Basketball: Bears fall short at Arizona State

* Click here for our correspondent’s game story.

Cal closed the Pac-12 regular season with a 74-70 loss at Arizona State, dropping the Golden Bears into Wednesday’s 12:10 p.m. game at the conference tournament.

The Bears (17-14, 7-11) will be seeded No. 8 and face No. 9 Washington State in the Pac-12 tournament opening game. Cal and WSU split their two regular-season games, each winning on the other team’s floor.

If Cal beats the Cougars, it will advance to the quarterfinals to face top-seeded, regular-season champion Arizona on Thursday at 12:10 p.m.

Cal started fast against ASU, fell behind, then could not close out a late rally.

“We gave ourselves a chance,” coach Cuonzo Martin said. “We just came up short.”

The Bears have dropped four of their past five games.

Tyrone Wallace had 23 points and six rebounds for the Bears, Jabari  Bird scored 13, and Jordan Mathews and Sam Singer had 11 apiece.

Cal led 9-0 early and made eight of its first 10 shots. But the Bears converted just two of 20 shots after that before making one in the final 37 seconds of the half. Then they missed their first six free throws of the second half, eventually finishing at 8 for 15 for the game.

Down 63-53 with 6 1/2 minutes to go, the Bears got within striking distance but Mathews missed a late 3-pointer that could have tied the game.


Football: Marshawn Lynch re-signs with Seahawks

Former Cal star Marshawn Lynch is not retiring, after all.

Nor will the Oakland native close out his career with the Raiders.

Lynch signed a contract extension with the Seattle Seahawks through 2017. He will earn $12 million in 2015 — a raise from the $7 million he was due on his previous contract.

Here’s the story from ESPN. Here’s a report from the Seattle Times, along with a photo slideshow of 25 moments with Lynch in 2014.



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.


Basketball: Bears close regular season at ASU, seeking victory and No. 6 Pac-12 seed

* Cal at Arizona State, 11:30 a.m., Pac-12 Networks

The Pac-12 regular season ends Saturday with Cal testing itself against Shaqielle McKissick and Arizona State’s “Curtain of Distraction.”

The Bears (17-13, 7-10) sit in a tie for eighth place with Colorado after their 39-point shellacking at the hands of regular-season champion and fifth-ranked Arizona.

Here’s what we really want to know: Where will the Bears be seeded for next week’s Pac-12 tournament at the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas?

There are three scenarios that could play out:

* If the Bears beat ASU, they will be the No. 6 seed – regardless of what else happens – and play No. 11 Washington on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.

* If Cal loses to ASU and Washington State beats Colorado, the Bears are the No. 8 seed and play No. 9 WSU on Wednesday at noon.

* If Cal loses to ASU and Colorado beats Washington State, the Bears are the No. 9 seed and play No. 8 Colorado on Wednesday at noon.

The Bears have lost their past four meetings with the Sun Devils (16-14, 8-9), including a lopsided 79-44 loss in Berkeley back on Jan. 22.

“We didn’t play well. We didn’t play hard, we didn’t compete on either end of the floor. It was a bad game for us. Those are the ones you learn from.”

ASU is coming off a 67-62 win over Stanford in which McKissick scored 23 points. The 6-5 senior guard is the leading scorer (11.5 ppg) for the Sun Devils. who have won four of their past six games.

The Bears also face the “Curtain of Distraction,” in which creative ASU students attempt to throw off the concentration of opposing foul shooters at one end of the court.

“If you’re focused, it doesn’t really matter what they do behind the basket,” Cal guard Jordan Mathews said. ”You’ve just got to dial in and knock down your free throws, play like you always have. It’s part of the game.”


Basketball: Bears routed at Az, 99-60

* Click here for our correspondent’s story.

Cal suffered its worst Pac-12 loss in 13 years, losing 99-60 to No. 5 Arizona (27-3, 15-2), which locked up the outright Pac-12 title at McKale Center.

The Bears (17-13, 7-10) trailed 48-27 at halftime and never threatened an Arizona home win streak that reached 37 games.

Cal shot 38.1 percent, turned the ball over 16 times and was outrebounded 42-34.

Cal hadn’t been beaten by a wider margin in a conference game since a 99-53 loss at Arizona in 2002.

“You’ve got to compete, compete start to finish,” said Cal coach Cuonzo Martin. “If shots don’t fall, don’t put your head down.”

Cal closes the Pac-12 regular season Saturday at Arizona State, which handed the Bears a decisive 79-44 in Berkeley on Jan. 22.

Tyrone Wallace led the Bears with 16 points, but had just two until the final 2 minutes of the first half, by which time Arizona led 43-24. Reserve guard Sam Singer scored 13 points while David Kravish and Jabari Bird had 10 points each. Christian Behrens had 10 rebounds.

East Bay product Brandon Ashley equaled his career high with 21 points for Arizona, which had six players in double figures and shot 57 percent.


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:


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.”


Basketball: Bears tackle No. 5 Arizona

* Cal at Arizona, 6 p.m. (ESPN)

The Bears (17-12, 7-9) will be in Las Vegas six days from now, opening the Pac-12 tournament with dreams of doing something special in March.

“The most important thing,” Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said this week, “is the next game.”

That would be tonight at No. 5 Arizona (26-3, 14-2), which will be motivated to clinch the outright Pac-12 title.

“I feel like we can play with those guys,” junior guard Tyrone Wallace said. “I don’t think it’s anything that’s impossible.”

He has reasons to feel that way. Cal beat No. 1 Arizona 60-58 in Berkeley last year and is the team that most recently knocked off the Wildcats at McKale Center. That was a 77-69 win on Feb. 10, 2013 in which Wallace had five points, four rebounds and seven assists as a freshman and David Kravish contributed eight points and six rebounds.

Since then, Arizona has won 36 consecutive games, the longest active home-court win streak in the nation. The Cats are 78-6 in Tucson since the start of the 2010-11 season, and Cal is 8-83 all-time vs. teams ranked in the top five of the Associated Press poll.

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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.


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.