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Women’s basketball: Bears cruise to victory

The Cal women won their NCAA tournament opener for the fourth straight year, beating Wichita State 78-66 at Haas Pavilion on Friday afternoon.

The fourth-seeded Bears (24-9) will play No. 5 seed Texas on Sunday. The Longhorns (23-10) beat Western Kentucky 66-64. Tipoff is 6 p.m. and the game will be aired on ESPN2.

Reshanda Gray led five Cal players in double figures with 22 points. She also had nine rebounds. Mercedes Jefflo added 14 points and Brittany Boyd had 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

Cal shot 52 percent and outrebounded the Shockers (29-5) by a 38-27 margin.

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Basketball: Ex-Cal guard Jarod Haase, UAB to face UCLA 22 years after his first experience against the Bruins

For Alabama-Birmingham coach Jarod Haase, Saturday’s NCAA tournament game against UCLA will be framed by an entirely different set of circumstances than the first time he faced the Bruins.

At stake for Haase and the 14th-seeded Blazers is a spot in next week’s Sweet 16. For a school that dropped its football program in December, the opportunity is a joyous occasion.

In 1993, when he and Jason Kidd formed an all-freshman backcourt at Cal, Haase took on the Bruins with a somber heart.

His father, Gary Haase, a 55-year-old Cal grad, had died unexpectedly the day before of causes stemming from an infection in his spleen after being checked into a hospital with an ankle infection.

Then-Cal coach Lou Campanelli gave Haase the option of returning to his family home in South Lake Tahoe rather than remain with the team in Los Angeles. He stayed, explaining that his father would have wanted it that way.

Haase and the Bears responded with a spectacular performance, routing the Bruins 104-82. It was UCLA’s worst loss at Pauley Pavilion since its opening 27 years before, and prompted legendary Bruins coach John Wooden – who attended the game – to say, “I never thought we’d be behind by this margin at home to anybody.”

Haase played 30 minutes and contributed 16 points and five assists to Cal’s most one-sided win over UCLA since 1923. Afterward, he allowed himself a quick smile as he left the court.

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Swimming: Missy Franklin sparks 2 NCAA wins

Sophomore Missy Franklin, in her final meet representing Cal, won the 200-yard individual medley and swam a leg on the victorious 200 medley relay as the Bears set a school record for points scored on the first day of the NCAA championships at Greensboro, N.C.

Franklin, star of the 2012 London Olympics, won the 200 IM in a personal-best time of 1 minutes, 52.11 seconds. Teammate Elizabeth Pelton was second in 1:52.80, also a career best.

The Bears’ foursome of Kayla Bing, Franklin, Rachel Bootsma and Farida Osman began the meet by winning the 200 medley relay in 1:26.41, barely edging Stanford.

Cal is in second place after one day with 162 points, 10 points behind Georgia. The meet runs through Saturday.

Franklin intends to leave the Cal team after this season to train for the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympics.

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Football: Wide receiver Chris Harper remains confident his decision to enter the NFL draft was correct

Former Cal wide receiver Chris Harper, in his first public remarks about his decision to leave school a year early for the NFL draft, said Tuesday he was concerned his production would drop in the Bears’ diverse offense.

“The fact that there’s a lot of receivers and the ball’s going to be spread around a lot more, just like it was this year,” Harper said after participating in Cal’s Pro Day workout in front of scouts from 29 NFL teams.

“It was more about my draft stock. I feel like next year it wouldn’t have been as high. With my production dropping every year, going into next year I wouldn’t have had as many balls or as many opportunities as I’ve had these last couple years.”

Harper caught 41 passes as a freshman in former coach Jeff Tedford’s offense, then had 70 and 52 catches the past two seasons playing in coach Sonny Dykes’ pass-oriented attack. He caught 11 touchdown passes the past two seasons.

Cal returns the rest of its receiving corps next season, including Kenny Lawler and Bryce Treggs.

Harper made what he called an “educated decision” to leave Cal after talking with family and mentors. He did not involve Cal’s coaching staff in the conversation. “No, because I felt it was my decision,” he said.

Harper said he was surprised and disappointed when he was not among the 44 receivers invited to the NFL combine last month in Indianapolis. But he remains confident he will be selected somewhere between the third and seventh rounds in the NFL draft, which begins April 30.

The website NFLDraftScout.com rates Harper as the No. 48 receiver prospect.

Harper, joined by six other former Cal players who were measured and tested in various areas at Pro Day, thought he fared well. He said he did 11 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press, and had a 35-inch vertical leap. His 40-yard dash times were in the low 4.5-second range.

“I dropped a ball — I was pretty frustrated by that,” he said. “Other than that I think I tested really well.”

Harper’s agent, Los Angeles-based Jerome Stanley, said neither Pro Day nor the draft will dictate Harper’s future as a professional football player.

“Chris is the kind of guy that’s successful in the NFL,” Stanley said. “It’s not a draft thing, it’s a can-you-play thing.”

Other former Cal players who participated at Pro Day were safety Michael Lowe, offensive lineman Alejandro Crosthwaite, defensive end Harrison Wilfley, kickers James Langford and Vincenzo D’Amato and long snapper John Sheperdson.

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Football: Dykes likes D-line’s improved depth

Cal incorporated two sets of scrimmages into its fourth workout of the spring on Monday, and defensive tackles Mustafa Jalil and David Davis sat out, as they will every time the Bears go live.

“We haven’t missed a beat,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said afterward. “I love the depth. I love the fact that we can play five or six defensive tackles and not make much of a difference. Couldn’t do that (last year) at any time.”

Senior Trevor Kelly, beginning his second season with the program, has dropped 30 pounds. “He’s moving around so much better,” Dykes said.

Dykes also said junior Marcus Manley and transfer James Looney are doing good things. Tony Mekari and Chris Palmer also are in the mix at defensive tackle.

Jalil, who has struggled with knee issues throughout his Cal career, is being held out purely for precautionary reasons, Dykes said. “We want him to get his snaps next fall,” Dykes said.

At defensive end, Dykes singled out senior Kyle Kragen, who transferred in from Diablo Valley College last season but had his own knee problems.

“He’s been really good. He’s strong, playing really hard. He’s been around, he’s mature. He knows how to play the position,” Dykes said. “He’s worked really hard to get himself into great shape and he’s playing hungry.”

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Reserve quarterback-turned-safety Luke Rubenzer had a big moment Monday, intercepting Jared Goff during scrimmage action.

“Every day he gets better. That’s what I like to see,” Dykes said. “Today I thought he’s starting to get a sense for things. There’s certain guys who are in the right place at the right time. You want those guys playing for you. I think he’s one of those kids.”

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Football: Cal’s pro day set for Tuesday morning

Cal’s pro day workout will be held Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.

The workouts, in front of NFL scouts, are open to the public and free.

Cal players who have completed their collegiate career are eligible to compete. Expected participants include Alejandro Crosthwaite, Vincenzo D’Amato, Chris Harper, James Langford, Michael Lowe, John Sheperdson and Harrison Wilfley.

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Basketball: Off-season personnel issues loom, including point guard Tyrone Wallace’s future

Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said he could bring in as many as four new recruits before next basketball season, and that doesn’t factor in what junior point guard Tyrone Wallace might decide about his future.

Wallace, an all-Pac-12 pick in his first season at the position, is rated as potentially a high second-round pick in the NBA draft.

Martin said he plans to meet individually with all his players after spring break in two weeks, and will discuss Wallace’s options at that point.

“First and foremost, we want what’s best for our players,” Martin said. “If Tyrone can get where he’s trying to go at the end of this season, we like what he’s hearing, then we’ll do what’s best for Tyrone.”

Wallace ranks among the top five in the Pac-12 in three major statistical categories, averaging 17.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He’s an inconsistent 3-point shooter and converts barely 60 percent at the free throw line, but is long and athletic.

DraftExpress.com rates Wallace as potentially the No. 37 pick in the draft and NBADraft.net projects him at No. 38. Only first-round picks are given guaranteed contracts.

“You’re talking about a guy who was a 2-3 wing guy transitioning to toughest position in the game,” Martin said. “To make all-conference is tremendous.”

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