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Golden Nuggets: Carol Christ Expresses Concerns About the Pac-12

Post-game video and notes from a successful day at Haas Pavilion.

State Dept. Launches Women In Public Service Initiative
I only have this six year old (almost to the day) picture. I hope she forgives me for this.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Men’s Basketball

All transcripts are from Cal Athletics.

On game overall:

"I think I need to find a really good cardiologist. These guys aged me today. Hard-fought win, even when it went into overtime. We entered overtime a little deflated by the way it went into overtime -- (Fullerton) getting a layup -- but they didn't give up and we continued to fight. We really saw some resiliency, and saw some growth. After an overtime win, it helps the guys believe a little more that we can find a way to win, even when things aren't going well -- we're turning the ball over at a rapid pace, we're not necessarily hitting shots late — we found a way to pull it out."

On overtime win:

"We like to stay positive. We found a way to pull it out, the guys went out and made their free throws. We didn't get some key stops in regulation, but I think we got the stops that we needed in overtime. It was an ugly game, but I'll take it."

On instilling confidence in Darius McNeill:

"He is a talented young man. I had to do that -- give him the confidence he needed -- because he is young. He has never been through this before, and he had to know that I believe in him and trust him with this team. If I don't do that, then now he's wondering how I feel about him being my starting point guard as a freshman. As a staff, we have all the confidence in the world in him, and he's getting better and better at learning how to run the team. I'm happy with it."

California Junior Guard Don Coleman

On what the team learned from this game:

"I would say the way we took care of business and finished it in overtime. We played well throughout the whole game, and they made tough shots. We felt like we were there the whole game contesting their shots and everything. They just made good shots, but we finished out and got the win, so that's all that matters."

On Marcus Lee and Kingsley Okoroh's play tonight:

"Marcus and King were big. They protected the rim, got blocks, got rebounds, finished and got dunks. They were a big part of us getting the win today."

California Freshman Guard Darius McNeill

On his career day:

"In these past few games, I've just been really just scoring off jump shots and settling for jump shots. I was just trying to come out and show what I can really do. I wanted to show my package, which is staying aggressive, attacking, getting layups and easy points for the team in transition, so that was the mindset, and that's the outcome today."

On what the team wants to accomplish ahead of Pac-12 play:

"I would say just to keep playing for each other on offense and defense, being in help on defense and playing together."

Darius McNeill set career highs in scoring (30), assists (6) and steals (5) and tied a career best in rebounds (6). He becomes the 40th player in Cal history to score at least 30 points in a game. His previous highs were: 22 points vs. Cal State Northridge, 4 assists (three times) and 2 steals against Wichita State. In fact, McNeill matched his career best in scoring with 22 first-half points (8-9 FG, 4-4 3P, 2-2 FT). The 6 assists and 5 steals are the most for a Golden Bear this season.

McNeill has made at least one 3-pointer in all 11 games this season, including going 4-for-7 Saturday. For the season, he is 26-for-53 from behind the arc (49.1%).

Cal played its first overtime game since a 77-75 double OT victory over Utah on Feb. 2, 2017.

Marcus Lee registered his fourth double-double of the year with 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Don Coleman scored 23 of his 26 points after halftime. It marked his sixth game with at least 20 points this year.

Women’s Basketball

Quotes are from Ben Parker’s recap. I’m only posting some of the quotes, so do give his recap some clicks.

Gottlieb doesn’t elaborate on why Kristine Anigwe didn’t play, but said she’ll be back for Kentucky.

I’ll just say it was my decision that Kristine wasn’t going to play today; we’re good moving forward. I’m happy to get the win without our best player, proud of everyone including Kristine for how we stepped up, I’m not going to take any other questions about it, but just want to let you know she’ll be ready to go for Kentucky.

Mikayla Cowling had a very good shooting day with 21 points, a personal season high.

“I think I just kept shooting. I know early on in the other games they weren’t really falling, but I think just being consistent, keep taking the same shots, and eventually they’ll fall. Just getting in practice, getting up more shots, and getting the open looks. My teammates found me, so tonight it was just falling for me.”

As noted in my previous Golden Nuggets, Kianna Smith had family in the game in Cal State Fullerton starting point guard Jamal Smith (brother) and Associate Head Coach John Smith (father). It does appear that this doubleheader setup was no coincidence.

“It was fun, I just was playing basketball. My dad’s players have watched me play when I was at Troy since it was right across the street, so it was nothing different, but it was still a lot of fun to have them here at Cal. Today was really special and I thank the coaching staffs for getting it together, both men and women, for setting up the doubleheader was really special for me.”

Cal Athletics

  • Carol Christ did an hour-long interview Jon Wilner. He has split the recap into two long articles. The first article is about the state of Cal Athletics, with multiple subjects including sports cuts, the new AD, Edwards Stadium, and the Memorial Stadium debt.

Shifting more than half the debt off the athletic department’s books will provide massive relief but is not expected to balance the budget, raising the specter of sports cuts in the near future.

Christ has described that as a “last resort” and appears committed to having every morsel of information at her disposal before determining the size and scope of the athletic department. The Bears have 30 intercollegiate sports, by far the most in the Pac-12 among public universities, and must maintain compliance with Title IX.

“So many people are focused on, ‘Are you going to cut sports?’ That, to me, is a decision that comes at the end of the line,” she said.

“First, we need clarity about finances. We don’t have clarity. Then we need much more imaginative and detailed plan about revenue generation. Then we need much more of a philanthropic plan and a sense of philanthropic capacity.”

...

“Cal’s vision for athletics has to be Cal’s vision for athletics. What do you want students to get from college? You want them to emerge with capacities, with the habits of mind to succeed in life.”

“Going pro means becoming a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, and athletics can be critical — the discipline it takes, dealing with failure, teamwork.”

“There needs to be much more integration of athletics into the campus culture, to cultivate a pride in athletes being here.”

...

(On who should be the next AD)

“Someone who is a really good communicator and who sees being the communicator in athletics as a critical piece of the job. Someone who is a really good manager. I don’t expect this person to do the day-to-day management, but I expect them to have really good management instincts and be able to choose really good managers.”

“Someone who is willing to make tough decision and stand by them … who can sit at the (chancellor’s) cabinet table and not have just opinions about athletics (but can) contribute more generally about campus life is.”

  • The second recap, which has gotten the most attention on Twitter, is more about the Pac-12 in general and its handling of football start times, and Olympic sports schedules in general (pointing out that the Pac-12 Network televising games has resulted in more travel during the school week)

With a hint of exasperation, Christ noted, “We didn’t know when the Big Game was going to be played until six days before.”

She then expressed dismay over the extent to which control of sporting life on the campuses has been handed over to the conference’s television partners.

“I know that sounds trivial,’’ she said, “but part of the value of football to the institution is community building, and it makes it very hard to realize that value with the constant jerking around of game times.”

...

I’m fairly critical of the Pac-12 organization,’’ she said.

“Like many central organizations — you could think about the office of the president here as an analogy, and it’s just human nature — you tend to elaborate your own organization rather than understanding that it should be as small and efficient as possible for the benefit of the members.”

Misc.

  • Baseball: Ryan Gorcey has his recap of Fall practice. Note that Fall Ball concluded before the tragedy that took several family members of Jared Horn, and it is still too soon to know how that will affect Horn’s season. Gorcey said that the entire baseball team attended the memorial service. Also, Brandon McIlwain will not play this season for the same reason he didn’t play in Football. The NCAA did not grant him a waiver for transferring.
  • Football: After Adrian Martinez left Cal for Tennessee, could Cal lose their other QB commit to the Vols? JT Shrout is taking a visit to Knoxville this weekend (probably already there) ... but he is expected to sign with the Bears next week during the early signing period.
  • Volleyball: Congrats to alumna Carli Lloyd on being named the USA Indoor Volleyball Female Player of the Year for 2017. The team captain led Team USA to a Bronze medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics, and led the USA to an overall 18-8 record in 2017. Her statement below:

"I feel thankful and extremely honored to receive this recognition. To be selected means that my efforts this summer positively affected my team and the USA program and this is a great focus of mine on a daily basis. I strive to bring the best version of myself each day with hopes that it can make those around me better as well. I love this sport, I love to compete and I still have goals that I am striving to reach with this USA team. Receiving this award shows me that I am on the right track and that there is more work to be done."

  • Water Polo: Similarly, Luca Cupido was awarded the 2017 National Player of the Year by the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches.
  • Gymnastics: The women’s team was projected to finish 3rd in the Preseason Pac-12 Coaches Poll.

May the force be with you.