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Golden Nuggets: So Far, So Good on the Big Weekend. Let’s Make it Two

Some videos to relive yesterday’s big WBB win over Stanford, while looking ahead to the rivalry game in MBB tonight.

NCAA Basketball: California at UCLA Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Basketball

Women’s

  • Haven’t had a happy press conference to post in a while... I don’t have a transcript but the video is only 5 minutes long and there’s some quotes in the articles I posted below.

After weeks of struggle, frustration and the like, the Cal women’s basketball team finally got its long-awaited marquee win, taking its final home game of the season, 78-66, over rival No. 14 Stanford — undoubtedly its biggest victory of the year.

“Time after time, we came up with big plays,” said head coach Lindsay Gottlieb. “I’m just super happy for this team.”

With all the talk surrounding the Cardinal’s recent resurgence and Cal’s inability to snatch a critical win, it all came crashing down in one of the Pac-12’s best games of this season. Senior day. Hustle plays everywhere. Clutch shooting down the stretch.

Stanford versus Cal at its finest.

  • Ben Parker’s recap with even more quotes, including Tara Vanderveer singing the praises of Kianna Smith.

After Thursday’s close loss, Cal showed that they could compete with Stanford, but this time they showed that they could beat Stanford. Asha Thomas was once again the top performer, making big plays for her team all game long, whether it was a tough layup inside, a dagger 3-pointer, or a steal.

“Being myself,” Thomas said of what she did to get into such a rhythm. “I know what I can do in big games and even if it’s a not a big game, like the Stanford game, rivalry game. I think really for the seniors, it really added more motivation for me. I told them and I even told the team, I want this win for you guys and I believe everybody agreed, the way that we played. I guess that was the extra motivation for me to do that.”

When looking at the box score, one of the things that really stands out is the way Kianna Smith stepped up her game. On Thursday, Smith finished with only 2 points and had virtually no impact on the game. On Saturday, she was the second-highest scorer on the team and a huge reason for why Cal was able to pull out the win.

“Obviously having a couple rough games, off of playing Stanford at their house and just not playing the way I’ve wanted to it was just a change of mentality and once again just playing for my seniors,” Smith said. “That’s what it came down to and we’re going to continue to play that way throughout the rest of the season.”

  • One more video, a heartwarming post-game interview with Asha Thomas and Mikayla Cowling on the Pac-12 Network.

Men’s

  • Can we make it a weekend sweep at Haas? It won’t be easy, but the men’s team is eyeing a season sweep of the Cardinal.
  • Cal is looking to avoid making bad history, as four more losses (with five games remaining) would result in the worst conference record in school history.
  • But the Bears are not focusing much on Stanford themselves, they are just working on improving their own fundamentals.

In advance of the Bears’ rivalry game against Stanford on Sunday, the first-year coach said the team’s struggles have improved his game-by-game strategies, and he’s found solace in the fact that the team has continued to try.

“Our whole program and what I’m all about is family,” Jones said in his weekly news conference. “We’re going to continue to work hard and continue to compete, because we care about each other and everybody is on the same page.”

...

The Bears have longed all season for a point guard and are dealing with a slump from their best player, freshman forward Justice Sueing.

After averaging 16.4 points per game in the first eight conference games, Sueing has posted only 10.2 in the past five. He scored double-digit points in 11 straight games before being held to single figures in each of the past two.

“He’s hit a little bit of a freshman wall, but that’s to be expected to some degree,” Jones said. “With Justice, we’re just trying to get back to the point where he’s confident and comfortable. Right now, it just doesn’t look like he’s comfortable.”

Misc.

  • An extensive biography of Mima Mirkovic who will make her freshmen debut on the beach volleyball team later this month. She also played on the indoor team last fall if memory serves.

BEAT FURD (again!)