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Golden Nuggets: Catch Up on Pro Bears Before Holiday Break

A look back at Cal basketball’s tough loss to Portland State.

Canada v United States
One of these days I’ll finally make it to one of USWNT’s local games and see Alex Morgan (13) in person... alas I missed this one.
Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

With the Holiday season among us, it has been a slow news week. I skipped Thursday because I couldn’t find anything... I imagine I will be taking a few more days off until Pac-12 play starts for our basketball teams. But I did scour the internet and found plenty of material for today. Hooray! So sit back and read/watch all these nuggets before opening presents.

Bears in the Pros

  • Last week I reported that Carli Lloyd was named the USA Female Indoor Volleyball player of the year, just a couple days later Alex Morgan was awarded the same honor for her sport!
  • Alex Morgan was named the CONCACAF Female Player of the Year for 2017 (That’s best player in North and Central America, plus the Carribean) Despite missing a few games with injury, she has been a key contributor for the team in recent months. She also won the award in 2016 and 2013.
  • EspnW takes a look at her year:

The national team set out an audacious schedule this year in an attempt to figure out its future ahead of the 2019 World Cup and 2020 Olympics -- playing eight teams that were ranked behind the United States in FIFA's top 10 at the close of the year -- and one of its most identifiable veterans took on an itinerary no less bold. While questions remain as to exactly what the team learned about itself by taking on the world, Morgan's answer was as emphatic as that goal against Canada.

Rather than an intermission, 2017 lifted the curtain on her second act.

"Alex is hungry to prove herself," U.S. coach Jill Ellis said after one of a string of impressive fall performances. "I mean this in the nicest way, she's a predator. She's trying to get on the end of balls, she's battling for balls, working hard to regain -- she generates a lot of our attack from her defensive pressure. I don't know what I would attribute it to, but I'm just incredibly proud that she's got to that point, in terms of realizing that [she can] just refocus on what she needs to do for her to be successful."

Morgan scored a team-best seven goals this year for the U.S. women, despite playing fewer minutes than 10 teammates. Of course, she also tied for the team lead in goals a year ago, but this felt different. Between Olympic disappointment in Rio and a summer of losses with the expansion Orlando Pride in the National Women's Soccer League -- all of that on the heels of the emotional high that was a World Cup title the previous year -- 2016 was something less than satisfying.

Goff said his improvement was, in part, because of the natural development that occurs from the first year to the second year at every level of football.

“The first season is learning a lot, and then the second season starts to settle down and it continues to go that way as time goes on,” he said.

But offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, who worked with Matt Ryan as the Atlanta Falcons’ quarterbacks coach for two seasons, said Goff showed uncommon resiliency.

“I don’t know if a lot of people would be able to respond to that adversity that he faced in Year 1,” LaFleur said. “Then, to come back and have a season like this — I think that’s pretty remarkable.”

  • Couldn’t find any good NBA articles... so just have this video of an awesome Jabari Bird dunk instead.


Oh yeah... last Thursday night wasn’t that fun. Video and Quotes from Cal Athletics.

California Head Coach Wyking Jones

Opening Statement:

"I'm just generally disappointed in our effort tonight because I was so pleased with how we had played the last three games. I felt like we were making progress. I felt like us digging a hole and not fighting to get out of it -- I thought that we had matured enough and grew enough that we would figure out how to get past that. We've been in this situation a couple of times this year and for our guys to not find it in them to dig ourselves out of holes and continue to fight is disappointing because I thought that we had made so much progress over the last three games. We just have to get back at it on the 26th when we're practicing and try to figure out how to find some more fight in our guys."

On team's ability to bounce back:

"I am [confident.] We didn't fight today, and typically they'll be able to get it together. I feel good about them being able to get it together. "

California Junior Guard Don Coleman

On coach's postgame sentiments:

"He said a lot. Of course he was disappointed…we are all disappointed. We could have gave more effort out there, but we will learn from it, move on and get ready for conference."

On causes for the team going backward tonight:

"I think we just weren't focused to be honest. We had won three straight and kind of got big-headed, and thought we were going to come in, blow them out and see the outcome. We can't do that."

Thoughts on the team's up-and-down play:

"I think we're young, but that's not an excuse. I need to hold myself more accountable to lead the young guys and I need to believe in them more. I'll take the blame on that one. We're a young team, and some games we come in not focused like we should be. Like when we played San Diego State, we were focused and locked in. When we played Portland State, we weren't locked in and thought we were just going to come in, go past them and win, which was not the case."

Amid his freshman year at Cal, Harris-Dyson has the Haas School of Business on his radar, and sees the inherent value of a degree in Business.

"I'm still kind of just figuring it out, but Haas is really interesting -- just having a business major, especially if you want to play professional basketball," Harris-Dyson shared. "You want to have something like that, so you can be able to negotiate your own contracts and stuff like that."

  • Daily Cal attempted to get an update on Theo Robertson’s status and got a non-update. Sources close to the team are not confident in him coming back.
  • In better news... Cal Women’s Basketball looks great! Michelle Smith of the Pac-12 Network did a list of the Pac-12’s best freshmen and Kianna Smith made the cut. (This was written before the Kentucky win)


  • Emi Watterson has joined the Women’s Gymnastics squad, and could even play this season, after having a stellar career in her home country of Australia.
  • I leave you with this CalTV “Afternoon Tea” segment featuring Emily Boyd and her plans post-Cal.

Happy Holidays.