Ben Margot
February 20, 2015

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) Brittany Boyd pulls Reshanda Gray into a playful embrace along the baseline before practice.

''Don't let the shyness fool you,'' Gray jokes of her California teammate and best friend.

Earlier, Gray had grabbed a few of Boyd's french fries and Boyd fed her pal a bite of a chicken tender.

''You want the rest of this?'' Boyd asks.

''No, I gotta be able to run today,'' Gray acknowledges with a grin.

These two seniors are a big reason the Golden Bears' success under coach Lindsay Gottlieb, including a run to the school's first Final Four in 2013. They're also a big reason WNBA coaches like Connecticut's Anne Donovan are in the Bay Area for much of the week to catch Cal's two games against rival Stanford in five days.

Boyd, a playmaking point guard who grew up right in Berkeley, is a projected top-five draft pick, while 6-foot-3 forward Gray is also high on many mock draft lists.

''As it gets closer, I get more nervous just to know that my life is going to change, for the good, and this is something I've been working toward,'' Boyd says. ''Growing up, this is something I knew I wanted. So, it's just like, `OK, life's about to get real, I'm going to enter the real world.'''

Both women certainly hope they do a little more to impress the pro scouts than in a 59-47 loss to Stanford on Wednesday night in which the Bears went nearly the final 13 minutes without a field goal and shot 11 percent in the second half.

Around campus, in the basketball circles anyway, Boyd and Gray go by the nicknames ''Corn Flakes and milk.''

''We just grew to embrace it,'' Gray says. ''Especially with our style of play, I feed off of her and she feeds off of me. What's cereal without milk, right?''

Boyd and Gray pick each other as Pac-12 Player of the Year, if they had their say. Or, perhaps, a tie.

''Oh, is that possible?'' Gray quips, and both start laughing.

Gray grew up fifth oldest of seven kids in Los Angeles, and second oldest of four girls. Boyd has three younger siblings herself, and Gray now joins the family for festivities when she can't get home to Southern California.

''This has been an amazing experience,'' Boyd says. ''And outside of basketball, just the friendships that we have built, friendships like this.''

Boyd's perfect lob passes into Gray in the paint have become so familiar for the Bears, making them one of the best 1-2 duos in women's college basketball.

Bandanna-wearing Boyd has dominated games and put up her third triple-double in December and is Cal's career assists and steals leader. She began the week in the top five nationally with an average of 7.3 assists. She likely will end up in the conference's top five all-time for assists and steals.

''She's going to be even better at the next level, probably,'' Gottlieb says. ''She's playing at a high level, and the next level, she won't be relied on to do as much as we rely on her to do.''

Gray didn't play basketball until she was 14, an aspiring model and veterinarian at the time. Now, she plans to one day work in a teen shelter for women once basketball is done.

''It's scary, because you're about to hit the real world,'' Gray says while walking to class one day this week. ''I definitely feel like Cal prepared me.''

This week, Boyd spoke for a couple of minutes at a luncheon for 250 donors. Gottlieb considers moments like this - ''get out of comfort zones'' as she hash-tagged it on Twitter - part of her players' growth while at Cal.

Now, Boyd and Gray wrap up their farewell together. Their final game at Stanford on Sunday, their last Pac-12 tournament early next month and, they hope, more NCAA tournament success before they're through.

''Time flies,'' Boyd says.

They know they've done their part for the program.

''I take a lot of pride, but I also give a lot of credit to my teammates,'' Gray says. ''It's definitely not a one-man show. It's really great to be a part of something like that. I just hope we continue to build a culture here at Cal.''

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