Starting to get overwhelmed by figure skating preparation and with three hockey games this week women’s basketball posts and links are a bit thin.
Our unedited notebook follows, as well as the Top 25 vote, with quite a bit of shakeup at the bottom. Gonzaga and Idaho jump into league play on Saturday with the Bulldogs offering a pretty good deal - $25 gets four tickets, four hot dogs and four drinks plus the chance to see Portland, which shocked the Zags at home with local product Tara Cronin going off for a career double-double day.
More notes below with the notebook.
With the Big Sky and Pac-10 into the second week of league play, the WCC and WAC opening up, here are the league RPI’s:
Pac 10 6th (last among BCS conferences); WAC 13th, WCC 14th and Big Sky
22nd. Gonzaga leads the WCC at 74 with Pepperdine next at 96. La Tech
leads the WAC at 89, Idaho is eighth at 274; Stanford leads the Pac 10
at first, WSU is 7th at 124; Northern Colorado leads the Big Sky at
161, Eastern is sixth at 215.
Left Coast Hoops has GU fourth in the West behind Stanford, USC (which the Zags beat) and UCLA. They had a much better Pac-10 preview than we were able to provide with Teams 1-5 and Teams 6-10. That was before ASU dropped a pair of home games to the LA schools and UW, picked 10th, just behind the Cougs, managed a road win at OSU.
For those of you who remembered to watch Tennessee romp past Oklahoma on ESPN 2 behind Angie Bjorklund’s 25 points and Shekinna Stricklen’s triple-double, here’s a game story and sidebar.
Michelle Smith looks past Brittney Griner’s two dunks in a game last week, something I noted briefly in the notebook.
Since the 2004-5 basketball season, when Gonzaga joined the
team to make it through the West Coast Conference season unscathed, the Bulldog
women have lost just seven of 70 league games.
Gonzaga, poised to capture a sixth-straight title, has the talent
to run the table again.
“We would never set that
as a goal,” GU coach Kelly Graves said. “We want to win every game, of course.
We want to win the regular season championship, if it happens, it happens.
We’re certainly capable, but we’re capable of getting beat any night.”
The first test is Saturday afternoon when Portland,
off to its best start since that historic season, visits McCartheyAthleticCenter. Both schools are
11-4 but while the Bulldogs have faced three ranked teams, UP hasn’t played
near the schedule.
Neither has the rest of the league, although five of the eight
teams have won more than they lost, including 9-5 Pepperdine, which has lost to
two ranked teams but beat Purdue.
“I think the league looks as good as it has since 2001,” Graves said. “We can never have an off night, we’re the
biggest game for everyone. That’s not arrogant but we’re going to get
The Pilots shocked Gonzaga 70-67 here last year when Gonzaga Prep
graduate Tara Cronin, now a junior, had a career night of 22 points and 13 rebounds.
WAC getting tougher
A year ago only FresnoState entered Western
Athletic Conference play with a winning record but things are looking better
with five of the nine teams at 8-5 or better with the league RPI at 13, just
ahead of the WCC.
The Bulldogs, who visit Idaho
on Saturday for the Vandals’ first league contest, are 9-5 with three losses to
Top 25 teams.
BoiseState leads the way at 11-3, Louisiana
Tech is 9-3 and New MexicoState, which just knocked
off Top 25 Kansas is 10-4.
has been hampered by injuries and is just 2-11 but last season the Vandals went
3-8 before improving to 10-6 in league play.
I think the league looks probably as good as it’s ever been,”
Vandals second-year coach Jon Newlee said. “It’s going to be rough every night.
Everyone is playing really well. Once again we’re going to be very thin at the
post position. We’re going to have to have some people step up and play better
and smarter than we did in nonconference (games) to be successful in the conference.”
WashingtonState (5-8, 0-2) is home against Arizona
(6-6, 0-2) on Thursday and ArizonaState (8-5, 0-2) on
Saturday. It’s the first time in six seasons the Sun Devils arrive with a local
player on the roster. … Freshman Katie Baker (LakeCity) hit her first nine shots and
scored a career-high 25 points to lead Montana
to a 73-67 win over WeberState Saturday night. She
followed that up with a monster double-double of 23 points and 17 rebounds in a
63-55 win over IdahoState. The Grizzlies
(7-7, 2-0) are at Eastern Washington (7-6, 1-0) on Friday with MontanaState (8-7, 1-1) visiting Saturday. … WeberState
senior Tonya Schnibbe (University) had 16 points and eight assists at UM and 16
points and four assists in an 82-62 loss at MontanaState
on New Year’s Day, moving her into the Big Sky top 10 with 479. … PortlandState
senior Claire Faucher became the school’s all-time assist leader in a loss at OregonState
and then eclipsed the Big Sky record in a 95-86 league-opening win at SacramentoState,
when junior teammates Kelli Valentine (Mead) had a double-double of 12 points
and 11 rebounds and Lexi Bishop (ShadlePark) had 10 points.
Faucher has 712 assists, 11 more than UM’s Brooklynn Lorenzen (2001-04)
amassed. … Faucher (7.4) is seventh nationally and Schnibbe (6.4) 11th behind
national leader Courtney Vandersloot of Gonzaga (9.3). … Vandersloot and WashingtonState freshman Kiki Moore are tied for
fifth nationally in steals (3.8). … Eastern Oregon (10-5, 5-1) knocked off its
second ranked team this season with a 63-51 road win over No. 24 Corcordia,
with junior Samantha Flett (Wellpinit) scoring 15.
Baylor’s 6-foot-8 freshman Brittney Griner had two dunks
to join former Tennessee
great Candace Parker for the most dunks in a women’s game. Griner hit 11 of 12
shots to score 26 points in 23 minutes of the 99-18 rout. Who schedules those
games, and why? Griner is second in the nation with 6.3 blocks a game, behind
St. Mary’s Louella Tomlinson’s 7.
Read all the posts from recent conversations on SportsLink.
Jim Allen (@srjimallen) Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.
Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.