My "date" with CBKWit and the men’s basketball team over, I wasn’t sure where to take the evening. Heading home to my big, empty house didn’t sound that appealing, so I decided to head over to Haas Pavilion and see what the ladies were up to. By "ladies", I of course mean Cal’s women’s basketball team. No extramarital affairs for me!
I arrived at the beginning of halftime, intending on trying to bullshit my way in. I didn’t have a ticket or even any money to purchase a ticket, but as the game was half over, I thought perhaps they wouldn’t mind letting me in for free. I know for a fact that women’s basketball games don’t run out of seats. However, as it turns out, students get into the games for free anyway. Sweet! Now, I haven’t been a student for a few years now, but I still carry my Cal ID around with me everywhere for just this purpose. Do I feel bad about glomming on to discounts such as this when I have a full-time job and should be able to pay full price for such things? Not really. Perhaps plugging the team on my blog with hundreds — hundreds — of daily readers will be payment enough.
Now, this particular game was Cal’s first Think Pink game, organized to help raise money and awareness for breast cancer. Fans who wore pink got into the game for only $3, and donations went to the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center, which I just found out as I wrote this sentence. Well, now I feel bad for not buying a ticket. Sorry! Especially seeing as how I both love breasts and hate cancer, this is definitely a cause I could get behind. Next time I’ll be more prepared/generous.
Additionally, the first 3000 fans who showed up got a free Think Pink t-shirt. Seeing as how I arrived at halftime, they were all out, which was only a little disappointing. I’m not trying to belittle the cause or anything, but there are only so many places I can acceptably wear a light pink t-shirt that is two sizes too large. What I really missed out on, however, was a pair of pink Crocs, given away to the lucky first 200 fans. You might think that sounds like an awful giveaway, but I assure you, they are no more hideous than a pair of Crocs in any other color currently available.
Now, you might be thinking, "If they’re giving away 3000 free pink t-shirts, and other fans are encouraged to show up wearing pink, won’t the crowd look rather odd for a Cal game?" Yes, yes they will. Pink is not that far off from red, which is completely unacceptable attire at Cal sporting events. Still, fighting breast cancer is more important that a basketball game, so I’ll let this one slide.
One of only two photos I managed to take before my camera batteries gave out. Which is too bad, because otherwise I would have had the greatest photo of a rather sad-faced guy wearing a free pink t-shirt, a pair of shabby blue sweatpants, and grey socks with his brand-new pink Crocs. It was hideously spectacular.
A little more bizarre was during the timeout in which cheerleaders ran around throwing more free t-shirts into the crowd. Given that something like 80% of the crowd was already wearing a free t-shirt over the clothes they arrived in, there was an inordinate amount of yelling and screaming for more free shirts. Just how many t-shirts can you wear at once before you look completely ridiculous?
Ok, ok, enough with the fashion police crap. The game itself was fairly close, with Cal taking a slim 30-27 lead over Arizona State into halftime as I arrived. It would stay that way for a good portion of the second half, until the Bears broke it open with an 11-0 run to take firm control of the game. Devanei Hampton and Ashley Walker were dominant on the boards, grabbing 12 and 11 rebounds, respectively. They were mighty impressive, let me tell you. If DeVon Hardin had this kind of game, I would refer to him as a "monster" and as "beastly", but somehow those adjectives seem rather insulting to apply to a woman. Let’s just say that Hampton and Walker are both very good, and they would have no trouble schooling my scrawny ass any day of the week.
Of course, it wasn’t all good for our Bears. I was often disappointed with their sloppy ball handling, as Arizona State managed time and again to pressure the ball handler into giving up the rock (22 turnovers!). Of course, Cal did manage to force a few turnovers of their own, which when combined with their rebounding advantage, gave them a bit of a possession advantage. Still, if this team really has designs on beating Stanford next week, they’ll have to take better care of the ball.
Anyway, it was nice to come away from my Valentine’s Day with Cal basketball with at least one victory, and a solid one over a good team at that. Saturday they get Arizona, but it’s hard not to look past the Wildcats to the game against Stanford, which is setting up to be a de facto conference title game. Can they win? I don’t know, but this is surely the only Cal basketball team that I’m in any way excited about.