Cal softball falls 1-0 to Alabama in WCWS opener

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Cal softball falls 1-0 to Alabama in WCWS opener

June 2, 2011COLLEGE PAGE

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Kelsi Dunne threw six shutout innings and Kaila Hunt had an RBI single, lifting second-seeded Alabama to a 1-0 victory against California on Thursday in the opening game of the Women's College World Series.

Dunne (28-4) allowed only an infield single by Britt Vonk in the first inning before being replaced by Jackie Traina to start the seventh. Traina struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning and earned her third save of the season.

Dunne struck out 11 and walked only one to help the Crimson Tide (52-9), who had lost their opening game in each of their previous six appearances at the World Series.

"That's a big ol' monkey off our back," coach Patrick Murphy said. "It's a long time coming. It was a great win.

"In the World Series and postseason, you have to have great pitching and great defense, and you have to come up with a timely hit and today we got all three."

Alabama got its only run against Jolene Henderson (39-9) in the second, when Amanda Locke reached on an infield single to start the inning. She was replaced by pinch-runner Keima Davis, who stole second and third before coming in to score on Hunt's single to left field.

"This is a huge stage," said Hunt, a freshman. "All week, we had talked about not talking this game up. It's just another game that we are playing, just on a bigger stage. We talked about being fearless, not being afraid of anybody."

Alabama will play in the winner's bracket Friday night against the winner of the Baylor-Oklahoma State game.

Cal (44-12) will play the loser in an elimination game Saturday.

"I think our approach is going to change a little it because we are in the losers' bracket, but I think it will only make us better because we're going to be a stronger team when you have to win, when you have nothing else but to win," Henderson said. "It pushes you harder to want to get those hits, to want to keep going."

Report: Warriors could pursue PG Calderon if bought out by Lakers

Report: Warriors could pursue PG Calderon if bought out by Lakers

While the Warriors appear to like D-League call-up Briante Weber, they could have a chance to add a veteran point guard to that final roster spot.

Weber's second 10-day contract expires after Saturday night's game against the Nets. If the Warriors chose not to sign him for the remainder of the season, they could pursue veteran point guard Jose Calderon.

Calderon, currently under contract with the Lakers, will reportedly be bought out of his deal in the next few days, according to ESPN.

If Calderon hits the open market next week, the Warriors and Rockets could be among the suitors for his services, according to the report.

The 35-year-old veteran is averaging 3.3 points and 2.1 assists in 12.2 minutes over 24 games this season for Luke Walton and the Lakers.

 

McGee expresses appreciation for support from teammates in Shaq feud

McGee expresses appreciation for support from teammates in Shaq feud

OAKLAND -- Though JaVale McGee avoided direct discussion of his feud with retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, the Warriors center expressed his appreciation for coaches and teammates coming to his defense.

“My teammates are my brothers, and (coach) Steve Kerr is also,” McGee said after shootaround Saturday morning. “It’s a great organization and I appreciate everything they do for me. That’s why I go out there and work as hard as I can when I’m on the floor. And I know everyone sees that. They see me running up and down the floor, working as hard as I can, and in the gym every day. I’m just doing my thing and trying to be a positive person.”

O’Neal’s constant ridicule of McGee reached a low point Thursday night, when the TNT analyst unveiled a video that showed various gaffes and slights to McGee’s intellect. McGee, who has held his tongue for years despite being targeted, fired back on Twitter.

Both men exchanged several insults and it reached a point Friday where by Kevin Durant and Kerr felt compelled to defend McGee.

Kerr even acknowledged that he harbored a few preconceived notions about McGee, based on O’Neal’s yearslong derision of the 7-footer. Those notions, Kerr said, turned out to be false.

McGee said he enjoys it when people take the time to engage him in conversation and come away realizing he is not a dolt, despite O’Neal frequently implying otherwise.

“I love it when people meet me,” McGee said, “and then they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re actually smart.’ It’s kind of rude, but I’ll take it.”

One of McGee’s teammates knows a thing or two about false impressions. Even after a strong collegiate career, Draymond Green had to overcome doubts that he was worthy of being in the NBA.

So it is no surprise that, to some degree, he understands how McGee feels.

“He’s standing up for himself,” Green said. “A lot has transpired over the course of the past four years with it. And he was just at a boiling point.”