Archive for February 2011
Back with the game story from Gonzaga's 96-49 rout of Cal State Bakersfield on Senior Night. An unedited version is below.
Check back tomorrow for a day-after post and the release of the All-WCC teams and awards.
Gonzaga wrapped up the regular season with a 96-49 victory over Cal State Bakersfield. The Bulldogs (22-9,11-3 WCC) won their seventh straight game.
Steven Gray hit three 3s, giving him 202 in his career, and left to a standing ovation on Senior Night. Sam Dower and Rob Sacre each had 16 points. Mathis Monninghoff scored 12 points and Elias Harris added 10. Eleven Zags scored.
Game story in about two hours.
You have to check out Tacoma News Tribune colunist John McGrath's take on the WIAA's new state basketball tournament format. The North Central boys get some love in the column.
Senior night at the Kennel and tip is in about five miniutes. Steven Gray is GU's lone senior and he'll have his dad with him during introductions. His mom and sister weren't able to make the drive because Snoqualmie Pass was closed.
Head to Twitter.com/SRjimm for in-game updates.
Angie Bjorklund's Senior Day at Tennessee was quite a game, which the Knoxville News Sentinel took care of quite a bit better than yesterday's wire story.
No big changes in this week's edition of bracketology. ESPN.com still has Gonzaga as a double-diget seed and not in the Spokane regional, which should be headlined by Stanford as the No. 1 seed.
(By the way, if you go to ESPN.com's women's basketball page and the picture of Gonzaga is still up, try to figure out what Kelly Bowen was eating on the bench to turn her tongue green. I didn't miss St. Patrick's Day did I?
The other news, Lexi Bishop (Shadle Park) is the Big Sky player of the week after helping Portland State to its first ever sweep on the Montana trip.
Gonzaga up to No. 22 in AP poll.
Big Sky Conference officials, after exploring all remainin scenarios, announced on Monday that Eastern Washington University's men's basketball team has officially qualified for the six-team conference tournament for the first time in five years.
With one regular-season game remaining at Weber State on Wednesday, the Eagles still don't know who or where they will play in the first round of the tournament, which starts with quarterfinal matchups on Saturday.
You can get more details here.
Whitworth University, after claiming its fifth consecutive Northwest Conference men's basketball crown with a 74-50 win over Whitman in Saturday night's NWC title game, has been awarded a first-round bye and a second-round home game — to be played at 7 p.m. this Saturday — by the selection committe of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
You can read more details here.
The plan was simple. Sleep in this morning, head to SeaTac and blog from there. Then Seattle's downtown traffic took care of the first part. So we got out of bed and decided to take care of the second part. Read on.
There have been some really impressive performances for Washington State this season (and, of course, some of the opposite variety). The Gonzaga game. The first-half vs. Baylor. The Husky game in Pullman. But none topped the way the Cougars played tonight at Hec Ed. Read on for more.
Steven Gray came to Gonzaga with a highly regarded recruiting class that included Austin Daye, Robert Sacre and Ira Brown. Daye departed after two seasons for the NBA, Sacre redshirted because of a foot injury in 2009 and Brown finished up two years ago.
That leaves Gray as GU's only senior on Senior Night, which will take place Monday when Cal State Bakersfield visits the McCarthey Athletic Center.
I visited with Gray for a few minutes following Saturday's win in San Diego and put together this article that will run in Monday's S-R.
OK, I'm running a little late, but you should see the progress made on the boss' remodel project … crown molding is up. (It pays to have talented friends.)
Anyway, as promised, here's a real story on Washington State's inability to Washington. The bracket for the WCC Tournament. Angie Bjorklund (U-Hi) had a big day for Tennessee on her Senior Day (I happened to see the start on ESPNU before the work started and saw the little ceremony, someone please tell Jim Bjorklund that was one ugly, not-even-Tennessee, orange sweater!)
This week's Top 25 is below..
Longtime readers of this blog know I'm a defensive guy. Always felt defense was the difference between good teams and great teams. So when there is a game that's 24-17 at the half, you would think I would be in heaven. Well, though one team is shooting 22 percent (Washington) and the other is at 32 percent (Washington State), I can't in good conscience call this an outstanding defensive game. It's a tough game, a physical one, but not all that great defensively. Both teams have missed open shots. Both teams have made unforced and inexcusable turnovers. Both teams have failed to keep guys off the offensive glass. But the score is 24-17, so there must be some defense being played. … Two things I've noticed. The WSU plan is to attack Venoy Overton on switches. Both Klay Thompson and Reggie Moore have taken him into the key, risen up and scored over him. On the other end, Washington State is mainly playing zone after made baskets and occasionally after turnovers. If the Huskies attack in transition, the Cougars stay in man. The change up seems to be bothering UW. … After shooting 31 3-pointers (and making 11) in Pullman, the Huskies are 1 of 13 tonight. All those long shots have led to long rebounds and they have 14 offensive ones, one more than WSU has defensive. Thanks to horrendous shooting inside and turnovers, those 14 have led to just six points. … Faisal Aden is playing, though he's 1 of 7 from the floor – his one hoop came on a pretty drive – including an air ball from 3 that excited the Dawg Pack. … We'll be back about 10:30 or so with our game story.
Welcome to Hec … er, Bank of Amer … er, Alaska Airlines Arena. Better call it by its real name. I'm flying the airline back to Spokane tomorrow. Before then, however, there is this little matter of a basketball game. For some thoughts, read on.
Drove back from the Tri-Cities late this morning. I always enjoy assigments there since mom and dad live in Kennewick. After taking wife and son out to lunch, I settled in to write a general overview story for Monday's paper and typing up the pairings for all the tournaments.
Click the tab below to see the pairings.
Gonzaga crushed San Diego 68-31 last night to secure an 11th consecutive WCC title, this one shared with Saint Mary’s. The only other co-championship in GU’s run was with Pepperdine in 2002.
Saint Mary’s defeated
The seeding for the conference tournament: No. 1 Saint Mary’s, No. 2 Gonzaga, No. 3 San Francisco, No. 4 Santa Clara, No. 5 Portland, No. 6 Pepperdine, No. 7 San Diego (won tiebreaker vs. LMU), No. 8 Loyola Marymount (picked No. 2 in preseason poll). Openers Friday in
Read on for my day-after post.
Gonzaga crushed San Diego 68-31 last night to secure an 11th consecutive WCC title, this one shared with Saint Mary’s. The only other co-championship in GU’s run was with Pepperdine in 2002.
Saint Mary’s defeated
The seeding for the conference tournament: No. 1 Saint Mary’s, No. 2 Gonzaga, No. 3 San Francisco, No. 4 Santa Clara, No. 5 Portland, No. 6 Pepperdine, No. 7 San Diego (won tiebreaker vs. LMU), No. 8 Loyola Marymount (picked No. 2 in preseason poll). Openers Friday in
Read on for my day-after post.
We're in SeaTac after taking the early flight from Spokane – being somewhat (a word we can't use on this blog) retentive, we always take an early flight just in case; I'm the type of guy who would wear suspenders with a belt if I didn't think suspenders would make me look like a 1963 Alabama sheriff – and finally getting a chance to sit and go through this morning's stories. Read on for links and notes.
Back at the hotel, rental car gas tank has been re-filled and ready for an early call tomorrow. Here's my game story from GU's 68-31 drubbing of San Diego. Saint Mary's defeated Portland so the Zags and Gaels are co-champs. Saint Mary's will be the No. 1 seed and Gonzaga the No. 2 in the WCC Tournament.
Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.
In one of the most intense games of the season, the Spokane Chiefs got two goals from Dominik Uher, including an empty netter with 54 seconds to play, to pull out a 3-1 win over Tri-City before more than 10,000 fans at the Arena Saturday night.
It was a stellar defensive effort by the Chiefs, who out-shot the Americans 40-27. The only TC goal was a centering pass that went off a Spokane player, otherwise Mac Engle was stellar in net for the win, his third over the Americans eight days.
Engle earned the No. 1 star, with Uher No. 2 and Tri-City goalie Chris Driedger third. Long box below. Here is the game story.
It wasn't a pleasant return to Logan, Utah, for Idaho's Don Verlin or point guard Deremy Geiger. The Vandals were manhandled by No. 23 Utah State, which evened the season series with UI with a 84-68 conquest at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The Vandals moved to 16-12 and 8-7 in the WAC. They're still in line for at least the No. 4 seed in the conference tournament with a win over Fresno State on Thursday.
Read on for more.
Gonzaga's expected wrap-up of a perfect West Coast Conference season wasn't the only big news in women's basketball on Saturday.
Eastern Washington won at Montana for the first time in two dozen years - yes, 24 - a 27-game losing streak back to 1987 when the Eagles won their only Big Sky Conference tournament. … Washington State just can't beat Washington. (I'll link a different story on Sunday when I file my Top 25 vote.)
For other news, keep reading and I'll be back, if possible, during the hockey game, to give you the Washington-Washington State game, which the Cougars trail 30-25 at halftime.
Gonzaga throttled San Diego 68-31 on Saturday night at the Jenny Craig Pavilion, locking up at least a share of its 11th consecutive WCC title, the second longest streak in NCAA Division I history. UCLA holds the top spot with a 13-year run from 1967-79.
Saint Mary's, which tips off against Portland at 8 p.m., must win to share the conference title with Gonzaga.
This one was over early. San Diego scored on Chris Manresa's dunk on its first possession. The Toreros didn't score again for more than nine minutes. Elias Harris scored 15 points in the first half as GU took a 37-19 lead.
Gonzaga outscored USD 17-3 to open the second half. San Diego didn't make a field goal until 12:26 remained.
Harris finished with 17 points and Sacre 16.
Game story in about two hours.
Just wanted to pass along our advance for tomorrow's game. That and we wanted to look at today's Pac-10 results and what they meant to the Cougars. … UCLA's 71-49 win over Arizona moves the Bruins into a tie for first and gives third-place Washington hope, albeit not that bright a hope, that it can still win at least a share of the conference title. The 10th-ranked Wildcats certainly won't be 10th-ranked come Monday. … USC's 62-46 win over Arizona State moves the Trojans to 9-7, a half-game ahead of California (9-8) for fourth. … Cal rallied to take out Oregon State, 87-76, and has one game left, a home contest with Stanford. … The Cardinal helped WSU the most today, dominating Oregon 88-71, meaning no matter what happens tomorrow in Seattle, the Cougars will be at least tied with the Ducks (7-9) for sixth. As we type this, WSU is alone in that key spot. But being the three teams the Cougars have still to play – Washington, UCLA and USC – are, respectively, third, tied-for-first and fourth in the standings, the task ahead is pretty tough. The three teams have also combined to win their last seven consecutive games.
After an emotional Senior Day ceremony before a sold-out crowd of 6,000 at McCarthey Athletic Center Saturday afternoon, Courtney Vandersloot got the Gonzaga Bulldogs off to a fast start before the Zags groundout a 80-58 win over San Diego.
The 23rd-ranked Bulldogs won their 16th straight game, 30th straight in the West Coast Conference as they wrapped up their second-straight perfect league season.
Seniors Vandersloot, Janelle Bekkering, Claire Rapp and Tatri Lorenzo started with junior Kayla Standish.
Vandersloot finished with 20 points and six assists, 13 and 3 coming in the first 9 minutes. Standish and junior Katelan Redmon, who ceded her starting spot, had 16 apiece and Bekkering 10. Standish also had 10 rebounds for her 12th double-double.
The Greater Spokane League continued its dominance of the Columbia Basin Big Nine. I suspect the CBBN can't wait for baseball - since that's about the only sport the league can beat the GSL in these days.
Here's my 4A girls story from Richland. LC's Hayley Hendricksen dribbles the ball upcourt against Chiawana.
Here's my 4A boys story.
Click the tab below to see the other state stories.
(Third attempt at posting this, first two thwarted by miserable hotel wireless….)
Good morning from rainy San Diego. The game is drawing widespread attention, including four stories alone in the San Diego Union-Tribune and the arrival of CBSsports.com's Gary Parrish, Foxsports.com's Jeff Goodman, Sportingnews.com's Mike DeCourcy and ESPN.com's Andy Katz in town.
Oh wait, that's the San Diego State-BYU game, which tips at 11 a.m. (yikes). Gonzaga-San Diego might get some added attention, if only because it tips at 6, long after the Mountain West showdown is over.
A Gonzaga win or Saint Mary's loss to Portland would clinch GU's 11th consecutive WCC crown. Here's my game preview.
This is a huge mismatch on paper. Of 17 NCAA statistical categories ranking 336 D-I teams, San Diego ranks in the upper half (top 168) in just one: 3-point percentage defense (33.4). Gonzaga is in the upper half in 13 of 17. The exceptions: 3-point percentage defense, No. 284 (36.7), turnovers per game, No. 190 (13.8), 3-pointers made per game, No. 190 (6), and personal fouls, No. 182 (19).
But the Jenny Craig Pavilion has never been an easy place to play for the Zags, much like Santa Clara's Leavey Center. GU has won three of its last four here (including a loss to USD in the 2008 WCC Tournament title game), but the Zags scored just 59, 62, 58 and 68 points in those four games.
I was going to start today's post just like I did on Thursday, about it being game day, then pretending to remember the game is Sunday and all that crud. But then I decided that was too sophomoric and it would be better to just move on. So I will. And you can read on.
Just a week remains in the college basketball regular season, and before the Idaho Vandals come home for two last games in Moscow they have a big-time challenge on their hands: a rematch with Utah State, ranked No. 23 in the coaches poll and a team that lost to UI at Cowan Spectrum just a few weeks ago.
We have a preview below.
Every time Courtney Vandersloot takes to the basketball court it seems like she's doing something amazing or hitting another milestone. Yet she just seems to take it all in stride.
After Gonzaga throttled second place Saint Mary's 106-66 on Thursday, she admitted she really had to focus to keep from being over-whelmed when people talk about such things as the possibility she could become the first-ever NCAA player with 2,000 points and 1,000 assists.
“When I hear all that it gets me sometimes,” the senior All-American said. “That's why I just focus and not really worry about any of that. I know if I just let the game come to me, good things happen. That's when I play my best, when I'm not worrying about anything.”
Her resolve will be tested Saturday afternoon because she will get the most adulation from an adoring crowd at Senior Day. Tip-off against San Diego is at 2 p.m. and less than 200 tickets remain. If you want to join the standing ovation for Vandesloot, Janelle Bekkering, Claire Rapp, Tatri Lorenzo and Carter Schick, you better arrive early.
“When I hear all that it gets me sometimes,” Vandersloot said. “That’s why I just focus and not really worry about any of that. I know if I just let the game come to me good things happen. That’s when I play my best, when I’m not worrying about anything.”
Tyler Johnson reached a historic milestone and took over the Western Hockey League scoring lead, Anthony Bardaro had his first hat trick and Mac Engle his third shutout as the Spokane Chiefs coasted past Prince George 8-0 before 8,022 fans at the Arena Friday night.
Johnson's 100th point came on Brenden Kichton's goal at 8:11 of the second period. He added two more power play assists and had his league-best 46th goal.
Barardo had the first goal just 1:55 into the game and later added two power play makers as the league's best power play team went 4 of 7. Also, the league's best penalty killing unit killed off all six Cougar man advantages.
Steve Kuhn also scored for the Chiefs. Engle only had to make 16 saves for his third shutout of the season.
Long box below. Here is the story.
3-stars: D Tanner Mort, Johnson & Bardaro.
Good morning from San Diego. We'll get right to it after one of the more memorable Gonzaga games in years. It might have cost me a couple years off my lifespan (8 p.m. start, deadline, overtime, deadline, building 138 degrees, deadline), but it was worth it.
I doubled checked with the conference office and re-confirmed that the victory clinched at least a second seed for Gonzaga and a bye into the WCC Tournament semifinals. There is no scenario if GU and Saint Mary's finished tied (11-3 or 10-4, or in a three-way tie with San Francisco at 10-4) that Gonzaga takes the top seed. SMC wins that if it comes down to a tiebreaker.
San Francisco is locked in at No. 3, even if the Dons finish in a three-way tie for first. Pepperdine is locked in at No. 6. The rest will be decided Saturday.
Eastern Washington's men's basketball team didn't do itself any favors at Reese Court Thursday night, losing to Montana State. You can read the game story Kevin Blocker wrote for Friday morning's S-R here, and you can check out what EWU's sport information department posted about the game here.
In addition, I've included this link to this game story that ran in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
Good morning … a little slow on the uptake. Staying up late for a truly great basketball game on TV and awaking to the sound of a roadgrader with its blade down … five driveways, two cups of coffee and a hot chocolate later, the fingers work.
Onward, there was more news in women's basketball on Thursday than just Gonzaga's well-orchastrated symphony. Read on.
Jan and Bill Vandersloot — proud parents of Gonzaga women's basketball star Courtney Vandersloot — took charge of the trophy ball Courtney was presented Thursday night at McCarthey Athletic Center before the Zags game with St. Mary's.
And nobody was able to take it away from them, either.
The trophy commemorates the senior point guard's college career milestone of 1,000 assists achieved during the Feb. 12 game against Pepperdine. Vandersloot joins the elite group of just three other women and three men who have done so at the Division I level.
And she hasn't stopped there. In Thursday's route of WCC second place St. Mary's, Vandersloot added another 13 assists along with 22 points, six rebounds, six steals and no turnovers.
It doesn't seem right. USC handing UCLA a chance to move into first-place in the Pac-10 basketball standings by defeating 10th-ranked Arizona? Seems like the Trojans should have lost just to spite the Bruins. Isn't that what a rivalry is about? We kid, of course, but the USC upset in Los Angeles was not good for Washington State. Read on.
Back with a game story from one of the better games I've seen in four years of covering Gonzaga basketball. The Bulldogs outlasted Saint Mary's 89-85 in overtime, moving into a first-place tie with the Gaels.
Here's a link to my game story.
I'll be back tomorrow with a day-after post and a preview of the San Diego game.
Before the season the Idaho Vandals were picked to finish eighth in the WAC, and no one seemed to quibble with their placement in the preseason polls. But look what's happened since: Idaho has won four of its last five games, including a key 67-59 win at Nevada tonight. The victory, fueled by a 10-of-15 showing from the 3-point line and career-high 25 points from Jeff Ledbetter, set up the Vandals for a top-four finish depending how the last week-plus of the regular season plays out.
Read on for more.
Gonzaga was, quite simply, senasational.
The 23rd-ranked Zags, the nation’s top-scoring women's basketball team, broke 100 for the seventh time, running their winning steak to 15 games, by routing second-place Saint Mary's 106-66.
Janelle Bekkering had 22 points, Standish had 19 points and 13 rebounds for her ninth double-double and Katelan Redmon had 15 points.
But once again All-Ameircan Courtney Vandersloot stole the show with 22 points, 13 assists, no turnovers, 6 rebounds and 6 steals.
Good evening from soggy Moraga. I left in a blizzard and landed in a puddle. Rained most of the day in the Bay Area and there's actually a chance of a snow, rare in these parts.
Rob Jones was the first Gael on the court for warmpus, roughly 90 minutes before tip. Jones's health will be one of the things to watch for tonight (he suffered a rib injury vs. San Diego and was apparently ill during the Utah State game).
Both teams are on the court warming up for the first-place showdown. Head over to Twitter.com/SRjimm for in-game updates.
Check back here for a quick recap after the buzzer (love those 8 p.m. starts) and a full game story at about 11:45.
I'll be in Richland on Friday and Saturday for the Eastern Region first round of the State 4A boys and girls basketball tournaments.
You can follow the action at twitter.com/srpreps. I'll post updates as often as possible.
Wide receiver Markee White, who had 66 receptions last season to help the Shock win an ArenaBowl championship, has signed with Spokane. More here.
The Shock made a bunch of moves Thursday, including the signing of QB Joe Ayoob and the trade of WR Eddie Thompson to Pittsburgh, coached by ex-Shock coach Chris Siegfried. Here's a recap.
With the lone game this week on Sunday – guess you probably already know that – coach Ken Bone held his media call today. Most of the questions, of course, had to do with the Washington game, but there was one with a totally different subject. Read on.
I'm re-posting this because a number have made some good comments.
Here's a link to my column about the new state tourney format. All the play-in qualifiers and regional spots have been decided for the Washington state boys and girls basketball tournaments. You can check out brackets for each tourney here.
QUESTIONS: What do you think about it? And which teams do you think will fare well? Nobody is talking and it's time to talk. Here's a prediction: I see at least three of the four Greater Spokane League boys and girls 4A teams moving on to Tacoma. One of the North Central teams should advance as well. It wouldn't shock me if all four 4A teams move on. The GSL is so much better than the Columbia Basin Big Nine Conference - period. That was evident Tuesday when Ferris took Richland to the woodshed.
Wow, what a morning, but five clean driveways and a friend's rig now functional, it's time to get going.
First news: game on. Despite no classes, Gonzaga women's basketball team is going to take the court tonight to face second-place Saint Mary's. Read on for the rest of the area roundup (and pardon the typos that sneak through, my fingers may never unthaw).
Eastern Washington, still entertaining thoughts of not only making the Big Sky Conference tournament, but perhaps hosting a first-round game, as well, takes on Montana State at 7 tonight at Reese Court in a game Eagles coach Kirk Earlywine calls a “monster.”
You can read the related story that ran in Thursday morning's S-R here; you can check out the game notes supplied by EWU's sport information department here; you can see what Montana State's sports info department posted about the game here, and you catch up on the rest of Big Sky here.
Click the tab below to see the menu.
It's game day on the … wait, no it isn't. Forgot, only one game this week. So we'll come back Saturday with … wait, what? The game's Sunday? My word. OK, so we'll be back Sunday with the game-day items. As for today, well, we have inches and inches of stuff for you (exactly like what fell from the sky overnight), so read on.
For two teams on opposite ends of the Western Conference standings, the Spokane Chiefs certainly have a difficult time with the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Wednesday night at the Arena was no differernt. Even though the game started with the Chiefs 31 points ahead of the Thunderbirds, Seattle was the aggressor from the start and won 5-1.
It was the eight meeting of the season between the two teams with both teams winning four. Full box below.
The three stars: 3, Bardaro (Spokane's only goal), 2, Colin Jacobs, Seattle, 1, Calvin Pickard, 39 saves for Seattle.
The showdown — Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary's — is 24 hours away. A Gonzaga win leaves the two squads in a tie for first. A Saint Mary's win gives the Gaels their first outright title since 1989.
Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett didn't return a phone message left on Monday morning.
Coeur d’Alene 6-foot-3 post Carli Rosenthal (pictured above) has given Saint Mary’s College an oral commitment.
Rosenthal said she gave the
Rosenthal led CdA to three straight state championships before the Vikings took second last weekend. She averaged 13.6 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists per game this year.
“It will be fun to play with and against some of the best players in the West,” Rosenthal said.
She was recruited by several NCAA Division I schools.
— By Greg Lee
The Spokane Chiefs come off a successful 10 days of road games in first place in the Western Division of the Western Hockey League. While they try to keep the momentum going at home, local product Tyler Johnson nears a milestone with a chance to win the scoring title. With just 8 home games left before the playoffs, time is running out to see the Central Valley graduate in this chase. The Chiefs play Seattle tonight, with Prince George coming in on Friday and Tri-City on Saturday, which is Pink night for breast cancer awareness. (Also, former Chief Jared Spurgeon scored his first NHL goal last night … considering he was playing in Spokane last year as an unsigned 20-year old, it's a great story.)
Gotta love a week when the weatherman is basically telling you not to let small dogs out, because you might lose them in the snow. As pleased as I am to see the snow plows getting ready for today's predicted big dump by cleaning up the apartment complex parking lot, doing it with the flashing yellow light and back-up buzzer going off doesn't seem appropriate for 4:30 in the freaking morning. Some old men can't get back to sleep, you know? So we have this. Read on.
Idaho's best win this season came at home over Utah State. That much is clear. But the Vandals' second-best win, at least in the WAC, might have been eking past Nevada in Cowan Spectrum. Now the third-place Wolf Pack and the conference-leading Aggies get the Vandals at home this week in two critical games.
Read on for more about the matchups — as well as thoughts from coach Don Verlin.
A couple of GU stories to link to. Both will run in tomorrow's S-R.
The first: Gonzaga might want to win its last two WCC games to remove most of the guesswork in regards to titles, tournament seeding, etc. That's because the Bulldogs are on the losing side of most tiebreakers with Saint Mary's or San Francisco. If GU wins two, the worst it can finish is co-champions and second seed in the WCC Tournament. More here.
The second is an update on Gonzaga's incoming recruiting class, which is putting up some impressive stats as the prep season winds down. Notes that didn't make the final version: Ryan Spangler is averaging 4.5 assists per game and he's had 30-rebound games this season. Gary Bell broke Renado Parker's school record for scoring at Kentridge High. Parker went on to star at NIC, signed with Idaho and has since tranferred to Portland State, where he's sitting out.
More on the 2011 recruiting class here.
It seems a little odd writing that headline above, but Raul Vijil, who has been with the Shock since its inaugural season in 2006, was on a two-day tryout at the outset of camp. Vijil, pictured above on the opening day of practice, has been added to the team's roster, roughly five months after having surgery to repair a torn ACL.
Spokane released quarterback Andy Collins and also made a couple of other moves, which you can read about below.
We're more than a little later-than-usual today, I know, but if you could see what I see right now, you would understand why. Read on.
OK, click the tab below to see first-round state boys and girls basketball games at regional sites for all area teams in all classifications.
If you want to see all the games for each bracket, here's a link to all the state brackets.
ALSO, here's a feature about the first round of state games that will be published in Tuesday's newspaper. The story focues on the North Central girls, first-time qualifiers. Second-year NC coach Gabe Medrano is pictured above.
Spokane is only a few days into training camp, but the team is already tweaking its roster. Eddie Thompson, who played in five games for Spokane last season, was on a two-day tryout at the outset of camp, has been added to the roster, along with OL Shannon Tevaga and DB Patrick Stoudamire.
The Shock released former WSU and Seahawk receiver Michael Bumpus and OL Tim Walters.
The news is starting to pile up on the women's basketball beat and time is running out to post it. Read on.
When I saw majority owner Brady Nelson at the first Shock practice Saturday, I asked him how many tickets had been sold for the outdoor game. The announcement for the game, set for July 9th at Albi Stadium, was Thursday and it was a quick turnaround for season-ticket holders, who had the first opportunity to purchase tickets Friday-Sunday.
Over a 1,000, Nelson said, adding that he was pleased considering season ticket-holders essentially only had 12-hour notice before tickets went on sale.
By Monday morning, that figure was 1,500. Reserve seats are close to being sold out. Tickets went on sale to the general public this morning at 10.
Game time, by the way, will be 5 p.m.
So there is one thing you can count on in life right now. Monday mornings will be nearly devoid of Pac-10 basketball news. Like today. Oh, there is the story from last night's upset in Berkeley – a game I sat and watched in its entirety but, like the car wrecks at Daytona, I skipped the game that followed on FSN – but not much else. What there is, however, we have, so read on.
Crusing across the state on a beautiful Sunday with great tunes, idle minds wandered.
A few years back, as my assignments were changed, I was thinking it would be tough to duplicate my last four seasons of covering Eastern Washington.
First it was football, quarterbacked by Erik Meyer, whose great run ended with the Walt Payton Award in Cheney. Then it was Rodney Stuckey in basketball, whose talents got him selected 15th in the NBA draft despite a lack of team success (and some disfunction that made it easy to move on).
I thought I might not witness first-hand a run like that for a while and it wasn't until recently I realized that I already was in the midst of a similar but different situation and today I decided if I didn't tell you, you might miss it because it's almost over. Read on.
The Spokane Chiefs won for the first time this season at Tri-City on Saturday. Their reward, another game at the Toyota Center on Monday. With two goals and an assist, Tyler Johnson is a point out of the Western Hockey League scoring lead and a hattrick of points from a century. That makes the three games that follow at home more interesting, the third coming Saturday night against the Americans. Levko Koper and Brenden Kichton also remain hot. Goalie James Reid should be about ready to play.
Going to take care of business, starting with women's basketball, because if have to get in a Top 25 vote, posted below, with other links.
Good late morning. You're getting a quicker, maybe shorter day-after post than usual, for dad reasons.
We're back in what is today the real Valley of the Sun (though where my house is located is more a plateau than a valley, but the sun is shining once again, so I hope you get the picture). Our trip from Well Fargo Arena to the car reminded me of my usual morning shower, sans the towel, but by the time we arrived at the airport we had dried out and were ready for the long trip home. After a short but restful night's sleep, we have some more notes and quotes for you, so read on.
Wow. It's midnight 30 and I'm finally back to where my pillow is, where I left it 16-plus hours ago after just a 5 hour relationship.
That's what I wrote 20 minutes ago, before I lost my post. Now I have to start over. Read on, but I can't say its any better the second time around.
Gonzaga recruit Gary Bell had a huge night, scoring 47 points in Kentridge High's win tonight. His coach Dave Jamison told me earlier this week that Bell was named Washington's Mr. Basketball by the Washington State coaches association.
Here's a recap of Bell's game from The Seattle Times:
Gary Bell broke the district tournament scoring record with 47 points as the Chargers returned to state with a victory in a win-or-go-home game.
Kentridge plays a seeding game at 4:30 p.m. Monday at Auburn High, but is assured of a spot in the first round of the playoffs.
Bell, a senior guard headed to Gonzaga, hit 15 of 29 field-goal attempts, including 5 of 8 three-point attempts. He made 12 of 14 free throws and had 10 rebounds and three assists.
Bell broke the record of 45 points set by Justin Holt of Lincoln in a 2002 district-tournament game.
(Programming note: I'll have an update on GU's four incoming recruits early next week. I talked to all four of their coaches this week).
Gonzaga completed a 2-0 homestand by thumping San Francisco 70-53 on Saturday. GU is alone in second place heading into Thursday's showdown with Saint Mary's in Moraga. USF slipped to third.
My unedited game story is below. Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.
It didn't take long for the Vandals to take the suspense out of its ESPN BracketBuster matchup with Montana State. They led by 25 early in the second half and weathered a few Bobcat runs to snatch a 65-50 win in Bozeman.
We've got all the details below.
Cal State Northridge used a 14-2 run midway through the second half Satuday night to overcome a four-point halftime lead and hand Eastern Washington a 68-59 non-conference loss in front of a Reese Court crowd of 1,012.
Lenny Daniel paced the Matadors (11-16) with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while teammate Rashaun McLemore added 14 points. Glen Dean finished iwth a team-high 17 points for Eastern (8-18), followed by Cliff Colimon with 14 and Jeffrey Forbes with 10.
Eastern Washington overcame some poor shooting early in the game and eight missed free throws to take a 30-26 lead at halftime of its ESPN BracketBusters matchup against Cal State Northridge at Reese Court on Saturday night.
Sophmore point guard Glen Dean finished the half with eight points for Eastern, which also got five points, each, from Kevin Winford and Jeffrey Forbes. The Eagles, who made only 2 of their first 11 shots from the field, finished the period 11-for-28, but made only four of 12 free throws.
Lenny Daniel put together a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double in the first 20 minutes of the game, and appears unstoppable from inside. The Matadors' 6-foot-8 senior forward was 5-for-9 from the floor and also blocked a couple of shots.
He had all but 10 of CSUN's first-half points.
Steven Gray scored 19 points and Marquise Carter had 16 of his 18 points in the second half as Gonzaga pulled away from San Francisco for a 70-53 WCC win on Saturday.
Gonzaga (19-9, 9-3) won its sixth straight conference game. The Zags moved ahead of USF (14-13, 8-4) into solo second place in the standings.
Michael Williams paced the Dons with 13 points.
More in about two hours.
The Spokane Shock opened training camp Saturday and here's my article that will run in Sunday's S-R.
Some other items from the first day: Ex-Shock DB Nygel Rogers, who played for Chicago last year, signed with the Shock, but he isn't in camp. Coach Rob Keefe said it's a paperwork issue and that he isn't sure when it'll be resolved.
“We'll keep the lines of communication open,” Keefe said. “We're not expecting him immediately.”
Kicker Taylor Rowan and WR Dudley Guice have been put on the refused-to-report list. Rowan is back home in Florida and will be in camp at some point. The Shock know he'll be their kicker. Guice is expected to arrive soon. He apparently had flight issues.
Keefe has it set up so that there will be groups of 2-3 players coming in three days, five days, etc., so he can look at various players.
COUGARS • UPDATED: 8 P.M.
Though we're en route to Seattle on our way home from Arizona, we wanted to get up a short post so you can comment. Read on.
It doesn't matter which defense Washington State plays. Even without Ty Abbott and Rihards Kuksiks, Arizona State is picking it apart. The Sun Devils have taken 18 3-pointers and made seven. They've taken nine shots inside the arc and made seven. They've taken five free throws, where there is no defense, and made all of them. It all adds up to 40 first-half points. Highest-scoring first half of the Pac-10 season for the Devils and second-highest (45 against Tulsa) of the year. The Cougars scored 41 in the first half in Pullman. … If they don't take care of the ball and don't start defending better, they will be the team that no one wanted to be, the one that lost to ASU, snapping the Devils' long conference losing streak (11 right now). … Though WSU is still shooting 44 percent from the floor – it was over 50 percent much of the half – Reggie Moore (10 points) and Klay Thompson (4) are 5 of 15 combined. Meanwhile DeAngelo Casto, who had 25 in Pullman, has four points and four turnovers, though he does have five of WSU's 14 rebounds. … Trent Lockett is one guy WSU hasn't been able to control, driving, running, attacking for five shots, hitting four and scoring nine points. … With Faisal Aden in Pullman, Will DiIorio played 8 minutes, had two rebounds, picked up a charge and had two tips that didn't go. … That's it for now.
It's about an hour before tipoff in ASU's Wells Fargo Arena, so it's time to fill you in on the pregame news. And today there is some, so read on.
I'm sitting in the bowels of the Tacoma Dome with my head spinning. I've been pressed into emergency service at the State wrestling tournament, which under the best of circumstances could be described as Romper Room on steroids - too much craziness going on.
I have no idea what's going on yet - I haven't even read the newspaper yet - and I'm sleep deprieved.
Anyway, I don't know what I'll be able to post or tweet as I get up to speed. Also, women's basketball and hockey are going to be delayed or, sadly, completely neglected. No time to link, but I've dropped in the story from the Chiefs big road win at Kelowna last night.
I'll do my best to keep up and keep you informed.
A typical game day in that we have a golf bag full of stories for you to read. An untypical game day in that the weather is warm enough to actually use that golf bag. Read on.
The Coeur d'Alene and Lewiston girls basketball teams will meet for a second straight year in the Idaho 5A state final.
Read about Coeur d'Alene's semifinal win here. Timberlake of Spirit Lake will play in the 3A state final.
It started with the Lewis and Clark girls knocking off top-seeded Gonzaga Prep 56-51 in the District 8 4A championship game. It ended with the Gonzaga Prep boys snapped the Ferris Saxoxns' 19-game winning streak 58-50.
Here's the girls story. Click the tab below to read the boys story.
A quick post with a link to the short story I put together today in advance of Washington State's game with Arizona State in the morning. It looks at the spot WSU holds in the Pac-10 basketball standings and how important it is to avoid the Wednesday night games at the Pac-10 tournament. We'll be back in the morning with our usual post.
Here's my short preview of the GU-USF game that will run in Saturday's S-R.
Spokane continues to tinker with its roster, adding defensive lineman Louis Holmes one day before the opening of training camp.
Holmes played in the UFL the last two years and he also has experience in NFL preseason games. More here.
Good morning. Back with more from Gonzaga's win over Santa Clara last night, which sets up a big game with San Francisco on Saturday.
Here's a USF-Portland game story.
Onward for my day-after Santa Clara post.
Click the tab to read about the North Central girls basketball team capturing its first - yes its first - state berth, and a few other things including a story about the Coeur d'Alene girls rallying from a 41-29 deficit to win their state opener.
The area Division I teams broke even on Thursday. The big, but not not surprising news is that No. 25 Gonzaga clinched a tie for its seventh-straight WCC title. The most important news is Eastern Washington finished strong to inch closer to a Big Sky tournament berth. Washington State and Idaho lost, but both those teams are going to be in league tournaments. Read on.
Got settled into our Phoenix-area hotel around 1 a.m. and to sleep about an hour later. Of course, when the sun made an appearance before 7, it triggered some sort of masochistic response and we were awake. Not wide-awake, mind you, but enough where sleep was a dream. So here we are. I guarantee a few things can be found on the link. Stories covering last night's Pac-10 games, including Washington State's 79-70 loss to Arizona. Comments from the participants. And some sleep-deprived or induced tpos. Read on.
I'll be back in the morning with a day-after post.
We have to drive the nearly two hours to Phoenix before we get to sleep, so we're going to be quick with this post-game post. Though there is some to add tonight following Washington State's tough defeat to 12th-ranked Arizona, so read on.
Junior guard Marquise Carter scored 13 of his career-high 20 points in the second half and David Stockton provided a couple of momentum-turning plays as Gonzaga defeated Santa Clara 85-76 on Thursday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
The victory keeps Gonzaga (18-9, 8-3 WCC) in a second-place tie with San Francisco, which defeated Portland 82-73 at the Chiles Center. The Dons visit GU on Saturday.
Kevin Foster made 5 of 5 3s en route to 18 first-half points, but he cooled off in the second half. He finished 8 of 22 from the field and scored 27 points. Santa Clara dropped to 16-12, 6-5.
Carter also had five assists. Elias Harris, after a scoreless first half, contributed 10 points and fix of his seven rebounds in the final 20 minutes. Steven Gray added 14 points.
More in about two hours.
Just a quick note. The eight-point deficit Washington State faces at halftime could be worse. The Wildcats have missed a handful of point-blank attempts, though every time Williams has – sans once – he's gone to the line, though all were good calls. DeAngelo Casto had a solid first half, with his eight points keeping WSU close early. Klay Thompson missed four his first five shots but rallied, making four of his last six, including two 3-pointers. But he's struggling to take care of the ball with four turnovers. … Nobody is in any foul trouble, though Abe Lodwick has two. … Best dunk of the night, Arizona version, goes to Jamal Horne on a fast break. Best dunk of the night, WSU version, goes to Marcus Capers, also on a break. … We'll be back a couple hours after this one is over with our story.
Back with my article on the Shock's outdoor football game, set for Albi Stadium on Saturday, July 9. Here's a link.
Let's talk upset. And why it would be even more of an upset if Washington State can find a way to win here tonight. For that and more, read on.
The Spokane Shock play in the Arena Football League, but they've decided to take their sport outside for one game.
The Shock will entertain the Utah Blaze in the Joe Albi Stadium Outdoor Classic on July 9th. The game will follow all the rules of the arena game, but will be played outside on the artificial turf at Albi. Ticket prices range from $10 for upper level general admission to $75 for a sideline pass.
Eastern Washington's men's basketball team surrendered an 18-point first-half lead in Flagstaff, Ariz., Wednesday night in losing to Big Sky Conference rival Northern Arizona 83-74.
You can read the game story that ran in Thursday morning's S-R here; you can see what EWU's sports information department posted about the game here, and you can take a look at what NAU's sports info folks had to say about the game here.
Idaho media over the years have done a coop when it comes to state tournaments. We put together capsules glances of our area teams and share them with media statewide.
Click the tab below to see glances of all the teams.
Click the tab below to see all of Wednesday's prep-related stories.
Saint Mary's had a chance to clinch at least a share of the WCC title with a win over last-place San Diego. Instead, the Toreros snagged just their second conference win and sixth overall with a huge upset of the Gaels. Mt. Spokane and CCS product Matt Dorr had 15 points for San Diego.
In 40 minutes, Saint Mary's seemingly went from a probable lock for the NCAAs to a team that has some work to do. The Gaels entertain Utah State in a BracketBusters game Saturday and remain home to face Gonzaga and Portland next week.
The Spokane Chiefs crushed Everett Wednesday night with a dominating performance, highlighted by Levko Koper's second hat trick of the season. Suprisingly, linemate Tyler Johnson only picked up one assist to drop to second to fall to second in the Western Hockey League scoring race. Jared Cowen was an amazing plus-6 in the 7-2 romp. The Chiefs have three more road games, keep an ear to the radio for the return of goalie James Reid, who was dressed as the backup, but it's obvious that Mac Engel is coming around as a solid backup with his 11 straight starts.
For a great review of former Chief Jared Spurgeon, a rookie with the Minnesota Wild, read on.
Tampa Bay's Tim Marcum, the winningest coach in AFL history, stepped down this morning, three days before the beginning of training camp.
Last month, it was reported that Marcum had pornographic and racist emails on his work computer, after he was deposed in a lawsuit involving the team's former owner, Robert Nucci.
Marcum guided the Storm to the ArenaBowl championship last season, falling to the Spokane Shock at the Arena. Spokane entertains the Storm on May 20th.
As you might expect with just a couple of weeks left in the regular season, there are some big women's basketball games this weekend. Read on.
Of all the tasks awaiting a visiting Pac-10 basketball team, none may be greater than trying to win in McKale on a Thursday night. Unless it's trying to win at Hec Ed on a Sunday. But the former is what faces Washington State today so that's what we're concerned with in this post. Read on.
I deliberately waited to post my article that will run on Thursday's Four Corners page in the S-R. The topic was the importance of earning a No. 1 or No. 2 seed as it relates to WCC Tournament success.
Gonzaga entered the night with an outside shot at keeping its streak of 10 consecutive WCC regular-season titles going, but San Diego, tied with LMU for last in the conference, stunned Saint Mary's and Gaels' standout Rob Jones appeared to suffer a rib-cage injury..
Now, Gonzaga can earn at least a co-WCC title by winning its last four conference games. The Bulldogs have two important games this week when fourth-place Santa Clara and San Francisco, tied with GU for second, visit the MAC.
When San Diego pulled off its upset, I did a quick re-write and here's a link to the article that will run tomorrow.
By the way, I visited briefly with Robert Sacre prior to Tuesday's practice and he said he's feeling much better after battling illness last weekend. He took it easy on Sunday and Monday and judging by the effort he expended in the first 30 minutes of Tuesday's practice, he appears to be feeling much better. Steven Gray, who was under the weather on last week's road trip, also practiced hard during the first half hour of Tuesday's drills.
“I've got my energy back,” Sacre said.
Tennessee coach Pat Summitt gives an encouraging update on the status of Angie Bjorklund, who has missed five games with a foot injury the school said was a sprain but speculation said was a stress fracture. She is not expected to play Thursday night against South Carolina but maybe Monday against Georgia.
“I’m excited Angie Bjorklund is hopefully going to be back next week. That makes a difference – in terms of the best three-point shooter and she has a really great voice on this team. I know she is excited and we just hope that she is going to get back.
From snow to sun. Though the latter won't last long, as the U.S. Weather Service has issued a special weather statement for the Valley of the soon-to-be-hiding sun. Looks like rain for the weekend. Oh well. A high of 67 still looks pretty good when it hasn't been over 45 in a while. Read on.
The Idaho men's basketball team plays just once this week — at reeling Montana State in a BracketBuster game. But it's the WAC race for the top four seeds that's most intriguing, and we've got thoughts on that below as well as a summary of Don Verlin's press conference.
It's funny. A big part of this job is working hard to get information first. Then you get scooped on a story when you are part of it. Weird. More on that and DeAngelo Casto's status for Thursday, so read on.
Spokane Shock receiver Wes Lyons has signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Shock open training camp on Saturday.
Lyons is an intriguing prospect at 6-feet-8, 240 pounds. He had 42 career catches at West Virginia.
Last week Idaho coach Robb Akey hinted he had a target in mind to replace departing offensive line coach Dan Finn, and it turned out to be well-traveled offensive coach John McDonell. The Spokane native coached at Washington State from 1989-2000 (part of that time with Akey) before moving to Stanford, Notre Dame, Purdue and most recently Memphis and Bowling Green.
The latest in the on-going women's basketball series on the careers from the area Class of 2007, Jenna Galloway of Ferris and Northern Arizona (NAU photo above in action against Montana). That and plenty of news and notes in our weekly notebook.
The Spokane Chiefs have upgraded goalie James Reid’s status to day-to-day and returned backup goalie Adam Iwan to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
Reid, Spokane’s all-time leader in wins with 79, has missed the last 10 games after being injured Jan. 23 in Portland. Mac Engel has taken over as starter.
Iwan appeared in one game, allowing six goals on 15 shots in a 10-5 loss to Portland last week.
The Chiefs are in Everett tonight, the second of five straight on the road.
Despite the snow covering most of Pullman, Division I college baseball opens this weekend. Washington State, coming off back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances for the first time since the Reagan presidency, heads to central California to face Cal State Bakersfield. Use that as background when you read on.
One day of practice then it's on to Arizona for the Washington State Cougars. The longest road trip of the Pac-10 year starts Thursday night in Tucson. We'll be there. But before we leave tomorrow, a lot to get done, starting with this morning's post. Read on.
You can check out the Mat Classic XXIII brackets by clicking this link.
A smattering of women's basketball news today, starting with Gonzaga's return to the Top 25 and Bulldog star Courtney Vandersloot taking another step among the nation's elite, making the midseason Naismith cut (as did Tennessee senior Angie Bjorklund from U-Hi) and winning the local SWABS honor for female athletes.
For the rest, read on.
I got on the Tri-City Herald website (sportstricities.com) to see how the Columbia Basin Big Nine 4A and 3A district tournaments are progressing.
Click the tab below for more information.
Eastern Washington's 2010 NCAA Division I football champions dominated this year's SWABs awards voting.
Click the tab below to see the final Greater Spokane League boys and girls scoring leaders. Pictured above in a 2010 photo is Mead's Garrett Swanson, who finished atop the boys leaders. He came back in early January after suffering a displaced knee cap. In the picture against Ferris, Swanson is surrounded by Chris Wilson (left), Riley Stockton (right) and Jordan Tonani (background). All three Saxons finished ranked among the leaders as well along with teammates Taylor Kamitomo and Chase Haack.
In the girls, Gonzaga Prep record-setter Tia Presley finished first, just four points ahead of Lewis and Clark's Devyn Galland.
COUGARS • UPDATED: 1:20 P.M.
As usual on a Monday morning, there are only a few items to discuss, including the fall from grace of Arizona State and the rise of its archrival. For more on that on other things, read on.
Greetings from Portland, roughly two-thirds of the way home. I put together my day-after post on the first leg of the trip and you can find it below.
Elsewhere, here's a recap of Saint Mary's convincing victory over San Francisco, and more here and here. The Gaels are closing in on their first WCC regular-season title since 1997 after winning at Santa Clara on Thursday and at USF on Saturday.
Updated: with Blanchette's Vandersloot column
The afternoon belonged to Courtney Vandersloot and Gonzaga, the night belong to the rest of the area D-I teams as Idaho, Eastern Washington and Washington State came up with road wins. Each was significant, the Vandals sweeping Boise State for the first time in 14 seasons, the Eagles ending a five-game losing streak, the Cougs getting six league wins for the first time in 10 seasons with their first sweep of Cal in 13 seasons, the last time they won more than two league games on the road.
First, the lone local game: We approached Courtney Vandersloot's historic moment (that's not her 1,000th assist above) and the Gonzaga women's game differently, with columnist John Blanchette writing the story. Jesse Tinsley's complete slideshow. Here's the story from Gonzaga assistant sports information director Liz Smith. If you want to see Courtney Vandersloot's milestone 1,000th career assists, it's here. And there are more of her assists here.
There is a lot more news, and it's not all Vandersloot, though we have the 1,000-assist club. Read on.
As if we didn't know this already, but Spokane native and Spokane Chiefs star Tyler Johnson is Best of the West.
Johnson was voted Top Defenive Forward, Best Over-Age Player, Best Skater and Best Faceoff man in the Best of the West 2011 poll compiled by the Tri-City Herald and released Sunday morning.
A total of 43 representatives from the 12 Western Hockey League teams in the Western Conference voted in a variety of categories but could not vote for anyone in their own organization.
Besides Johnson, who is having a MVP season, a reason the Chiefs are in the chase with for the top seed in the fast-approaching playoffs are because captain Jared Cowen was voted Best Stay-at-Home Defenseman and Don Nachbuar Best Coach.
A number of Chiefs were high up in other categories, including goalie James Reid and defenseman Brenden Kichton, plus Johnson and Cowen, along with general manager Tim Speltz.
Driving from Pullman to Spokane late last night, the wind was blowing so hard out of the south, my car seemed to be flying. I swear I must have gotten about 45 miles to the gallon in the old Honda. But the fact the gas gauge seemed to be going up the farther I traveled was an optical illusion, I'm sure. Just like Jorge Gutierrez's last shot Saturday night. It didn't get below the rim before it popped out, did it? Couldn't have. For more on the Cougars' 75-71 victory, and the rest of the night in the Pac-10, read on.
Click the tab below to see the Idaho state high school girls basketball tournament pairings. The tournaments begin Thursday.
After giving up an easy early goal, the Chiefs took command with a pair of power play goals and then Tyler Johnson finished with off with a pair of late goals as Spokane dumped Tri-City 7-2 before a sold-out crowd of 10,475 at the Arena Saturday night.
Three stars, 3, Johnson, 2, goalie Mac Engel, 1, Koper.
With its top two scorers battling illness, Gonzaga had a number of players contribute in a 63-44 win over Pepperdine. Elias Harris had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Sam Dower added 13 points and eight rebounds.
Read on for my game story and check back tomorrow for a day-after post.
Two games against Boise State, two possible wins Idaho hasn't been able to secure. Nineteen turnovers and a bundle of missed free throws doomed the Vandals in a 69-63 loss at BSU's sold-out Taco Bell Arena.
Keep reading for more.
Kyle Bullinger and Scott Bamforth each scored 17 points and three other Weber State players finished in double figures as the Wildcats turned back Big Sky Conference rival Eastern Washington 80-68 at Reese Court on Saturday night.
Glen Dean finished with a game-high 24 points and six assists for Eastern (8-16, 5-7), which also got 14 points from Tremayne Johnson.
Dean fell to the floor late in the game clutching his right ankle, but was able to limp to the bench.
Here is the story.
Elias Harris scored 15 points and Sam Dower added 13 as Gonzaga beat Pepperdine 63-44 on Saturday at Firestone Fieldhouse.
The Bulldogs held Pepperdine to just 27.4 percent shooting. No Waves reached double figures.
GU improved to 17-9, 7-3 in the WCC. Pepperdine dropped to 11-17, 5-6.
More in about two hours.
With a relatively early game today, we can actually write a postgame post that will serve, in part, a role usually reserved for the morning after. Of course, we'll back with the links tomorrow, but tonight we have some thoughts and comments from the participants, so read on.
Weber State scored the final eight points of the first half at Reese Court Saturday night and led Big Sky Conference rival Eastern Washington 36-31 at intermission.
Eastern, after falling behind 17-8 midway through the opening period, scored 11 unanswered points to take an short-lived 18-17 lead and was up 31-28 before the Wildcats came up with their big first-half finish.
EWU's Glen Dean leads all scorers with 14 points, having made three of six 3-pointers and five of six free throws. No other Eagle has more than seven points.
Byron Fulton, whose two 3-pointer fueled Weber's late first-half run, finished the period with a team-high 10 points.
Both teams are on the floor at Firestone Fieldhouse for pre-game warmpus with tipoff coming up at the top of the hour.
Gonzaga's Steven Gray had an IV on Friday after battling sickness during Thursday's win over LMU (which was crushed by Portland earlier today). Gray had company as center Rob Sacre began feeling ill late Thursday or early Friday. Both went through warmups and looked to be OK.
Head to Twitter.com/SRjimm for in-game updates.
Check back here later tonight for a game story.
I'm not going to bore you with a long halftime post because everyone on the court today seems to be having on off day, from both teams to the three officials. There have been, combined between the teams, five air balls, 39 missed shots, 19 turnovers and only 8 assists. You could say both teams are playing tenacious defense but when the teams have combined to hit just 4 of 10 free throws, that sort of tells the story. Lets just see what happens in the final 20 minutes.
Gonzaga senior Courtney Vandersloot took the suspense out early in her march to 1,000 career assists but the Bulldogs had a much tougher time with Pepperdine Saturday afternoon.
Vandersloot notched her third assist of the day and 1,00th of her career just 3:32 into the game to become the seventh NCAA D-I player with a grand, the fourth woman, on an inbounds play to Kayla Standish. But after opening a 16-6 lead the Zags went ice cold and it was a battle the rest of the way.
In the end, the Zags pulled it out, using a 13-0 run to erase a nine-point deficit in the second half and then slowing inching away to win their 12th straight game, 25th straight in the West Coast Conference 73-59.
There was addition concern as Vandersloot went down with 45 seconds left and was very slow to get up. Also, in the first half Claire Rapp went out with a left ankle injury, spending the second half on crutches.
Kayla Standish had a monster game with 24 points and 19 rebounds, one shy of the school record and Vandersloot had 17 points and nine assists and Katelan Redmon had 17 points.
We're approaching this game a little differently, columnist John Blanchette is writing about Vandersloot's milestone. I'll post the link to his story and the photos when they're available.
After its biggest win in memory, Idaho could very well be in for a letdown tonight. Then again, the Vandals are playing on the road against their fiercest rival, Boise State — after letting a seven-point halftime lead slip away last time they faced the Broncos.
Read on for a preview of the key WAC game, set for 8 p.m. on ESPNU.
When a player of Allen Crabbe's caliber (15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 79.6 percent free-throw shooter) is injured and unable to play, it changes things for both teams. That's the thrust of our pregame post, so read on.
Click the tab below to link to our Friday prep stories including the Coeur d'Alene girls basketball team earning chance to win a fourth straight state championship.
Gonzaga takes on Pepperdine tonight and the Waves have quietly put together a solid conference season.
Pepperdine, 3-11 in the WCC last season, are 5-5 after knocking off Portland on Thursday. The Waves are just a half-game behind fourth-place Santa Clara (5-4) as teams continue jockeying for favorable seeding in the WCC Tournament.
As mentioned in an S-R article earlier this week, Pepperdine will be without guard Keion Bell (pictured above with GU's Manny Arop and Kelly Olynyk), who has been suspended for the rest of the season, but the Waves have won two straight without their leading scorer. More on GU-Pepperdine here.
Big game tonight at War Memorial Gym as San Francisco (13-11, 7-2) entertains Saint Mary's (21-4, 9-1), but if there was a word online about the matchup I couldn't find it in the Bay Area papers.
I've been sitting in front of the computer for more than a few minutes trying to decide what to write about on this darn lead-in. Can't think of anything, let alone anything clever. I'm giving up. Read on for more Washington State notes and links.
Eastern Washington's men's basketball team returns to Reese Court tomorrow night to play its first game since breaking an 18-game road losing streak with a 69-67 win at Idaho State last Saturday.
But the well-rested Eagles might be catching Weber State at just the wrong time.
A Washington State redshirt freshman cornerback was arrested on felony theft charges earlier this week and suspended from the football team. For more, read on.
Click the tab below to see a schedule for the District 8 3A and District 8 4A boys and girls basketball tournaments. Riley Stockton of Ferris is pictured above in action against University.
ALSO, feel free to post your thoughts on which teams could fare well at district.
Sorry for the late start for the women's basketball roundup … trying to make final connections with the some of the Class of 2007, our on-going look at that remarkable class of local players as most near the end of their college careers.
Thursday night didn't go so well, as Washington State ran into No. 3 Stanford and Idaho was too sloppy with the ball against Utah State. Gonzaga, however, keeps chugging along in the WCC (this time it was Shannon Reader, 31, off the bench with a career high). Some area players fared well, keep reading.
If Washington State had completed a comeback last night in Beasley Coliseum, there was a play by Marcus Capers we might have been talking about for years to come. As it turned out, it was an outstanding effort play that got lost in the jetsam of a bad loss to Stanford. We have more on Capers' spectacular block along with links and such, so read on.
Good morning from Los Angeles. It was hardly pretty last night, but Gonzaga held on for a 67-57 win over Loyola Marymount.
Here's my game story link and you can read my day-after LMU post below.
Back with my game story from Gonzaga's 67-57 win over LMU on Thursday. The unedited version is below.
Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.
The hope might not be dead, but Washington State sure made it lot harder on itself the last week to make the NCAA tournament. There are possible scenarios, sure, but all of them include playing with a lot more fire than the Cougars showed in the first half tonight. As Marcus Capers said afterward, you can't win in the Pac-10, heck you can't win anywhere in college, playing with the effort the Cougars displayed early Thursday night. For more, read on.
So what do you write about a half in which Washington State shoots 50 percent from the floor, leads in rebounding and still trails by 17? That the WSU defense has not been porous, it hasn't been poor, it's just been awful. The zone assignments were ignored in the first four minutes and Stanford has carved up the man since. The Cardinal, the Pac-10's second worst shooting group at 42 percent, have hit 18 of 29 shots, including 8 of 9 from beyond the arc. The lone miss out there was by Anthony Brown, who hit his other two attempts. Jeremy Green hit his three and has 11 points. … Thompson, who had Green down the stretch on defense, has nine poits but has taken just six shots while guarded by Jarrett Mann. DeAngelo Casto has gotten four shots and made them all. He did, however, miss both his free throws as WSU 3 of 10. That's better than the Cougars' 3-point percentage which is 16.7 or 1 for 6. … We'll be back 90 minutes or so after the end of the game. Until then …
Gonzaga was a little slow getting untracked offensively but the defense never wavered in a 82-42 win over Loyola Marymount.
As usual, Courtney Vandersloot led the way with her 12th double-double, 21 points and 12 assists. She is three shy of 1,000 helpers for her career. Kayla Standish added 20 points and Shannon Reader had a career-high 10 off the bench.
Ranahy Young had 15 for LMU, which shot 32 percent to 52 for the Zags. LMU also had 20 turnovers and was poundedo n the boards 46-29.
Loyola Marymount standout junior forward Drew Viney will not play in tonight's game against Gonzaga. Viney, who missed Saturday's game with Saint Mary's with a migraine headache, has been undergoing tests (blood work, etc.) this week and hasn't yet been cleared to play. He's in street clothes as LMU goes through pre-game warmups.
Head coach Max Good hopes Viney will receive medical clearance Friday.
It's a big loss for the Lions. Viney averages 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds this season. He was first-team All-WCC last year when he averaged 16.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. He scored 18 points against Gonzaga in the Zags' 79-59 win last month in Spokane. He had 15, 20 and 16 against Gonzaga in three games last season.
Without Viney, guard Vernon Teel, one of LMU's top players, returns to the starting lineup. He's been coming off the bench, but he started against the Gaels when VIney wasn't able to play.
For in-game updates, head to Twitter.com/srjimm.
Check back here later for my game story.
An hour before game time here in Beasley and we have a few thoughts. Mainly about dinner (little doughnuts sound really good, but unavailable here), but some about the game. So read on.
It hasn't been much of a secret another football staff change was coming at Washington State. Well, the change will be announced today, with former Lewis and Clark High and WSU player Malik Roberson out as the defensive line coach. The replacement might be a surprise to some, but not really to anyone who knew what WSU was looking for. Read on.
Click the tab below to link to our prep stories.
Before I get to the women's basketball preview for the weekend, kudos to Eastern Washington senior guard Kyla Evans. Despite missing too many games with a bad back that has hampered her throughout her career, she returned Tuesday night to set the Eagles' career record for 3-pointers. However, the struggling Big Sky Conference champions lost badly at Seattle.
Read on for more, including an injury update for the most heralded member of the local Class of 2007 we've been following this year.
UPDATED: A link that dicusses the professional potential of Angie Bjorklund.
It's game day on the Palouse. Whether that's a Saturday in the fall or a Thursday in the winter, it's different. Anticipation does something to our systems, doesn't it? Tonight Washington State's opponent is Stanford, Saturday it's California. We have some information on both, so read on.
Don Verlin could scarcely have picked a better time to get his first win over his mentor and former employer. The Vandals frustrated Utah State from the start and were poised at the finish of a 64-56 win over the 21st-ranked team in the nation.
Read on for our updated game story from Moscow, where only 1,512 were on hand to witness the big win.
A disaster of epic proportions for the Spokane Chiefs, starting with a dubious record of allowing five goals in 1:59. With those five goals league-leading
The only silver lining was Tyler Johnson getting a pair of goals early in the second period, giving him a league-leading 41 and tying him for the lead in the scoring race with 88 points. But shortly after that Ty Rattie turned another turnover into a breakaway goal.
Three stars: 3, Craig Cunningham. 2, Ryan Johansen. 1, Brad Ross.
Long box below and six-picture slide show here.
Less than 10 minutes before the Idaho men face their biggest test of the season against No. 21 Utah State at Cowan Spectrum (so far there's a very small crowd on hand). You can follow along throughout the game on Twitter @SR_JoshWright. It will be on ESPN2.
Also, here's an update on UI's search for a new offensive line coach after Dan Finn left San Diego State. Robb Akey said he'll interview at least three candidates — perhaps four — and hopes to announce his choice by Monday. Akey said he didn't want the process to drag out as long as last year when tight ends coach Al Pupunu was hired after Jonathan Smith left for Montana. It seems clear he has a top choice for the job.
Read on below for some more info on Gonzaga's road trip, stats and a notebook item that will run on the S-R's Four Corners page tomorrow.
A busy Tuesday night for preps. Click the tab below to read more.
Wednesday mornings are usually pretty interesting during basketball season. Coaches talk on Tuesdays (you can read and see what Washington State coach Ken Bone had to say here), so there is always a discussion or two to hash over in Wednesday's papers. Today is no different. Actually it is. Today's stories are even more interesting than usual, so read on.
Good evening. I talked to Loyola Marymount coach Max Good this morning, then went to GU's media day this afternoon. I put together a notebook, mainly from my conversation with the always candid Lions coach, that will run in Wednesday's S-R. There's also an item on Pepperdine's Keion Bell, who has been suspended for the rest of the season.
Good has suffered through two injury plagued seasons and his biggest concern at present is junior forward Drew Viney, who missed Saturday's loss to Saint Mary's with a migraine. Good was in good spirits, near the end of the interview offering, “I'm really looking forward to seeing (Gonzaga coach) Mark (Few), I really like Mark. I'm not looking forward to seeing Sacre and Harris and Gray. If you talk to him, would you mention that I would rather not see his studs.”
GU visits LMU on Thursday and Pepperdine on Saturday.
Here's a link to my article. Elsewhere, Gonzaga made a ESPN.com's Pat Forde's list of college basketball underachievers (along with a number of GU's non-conference opponents) and Saint Mary's Mickey McConnell is one of 10 finalists for the Cousy Award.
We were able to get the thoughts of Utah State coach Stew Morrill and Idaho coach Don Verlin in advance of tomorrow night's showdown between the two schools at Cowan Spectrum (8 p.m., ESPN2). Read on for more and also check out my story on Deremy Geiger — UI's point guard who started his career at USU.
More impressive than 250 wins is the philosophy of Whitworth coach Helen Higgs. She is the subject of this week's women's basketball notebook.
Please take note of the Pink Zone games, wear pink to the designated game of your team and help raise awareness of breast cancer and raise money for the fight.
Ken Bone didn't have a lot of questions to answer on his media call this morning, but he had some interesting things to say, so read on.
Todd Milles of the Tacoma News Tribune wrote a story about parking issues at the Tacoma Dome. Thought state-bound wrestling and boys and girls basketball teams, along with the throngs of friends and family, should give it a read here.
With all of football now in the side-view mirror, we can get back to basketball, as it was intended in February. Though pitchers and catchers do report soon, if that still excites anyone besides me, and college baseball practice is underway – and games start soon. But on this sub-32-degree day, we'll focus on basketball, so read on.
Darren Kramer, 22, is one of the most popular Spokane Chiefs. He is also their protector. There's also another side to the Western Hockey League leader in fights and penalty minutes.
The team has a big week with U.S. Division and Western Conference leading Portland coming in Wednesday and rival Tri-City, just a point behind the second-place Chiefs, here Saturday. On Friday the Chiefs are at Everett and beginning Sunday play five games in eight days on the road.
Last weekend they lost in Tri-City 5-2, with Tyler Johnson's point streak ending, before rebounding to win 5-1 at Seattle, with Johnson getting three points to sit one-point back in the league scoring race.
A dirty dozen, that's how many years since the Washington State women's basketball team had five conference wins in a season. But after a home sweep of the Oregon schools the Cougars are 5-6.
As a result, freshman Sage Romberg earned the Pac-10 Player of the Week honor. It's almost exactly a year since the last Cougar was recognized. (Also, LeftCoastHoops throws some love the Cougars' way.)
It's only the 12th POW award ever for a Cougar, or about how many Stanford, this Thursda's opponent, wins every year. Speaking of dominating awards, Courtney Vandersloot of Gonzaga is the WCC Player of the Month for January. It's her second monthly honor this seasona and sixth of her career to go with 11 weekly honors. And Katie Loper (Post Falls) gets her sixth weekly newcomer award for Hofstra.
Here are the updated Greater Spokane League scoring leaders. Gonzaga Prep's Tia Presley is 11 points away from the all-time GSL scoring record set by Angie Bjorklund of University (1,314).
With everyone focused on the Super Bowl yesterday, and I can think fondly of one life-long Packer fan (and that means almost 60 years) who I sincerely hope had a great day yesterday, there is little to pass along concerning Washington State in particular and the Pac-10 in general. But there is some. Actually, some fun Cougar news, so read on.
Totally remiss in my women's basketball duties … enjoying a lovely day downtown on Saturday, especially the walk through the park but the basketball game at the Arena was less satisfying. Today, don't ask but it involved a lot of honey-do's if the Super Bowl gets on the calendar. But first, a Top 25 and roundup of what happened around here. Read on.
Back with my day-after post following Gonzaga's 62-58 loss to Memphis on Saturday. Lots more on the game below.
As mentioned in last night's post, ex-Zag Matt Bouldin tells his side of the story after testing positive for a banned substance.
COUGARS • UPDATED: 9:55 A.M.
No sleeping in this morning. We're on our way to Portland to catch the flight back to Spokane, but before we go, we have some Washington State links you may want to check out. Read on.
Idaho won six games in a row at one point, then lost four in a row. And now, after tonight's 75-61 beatdown of Hawaii, maybe it will start another streak. Then again, it does have No. 22 Utah State in Moscow on Wednesday.
Read on for our game story of the win over UH, setting up an intriguing matchup with first-place USU.
It may not have been the prettiest game of the season, but it was exactly what Ken Bone wanted. It was a victory. And those, on the road, have been hard to come by for Washington State since Pac-10 play started. Though, at times, it didn't seem like a road game. For more on that and other things, including our game story, read on.
Sorry for the delay, but for the first time this season I went home to write instead of staying at the arena (or the Kennel). Anyway, here's a link to my game story and the S-R photo gallery from GU's 62-58 loss to Memphis, which would appear to leave the Zags' with one avenue to make the NCAA Tournament — win the WCC Tournament.
John Blanchette and I had a chance to visit with ex-Zag Matt Bouldin, who was suspended from his pro team in Greece after testing positive for a banned substance. Bouldin, who attended Saturday's game, spoke about the ordeal at length and you can read his side of the story in tomorrow's S-R. I'll post a link in the morning with my day-after post.
Eastern Washington's Glen Dean scored six of his team-high 17 points in the final 2 1/2 minutes, and assisted on two other buckets, Saturday night as the Eagles snapped an 18-game road losing streak by tripping Big Sky Conference rival Idaho State 69-67 at Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho.
Tremayne Johnson finished 15 points for Eastern (8-15 overall, 5-6 in the BSC), which greatly enhanced its chances of earning one of the six berths in the league tournament. You can get an early look at the game story the will appear in Sunday's S-R here.
It was 11-10 Oregon State with 13 minutes, 40 seconds to play in the first half. But when Abe Lodwick nailed a 3-pointer from the corner 7:35 later, it was 28-12 Washington State. An 18-1 run would usually be a reason to celebrate for the team with the 18, but the roots of the run were rotten. In the time frame, WSU was whistled for five fouls, laying the groundwork for a 12-1 Oregon State run to end the half. Not only that, but the Beavers missed three front ends during the WSU streak, accounting for almost a third of their 10 empty possessions. … Two Cougars who were having a big impact on the first half, Lodwick (six points off the bench) and Marcus Capers (three rebounds and a handful of exceptional block outs), missed the end of the half thanks to three fouls. Klay Thompson missed some time as well with two, as did Brock Motum. … That did open the door for Patrick Simon, who chipped in four points, and Will DiIrio, the walk-on who flew in for an uncredited offensive rebound that Simon finished along with a defensive rebound. … Reggie Moore had a decent offensive half despite hitting just 1 of 6 shots. He had an assist and four free throws. … The Cougars shot 39.3 for the half, though they missed their last seven shots. They were over 50 percent with 5:11 remaining and led 31-15. Oregon State shot 40 percent, hitting 6 of its last 9. … We'll be back a couple hours after the game with our story. Until then …
Is there a little less consternation out there now that Oregon has also handled Washington today? Or does that create more worries in that Oregon State defeated the Huskies here Thursday night? More thoughts on that, and the extra “g” I had this morning on the link, so read on.
Gonzaga rallied from a 13-point deficit in the second half, but Memphis scored 9 of the game's last 11 points and won 62-58 at the Spokane Arena.
Antonio Barton's two free throws with 1.9 seconds clinched the Tigers' win. He also hit an elbow jumper that gave Memphis a 62-60 lead with 35.2 seconds left. Elias Harris missed a mid-range jumper and Robert Sacre had the ball poked away in the closing seconds as Gonzaga, down two, tried for the tying or potential game-winning basket.
Steven Gray led GU with 12 points. Kelly Olynyk added 10.
Barton topped Memphis with 17 points.
More in about two hours.
Gonzaga and Memphis issued a joint press release at half of Saturday's game stating that the remaining two games in the series have been called off. GU was scheduled to return to Memphis next year with the Tigers visiting Spokane the following season.
With the addition of BYU to the WCC next season, GU will have two more marquee games, one of the reasons the Zags don't feel the need to continue a non-conference series with Memphis.
Marquise Carter will make his third start of the season, stepping in for Mathin Monninghoff, for the GU-Memphis game. Other GU starters: Goodson, Gray, Harris and Sacre. Tip in a couple minutes.
Head to twitter.com/srjimm for in-game updates.
There's nothing better than sleeping late on a Saturday morning. Yes, 7:30 a.m. is the new 11. At least it is for me. Read on for our morning report.
Portland got a couple of licks in … such as Natalie Day's uncalled whack to Janelle Bekkering's nose in the Dan Pelle photo above (check out all the photos) - but not near enough to slow down the Gonzaga women's basketball team.
Courtney Vandersloot got her 11th double-double with 25 points and 14 assists, Katelan Redmon had 22 points and Kayla Standish had her fourth double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds as Gonzaga won its 24th-straight West Coast Conference game by rolling Portland 87-67 Friday night.
A crowd of 4,917, fourth largest ever for the women at McCarthey (behind the Tennessee and Stanford sellouts and senior night against Portland the year the building open) saw the Zags run their winning streak to 10, 24 in WCC games.
We're back this evening with a few thoughts about Matt Court, a quick look at some of the doings around the Pac-10 and a link to our story for tomorrow. Enough for a Friday night? If it isn't, you have my pity. Read on.
Pop quiz: Who is Gonzaga's fourth leading scorer after the Big Three of Gray, Sacre and Harris? I was surprised. Answer below.
Here's a link to my GU-Memphis preview that will run in Saturday's S-R. A couple of relevant links: Few mentions that Memphis had the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. More here. Also, Bleacherreport.com earlier this week listed GU No. 4 and Memphis No. 6 in its top eight disappointments in college basketball this season.
It was a split decision for area women's basketball teams Thursday night, but only half were in action. But there was other news as well as a local player returns to action pretty quickly after surgery. Read on.
Good morning from Portland. We'll get right to it, since my flight leaves in a few minutes!
Onward with the day-after post from GU's 67-64 victory over the Pilots. More below and check back later for a preview of Memphis.
What more can be said after a 69-43 debacle on the road? Well, one website just decided to ignore Washington State's loss last night at Oregon. We don't have that option, so read on.
Several reports indicate Dan Finn, Idaho's offensive line coach, is set to take the same position on Rocky Long's staff at San Diego State. The move was first reported by footballscoop.com. It was also included in this San Diego Union Tribune article. Finn served as Idaho's O-line coach in each of Robb Akey's first four years. Finn played at Northern Arizona while Akey was defensive coordinator and current UI offensive coordinator Steve Axman was head coach.
Finn is the second key offensive assistant to depart Moscow in the last two years. Quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith left after the 2009 season for Montana. Akey has previously said he has no problem with assistants leaving if they get promotions or head coaching positions, but Finn is making a lateral move, albeit to a bigger school in a more prestigious conference.
Back with the game story from Gonzaga's 67-64 victory over Portland at the Chiles Center on Thursday.
Here's a link, and check back tomorrow for a day-after post.
Here's a link to my recap of GU's victory tonight.
Expanded game story in about an hour.
From the 4-minute mark to inside the final minute of regulation, it looked Idaho had a key win locked up. But San Jose State mustered a few huge shots, the Vandals turned the ball over and the officials made a key call on a video review to set up overtime. SJSU then prevailed 92-89.
Read on for our game story.
You might want to write off Thursday's 69-43 loss at Oregon as just one of those nights. One of those nights when the shots didn't fall. One of those nights when the ball bounced Oregon's way. One of those flukey nights. Read on for why it wasn't.
Good evening from the rapidly filling Chiles Center. The student section is packed and an overflow of perhaps 200 students are seated in adjacent section. Tonight's game is a sell-out (the arena holds 4,852). The Pilots' biggest crowd prior to GU's visit was 3,833 for last Saturday's win over Saint Mary's. As always, a sizable group of Zag fans here.
Here's the unofficial word on starters (guessing a few of you are wondering about that): Gonzaga — Gray, Harris, Sacre, Monninghoff and Goodson. Portland — Sikma, Knutson, Stohl, Mitrovic and Douglas.
Reminder: In-game updates at Twitter.com/srjimm.
Check back here for a quick recap at the buzzer and a full game story roughly an hour later.
So much for being Syracuse West. Washington State opened in its 2-3 zone and in the first 5 minutes Oregon hit the offensive glass and, when it missed, grabbed the offensive rebound. Before you knew it, the Ducks had built a 17-8 lead. But WSU battled back and cut it to 17-12 when Klay Thompson stole a pass aimed at Garrett Sim and went coast-to-coast for a two-hand slam. About 12 minutes were left until half and WSU was 5 of 14 from the field. Not great but not terrible. Terrible is 6 of 28 (21.4 percent). That's what WSU was at the half, its worst half of the season. Though the Cougars tightened up the defense and the boards – Oregon had one offensive rebound in the final 8 minutes – but the 10:26 stretch without a field goal (from Thompson's dunk to a Faisal Aden 3-pointer broken up by just seven free throws) just killed them. Oregon built a 27-12 lead and never allowed the Cougars closer than nine before half. Thompson and Aden are each 2 of 8 from the floor, with Aden 2 of 6 from 3 and Thompson 1-4. But they had help. DeAngelo Casto is 0 for 4, Patrick Simon 0 for 2 and Reggie Moore and Brock Motum both 1 of 3. For Oregon, Cougar-killer A.J. Singler is 3 of 3 for six points while J.R. Strowbridge has eight. We’ll be back a couple hours after the game is over.
We've got our pregame basketball post but, being the week it is, there is also a small piece of football news. We'll cover that as well, so read on.
Coeur d'Alene standout runner Kinsey Gomez (pictured above) signed a letter of intent with Oregon State University on Thursday. Read about her here.
A number of important games this weekend for the area D-I women's basketball teams. It started off well with Idaho winning big at home against San Jose State before heading off to Hawaii on Saturday in the first of three road games. Yinka Olorunnife set a WCC record in the win.
Eastern Washington is home against Big Sky-leading Northern Colorado tonight and Idaho State on Saturday, a pair of teams that edged the visiting Eagles. A pair of wins would solidify EWU, which spent most of January on the road, for the Big Sky Tournament.
Washington State is home against the Oregon schools, Oregon State tonight and Oregon on Saturday. The inconsistent Cougars have shown some flashes lately and it's important they get the second half of the Pac-10 season off to a good start at home against a team below them and the Ducks, just a game ahead.
Click the tab below to see today's menu of prep items.
Twenty minutes into my morning routine of reading stories from up and down the West Coast I began to realize today I was overwhelmed. Snowed under on a clear day by the blizzard of stories on recruiting. There are so many more inches devoted to players who have yet to play a minute of college football than to current college basketball players, it hit me I should be doing two posts this morning. One on tonight's games, one on the signing game. But instead of being intelligent and switching gears, I soldiered on, and here is the result. Read on.
UPDATED: 10:50 p.m.
Robb Akey walked into the media room at the Kibbie Dome on Wednesday and greeted reporters by blurting out a “Merry Christmas” and a few yelps. Akey was clearly thrilled with his 22-player recruiting class. You can read about it here in our story and capsules of each player.
Read on for more quotes and a conversation with the high school coach of cornerback commit Dion Bass.
Back with a look at tomorrow's GU-Portland game and some of the changes the teams have made since Gonzaga's win last month. Here's the link to the article that will run in Thursday's S-R.
Now that most of them are seniors, I've been tracking down the area's Class of 2007 in women's basketball, particularly focusing on the Division I signees. The latest is Gonzaga Prep's Tara Cronin, the subject to Wednesday's notebook now a senior at Portland (despite the oops headline in the paper today).
For one who slipped through the cracks, Jessica Miller of Freeman (above in Corban College photo) … keep reading.
Former Shock receiver Huey Whittaker is heading home.
Whittaker has signed a marketing contract ($1,000 per game, compared to the standard $400) with Tampa Bay, near his Florida home. Whittaker spent time in the UFL after helping Spokane win the 2010 ArenaBowl title.
OK, we've heard from Paul Wulff – and I'm not about to try to summarize his 40-minute conference call; I'm not that masochistic … or sadistic – and I've chatted with a few assistant coaches. With that, we've put together a story and we have a few more notes. Read on.
Below, you'll find a short preview of the Gonzaga-Portland matchup, some stats and a notebook item on Keegan Hyland leaving Vermont's program that will run on tomorrow's Four Corners Page.
More later on GU-Portland.
Beau Baldwin, the third-year head coach of Eastern Washington University's NCAA Division I national champion football team, announced the signing of 20 high school recruits to letters of intent on Wednesday.
You can get an early look at the Eagles' recruiting story that will run in Thursday morning's S-R here, and you get additional details — including short bios on all signees — supplied by EWU's sports information department by clicking here.
The University of Idaho announced a class of 22 players who have signed letters of intent (now including the three who signed in January, Dominique Blackman, A.J. Annelus and Ryan Edwards, all of whom have been officially announced). This also includes Dion Bass, a 5-foot-9 corner from California and brother of transfer running back Ryan Bass. Dion had reportedly been considering Nebraska but stuck with his choice to come to Moscow.
Read on for a full list and breakdown of the class.
Gonzaga coach Mark Few has been tinkering with his lineup and rotation most of the year and nothing much has changed, according to John Blanchette's column.
Back later with more on Gonzaga-Portland.
Gonzaga Prep running back Bishop Sankey, originally a Washington State commit, has signed his letter of intent to play football at Washington. Comments here from running backs coach Joel Thomas, the former Vandal standout. Here is the Seattle TImes update on UW signings.
What do you know. The first high school players who committed to Washington State, sans the very first one, all get their letters of intents in early. Read on throughout the morning as we update the list.
It's hard to believe that the first day of the football letter of intent signing period, Signing Day if you will, has snuck up on us. Some things just seem to slip through the cracks. Wish it would get a little more coverage so we wouldn't be surprised like this. For more on this, and basketball, read on.
On the eve of signing day, we've got a look at the University of Idaho's recruiting efforts in what will be Robb Akey's fifth class. Much is unknown at this point — Akey will hold a press conference at noon tomorrow — but one late verbal commit we know about is Ian Silbernagel, a QB/safety from McKay High in Oregon.
Eastern Washington will make its 2011 football recruiting class official on Wednesday, the first day prospects can sign letters of intent.
Among those expected to sign with the reigning national championsh is Idaho's Gatorade and 4A player of the year Cody McCarthy who — according to this story in the Idaho Statesman — announced his intentions to become an Eagle on his Facebook page.
The latest from the outstanding Spokane Class of 2007 in women's basketball, Portland senior Tara Cronin (G-Prep), the subject of our notebook this week. (University of Portland photo)
Also, Tennessee's Angie Bjorklund (U-Hi) - the headline in the Class of '07 - is a finalist for the Lowe's Senior Class Award. There are 10 finalists, somehow Courtney Vandersloot of Gonzaga isn't one of them. The winner is determined by fan voting and you can vote once a day. To see the final 10 and vote, check here.
There's more. Read on.
For most of the offseason, ex-Milwaukee Iron receiver Nate Forse appeared to be Spokane-bound. The holdup was that Forse needed to take a physical.
Forse passed his physical recently, but his destination changed when Arizona signed the talented receiver to a 'Marketing Contract' ($1,000 per game). Forse would have made $400 per game with the Shock.
Elsewhere, San Jose released ex-WSU quarterback Kevin Lopina and signed former Cal QB Nate Longshore.
The Shock will open training camp in less than three weeks.
Coach Ken Bone usually spends his late Tuesday mornings talking with the local media and the Pac-10 basketball writers. Today was no different. Read on.
These are the area football players that I'm aware of that are signing Wednesday.
Bishop Sankey, running back, Gonzaga Prep, University of Washington
Charlie Hopkins, defensive end, Gonzaga Prep, Stanford
Kellen Clute, tight end, Mt. Spokane, Oregon State
Joe Dahl, offensive lineman, University, Montana
Jordan Tonani, wide receiver/defensive back, Ferris, Eastern Washington
Dillon Beschel, offensive lineman, Ferris, Air Force Academy
Jacob Birchmier, linebacker/tight end, Lake City, Carroll College
Cody Sorensen, defensive back, Ferris, Idaho State University
If others plan to sign Wednesday, shoot me an e-mail.
I put together a notebook from Monday's media day with topics ranging from David Stockton and Mike Hart (pictured above) being put on a scholarship for the rest of the year to Sam Dower's improvement to the WCC race at the halfway point.
GU now has 12 players on scholarship (13 is the NCAA limit).
One note that didn't make the notes. Rob Sacre, who spends quite a bit of time visiting relatives in Louisiana in the offseason, was asked to predict a Super Bowl winner.
“I hate both teams so I don't really care,” Sacre said. “I just know that the Saints are going to the Super Bowl the next five years so it doesn't really matter.”
—Saint Mary's senior Mickey McConnell and Portland freshman Tim Douglas shared player of the week honors. McConnell scored 27 points and hit the game-winner against Gonzaga. Douglas, in his first two career starts, scored 40 points in Pilots' wins over San Diego and Saint Mary's.
It is the first of February. The shortest month of the year. And the month that will decide the Pac-10 basketball race, along with the future of thousands of high school football players. For more on both, read on.