Stepping onto the UC Berkeley campus for even just a minute, it’s easy to see the school spirit filling Sproul Plaza and Cal’s hallowed halls. Whether it’s the blue and gold gear students don, the “go bears!” offered to friends walking by, or active participation in school spirit events, Cal pride is a very palpable thing.
Attending sporting events is one way I, along with many of my fellow Cal students, immerse ourselves in this tangibly thrilling spirit. One of my favorite teams to support has been Cal Women’s Basketball. Our women’s team reached the NCAA Final Four in the 2012-2013 season, and has consistently demonstrated athletic prowess in the seasons since. Women’s senior Reshanda Gray was just honored with the PAC-12 Player of the Year award, voted on by coaches in the conference, and four of her teammates, Brittney Boyd, Mikayla Cowling, Gabby Green, and Mercedes Jefflo, also received honors from the PAC-12.
As a student attending these games, we become The Bench, the name of our student section and one of the most most dynamic, enthusiastic groups of student you can find. Haas Pavillion is electric whenever students show up to support, sing along with Cal Band, and heckle the other teams. The players, along with Head Coach Lindsay Gotlieb, often show up to events to tell the students how much their support means, and note the electrifying energy and how much it energizes them against rivals and in tough games.
This season, the women’s team finished the regular season with an incredible 23-8, with a 13-5 record in PAC-12 play. The team had some pretty exciting wins. On Sunday, February 8,Penina Davidson helped the Bears beat Arizona State 50-49 in the final seconds of the game. After a tough loss to Stanford in Berkeley a few days before, the women came out against the Cardinal in full force on Sunday, February 22, and topped Stanford 63-53.
And most recently, our women’s team reached the PAC-12 Championship game, and played a great game: the team fell just a bit short to Stanford, 61-60, after Jefflo’s last-attempt basket came a little too late.
It was a tough loss, to a time-honored rival in the final seconds of a championship game.
But the silver lining (or I guess “gold lining” might be a more apt description)? School spirit is undefeated.
Check out these two articles about the women’s recent successes, in tournament play as well as within members of the team: