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Women’s basketball: Bears open NCAA vs. Wichita St.

The Cal women host Missouri Valley champion Wichita State in their NCAA tournament opener Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.

Staff writer Stephanie Hammon explores whether the fourth-seeded Bears (23-9) are at risk of wearing down in the postseason because of depth issues. Click here for her story.

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Women’s basketball: Bears fall short in title game

Cal lost 61-60 to 19th-ranked Stanford in the championship game of the Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament in Seattle.

The fourth-seeded Bears (23-9) fell short of winning their first Pac-12 tournament title. Third-seeded Stanford (24-9) won its 11th conference tournament crown and the league’s automatic NCAA tournament bid.

Both schools are expected to be first- and second-round NCAA tournament hosts. ESPN.com’s Charlie Crème had both projected as No. 4 seeds.

Cal played 13 first-half minutes without star senior point guard Brittany Boyd, who took an accidental elbow to her left cheek 4 minutes into the game and left the floor bleeding. She finished with seven points on 2-for-9 shooting, along with two rebounds, three assists and four steals in 27 minutes.

Likewise, senior forward Reshanda Gray was saddled with foul trouble and scored just six points in 29 minutes.

Stanford led by four points before Mercedes Jefflo made a 3-pointer for the Bears just before the final horn.

“That was a really good game. I thought Stanford was a little bit better than us in some critical moments and made some plays,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “But we took a punch literally and figuratively — our leader and point guard goes out with blood gushing — and everybody else rallies and that was something I’m proud of.”

Courtney Range led Cal with 17 points, Jefflo scored 16 and Mikayla Cowling added 14. Taylor Greenfield scored a career-high 20 points for Stanford.

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Women’s basketball: Bears into Pac-12 title-game

Seniors Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray powered the fourth-seeded Golden Bears to a 68-55 win over Colorado and into Sunday’s championship game of the Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament against Stanford.

The rivals square off at 6 p.m. in an ESPN game with the league’s automatic NCAA tournament bid on the line.

Boyd had 18 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and four steals and Gray had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Bears (23-8).

Cal turned 16 Colorado turnovers into 20 points.

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Women’s basketball: Bears advance at Pac-12

Senior guard Brittany Boyd had 20 points and 11 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season and the fourth-seeded Golden Bears (22-8, 13-5) beat No. 5 Washington 69-53 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament at Seattle.

Cal will play Saturday in the semifinals against No. 9 Colorado, which upset top-seeded Oregon State 68-65. It’s potentially a break for the Bears, who easily beat Colorado 75-59 this season, but lost 73-55 at Oregon State just last week.

The Bears and Buffaloes tip off at 8:30 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.

It’s the eighth time in nine years the Bears have reached the semifinals of the conference tournament.

Mercedes Jefflo scored 16 points and Reshanda Gray had 13 points and nine rebounds.

The Bears limited Washington (23-7, 11-7) to 32-percent shooting and forced 18 turnovers.

San Jose native Jazmine Davis scored 21 points to lead the Huskies.

Cal trailed 19-12 before using a 12-0 run to take the lead.

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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:

CAL PAC-12 TOURNAMENT PREVIEW

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.”

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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.

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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.