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Tue., March 24, 2009, 9:51 a.m.

GU basketbrawl recap

After the east coast deadline, a writer from Pittsburgh couldn't contain his admiration for Gonzaga's women's basketball team after a hard-fought loss to the Panthers in the NCAA Tournament.

That's Big East basketball, he said. That's what we see every night. Gonzaga didn't back down. He made it a point to seek out Bulldogs coach and congratulate him.

A Gonzaga fan called way too early this morning, still excited, to say that was one of the best Gonzaga games ever - men or women. Well, the men have sure played some great games on the big stage in the last 11 years, but they had to start somewhere. Think back to '99 and a loss to a Big East team, UConn, in the Elite Eight. Close but no cigar.

If, and there is no reason to believe they won't, the Bulldogs build of this, the future is indeed bright. Jami Schaefer, solid, dependable and extraoridinary leader is the only senior - and for that matter, Heather Bowman and Vivian Frieson were the only juniors to play.

And, though there isn't much more that can be said about Courtney Vandersloot, the sophomore point guard is the real deal. She's a player and as long as she's healthy, the Zags are going to be on the national scene.

Rumor central: Stanford and Texas A&M have agreed to a home-and-home with the Zags, unfortunately with both on the road next year. Those kind of games pad a resume quite well.

Don't pack those dancin' shoes to deep in the closet.

Keep reading for links to GU stories.

We had our game story.

Jada Evans of the Seatte Times produced a game story and helped us with a notebook, talking about the youth of the team. While there, check out the photo gallary. There is a picture of Janelle Bekkering's last second shot for a game-tying 3 and the faces on the players in the background are priceless. Jada's blog is also a good read.

There is the Pittsburgh Post Gazette story (and it may be worth returning to see if there is a followup story tomorrow) and the Pittsburgh Tribune story.

The Tribune also had a short story on Panther fans. I'd like to add that the Pitt crowd included the Heimbigner's from Spokane, the Panthers' hosts last year at the Spokane regional. John told me he made a call to classy coach Agnus Berenato after the draw to congratulate the team but said they would miss the Saturday game with Montana because he was being inducted into the SCC Hall of Fame. She congratulated him and said she would leave tickets for the family for Monday's games. They drove over but were late to join the team for dinner but were greeted in the hotel lobby with desert the team brought for them. They looked at the basketball game as a win-win for them because of the friends they've made.

Quickly we'll give you a link to ESPN's perspective on Ball State's win over Tennessee and Dan Flesher's follow-up in the Knoxville News-Sentinel (it's obviously that Angie Bjorklund is going to be the face of the team) plus a story on Arizona State's upset of Florida State, with Briann January as the player of the game.

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