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Gonzaga rolls; EWU alone in first

Another romp for the Gonzaga women, the unedited game story appears below.

Meanwhile, Eastern Washington takes over sole possession of first in the Big Sky Conference; Washington State lost at No. 2 Stanford, and Idaho lost at Hawaii late Wednesday

There were some upsets in the Top 25, but not Tennessee, thanks to Angie Bjorklund, who overcame a tough not shooting with the game-winning layup. She talks about it and gets a pat on the back from her coach - quotes at the bottom.


My figure skating duty starts tomorrow and I’ll be at the Arena seven of the next nine days. I’ll do my best to keep up, but don’t hesitate to post news in my absence.

By Dave Trimmer

davet@spokesman.com; (509) 927-2154

The Louella Tomlinson Show came to McCarthey Athletic Center Thursday night but no matter how well the 6-foot-4 Australian and Saint Mary’s play elsewhere the show bombs when Gonzaga is involved.

Even if it appeared this one had the potential to be different – Tomlinson came in as the reigning West Coast Conference Player of the Week off a 35-point outing, and both monthly honors for this season – the Bulldogs pulled the curtain early, rolling to an 87-52 win.

Gonzaga (13-4, 2-0) was up by a dozen barely five minutes into the game and 22 by halftime, 48-26, with Tomlinson scoring just four points.

“She’s obviously the focus every time you play them,” Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said. “She didn’t get many, especially when they needed them.

“We fronted her tonight and made them throw lobs. We put pretty good pressure on the basketball and then worked to get good help, so it wasn’t just one thing, one player, it was a strategy and the kids did a good job with it.”

Tomlinson, who averages 17.8 points on 63 percent shooting, 9.9 rebounds and a nation-best 6.9 blocks, finished with 11 points on 5 of 12 shooting, six rebounds and five blocks and the Gaels (11-7, 2-1) were simply run out of the gym.

There was a staggering 30-0 difference in fastbreak points and the Bulldogs turned 29 turnovers into 39 points.

“That’s the best part of our game, we like to get the rebound and run down the floor, get easy layups in transitions,” junior forward Janelle Bekkering said. “We like a fast-paced game.”

Five players scored in double figures, led by junior guard Courtney Vandersloot, who celebrated becoming the first Bulldog ever named to the midseason watch list for the John Wooden Award by filling up the stat sheet with 26 points, six assists, six steals, five rebounds and six steals.

Heather Bowman and Bekkering added 15 apiece with Bekkering getting 10 in the first half, Vivian Frieson had 12 and Katelan Redmon 11, all in the first half.

“It just started with running down the floor for me, I had some easy buckets at the beginning because they weren’t getting back on defense,” Bekkering said. “Courtney is such a good passer, she just finds us, she has a knack.”

In her six losses to GU, by an average of 24.6 points, Tomlinson has shot 39 percent, averaged 12.7 points, 7.8 rebounds with 21 blocks and 27 turnovers.

Tifa Puletasi, a freshman from Mead, contributed seven points and six rebounds after scoring a career-high 12 in Saint Mary’s last game.


Tennessee 66, Florida 64

Bjorklund missed her first seven shots and finished with eight late points to rally the Vols

On her game-winning reverse lay-up with 2.3 seconds left … “I’m definitely a shooter. I don’t shoot too many lay-ups, I’m glad that one went in.”

On her decision to take the ball to the hoop on the final play … “I saw Glory [Johnson] get doubled, so I just cut to the hoop and it was open.”

On the designed final play …“Initially it was to get our posts the ball, but it just broke down.Florida’s aggressive defense caused us trouble executing our offense the entire game. We are lucky to get this win.

Volunteer coach Pat Summitt: “Our basketball team didn’t come ready to play tonight. Florida played us tough a majority of the game. I don’t know if that was due to a lack of leadership or ownership on our part. When the people you count on don’t make shots, you switch into panic mode. We tried to keep calm and focused and played to get a win. After last year, I thought we were at a different level mentally and emotionally than tonight. We certainly dodged a bullet. If we play them again, it will be with the utmost respect.”

On Bjorklund: “Angie is a great shooter, but tonight she was rushed. We wouldn’t trade her for anybody in the world. She’ll come back, get home and get back in the gym. She’s a marked woman; everyone is after her.”


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