After Cal coach Gottlieb gets engaged, Bears get into NCAAs

It was a really special 24 hours for Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb.

Her longtime boyfriend Patrick Martin proposed to her Sunday, and then her Bears earned one of the final spots in the women's NCAA Tournament on Monday.

''It definitely was a great stretch,'' Gottlieb said in a phone interview late Monday night.

Gottlieb spent most of Sunday crunching numbers with Martin on whether her team would make it off the bubble and into the NCAA Tournament.

''He's a big math and analytics nerd, gotten way into the basketball stuff,'' she said. ''He built his own analytical model to crunch the numbers of the bubble teams, and he had us in.''

After spending hours discussing the possibilities, Gottlieb said she was on the couch when Martin came over and proposed.

''How bout we do stuff this for the rest of our life,'' Gottlieb recalled of the proposal .

Her response: ''Sounds like a plan.''

Gottlieb said Martin actually texted Bears star player Kristine Anigwe to see if it was OK to propose.

''Kristine and Patrick have a really special relationship, and it was sweet that he asked her,'' Gottlieb said.

There was more angst for the coach, who is seven months pregnant while waiting to see if the Bears made the tournament field. The Bears finished 6-12 in the Pac-12 after a strong nonconference schedule.

She watched the selection show with the team in the locker room.

''I don't think the Ob-Gyn council would recommend being on the NCAA bubble if you're pregnant,'' she said laughing.

Midway through the show, the Bears appeared in the bracket as a nine-seed, setting off a jubilant celebration in the locker room.

''I was really, really nervous,'' Gottlieb said. ''I sat down and was doing breathing exercises I learned in prenatal yoga. It's a lot, whether you see your name or you don't.''

The Bears will face LSU in the opening round on Saturday in Waco, Texas. A victory would most likely get them host Baylor in the second round.

Gottlieb isn't worried about flying to Texas. She's just entering her 32nd week of the pregnancy and should be clear to travel even for a deep run in the tourney. She's due on May 9 - the tournament final is on April 2.

''Airlines won't let you travel after 36 weeks,'' she said. ''This will be the first time in 18 years that I'm not going to the Final Four, barring a major run by us.''

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