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Basketball: UConn women rout Cal

No. 1 UConn took charge from the start and dispatched Cal 80-47 in the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden.

The No. 21 Bears (7-3) shot 29.9 percent, including 1 for 9 from the 3-point arc.

Brittany Boyd had nine points, seven rebounds, six steals and five assists to lead the Bears, who had no player score double digits. But Boyd shot just 3 for 23

All-American Brenna Stewart had 29 points and 10 rebounds in just 27 minutes for the Huskies (12-0).

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Women’s basketball: Brandon takes leave

All-Pac-12 forward Gennifer Brandon has taken a leave from the Cal women’s team for personal reasons.

The school said in a statement Sunday that there is no timetable for her return.

Brandon played 13 minutes in the No. 17 Golden Bears’ opener before sitting out three games while recovering from stress fractures in her right leg. She had six points in that game. The Bears lost their first two games without her before edging Georgetown.

The fifth-year senior, who averaged 12.3 points last season, missed Sunday’s game against Northwestern — which Cal won 65-51 — and will be out indefinitely.

“Gennifer Brandon is currently not involved in team activities as she handles more pressing personal matters. We love Genn,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said in a statement released by the school. “We support Genn. She remains a part of the Cal women’s basketball family. We hope to have her back with us soon.”

Reshanda Gray shot 9 of 13 from the field, scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Bears past the Wildcats.

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Women’s basketball: Bears sign local teammates and nationally ranked prospects Cowling, Green

Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb’s second signing class features teammates Mikayla Cowling and Gabby Green of Saint Mary’s College High in Berkeley. Cal announced Wednesday both have signed national letters of intent.

“Typically on signing day, it’s customary to welcome our new signees to the Golden Bear Family,” Gottlieb said. “However, these two young women have felt like family for a very long time. Today just makes it official.”

Cowling, a 6-foot-2 wing from Benecia, and Green, a 6-2 guard from Oakland, will join Cal for the 2014-15 season. Both are rated among the top 15 players in the country according to ESPN HoopGurlz rankings.

The incoming group, ranked No. 13 by ESPN, gives California its fifth top 20 recruiting class in the last six years – the lone exception being the 2011-12 season when the Golden Bears did not sign any players.

Cowling is rated No. 11 overall by ESPN HoopGurlz and the No. 2 wing in the country. She participated in the USA Basketball U16 National Team trials in 2011.

Alongside Green, Cowling has led Saint Mary’s HS to an 87-18 record the past three seasons. She averaged 12.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.9 steals per game in 2012-13.

Cowling is the daughter of former Cal track and field great Larry Cowling. A member of the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame, Cowling has held the school record in the 110-meter hurdles (13.39) and 400 hurdles (48.46) since 1982.

Green is as a unanimous top-15 prospect by recruiting analysts, She won a gold medal with the USA Basketball U19 National Team that posted a 9-0 record at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championships in Lithuania.  She also participated in the U17 World Championship Team trials and the U16 National Team trials and has earned a total of 11 appearances in international competition for USA Basketball.

At Saint Mary’s, where she and Cowling led their team to a 30-5 record last season, Green averaged 16.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 4.2 steals per game as a junior.

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Women’s basketball: Bears fall to No. 2 Duke

The No. 9 Cal women lost 70-58 to No. 2 Duke on Sunday afternoon in front of 10,771 5,023 fans at Haas Pavilion. (The original crowd count listed here came via a Cal news release).

Afure Jemerigbe had 16 points and seven rebounds for the Bears (1-1) and Brittany Boyd had 13 points and six assists.

The Bears shot just 32 percent from the field.

Click here to read staff writer Stephanie Hammon’s full game account.

 

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Women’s basketball: Brandon’s surprise return sparks No. 9 Bears in season opening win

The No. 9 Cal women’s basketball team got an unexpected boost in its season opener Friday night with the return of star forward Gennifer Brandon.

Exactly three months after undergoing surgery to have a rod put in her right lower leg, the senior forward came off the bench to contribute to the Bears’ 70-51 win over Long Beach State.

“Just being out here today is a surprise,” Brandon said. “I’m still trying to embrace it. It’s a beautiful thing.”

The Bears, in their first game since reaching the Final Four last season for the first time, will be more severely tested Sunday when they face No. 3 Duke at Haas Pavilion.

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Basketball: Can the men match the women?

After five straight Final Four appearances by the Stanford women’s basketball team, Cal took a turn for the first time last season.

The Cardinal and Bears both are rated as preseason top-10 teams, so either could challenge to get there again next March.

With the college basketball season beginning Friday, there are no such lofty expectations for the Cal and Stanford men’s teams. The two programs have had their share of success but have combined for just one Final Four bid since 1960.

If the women can do it, why not the men?

Mike Montgomery, who has directed the Cal men to NCAA tournament berths in four of his five seasons and coached Stanford to the 1998 Final Four, declined to offer more than this concise explanation.

“They’re really good,” Montgomery said of the women’s programs. “End of story.”

In fact, the reasons are complex, involving differences in recruiting, national competitive balance, student-athlete priorities and, perhaps most of all, the impact of greater financial incentives in the men’s game.

Click here to read the rest of this story.

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 CAL & STANFORD AT THE FINAL FOUR

Here’s a look at Cal and Stanford men’s and women’s basketball teams that have reached the Final Four:

Women

– Stanford: 1990-x, 1991, 1992-x, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.

– Cal: 2013.

Men

– Stanford: 1942-x, 1998.

– Cal: 1946, 1959-x, 1960.

x — indicates NCAA champion.

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Women’s Basketball: No. 9 Bears roll

The ninth-ranked Cal women’s basketball team opened its season Friday night with a 91-62 win over Vanguard, the top-ranked NAIA team in the nation.

Brittany Boyd, Reshanda Gray and Courtney Range each had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Bears, who led 44-30 at the half. Boyd added five assists and four steals, and Afure Jemerigbe contributed 14 points.

The Cal women will hold a free, open practice Sunday at 11 a.m. at Haas Pavilion. The Bears open their regular season Friday at home against Long Beach State in the first game of a doubleheader also involving the men’s team.

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Women’s basketball: Brittany Boyd ready to shine

Courtesy of Stephanie Hammon of our staff, a report on the Cal women from Thursday’s Pac-12 media day:

From halfway around the world, Brittany Boyd showed this summer that she is ready to take the lead for the Cal women’s basketball team.

Coming off their first ever trip to the Final Four, the Bears will attempt to maintain their elite status in the women’s basketball world.

And with standout guard Layshia Clarendon now showing off her silky jumpshot and clutch scoring in the WNBA, Boyd knows it’s her time to take more of a starring role for Cal.

The junior point guard played “at a whole different level” during the team’s August tour in China, Cal associate head coach Charmin Smith said at Thursday’s Pac-12 media day.

Click here for the rest of this story.

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Basketball: 5 questions with Lindsay Gottlieb

The Cal women’s basketball team, coming off its first-ever Final Four appearance, begins practice Tuesday.

The Golden Bears were 32-4 last season, shared the Pac-12 title and return three starters to a team projected as No. 3 in the country, according to Lindy’s magazine.

I spoke last week with coach Lindsay Gottlieb about her team. Here’s our conversation:

What do you and your players expect from this encore season?

“I think our baseline for everything has been raised. Our expectations now permanently for Cal women’s basketball have been raised. Does that mean we’re going to go to the Final Four every single year? No, everything has to go right. But if there’s a legacy that team left, it’s there’s a way you play at Cal. You play for each other, play with a lot of heart, play very hard, enjoy it. Now that that’s established, the level of expectation every day in practice is higher.”

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