Ann Killion unpacks the success of the Cal Bears’ women’s basketball team whose win last night over Georgia earned them a spot in the Final Four. This was their final four debut. They are the first Cal women’s basketball team to do that.
Lindsay Gottlieb, the head coach, also ranks as one of the youngest coaches to do take a team to the Final Four.
Killion credits the team’s ascent to her confident vision for the program,
“After the game, Gottlieb thanked mentor Joanne Boyle for recruiting the players whom she’s inherited. Boyle left for Virginia in 2011, after a second straight year without making the NCAA Tournament. Gottlieb was hired in April 2011 and rallied a downtrodden team. In her first two seasons, she has now won five NCAA Tournament games.
No other Cal coach has accomplished that. No other Cal coach has dared to dream this big, this quickly. Gottlieb arrived and told her team that it had everything it needed to succeed. Gottlieb had a vision.
Moments after cutting down the net at the Spokane Arena, she smiled. The beginning was ugly, but the result was beautiful.
“This is still better,” Gottlieb said, “than my wildest dreams.”