Women’s basketball: Bears host school kids before facing Sacramento State

More than 2,000 East Bay elementary and middle school students will make a special field trip to Haas Pavilion on Wednesday morning for “School Haas Rock,” an educational assembly preceding the 10th-ranked Cal women’s 11 a.m. game against Sacramento State.

Doors will open at Haas at 9:30 a.m. in advance a pre-game assembly at 10:20 a.m. Scheduled to appear at the event are David Surratt, Associate Dean of Students at UC Berkeley, former Golden Bear and current WNBA player Layshia Clarendon, members of the Cal spirit groups and the Cal Steel Bridge Team.

“It’s a really important part of our mission as a program to be involved with our community,” California head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “’School Haas Rock’ is going to be an amazing event that allows our team to impact and inspire the youth of Berkeley, Oakland and the surrounding areas.

“Our student-athletes love getting out into the community and interacting with our fans, particularly kids. Wednesday will allow us to bring the kids into our environment, have them see campus, cheer on some exciting Cal Bear basketball, and walk away having had an experience that will continue to impact them positively even after the game is over.”

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Basketball: Bird questionable for Montana with foot injury

Sophomore guard Jabari Bird is questionable for Cal’s nonconference basketball game Wednesday night against Montana because of a foot injury, the school announced.

Bird is the Bears’ fourth-leading scorer at 11.7 points per game, but shot just 1 for 9 and scored a season-low four points Sunday in a 64-57 win at Fresno State.

Cal did not reveal the nature or severity of Bird’s injury or when the injury occurred.

The former McDonald’s All-American from Salesian High in Richmond averaged 8.3 points as a freshman last season.

The Bears (5-1) face Montana (2-3) on Wednesday at Haas Pavilion. Tipoff is 7 p.m.


Football 2014 season wrapup: Plenty for Bears to build on, plenty still to fix as they try to take next step

When Oregon and Arizona meet Friday night at Levi’s Stadium in the Pac-12 championship game, Sonny Dykes will know his Cal team scored 86 points this season against the two best teams in the conference.

And gave up 108.

Yes, those were the 2014 Golden Bears, able to score points in bunches, generally unable to prevent the opposition from scoring even more.

Cal’s second season under Dykes ended at 5-7 and short of bowl eligibility after a 42-35 loss Saturday to BYU. The Bears made substantial improvement from 1-11 a year earlier, but after a 4-1 start to this season faced seven bowl-bound teams in their final eight games and lost to all of them.

“When you go from where we were last year, a lot of things have to change,” Dykes said. “We knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight.”

It didn’t, but 17 players who started Saturday are expected back next season. Leading the parade is quarterback Jared Goff, who has thrown 53 touchdowns in his first two seasons and will direct an offense that should continue to prosper.

“We have so many players coming back next season it’s hard not to be excited,” Dykes said.

How much higher the Bears can climb in 2015 will depend largely on how effectively they can fix a defense that allowed 30 points or more in each of their final 10 games.

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Football: Mariota, Wright earn top Pac-12 honors

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III, who will square off in Friday’s Pac-12 championship game at Levi’s Stadium, have been named the league’s offensive and defensive players of the year.

Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez was voted Coach of the Year by his peers.

Oregon running back Royce Freeman was named Freshman Offensive Player of the Year and USC defensive back Adoree Jackson took Freshman Defensive Player of the Year honors.

The All-Pac-12 team will be announced Tuesday night on the Pac-12 Networks’ weekly football highlight show at 8 p.m.

Mariota, frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy, threw for 3,470 yards with 36 touchdowns and just two interceptions for the second-ranked Ducks. He led Pac-12 quarterbacks with 636 rushing yards and scored 11 touchdowns on the ground.

He is a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award and Maxwell Award and has led Oregon to victories over three top-25 teams.

Wright, who attended Cardinal Newman High in Santa Rosa, earned the Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year award after leading the Wildcats to their first Pac-12 South title.

He led the conference with six forced fumbles, is third nationally with 14 sacks and tops all Football Bowl Subdivision players with 27 tackles for loss.

He is a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Rotary Lombardi Award.


Football: Three Bears on All-Pac-12 Academic team

Senior center Chris Adcock and defensive backs Caleb Coleman and Griffin Piatt represent Cal on the Pac-12 All-Academic first team, announced Monday by the conference.

A three-time Pac-12 All-Academic first-team pick, Adcock has compiled a 3.54 grade-point average as a double major in business administration and interdisciplinary studies. He has earned his degree in the former and is on schedule to complete his work in the latter this month.

Coleman, a redshirt freshman cornerback with an undeclared major, has a 3.56 GPA. Piatt, who came to Cal as a walkon but has since earned a scholarship, is a junior with a 3.64 GPA as a business administration major.

Second-team Cal picks were senior offensive guard Alejandro Crosthwaite (3.14 GPA), junior defensive end Brennan Scarlett (3.14) and sophomore cornerback Cameron Walker (3.22).

Honorable mention picks were placekicker James Langford, defensive end Todd Barr, punter Cole Leininger, linebacker Hardy Nickerson and wide receiver Drake Whitehurst.


Football: Bears get commitment from JC safety


True to his word, coach Sonny Dykes landed help for the Bears’ defensive secondary on Sunday, securing an oral commitment from Derron Williams-Brown, a freshman safety at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College, Scout.com reported.

According to the Mesa athletic website, Williams-Brown had three interceptions this season on a 5-5 team, earning second-team All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference honors.

At 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, Williams-Brown would have three years of football eligibility at Cal.

“He’s a big, physical kid with good ball skills,” Mesa coach Ryan Felker said. “This is a tough league to come in and be successful as a freshman.

“He’s a workhorse,” Felker said. “He’s going to outwork anybody, do what he needs to do.”

Williams-Brown had three interceptions and caught 11 touchdown passes as a wide receiver as a junior in the fall of 2012 at Fairfax High in Laveen, Arizona, according to MaxPreps.com.

Williams-Brown missed his senior season at Fairfax with a toe injury, according to Felker, and as a result fell off the radar a bit with college recruiters. “He didn’t fall off ours,” Felker said.

Here is a video highlight reel of Williams-Brown, courtesy of Hudl.com.


Basketball: Cal-Fresno State game thread

Disclaimer: I was not in Fresno covering the Cal game. But here’s a report.

FINAL SCORE: Cal 64, Fresno State 57. The Bears survived a tough final 5 minutes to improve to 5-1 on the season. Cal led 60-50 after two free throws by Tyrone Wallace with 5:03 left, then did not score again until Jabari Bird made a pair of FTs with 30 seconds remaining.

Wallace finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, along with 2 steals and 2 assists. But he missed four straight free throws in the final 53 seconds to make the game tougher than it needed to be.  Finally, he dunked off an assist from David Kravish with 12 seconds left to ice the win.

Kravish had 14 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocked shots and Jordan Mathews scored 8 of his 10 points in the second half. A rough game for Bird, who made the big FTs late, but was 1 for 9 from the field. Sam Singer contributed 6 assists and Christian Behrens had 6 points and 5 rebounds.

Cal shot 45.5 percent for the game after making just 37.9 percent (11 for 29) in the second half. The Bears outrebounded the Bulldogs 38-33.

Fresno State, 1-6 for the first time since the 1950-51 season, was led by 27 points from Marvelle Harris. The Bulldogs shot 36 percent, hitting exactly 9 for 25  in each half.

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Football: Cal’s season by the numbers

Cal’s season by the numbers

1 – Victories needed to reach six wins and be bowl eligible.

2 – Senior offensive linemen – C Chris Adcock and G Alejandro Crosthwaite – the Bears must replace.

3 – Cal players with at least 50 receptions (Kenny Lawler 54, Bryce Treggs & Chris Harper 52 each).

4 – Number of 400-yard passing games by Cal opponents.

5 – 100-yard rushing games by Daniel Lasco, who rushed for 1,115 yards.

6 – Losses Cal sustained in its final seven games after a 4-1 start.

7 – Bowl eligible teams Cal played this season. The Bears lost all seven games.

8 – Games the Bears allowed their opponents 36 points or more.

9 – Touchdown catches by Kenny Lawler, tied for fifth on Cal’s season list.

10 – Departing seniors who came to Cal as scholarship players.

12 – 300-yard career passing games by Jared Goff.

14 – Touchdowns scored this season by Lasco.

15 – Pass interference penalties on Cal’s defense this season.

18 – Starters on offense and defense expected to return next season.

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Football: Crazy passing numbers

Cal sophomore Jared Goff finished the season with 3,973 passing yards — seventh-most in Pac-12 history. The six players above him on the list all topped 4,000 yards for a season.

Goff moved to the top of the 2014 list of Pac-12 quarterbacks who threw for the most yardage this season, in part because Washington State’s Connor Halliday sat out the final three games with injury.

But the list boasts impressive numbers — eight Pac-12 passers topped 3,000 yards.

Of course, the season isn’t over for most of these players. Here they are, with their Pac-12 and NCAA rankings:

1/2: Jared Goff, Cal: 3,973 yards, 35 touchdowns, 7 interceptions

2/4: Connor Halliday, WSU: 3,873 yards, 32 touchdowns, 11 interceptions

3/6: Cody Kessler, USC: 3,505 yards, 36 touchdowns, 4 interceptions

4/7: Marcus Mariota, Oregon: 3,470 yards, 36 touchdowns, 2 interceptions

5/8: Anu Solomon, Arizona: 3,424 yards, 27 touchdowns, 7 interceptions

6/19: Sefo Liufau, Colorado: 3,200 yards, 28 touchdowns, 15 interceptions

7/21: Sean Mannion, Oregon State: 3,1,64 yards, 15 touchdowns, 8 interceptions

8/26: Brett Hundley, UCLA: 3,019, 21 touchdowns, 5 interceptions


Women’s basketball: Brittany Boyd leads Bears to title

Senior guard Brittany Boyd had 14 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and five steals in just 22 minutes, leading No. 14 Cal to a 94-69 win over Creighton in the championship game of the Cal Classic.

Boyd, who had a triple-double in the Bears’ opening tournament game, was named MVP. Cal (6-0) has won its own tournament four years in a row.

Senior forward Reshanda Gray scored 21 points on 7 for 8 from the field and added eight rebounds. Courtney Range added 17 points and Justine Hartman scored 13.