nation’s top point guard.
Boyd, who also has been a candidate for the Wade Tropy, Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy this season, averages 14.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.9 steals for the Golden Bears.
She was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection and a Pac-12 All-Defensive team pick. Boyd leads the conference in steals and assists.
In her most recent game, against Washington State, she had 13 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists.
Other finalists for the Lieberman award are Odyssey Sims of Baylor, Jerica Coley of Florida International, Moriah Jefferson of UConn and Heather Butler and Tennessee-Martin.
The Cal women (21-9) earned their third straight NCAA tournament bid, as a No. 7 seed in the Notre Dame Regional, headed to Waco, Texas, to face No. 10 Fordham on Saturday.
Tipoff is 1 p.m. PST. The game will be aired on ESPN2.
The Rams are 25-7, including an 11-5 record in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
“It’s always exciting to see your name pop up. I’m excited for our players and the opportunity,” said Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb, who guided the Bears to the Final Four last season.
“I thought we’d be a six or seven. Either way you’re going to have a tough first-round game and an opportunity to probably have to beat someone on their home floor. Whoever it is it doesn’t matter. It’s an exciting opportunity.”
The matchup against an opponent on their home floor would come in the next round, when the Cal Bears likely would face the host Baylor Bears, the region’s No. 2 seed.
Baylor features senior All-America guard Odyssey Sims, who averages 28.4 points.
This is Cal’s 10th all-time NCAA tournament appearance.
Cal women’s basketball player Mikayla Lyles has been selected as the 2014 recipient of the Robin Roberts/WBCA Broadcasting Scholarship, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced Wednesday.
A senior from Pleasanton, Lyles will receive the $4,500 Robin Roberts/WBCA Broadcasting Scholarship Award presented annually to one female collegiate basketball player who intends to pursue graduate work and a career in sports communications or journalism.
“I am so proud of Mikayla for earning this prestigious award, and for being recognized on a national level for the qualities that we’ve seen her display day in and day out over the course of her time as a student-athlete at Cal,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said.
Down by as many as 15 points midway through the second half, the second-seeded Bears rallied against No. 7 Washington State before losing 91-83 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament at Key Arena in Seattle.
Ranked 2oth in the nation, Cal (21-9) trailed 78-63 with 7 1/2 minutes left. The Bears scrambled within six points in the final 2 minutes, but got no closer.
Reshanda Gray had 26 points and Gennifer Brandon 20 to lead the Bears, whose seeding for the NCAA tournament may suffer as a result of the loss. Cal entered the game projected as a No. 5 seed.
Afure Jemerigbe contributed 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals, while All-Pac-12 point guard Brittany Boyd scored nine points before fouling out with 5:47 left.
Lia Galdeira scored 27 for the Cougars (17-15), who lost twice to Cal during the regular season and hadn’t beaten the Bears since 2011.
No. 2 seed Cal’s quarterfinal game Friday at the Pac-12 tournament in KeyArena in Seattle will be Washington State after the No. 7 seeded Cougars (16-15) beat Oregon 107-100 in their opening-round game.
The 20th-ranked Bears (21-8) beat the Cougs twice this season, but needed overtime to post a 75-68 win at Berkeley on Feb. 27.
UCLA’s men beat Washington 91-82, preventing the Huskies (16-14, 8-9) from joining Cal, Stanford, Oregon and Utah in the logjam for fifth place.
Jordan Adams scored 31 points for the Bruins (23-7, 12-5), who have clinched the No. 2 seed to the Pac-12 tournament.
The 18th-ranked Bears (21-8, 13-5) are seeded No. 2 for the Pac-12 tournament and will play in Friday’s quarterfinal against the winner of a Thursday first-round game between No. 7 Washington State (15-15, 9-9) and No. 10 Oregon (15-14, 6-12).
The Bears beat WSU twice this season and defeated Oregon in the teams’ only meeting.
Friday’s quarterfinal game will tip off at 6 p.m. at KeyArena in Seattle.
With a win Friday, Cal would advance to Saturday’s 8:30 p.m. semifinal game. The championship game will be played Sunday at 6 p.m.
All Pac-12 women’s tournament games will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks, except the championship game, which will be aired on ESPN.
Reshanda Gray scored a career-high 43 points to go with 16 rebounds and Brittany Boyd compiled a triple-double as the No. 18 Cal women held off Washington State 75-68 in overtime at Berkeley.
Their seventh straight victory keeps the Bears (21-7, 13-4) alone in second place. Cal can clinch second and the No. 2 seed for the Pac-12 tournament with a victory over Washington in their regular-season finale Saturday at Haas Pavilion.
Boyd scored eight of her 13 points in overtime. She also had a career-high 14 rebounds and 11 assists for the second triple-double in school history.
Gray shot 17 for 20 from the field — an astonishing 85 percent — and pocketed her seventh consecutive double-double, her 14th on the season.
The rest of the Cal team combined to shoot 7 for 49, just 14.3 percent. The Bears were 0 for 9 from the 3-point arc.
The No. 18 Cal women beat USC 76-67 in Los Angeles to retain their sole grip on sescond place in the Pac-12.
The Bears (20-7, 12-4) have won six straight.
Reshanda Gray had 22 points and 11 rebounds for her sixth consecutive double-double and Afure Jemerigbe scored 16. Brittany Boyd contributed eight points, eight rebounds and five assists, moving to third on Cal’s career assist list with 474.
The Cal women remain alone in second place in the Pac-12 after a 77-72 win at UCLA.
Guard Brittany Boyd had 13 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals for the Bears (19-7, 11-4).
Reshanda Gray had 13 points and 15 rebounds, Afure Jemerigbe scored 15 points, and Gennifer Brandon came off the bench for 14 points and 11 rebounds.