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Archive for January 2011

Vandals get Montana St. in BracketBuster

ESPN's BracketBuster matchups were announced earlier today, and Idaho drew Montana State — a Big Sky school it hasn't played since 2006. The Vandals and Bobcats will meet on Feb. 19 in Bozeman. The Vandals look to be evenly matched — at least in terms of records — with MSU. Both are 5-4 in league play, while UI is 12-9 overall and MSU is 11-10.

Redmon latest Zag Player of the Week

Gonzaga junior Katelan Redmon is the West Coast Conference  Player of the Week, the seventh time this season and third week in a row a Bulldog has been honored.  The Lewis and Clark graduate had 44 points and 13 rebounds as the Zags reached the midpoint of the WCC with a perfect 7-0 record, running their league winning streak to 23 games. She won the award the first week of the season. GU is 19-4 overall and can reach 20 wins for the for the fifth-straight season against Portland on Friday at McCarthey AThletic Center.

And the latest in ESPN.com bracketology, who does Charlie Creme predict is Spokane bound? Keep reading.

GSL scoring leaders

Here are the updated Greater Spokane League boys and girls basketball scoring leaders.

Click the tab below.

Tigers’ Witherspoon out

Memphis apparently will be without Wesley Witherspoon for Saturday's game against Gonzaga in the Arena. Witherspoon, who averages 11.5 points (second on the team) and 4.9 rebounds (tied for first), is recovering from a knee injury.

—The rankings are out, and Saint Mary's is out of the coaches' Top 25, following their loss to Portland on Saturday. GU visits the Pilots on Thursday.

Chiefs have chance for rest, practice

Good Monday morning Chiefs fans … recovered from that wild 5-4 loss to Tri-City Saturday night? (Above, in a Dan Pelle photo, Drew Owsley stops Anthony Bardaro's shot.)Those nail-biting, last second games are killer on deadline, especially Saturdays when deadlines are a little earlier. But we got the Chiefs, but missed the Americans, although  the Tri-City Herald took a call from the coach for a story and my ol' compadre Rene Ferran has this from the Americans. As an added bonus, columnist John Blanchette took a look at what makes the Chiefs tick. The Chiefs finally get some rest and practice time. They don't play until Friday at Tri-City with a Saturday game in Seattle.  Then the schedule gets ugly again for the stretch run.

WSU’s win over UW, the day after

COUGARS

It seems as if it should be Sunday morning. But it's a Monday, and a pretty cold one at that. Not that many of those in Beasley last night probably care much. I'm thinking there will be a few empty classes on campus this morning, after WSU's nationally televised 87-80 win over Washington last night. For more, read on.

WSU gets past UW, 87-80

COUGARS

It's been about two hours since Washington State's student section rushed the floor following the Cougars' 87-80 victory over 18th-ranked Washington on Sunday night. Our story is done, a rough draft of which we have on the link, and we're ready to head out. Read on.

WSU leads 45-43 at the half

COUGARS

Though Washington State leads by two, there are danger signs for the Cougars. DeAngelo Casto, who has 11 points and seven rebounds, picked up his third foul with .3 seconds left on Isaiah Thomas double-clutch shot. The Huskies are also dominating the glass, 24-15, with nine of those offensive, leading to 10 points. … But there are areas of concern for UW as well. Venoy Overton, greeted with boos every time he touches the ball, has three fouls as does Aziz N'Diaye, UW's 7-footer in the middle. Plus, WSU has 10 assists on its 17 baskets, so, for the most part, the Cougars are sharing the ball. Remember, they are 10-1 this year when they get assists on at least half their baskets. … Klay Thompson, who was 4 of 29 in the two games vs. UW last year, is 5 of 10 in this one, though just 1 of 3 from beyond the arc. Faisal Aden had chipped in 10 points, but a few of his nine shots have been ill advised, leading to time on the bench. … Though Thomas has yet to hit a shot from the field, he's influenced the game greatly, and not just by getting the foul on Casto. He also has had little problem at times getting to the middle of the WSU zone and kicking out, leading to three assists, though it seems like more. … We'll be back here a couple hours after the end of the game. Until then …

WSU counts down to UW

COUGARS

This morning we examined one aspect of tonight's contest that has the potential to be game-deciding. Now, with a bit more than an hour before tip, we examine another. Read on for more.

Day after San Diego

Good Sunday morning. Back with my day-after post following Gonzaga's easy win over San Diego last night.

Press row was pretty well packed Thursday vs. Saint Mary's. There were multiple seats open Saturday for the Toreros, who probably won't win a WCC game if they continue to play the way they did at the new Kennel.

Not much in the way of links: Here's my game story, which was posted last night, S-R photos by Dan Pelle (before he zipped over to hockey at the Arena), and a recap by A.P.

Read on.

WSU tries to end first half on positive note

COUGARS

The first half of the Pac-10 basketball season is done, except for the two teams that play tonight in Pullman. Checking the standings, we can see there are four teams with winning records this morning. Will 4-4 Washington State be the fifth? We'll find out in about 12 more hours. For more, read on.

Americans shock Chiefs with late goal

Mason Wilgosh was sitting on the doorstep for a tip-in with 37 seconds left to give the Tri-City Americans a wild 5-4 win over the Spokane Chiefs before a sell-out crowd of 10,474 fans at the Arena Saturday night.

It's the first of five straight weekend games for these rivals who are hot on the heels of Portland in the tight U.S. Division of the Western Hockey League. The Americans moved to within three points of second-place Spokane and have played 3 fewer games.

 Stars 3 Wilgosh, 2 Hughesman, 1 Kuhn. Long box below. Here is the story.

Idaho loses third straight

The Idaho men hung right with surging New Mexico State much of Saturday night — and even led in the first half — but 24 turnovers doomed the Vandals in a 73-65 loss. UI has lost three straight while NMSU has won five of its last seven. 

Read on for more.

Dower, Zags pound Toreros

Back with my game story from GU's 86-53 win over San Diego on Saturday. Here's a link and check back Sunday morning for my day-after post.

Eags turn back Bengals

Glen Dean finished with a game-high 17 points and four other Eastern Washington players scored in double figures Saturday night at Reese Court as the Eagles picked up a crucial 83-70 men's basketball win over visiting Big Sky Conference rival Idaho State.

Jeffrey Forbes has 15 points for the Eagles, who shot lights out in the second half  to keep their hopes of qualifying for the BSC Tournament very much alive.

Here is the game story.

Bengals have Eags down 33-30 at halftime

Idaho State's 7-foot senior center Deividas Busma scored 13 first-half points and pulled down five rebounds at Reese Court on Saturday night, helping the visiting Bengals carve out a 33-30 halftime lead agains Big Sky Conference rival Eastern Washington. 

EWU got eight first-half points from Glen Dean and six each from Laron Griffin and Cliff Ederaine, but made only four of 12 shots from 3-point range. ISU made 11 of 12 free throws, while Eastern converted on both of its attempts from the foul line.

Good wins for Gonzaga, Idaho women

I'll see if I can catch you up with women's basketball before the hockey game starts.

Gonzaga didn't hit overdrive but the Bulldogs pulled away at San Diego to finish a perfect first half of the WCC season. Courtney Vandersloot gets her 10th double-double and Katelan Redmon had 20 points as five scored in double figures. … Idaho ties a WAC record, Rachel Kloke reaches 1,000 career points and a freshman with a career high. … Eastern Washington rally falls short at Idaho State. … Sunday on FSN catch Washington State at Washington.

Read on for other news and notes.

Zags crush Toreros

Redshirt freshman forward Sam Dower scored a career-high 27 points as Gonzaga thumped San Diego 86-53 on Saturday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

The victory ended a three-game losing streak for Gonzaga (14-8, 4-3). Elsewhere, Portland defeated Saint Mary's, so the Gaels (18-4, 6-1) are two games up on GU midway through the conference season. USF (4-1 WCC) faces Pepperdine at 7. Santa Clara (4-2) is leading LMU by 10 with about four minutes left.

Dower was 6 of 6 and had 12 points as Gonzaga took a 40-24 halftime lead. The Toreros (4-18, 0-7) trailed 50-33 early in the second half when Gonzaga rattled off 11 unanswered points.Steven Gray hit a pair of 3s and Dower added three free throws in the run.

Gray finished with 12 points. Marquise Carter added 10 points and four assists, Elias Harris nine points and nine rebounds and David Stockton, who started the second half in place of Demetri Goodson, chipped in nine points and four assists.

Complete game story in about two hours.

GU-USD tip coming up

About 10 minutes before tipoff between Gonzaga and San Diego. Join me at twitter.com/SRjimm for in-game updates.

Starting lineups: GU — Sacre, Goodson, Harris, Monninghoff, Gray. USD: Norris, Ginty, Dorrr, Rancifer and Gabriel.

Check back here later for the game story.

A Saturday without WSU hoops

COUGARS

This is one of two Saturdays during basketball season in which there is no Washington State men's basketball game. But that doesn't mean there isn't news. Read on.

Whitworth stays well rested, unbeaten

Whitworth's unbeaten and No. 2-ranked men's basketball team rolled over Linfield 70-43 at Whitworth Fieldhouse Friday night, using the balanced scoring of David Riley, Mike Taylor and Wade Gebber, and a strong defensive effort K.C. Wiser, the Northwest Conference's leading scorer, to keep its record unblemished.

You can read more here.

 

Chiefs stand tough to beat Chilliwack

It wouldn't qualify as a good hockey game but the Spokane Chiefs didn't back down from the physical and chippy play Chilliwack Bruins, who were in their face all night.

But after battling even in a 2-2 first period with goals from Steve Kuhn and Brenden Kichton and holding steady to take a 4-3 lead after two on goals by Darren Kramer and Matt Marantz, the Chiefs took control in the third period for a 5-3 win, the last goal coming on on Tyler Johnson's career-high and league-leading 37th that tied him for the scoring lead in the Western Hockey League with 82 points.

Mac Engel made 20 saves for his second win in a row.

3 stars: 3, Marantz, 2, Krame 1, Kuhn.  long box below

Whitworth up big at halftime

Senior guard Michael Taylor scored 16 first-half points and Whitworth's suffocating man-to-man defensive pressure held Linfield to 23.1 percent shooting (6-for-26) as the No. 2-ranked Pirates rolled to a 35-16 halftime lead over their Northwest Conference rivals at Whitworth Fieldhouse on Friday night.

David Riley had 11 points for the Bucs, who built their big lead at intermission despite shooting an uncharateristically low 37.5 percent (6-for-16) from 3-point range.

Nobody on Linfield's roster had more than four points in the first half.

 

Zags turn focus to San Diego

Gonzaga will try to end its three-game losing streak when San Diego visits Saturday at 5 p.m.

Here's a link to my game preview that will run in Saturday's S-R.

Eags 2011 football schedule announced

Eastern Washington University announced its 2011 football schedule on Friday and it's … well, it's awful.

The reward for winning a national championship?  Seven road games and only four chances — all against Big Sky foes — to play on the red turf at Roos Field. But, hey, the students will be on campus for all four!

 You can read more what Eagles coach Beau Baldwin thinks about the road-heavy schedule here, and you can check out what EWU's sports information department posted about the schedule here.

If you can see the logic in this, please let us in on the secret.

Regents tell WSU’s Moos to move forward on Martin

COUGARS

The Washington State University Board of Regents didn't give athletic director Bill Moos the greenlight to break ground on a Martin Stadium expansion Friday, but he did get their approval to spend around $5 million to get the work designed and an estimate put together. Read on for more.

EWU planning LOI luncheon on Wednesday

I've got a call in to Eastern coach Beau Baldwin, hoping to get some general comments on recruiting and how it was impacted by the Eagles' drive to the NCAA Division I football championship.

I'll post something as soon as I can on that front, but until then, you can get details on the special letter-of-intent signing day gathering Baldwin has planned on Wednesday here, and you can read about a North Mason prep standout who has committed to play for the Eagles next fall here.

Thursday prep roundup

Click the tab below to see our prep stories from Thursday.

Eagles bounce back from Sac State loss

Eastern Washington, in dire need of a Big Sky Conference basketball win following last Saturday's disappointing road loss to Sacramento State, got one Thursday night at Reese Court, using Tremayne Johnson's 20-point scoring outburst to thump Portland State 65-51.

I've included links to related stories below, but I also feel the need to commend PSU coach Tyler Geving for not turning the game into a foul fest in the final five minutes.  Geving, with his Vikings trailing 59-42 with 5:02 left on the clock, could have started hacking away in desperation and sending the Eagles to the foul line, but opted to let the game play out, which made it much more enjoyable to watch than a free-throw contest. 

Zags pass century mark again

Another game, another win, another record, another PR, that seems the way it goes for the Gonzaga women's basketball team. Read on.

Day after Saint Mary’s

Good morning. I watched a replay of the first half when I got home (bedtime, 2!), got up for a phone interview with KJR in Seattle and then watched the second half. Entertaining game full of big plays, drama and questionable calls both ways that ended with Mickey McConnell draining a tough, leaning 15-footer to win it (pictured above in photo by S-R's Dan Pelle).

Can't say I'm a big fan of those 8 p.m. starts (that almost always become 8:10-8:15). I typically file a 6-8 inch game story for first edition right after the game, then make a mad dash to get a couple of interviews and a quick rewrite for final.

Here are the links: S-R gamer, John Blanchette column, S-R photos, A.P. gamer and Contra Costa Times gamer.   

Much more below in my day-after post.

WSU waits for UW as Pac-10 sorts out

COUGARS

Basketball regained its proper place in the sports universe last night, though it took a showdown in Tucson and a 25-years-in-the-making upset at Stanford to get it done. Read on.

Stretch run brings memories for Chiefs

Patrick King of Toronoto City News checks in with the Spokane Chiefs, pointing out the last players for the 2008 Memorial Cup team, are nearing the end of their junior hockey careers. Meanwhile, as Annie Fowler of The Tri-City Herald points out, things are heating up in  the U.S. Division of the Western Conference in the Western Hockey League. The Spokane Chiefs entertain Chilliwack tonight and Tri-City on Saturday. Here's a tidbit for you … the Chiefs and Americans play every weekend for five straight weeks, every two weeks in Spokane, next Friday and then two weeks later on a Saturday in Kennewick.

Update: Spokane Chiefs forward Tyler Johnson is on the WHL radio show.

Gaels add to GU’s misery

Back with my game story from Saint Mary's 73-71 victory over Gonzaga on Thursday. It was just Gonzaga's second WCC home loss in the new Kennel, which opened in 2004.

Here's the game story link.

Check back in the a.m. for a day-after post.

Vandals stumble at LTU

The Idaho men's basketball team dropped its second straight game Thursday night, losing at Louisiana Tech 71-56. The Vandals shot just 38 percent from the field and 42 percent (6 of 13) from the free throw line against a team they clobbered by 30 at Moscow on New Year's Eve.

Read on for more.

Johnson scores 20 as Eags thump PSU 65-51

Tremayne Johnson scored a game-high 20 points and three of his teammates finished in double firgures Thursday night as Eastern Washington rolled to a 65-51 Big Sky Conference men's basketball win over Portland State at Reese Court Thursday night.

Kevin Winford finished with 12 points for the Eagles, while Leron Griffin and Glen Dean each added 10.

 

Here is the story.

It’s tough watching games on TV

COUGARS

With a Thursday night not spent in Beasley or one of the other Pac-10 facilities, thought I would spend two hours watching a conference game like a fan. My one conclusion? I don't know how you folks do it. Read on for some basketball thoughts, a quick summary of what Ken Bone had to say at his weekly press conference and a couple other Washington State items.

Tip in about 10 minutes

Settled in on Press Row for Gonzaga-Saint Mary's; tip in about 10 minutes.

Starting lineups: Gonzaga — Goodson, Harris, Sacre, Gray and Monninghoff. Saint Mary's — McConnell, Dellavedova, Jones, Steindl, Williams.

For in-game updates, head to Twitter.com/SRjimm.

Check back here for a short recap at the buzzer.

Eags trailing by 4 at halftime

Eastern Washington shot just 28.6 percent (8-28) in the first half and made just 2 of 12 basket tries from 3-point range at Reese Court Thursdya night and found itself trailing Big Sky rival Portland State 26-22 at intermission.

Tremayne Johnson had 10 first-half points and four rebounds for the Eagles.  PSU, playing without two injured starters, got 6 first-half points from Phillip Thomas and Charles Odum.

Baker has surgery, Bjorklund questionable

Before we get to the women's basketball advances for this weekend's game, tough news out of Missoula where sophomore Katie Baker (Lake City) had an emergency appendectomy and could miss the rest of the season.

Also, senior Angie Bjorklund (U-Hi) is likely to miss Tennessee's game tonight with a foot problem. “It's time for (teammates) to tell Angie 'Don't worry about it. We've got your back,' ” Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt said.

Read on for the roundup.

UPDATE: 2 p.m. (links fixed),  For more on Gonzaga's game with Saint Mary's, LeftCoastHoops checks in with Gaels' coach.

Eags shoot for win over PSU

Eastern Washington's men's basketball team returns to Reese Court tonight to take on Portland State in a B ig Sky Conference showdown that tips off at 7:05.

The Eagles are coming off a disappointing 57-55 loss at Sac State in which their three starting guards and top three scorers went 0-for-17 from the field and finished with a combined eight points. You can read more on what Coach Kirk Earlywine said his team's dismal outside shooting against the Hornets here, and you can take a look at EWU's weekly press release here

There are additional links to related stories below, along with some more comments from Earlywine on the importance to this week's Big Sky homes games against PSU (tonight) and Idaho State (Saturday).

 

Football season in full swing?

COUGARS

As the rest of the Pac-10 plays tonight, Washington State and Washington take the night off. In fact, by the time the two play, the first half of conference play will be done for everyone else. But that doesn't mean there isn't a lot to read on this Thursday morning. After all, it is football season, isn't it? It sure seems that way. There are actually more football-related stories on the link then there are basketball ones. And we are less than a week from February, the coldest month of the year and one of the best in the college basketball season. Read on.

Chiefs give Engel win and shutout

The Spokane Chiefs got goals from Matt Marantz and Jared Cowen less than a minute apart early in the second period and Mac Engle made that stand up for his first Western Hockey League win. Levko Koper added an empty net goal to complete the 3-0 win over Everett. Tyler Johnson, who assisted Koper, ran his point streak to 15 games.

Stars, 3, Cowen, 2, Engle, 1, Marantz. Long box below, here is the story.

In photo above, Chiefs Steven Kuhn and Brady Brassart (right) battle Everett defenders Rasmus Rissanen (8) and Ryan Murray (27) along with goalie Kent Simpson.

Gonzaga big man making big strides

Now in his junior season, Gonzaga center Robert Sacre has emerged as an important scoring option and a team leader. I put together a feature article on Sacre, who has been GU's most consistent player this season, that will run in tomorrow's S-R.

Here's a link.

Below, find a quick look at GU's opponents this week and a pronunciation guide for the Zags' two Mathis's.

WSU’s Thompson talks future, UW

COUGARS

Klay Thompson was still en route to Seattle when he held a conference call this afternoon as a lead up to Sunday's showdown with the Huskies in Pullman. Read on for what he had to say.

Tuesday prep roundup

Sorry I neglected posting earlier today. Here's a link to the story about Gonzaga Prep's girls basketball team bouncing back after losing to Mead last week. Imagine the Ferris boys actually having to rally for a GSL win.

Here's our area girls roundup and area boys roundup. And here's John Blanchette's column about Rogers preparing for a spirit game without a spirit opponent.

Pictured above is Shadle Park's Kaycee Hert battling for a rebound with Gonzaga Prep's Megan Steilen and Madison Wright.

Spokane’s Sankey changes his mind

COUGARS

One week to the beginning of the football signing period and all heck is breaking loose. Or maybe not. Who really knows? Read on for more.

Engel to start in goal for Chiefs

With James Reid out with a sprained ankle, Mac Engel gets the start in net tonight for the Spokane Chiefs.

Taleni makes a point with Vandals

An early look at our women's basketball notebook that will run in Wednesday's newspaper - the comeback of Idaho guard Derisa Taleni. The Vandal senior missed last season with a knee injury, was asked to switch positions after being the WAC Newcomer of the Year and had a baby. Plus some new and old notes that might not make print.

MWC Board of Directors: No expansion

Karl Benson and the Western Athletic Conference have dodged a bullet — at least for now. After two days of meetings, the Mountain West Conference Board of Directors issued a statement declaring the conference would not expand. This comes after reports that Utah State and perhaps San Jose State were set to jump from the WAC to MWC. “The Board feels strongly the membership configuration already established going forward creates outstanding prospects for future success,” the MWC statement read.

Already the MWC has lured Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada from the WAC. Last week Idaho athletic director Rob Spear said the Vandals are pursuing, among other options, a possible spot in the MWC.

WSU’s Bone on the week ahead

COUGARS

Ken Bone was in the airport (Pullman I guess, but it might have been Spokane) and was delaying his embarkation until after his weekly scheduled-for-8-minutes-but-went-more-than-11-minutes appearance on the Pac-10 conference call. He excused himself to get on the plane, but before he did, he answered a lot of questions. Read on for his thoughts.

A quiet Tuesday at WSU

COUGARS

A quiet start to the week in Pullman, though it will start getting louder tomorrow. Washington State's Klay Thompson is up for Seattle male sports star of the year, an award that will be announced tomorrow night at the Seattle Sports Commission's annual banquet. And there's Sunday game with Washington to get prepared for. So it will heat up. But it's not all that warm today, so read on.

GU notes: Harris, Bouldin

Media day today at GU and I put together a notebook that will run in Tuesday's S-R and gathered some info for Thursday's Four Corners page. Here's a link to the notebook.

The first note is on Elias Harris (pictured above), whose stats this season are down in comparison to his freshman season.

I also asked coach Mark Few about Matt Bouldin's suspension. Bouldin, who is playing for a professional team in Greece, apparently tested positive for a banned substance but I haven't seen it identified anywhere from a reputable source. I've heard that Bouldin could be facing a two-year ban, but nothing on an official basis.

And finally, Matt Santangelo, Casey Calvary and David Pendergraft were back in uniform today for a couple of hours.

Gonzaga women lead nation in scoring

Update:  Tennessee guard Angie Bjorklund (U-Hi) has a sprained right foot and may sit out the Vols' game against Mississippi State on Thursday. Apparently the injury happened over time and was not the result of a specific injury. She played 25 minutes on Sunday as No. 5 Tennessee defeated Auburn. Coach Pat Summitt said she may rest Bjorklund, who is second on the team at 11.3 points a game and the career leader in 3-pointers 2ith 283, until Sunday's game at Arkansas.

Update: For the second week in a row, the third time this season and 11th time in her career, Gonzaga star Courtney Vandersloot is the West Coast Conference Player of the Week. After scoring 36 points with 18 assists and seven steals in just 52 minutes in a pair of lopsided home wins, Vandersloot shares the honor with Portland guard ReZina TecleMariam. TecleMariam, whose twin sister Ariam was a walk-on guard at Gonzaga, had 35 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and 10 steals in 65 minutes as the Pilots edged the same two teams.

Yesterday I looked at the increased attendance for Gonzaga's women's basketball team.

Now I know why they're second in the West Coast Conference behind the GU men. The Gonzaga women now lead the nation in scoring. The Zags average 85 points a game, with Oral Roberts second at 83.2.

But I found something even more cool when surfing the stats, FG% and not just because the Zags are 4th nationall at .489.

Check this out: 1, UConn. 2, Notre Dame. 3, Stanford. 4, Gonzaga. 5, Baylor.

What's cool about that, even more-so than just being mentioned in the same company, is the Zags have played Stanford this season and last, the Irish last month and Baylor last season. And rumor is you could see the Bulldogs show up on the Huskies schedule in the near future.

In this week's AP Top 25, Baylor is No. 1, UConn is No. 2, Stanford is No. 4 and Notre Dame is No. 9.

So, what else did I find? Keep reading.

GSL scoring leaders

Click the tab below to see the updated Greater Spokane League boys and girls basketball scoring leaders.

Battle of the Bone

As if the annual University/Central Valley “Battle of the Bone” wrestling match needed any more promotion or incentive, the tug of war Thursday at CV will decide the Greater Spokane League championship. Both teams are 8-0. The fun kicks off at 7.

So here's your chance, wrestling fans, to chat about this match. Which team will win?

Give us your thoughts.

GU vanishes from polls

Gonzaga wasn't ranked before its 0-2 road trip and now the Bulldogs are no longer in the others receiving votes category. GU was in the top 30 in both polls before losing at Santa Clara and San Francisco.

Saint Mary's, which visits Gonzaga on Thursday, dropped to No. 24 in ESPN/USA Today's Top 25. The Gaels dropped out of the A.P. rankings (now 30th). Here are the polls (unbeaten San Diego State is No. 4).

WHL recognizes Chiefs’ Johnson

Want a Tyler Johnson tripleheader and another mention of Spokane Chiefs' scoring leader? Go to the Western Hockey League website.

Despite two losses, including in Portland Sunday night, the Chiefs have the WHL Player of the Week, Tyler Johnson, who was the Player of the Month for December. His mug shot is on the WHL home page twice, once for each award.

Johnson had 10 points in four games last week, pulling him into a tie in the league scoring race, which earns him another mug shot. He has matched his career high with a league-leading 36 goals as part of his career high 79 points.

The WHL is also running a poll, asking who among the league leaders, is likely to lead the league in goals when all is said and done. Johnson is second in the voting behind Brendan Gallagher of Vancouver. Johnson has a 14-game point streak with 13 goals and 16 assists.

This day in history

I know this isn't our typical post here at SportsLink Central, but I found this fun little item in the Tri-City Herald this moring.

On this date in history, Jan. 23, 1974, Columbia Basin College wrestler Greg Williams, at 450 pounds, pinned North Idaho Junior College's 360-pound “strongboy,” Ray King of Stanfield, Ore., in “the battle of the behemouths” at the Pasco High School gym, but the Hawks still lost 31-9 in the dual meet.

Now that's some weight flopping around. I thought John Owen, the current West Valley coach, was coaching at NIC then. Turns out he wasn't. But he remembers Ray King.  I just got this e-mail reply from Owen:

“I was not their yet.  It (the match) even made the front cover of Amateur Wrestling News which I looked at
while a high school coach in Oregon.  It is believed to be the two largest opponents in amateur
wrestling history.  Ray went on to win a national title that year.”

Anyway, for what it's worth.

WSU bids adieu to weekend

COUGARS • UPDATED: 11:30 A.M.

Monday morning and it's time for a moment of silence. … You have to be of a certain generation, but losing Jack LaLanne yesterday at age 96 is a blow. Three black-and-white TV images stand out from childhood: Captain Kangaroo's mustache, Sheriff John's hat and Jack LaLanne's muscles. It's funny, when my dad would make fun of LaLanne's exercise routines, my sainted mother, who seemed to watch religiously without exercising much, never said a word. Curious. OK, back to Washington State. Read on.

GU women out-draw WCC men except for Zags

There was a lot of women's basketball news on Saturday, including wins by Gonzaga, Idaho and Eastern Washington and a good second half from Washington State, plus some outstanding games by local products. In particular, note the Montana State-Montana game and how rare a Bobcat win in Missoula was until last year. Last year's win in Missoula was a career highlight for Lewis and Clark graduate Lyndi Seidensticker and that was before she had a big game this year.

But as I wait for a couple of ACC upsets or comebacks so I can do my weekly Top 25, I wanted to touch on a subject a Gonzaga fan asked about a couple days ago. Read on.

Day after San Francisco

This became a two-airport post. The first portion was constructed in sunny Oakland. More typing on the plane and I finished it up at cloudy Sea-Tac.

First, the links: Game stories from The S-R, San Francisco Chronicle and ESPN.com (Diamond Leung was watching on TV at his residence nearby and decided to come to the gym when the game heated up in the second half).

Read on for my day-after San Francisco post.

WSU’s loss to Arizona, the next morning

COUGARS • UPDATED: 9:55 A.M.

Hope no one out there got up real early expecting our day-after post. When we got back to the apartment after the game, we got enthralled by and involved in the Francesca Schiavone/Svetlana Kuznetsova Australian Open tennis match (and yes, I had to Google both names so I could spell them correctly). The 4-hour, 44-minute match was so riveting I didn't fall asleep until around 1 a.m. Of course, it was before it was over. Even the second-most exciting sporting event I saw all weekend can't keep an old guy up past 1 in the morning. But we're up now and we have your morning report, so read on.

WSU falls to Arizona 65-63

COUGARS

We're done with our game story about WSU's tough 65-63 loss to Arizona at Beasley, but we have a couple of items we couldn't get in that I want to share tonight. So, if you want, read on.

Gonzaga, Idaho, EWU win big

Plenty happening in women's basketball this Saturday. With the four Division I teams playing at four different starting times, I'll update throughout the evening as time allows at tonight's hockey game, so keep checking back, I'll make it worth your while.

Update: 10:45, Idaho crushes Boise State; Eastern wins at Sac.

Chiefs home streak ends in 5-3 loss

For the first time since before Santa Claus made his rounds the Spokane Chiefs lost at home.

In fact, Halloween candy hadn't even been dished out the last time the Spokaen Chiefs lost at home in regulation.

It happened again on Saturday night when the Kelowna Rockets out-hustled the Spokane Chiefs for a 5-3 win at the Arena.

Brett Bulmer scored his second goal with 3:32 left, racing around the Chiefs to beat Mac Engle and the streaks were over, after an empty net goal with 40 seconds left.

While Engle remained winless despite facing just 15 shots, the suffered their first Arena loss since falling to Seattle  5-4 in overtime Dec. 15 and failed to pick up a home point for the first time since Red Deer won 4-2 on Oct. 23.

Three stars: 1, Bulmer, 2, Levko Koper, 3, Kelowna goalie Adam Brown. Long box below.

Vandals fall to Boise State

Idaho's six-game winning streak is over. And instead of focusing on La'Shard Anderson's splendid second half as the reason why, the attention will probably be on an apparent missed shot clock violation call with just over a minute left.

For more on that, check out our game story from Idaho's 70-67 loss to BSU below.

Game story from GU-USF

Back with my game story from GU's 96-91 loss to San Francisco — one of the wildest games I've ever covered. You can read it below.

I'll be back tomorrow with a day-after post.

Arizona leads 32-31 at half

COUGARS

Quick halftime post. When Washington State plays offense like it did early, it's tough. The ball was going through Casto inside and Arizona finally had to respect it – after he had eight points in 8 minutes. But he didn't get many touches after that and WSU started to become that bounce-it team that isn't all that tough to defend. The Cougars scored nine points in the final 8 minutes of the half. WSU, shooting 70 percent for the first 9 minutes, finished the half at 48 percent. Klay Thompson couldn't find the range, hitting an early 3 then getting a fastbreak basket and a fumbling layup near the buzzer for his seven points. … Meanwhile, Arizona stopped going through Derrick Williams on offense and it opened things up. By moving Williams to the short corner, it flattened out the bottom line of WSU's zone. Quick reversals and better looks outside. Plus, Williams was hard to box out from there and ended up with seven offensive rebounds. Almost half of those came on one possession in the final 3 minutes, when WSU had switched to man and Williams overpowered Casto at the rim but couldn't finish and was finally fouled. … Casto leads WSU with nine points and four blocks but doesn't have a board. Williams has 11 to go with his team-high nine points. … We'll be back about 10:45 with another post. Until then …

Vandals lead Boise State at half

Playing in front of the biggest crowd of the season — and maybe in Idaho history — the Vandals got off to an energetic start and lead Boise State 33-26 at halftime. Idaho unleashed a 13-0 flurry while Boise State went nearly eight minutes without a field goal. UI's Kyle Barone and Jeff Ledbetter have seven points and Deremy Geiger — after a three-point play near the end of the half — has six.

Idaho shot 50 percent in the first half, while the Broncos went 2 of 13 from 3-point range and shot just 30 percent.

You can follow in-game updates via Twitter @SR_JoshWright.

Dons down GU in overtime.

Cody Doolin's three-point play with 4.1 seconds gave USF a 96-91 victory over Gonzaga on Saturday night.

Doolin was fouled by Mathis Monninghoff while hitting a left-handed runner on the left side of the lane. He made the free throw to give USF a 94-91 lead. Steven Gray missed two free throws, the second intentionally, and Doolin sealed it with two free throws.

Gonzaga lost back-to-back WCC games for the first time since the 1999-2000 season when it fell to Pepperdine and San Diego.

Demetri Goodson and Gray each had 20 points. Elias Harris had 15 points and Robert Sacre 14 points and nine boards.

Gonzaga was stung by errant free-throw shooting near the end of regulation and in overtime. Manny Arop made just 1 of 4 late in regulation and he also missed a pair in overtime.

Doolin led USF with 23 points. All five USF starters scored in double figures. It was the second straight year San Francisco has defeated GU in overtime at War Memorial Gymnasium.

More in about two hours.

WSU about ready to face Wildcats

COUGARS

Got here early tonight not because it's a big game, though it is. Got here early tonight because, as I've written before, I love to watch a gym – in this case an arena – fill up for a big game. The pregame work. The ushers spreading out. The kids rushing in. The older fans slowing make their way to their seats. The building tension. Noise rising. All those things and more. For more on the game, a crucial game for the Cougars' Pac-10 title hopes, read on.

Zags, Dons battling for second place

This isn't what Gonzaga envisioned as it ventured out for its first road trip of the WCC season. But the Zags (13-6, 3-1 WCC), after losing 85-71 at Santa Clara on Thursday, now take on San Francisco (9-10, 3-1) with solo second place on the line. The Dons knocked off Portland on Thursday in their WCC home opener. USF has already won two WCC road games (Santa Clara and San Diego).

No. 22 Saint Mary's (17-3, 5-0) lost on the road to Vanderbilt today.The Gaels visit GU on Thursday.

USF made 17 of 27 shots in the second half in beating the Pilots. Guard Michael Williams led the way with 18 points, followed by guard  Cody Doolin's 14 (4 of 5 on 3s), beefy forward Perris Blackwell's 12 points and 10 boards, and guard Marko Petrovic's 10 points. USF won despite being outboarded 41-25, mainly because it shot extremely well (57.1 percent on FGs and 45.5 percent on 3s) and had a 26-18 edge in points in the paint. The Dons scored 50 points in the second half.

The Zags, wearing black uniforms tonight, just left the floor after some pre-game drills. David Stockton was bummed because his dunk attempt rattled in and out, but he followed it up by making a one-handed dunk.

Remember in-game updates at twitter.com/srjimm. Check back here at the final buzzer for a short recap and then later for a complete game story.

Friday prep roundup

PREPS

Here's a link to our Greater Spokane League boys basketball roundup featuring the Ferris-Central Valley game. Here's our GSL girls roundup. Pictured above is Lewis and Clark's Hayley Hendricksen surrounded by Shadle Park defenders.

Here's our area girls roundup and here's our area boys roundup. And here's a truly sad story about the sudden passing of Wallace girls coach Kirby Krulitz, a true gentleman.

Shock sign DL, trade Clebert

Spokane continues to shape its roster, signing DL Terrance Taylor and trading DL Richard Clebert to Tampa Bay.

Clebert was a mainstay in Spokane's ArenaBowl championship run last season. Taylor, a University of Michigan product, was drafted in the fourth-round by Indianapolis.

More here.

WSU ready to face Zona tonight

COUGARS

We are going to zone in this morning and I'm not promising extra concentration. No, that would be impossible after last night. It was Friday, after all. Anyhow, the zone reference is a basketball one. So read on.

Vandals, Broncos set to clash

The weeklong buildup has been unlike any game this season. Idaho vs. Boise State. Two men's basketball teams better than most anticipated (the Vandals, on a six-game winning streak, much better). The last season of their rivalry with both as members of the WAC. Easily the biggest crowd of the season expected at Cowan Spectrum. Lots of intrigue for sure.

Read on for more on the game, which tips at 7:07 tonight after the UI-BSU women's game.

Chiefs pull out 5-2 win

The Spokane Chiefs scored the last three goals to defeat the Kootenay Ice 5-2. Dominik Uher had two goals and an assist to earn first star, Tyler Johnson (above) had a goal and two assists for the second star and trade deadline pickup Cody Eakin, in his first game for the Ice, was third star. His goal in the first minute of the third period tied the game 2-2.

Friday GSL scores

Greater Spokane League boys scores:

Ferris 81, Central Valley 58; University 64, North Central 58; Gonzaga Prep 60, Mead 46; Rogers 78, Mt. Spokane 73; Lewis and Clark 69, Shadle Park 54.

Greater Spokane League girls scores:

Upset: Mead 52, second-ranked Gonzaga Prep 42; Shadle Park 60, Lewis and Clark 55 overtime; North Central 56, University 53; Central Valley 74, Ferris 64; Mt. Spokane 64, Rogers 39.

WSU’s Thompson one for the ages

COUGARS • UPDATED: 8 P.M.

One more post for the night. We have our story for tomorrow's paper concerning Klay Thompson's season, future – both near and far term – and his competition for the Pac-10 Player of the Year award. Read on.

Tormey headed to WSU

COUGARS

It looks as if Paul Wulff has found his linebackers coach. It's veteran Chris Tormey, a Spokane native and UI graduate who has coached for years at UW and was head coach at Idaho and Nevada. His most recent coaching stint was at the University of Hawaii, where the news of his hire by WSU leaked out. We have a short story on the link.

Day after Santa Clara

Good morning from sunny Oakland. It's not so sunny for the Zags, who lost to Santa Clara 85-71 last night.

First, the links: Game stories from S-R, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury-News, and ESPN.com.

More below in my game-day post.

WSU’s ‘must-win,’ the day after

COUGARS

When you lose your first two games of the Pac-10 season – hey, how is that road trip to Los Angeles going Stanford and Cal? – then follow that up with an overtime loss in Berkeley, must-win games start piling up. Washington State had another one last night at home versus Arizona State. Must turned in did, with DeAngelo Casto (career high 25 points) and Klay Thompson (a stat line too full to repeat here) leading the way past the Devils, 78-61. We have more on the link, so read on.

Zags, EWU win, Idaho stumbles

Our women's basketball roundup: As expected the Gonzaga women rolled past Santa Clara, Eastern Washington got a solid road win at Northern Arizona but Idaho fell at previously winless San Jose State, despite a monster game from Yinka Olorunnife (above, center). All that to go with an earlier win by Washington State at Arizona State. Read on.

WSU goes inside to down ASU, 78-61

COUGARS

For one of the few times this season, the Washington State offense began inside. Yes, it says something for Ken Bone's faith in DeAngelo Casto, but it also says something about the interior defense of Arizona State. Heck, it says something about the Sun Devils' defensive overall. Read on for more.

Broncos snap GU’s nine-game winning streak

Back with the game story from Gonzaga's 85-71 loss to Santa Clara on Thursday. The unedited version is below.

I'll be back in the morning with a day-after post.

Broncos upset Gonzaga, 85-71

 

Kevin Foster hit four 3-pointers in the last 5:12 and finished with 36 points as Santa Clara upset Gonzaga 85-71 on Thursday at the Leavey Center.

The Broncos (11-9, 2-2) hadn’t beaten GU on their home floor since Feb., 2001. The victory ended GU’s nine-game winning streak in the series.

Foster made 11 of 20 shots, 6 of 14 3s and 8 of 10 free throws en route to his career high. Steven Gray led GU with 17 points (he made 3 of 9 FGs) and Robert Sacre had 16.

More in about two hours.

 

WSU leads 41-31 at half

COUGARS

It's funny, but Washington State isn't playing all that well on either end, but the Cougars hold a 10-point halftime lead. We have some thoughts about that. Read on.

WSU’s Aden out with knee

COUGARS

So just when we thought the drama was in the past, something pops up. Read on.

Vandals pursuing MWC membership

With conference reshuffling still ongoing, Idaho athletic director Rob Spear in an email confirmed that he's had conversations with Mountain West Conference comissioner Craig Thompson. “We are exploring all avenues and this includes the Mountain West,” Spear said. UI has yet to make a presentation to the MWC board of directors, he said. The Vandals are current members of the Western Athletic Conference, which is set to lose Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada to the MWC. The San Jose Mercury News reported earlier this week that San Jose State could be a target of the MWC as well. And late last year it was reported Utah State was talking to the MWC.
  

Cougar women win at ASU

The Washington State women's basketball team is finally showing the progress predicted for them. The Cougars won at Arizona State behind a veteran and a rookie. It was their third win in four games, back-to-back road wins and consecutive wins at ASU.

Thursday Prep Page

PREPS

Click the tab below to see the menu.

Full slate for women’s basketball teams

A busy night and weekend for area Division I women's basketball teams.

Gonzaga is home for the first time in West Coast Conference play, facing former assistant Jen Mountain and Santa Clara tonight, San Francisco and first-year coach Jennifer Azzi on Saturday.

Idaho is at San Jose tonight and then returns home to join the men for the rivalary doubleheader with Boise State.

Eastern Washington has made the trek to Northern Arizona for a game tonight and then comes back to meet Sacramento State on Saturday, a rare home game this month.

Washington State is on its desert swing at Arizona State for an early game today (10 a.m.) and Arizona on Saturday afternoon. Also, with the big UCLA-Stanford game tonight, we'll take you to LeftCoastHoops and Michelle Smith's look at the Bruins, the latest PAC-10 team to challenge the Cardinals.

Stockton ready when called upon

Good morning from Sea-Tac. En route to tonight's game (in-game updates at Twitter.com/SRjimm) and, with the benefit of free wireless, I have a morning post of the GU items on the S-R's Four Corners page today.

I did a short article on David Stockton, who is making the most of his playing time. Stockton is pictured above. Here's a glance at GU's upcoming games this week. And I contributed a note on Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating praising Saint Mary's as the best team in the WCC at present (note is at the bottom of the item on WSU's Moore.). Keating made his comments after losing to the Gaels by 25 last Saturday. 

Saint Mary's (17-2. 5-0 WCC) remained unbeaten in conference with a hard-fought win over San Diego on Wednesday night.

WSU faces Sun Devils tonight

COUGARS

Sometimes it's almost impossible to sleep. Used to be game days when I was a participant (wouldn't call what I did playing). Wake up in the middle of the night trying to remember where I left my shin guards or something. Usually they would turn out to be in the bottom of my bag. Just so happened the same thing occurred today. Woke up in the middle of the night trying to remember where I left my gerund or something. Turned out it was in the sentence right after the present participle. Relieved, we still couldn't sleep. So we have our morning post done early. Read on.

Moore’s suspension lifted

COUGARS

Just got done talking with coach Ken Bone after practice and he said Reggie Moore's suspension has been lifted. Moore will return to the court Thursday night against Arizona State. Moore, who was indefinitely suspended prior to last Saturday's Stanford game, did not practice Monday but was with the starting group in team drills Tuesday and Wednesday. … As for ASU, a starter and two other players did not make the trip to Washington, two due to illness and one because of a death in the family. You can read more here.

Ramblings on the NCAA possibilities for Spokane

Time for the latest update of “Who Has To Come To Spokane” when the NCAA basketball tournament arrives at Gonzaga's McCarthey Athletic Center in mid-March.

That may sound like a bad thing, who has to come to Spokane and, well it is, sort of. Spokane isn't a bad destination by any stretch of the imagination, but McCarthey is. Read on.

Tuesday prep roundup

The Gonzaga Prep girls basketball team continues to roll along, topping defending Greater Spokane League champ Central Valley. Here's our story.

Here's our GSL boys roundup. Here's our area girls roundup and here's our area boys roundup. And here's our wrestling roundup.

Reid, Johnson set records in win

The Spokane Chiefs rolled at Chilliwack Tuesday night, smacking the Bruins 6-1, in a record-breaking romp.

I'll get to the records in a moment. The Chiefs have won three straight since a 6-2 loss at Kootenay last Friday, which they avenged with an 11-2 romp over the Ice Saturday in the outdoor game. Now the teams collide Friday indoors at the Arena - you don't suppose the Ice will be hot.

 The Chiefs last lost at the Arena on Dec. 15, in OT. The last time they lost in regulation at home Oct. 23, 4-2 to Red Deer.

Some caffeinated WSU notes

COUGARS

Ever really need a cup of coffee? Not me. Never felt that way. It wasn't my thing. Until my wife bought me a new coffee maker for Christmas. Now I'm hooked. Before I could sit down here and write about Washington State news, I had – and I mean had – to make coffee. Thanks ever so much dear. Read on.

Updating Moore’s status

COUGARS

We've put together a story for tomorrow's S-R on Reggie Moore's status. It includes comments from coach Ken Bone and Moore's participation in practice this afternoon. Read on.

Raap key part of Gonzaga

Gonzaga senior Claire Raap, the consumate team player, picks up where she left off before a slight interruption. She's the subject of our weekly women's basketball notebook.

No change in status for WSU’s Moore

COUGARS

Just got done talking with coach Ken Bone on his weekly conference call and have some updates on the Reggie Moore situation and other items. Read on.

New regional-state hoops format

Scott Sandsberry of the Yakima Herald-Republic newspaper took an indepth look at the new regional-state basketball format.

Take a look. He did a good job of reporting. Here's a link.

Rillie involved in the game

Former Gonzaga standout John Rillie has played basketball since he was a youngster. After playing professionally for 16 seasons, mostly in his native Australia, Rillie is back in the States, helping ex-Zag assistant Leon Rice at Boise State.

Here's my Then and Now feature on Rillie that ran in today's S-R.

The story was a fairly long one, so I've added a couple of notes below.

Looking ahead to WSU’s week

COUGARS

It's a big week ahead for the Washington State Cougars in a lot of ways – and in a lot of sports. Basketball has the Arizona schools coming to town, with Arizona State offering a chance to move up the conference standings and Arizona a chance to upset a ranked team. Football is in the home recruiting stretch with coaches on the road early – saw two coaches leaving town Sunday as we were getting back – and players coming in this weekend. For this and more, read on.

Red-hot Vandals race past Fresno

Six straight wins, the last two without starting forward Luiz Toledo, and perhaps the best half of basketball in Don Verlin's tenure — that's what the Idaho men have accomplished during a sizzling 18-day stretch. Tonight the Vandals took out Fresno State 67-57 at the Bulldogs' Save Mart Center, thanks to a splendid second half during which they shot 70 percent. “That might be our best half of basketball since I’ve been here at the University of Idaho,” Verlin said.

Read on for more.

Chiefs atop standings, Reid ties record

Don't look now but the Spokane Chiefs are in first place in the U.S. Division of the Western Hockey League. Well, they're tied with the Portland Winterhawks, but the Chiefs have played two fewer games in addition to having the head-to-head tiebreaker. I don't have the information at my fingertips and my memory isn't what it used to be, but I know it wasn't that long ago they were double-figure points behind and it may have been pretty darn close to 20 points back.

The Chiefs, who should have been exhausted, jumped on the Everett Silvertips early on Sunday for a 4-1 win, which was also the 77th career win for goalie James Reid (above), tying him with Dustin Tokarski for the most in team history. Read on.

GU moving up, Gaels No. 21

Saint Mary's (16-2, 4-0 WCC) broke into the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 at No. 21 while Gonzaga (13-5, 3-0) climbed higher in the others receiving votes category. GU is 30th after receiving 39 points.

Here's the poll.

UPDATE: Gaels are 22nd, Zags 29th in A.P. rankings.

WSU heats up over weekend

COUGARS

It is so strange to look out my window this morning and not see snow on the ground. It is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, isn't it? Though we were in the Bay Area for the basketball games, we understand it was around 50 degrees up here all weekend. Which helped the snow to melt and probably played a role in Paul Wulff landing a big football recruit for California. We envision the conversation going something like this. Recruit: “Sure is nice up here in the winter, not at all what I heard in So Cal.” Wulff: “What, it's always like this. In fact it's a little cold today. That's why the golf course is closed.” Read on.

Stanford thumps WSU

Stanford showed off its No. 4 ranking in the women's basketball poll, rolling over Washington State in Pullman. My weekly poll is below.

Day after Loyola Marymount

Typing away while keeping an eye on the Seahawks game (down 21-0 at half). I'm guessing there won't be an EWU-style comeback in the second half. Earlier I watched the replay of Gonzaga's 79-59 win over LMU and it's amazing how much you miss when you're jotting down notes, tweeting, etc. In case you missed S-R game story, here's a link.

Read on for my day-after post.

Fresh air and hockey

Wrapping up theSpokane Chiefs outdoor hockey game … it seemed everyone enjoyed the Rockstar Outdoor Hockey Classic, according to columnist John Blanchette, and the Chiefs made it better with an 11-2 thrashing of the Kootenay Ice at Avista Stadium … with Jesse Tinsley providing the pictures.

WSU’s win at Stanford is a first

COUGARS

Believe it or not, that's the first time I've ever covered a team that won a game in Stanford's Maples Pavilion. When UC Irvine played there in the early 1980s, the Anteaters lost. And Washington State? The Cougars hadn't won there in five years. So last night's 61-58 victory was a landmark of sorts. We have more, so read on.

Vandals win thriller at Bakersfield

Idaho's Jeff Ledbetter was already having a pretty good week, after nabbing three steals in a 30-second span against Nevada on Wednesday. But then came Saturday night and his buzzer-beating 3-pointer in overtime to lift the Idaho men to a 78-77 win at Cal State Bakersfield. “I live for those shots,” Ledbetter said. “I knew if I got the ball, it was going in. I knew the play was set up for a three, and if they covered Brandon Wiley, I’d be open.”

Read more below.

WSU rallies past Stanford, 61-58

COUGARS

It was a night that even coach Ken Bone admitted his team could have packed it in. And he wasn't referring to Reggie Moore not playing. No, he was talking about how poorly the Cougars played offensively in the first half. It was the same way they played at USC. But they came out of the locker room and competed for 20 minutes, stealing a win on the road. We have more on the link, so read on.

Zags topple Lions, 79-59

Back with my game story from Gonzaga's hard-earned 79-59 victory over LMU. Here's the link.

Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

Gonzaga women win, EWU loses

It's been kind of a long, but fun, day with the outdoor hockey game but there is still time to catch up with women's basketball before calling it a night.

Chiefs rock in outdoor game

The Rockstar Outdoor Classic was a wild success off and on the ice for the Spokane Chiefs.

Not so much for the Kooteany Ice.

The first-ever Western Hockey League game to be played outdoors, before a standing room only crowd of 7,075 at Avista Stadium, was an 11-2 romp by the home team, just hours after the Ice had registered a 6-2 in in Cranbrook, B.C., to start this little home-and-home showtown between two of the best teams in the league.

Next Friday's game in Spokane should be a dandy game.

The three stars were all Chiefs, 1, Steve Kuhn (goal, 2 assists); 2, Tyler Vanscourt (2 goals) , 3, Blake Gal (2 goals, assist).

Gonzaga pulls away from LMU in second half

Gonzaga broke away from a halftime tie with a 19-7 run to open the second half and went on to a 79-59 victory over feisty Loyola Marymount on Saturday.

Gonzaga (13-5, 3-0 WCC) won its ninth straight. LMU dropped to 8-10, 1-3.

Rob Sacre led GU with 18 points and 7 rebounds. Elias Harris added 14 points and 10 boards and Steven Gray, who had six points during GU’s second-half surge, finished with 16 points.

Drew Viney paced the Lions 18 points.

The Bulldogs had a 46-16 advantage in points in the paint.

More in about two hours.

WSU trails 32-23 at half

COUGARS

Washington State has scored less than 23 points in a first half twice this year, but it doesn't bode well for the Cougars when they do. The two times they scored 22 came against Kansas State and USC. We all know what happened in those two games. … Quick aside. Andrew Luck is addressing the crowd as the football team is honored. This place is much louder now than during the game. … Back to hoop. … I always thought USC was the most aggressive defensive team in the Pac-10 but I was wrong. This Stanford team is. There is not a cut, a bounce or an attempt around the basket that isn't challenged with an arm bar, a slap or a body. And WSU isn't handling it well. The Cougars are settling for going one-on-one instead of playing as a team, using each other to get free. Most of Faisal Aden's 11 shots are off the bounce. Many of Klay Thompson's 10 are too. That's not when WSU's offense is at its best. It's better when they are coming off screens, running, cutting, making its opponent play through bodies. That's not happening. … We'll be back after the game. Leave you with this note. Last year, WSU led by double figures at halftime and lost. Will the script flip?

Pre-game update

A couple of notes before tipoff: LMU will be without freshman forward Godwin Okonji (5.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg). He was hit in the nose during Thursday's loss at Portland and won't play tonight.

Also, guard Vernon Teel (14.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg) isn't starting.

Starters for each team haven't been listed on the scoreboard.

Head over to Twitter.com/SRjimm for in-game updates.

WSU about ready to face Stanford without Moore

COUGARS • UPDATED: 4:15 P.M.

We sit pretty high in Maples Pavilion. Higher than any place in the Pac-10. Higher than a couple Horizon flights I've taken. And I forgot my binoculars. So if something happens today that I miss, sorry. I just couldn't see it. Anyhow, we have some news and notes, so read on. Update on link.

Cougar women defeat Cal

There was only one women's basketball game for the area Division I schools on Friday and it was impressive.

On FSN, the Washington State Cougars won their second consecutive Pac-10 game, the first time they've done that in a decade, with a solid thumping of California. The Cougs opened a big lead early and when the Bears stormed back they responded.

Today it's Eastern Washington at Northern Colorado and Gonzaga at Loyola Marymount. Both games start at 2. The Cougars face No. 4 Stanford on Sunday afternoon in Pullman.

Saturday has to be better than Friday for Chiefs

On this beautiful spring morning all thoughts turn to an outdoor hockey game.

Of course it's a little hard to get in the spirit of an outdoor hockey game when the biggest concern is how it's going to turn out with the suddenly balmy weather.

Things started to go south for the Chiefs on Friday, when they went to Cranbrook and the Kootenay Ice handled them 6-2 to end their seven-game winning streak. Their power play was below snuff with a 1-6 performance and the league-leading penalty killers gave up three goals in six chances. Then there were the fights. The complete run-down is here, including why the game started an hour late.

The teams meet again today at 1 at Avista Stadium. There will be no tweeting or blogging from the game because we won't be taking our computer but will make a quick post as soon as we can after the game.

Eagles, NFL make Jones decision easier

Running back Taiwan Jones got good news from the NFL and the blessings of his teammates, which made it easier for him to leave Eastern Washington with a year of eligibility remaining.

Jones was in California Saturday morning with his agent, but it wasn't the one who thought he was going to land Jones.

Click here for the story.

WSU set to play the Cardinal

COUGARS

As the weekend begins (and by that we don't mean the basketball weekend, but the real one), it's not a bad time to step back and look at where we are in the Pac-10 basketball race. It's early, but it will get late quick. Read on.

Ferris tops Gonzaga Prep

If you liked defense, a buffet of defense was served Friday when Ferris topped Gonzaga Prep 49-38 in a Greater Spokane League boys basketball game at Gonzaga Prep.

Here's my game story.

Former Vandal remains in coma

The first time I encountered Brandon Brown, the guard from Philadelphia was getting lectured by new Idaho coach Don Verlin during a scrimmage at Memorial Gym. That was before the start of the 2008-09 season, during which Brown played sparingly for the Vandals before quietly leaving the team mid-season. More than two years later, the 25-year-old remains hospitalized — and in a coma — after an early morning fight at a Moscow bar on Dec. 16.

You can read a story I put together on Brown here — and click below for some UI football recruiting and WAC membership news.

EWU star headed to NFL

Star running back Taiwan Jones (above) was a cheerleader as Eastern Washington won the FCS championship last weekend. That may have also played a role in his decision to leave school and submit his papers to be eligible for the NFL draft. He was expected to sign with an agent Friday night.

Eagle coach Beau Baldwin is thankful for three seasons with Jones; a draft expect said the Eagle star is likely a late round pick in the NFL draft.

Zags await Lions

Back with a preview of Saturday's Gonzaga-Loyola Marymount game. Here's the link..

Quick note on Robert Sacre's perfect shooting night (8 of 8 FG, 8 of 8 FT) against Pepperdine on Thursday. Find out where that ranks in the last 10 years of college basketball here.

WSU assistant Niekamp has new job

COUGARS

Linebackers coach Travis Niekamp is changing jobs. He's leaving his on-field position to take over a newly created spot within the athletic department, coordinator of football development. With the opening, football coach Paul Wulff will be looking for his third new assistant in two years. Read on for more.

Trufant: From EWU to af2 to NFL Jets

Former EWU and Spokane Shock defensive back Isaiah Trufant has made a steady climb up the pro football ladder. He played in the af2 on Spokane's 2006 championship team, then moved on to the AFL and UFL. He joined the NFL New York Jets during the season. 

More here.

Excitement builds for outdoor hockey game

The Spokane Chiefs are excited to play in history outdoor game on Saturday. Thursday's practice only got them more fired up ((photo courtesy of Gary Peterson/Action Sports Images/Spokane Chiefs).

EWU’s Jones to enter NFL draft

Eastern Washington star running back Taiwan Jones has hired an agent and will enter the NFL Draft.

Judging from the follow-up to Eastern Washington's FCS national championship last week, the news is shocking. Check out the Taiwan Jones slide show here.

Day after Pepperdine

There's a good reason this post is a little later than normal. I couldn't see the computer screen too clearly (no comments from the peanut gallery). I visited the eye doc today so I'm living in a blurry, light-sensitive world right now.

Onward, perhaps with a typo or two. The links, following GU's 92-75 win over Pepperdine: S-R gamer and photos (by Dan Pelle, highly recommended).

Read on.

Rain or snow, outdoor hockey game is a spectacle

Who wouldn't be worried about an outdoor hockey game in this weather? After a day in the 40's with plenty of rain, it only cools off to the high 30's tonight, with a high on Saturday for the Spokane Chiefs game with Kootenay at Avista Stadium, of about 41, although the chance of rain tapers off.

Columnist John Blanchette takes a look at the spectacle.

First, the two teams meet tonight in Cranbrook. The Ice were big-time buyers at Monday's Western Hockey League trade deadline and Jeff Bromley's blog takes a look at their blockbuster. … The Ice also have to do a little bit of extra packing for the trip down here on Saturday. Kootenay players are looking forward to the game.

WSU’s loss at Cal, the morning after

COUGARS

Washington State had its chances last night. More than one down the stretch and more than one in overtime. But a couple of missed layups, a couple rebounds it wasn't able to corral and Cal came away with an 88-81 overtime win. For more on the game, read on.

Idaho, Gonzaga, EWU women win

Thursday was a busy night in women's basketball, including a historic win for Idaho and easy road wins for Gonzaga and Eastern Washington.

WSU falls 88-81 in OT to Cal

COUGARS

We need to get out of Haas Pavilion as the cleanup crew is breaking it down, but we have some notes and other items on the link, so read on.

Big Three too much for Waves

Here's my game story from Gonzaga's 92-75 victory over Pepperdine on Thursday.

Check back tomorrow for a day-after post and a liltte bit more on Saturday's opponent, Loyola Marymount, which is in overtime against Portland at the time of this post.

WSU trails 42-32 at half

COUGARS

Give a veteran coach like Mike Montgomery time to prepare, which you have on Thursdays, and his team is going to be ready for your defensive wrinkles. The Bears seemed to be inviting the double-team on the post and looking for the weakside wing. When that was Allen Crabbe, it meant 3 points three times. It was all part of a 55.2 percent shooting half for the Bears, led by the 6 of 8 Crabbe posted, including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. One problem was the WSU rotations were really slow. … When WSU zoned, the Bears patiently reversed the ball, looking for Jorge Gutierrez on the weakside. Though he had a poor half (2 of 6 shooting), he did find Harper Kamp for a couple baskets, part of Kamp's 12 first-half points. … On the other end, the Bears are attacking the ball screen aggressively, leaving the pick-and-pop open. But WSU hasn't burned them enough to make it matter. Let's see what adjustments the Cougars make after halftime, especially in how they rotate on the weakside out of the post double. If they don't double, Kamp and Markhuri Sanders-Frison will get the WSU inside players in foul trouble. … Offensively, expect the Cougars to be more aggressive off the ball screen, looking to attack Sanders-Frison at the rim. … The lead got as large as 14 (34-20) at one point. WSU got back within eight at one point. … We'll be back with our game story about an hour or so after the game ends.

Gonzaga wins 8th in a row

Gonzaga's Big Three of Rob Sacre, Steven Gray and Elias Harris combined for 62 points to lead the Bulldogs to 92-75 victory over visiting Pepperdine on Thursday.

Sacre had a career-high 24 points on 8 of 8 field goals and 8 of 8 free throws. He played just 21 minutes. Gray made five 3-pointers and scored 19, equaling the most he's scored since he hurt his back seven games ago. He also had nine assists, tying his career high. Harris made 8 of 9 shots and scored 19 points.

Gonzaga led by 21 late in the first half. Pepperdine got as close as 13 in the second half before the Zags pulled away.

Gonzaga (12-5, 2-0 WCC) won its eighth straight game.

Back with complete game story in about two hours.
  

Gonzaga wins 8th in a row

Gonzaga's Big Three of Rob Sacre, Steven Gray and Elias Harris combined for 62 points to lead the Bulldogs to a 92-75 victory over visiting Pepperdine on Thursday.

Sacre had a career-high 24 points on 8 of 8 field goals and 8 of 8 free throws. He played just 21 minutes. Gray made five 3-pointers and scored 19, equaling the most he's scored since he hurt his back seven games ago. He also had nine assists, tying his career high. Harris made 8 of 9 shots and scored 19 points.

Gonzaga led by 21 late in the first half. Pepperdine got as close as 13 in the second half before the Zags pulled away.

Gonzaga (12-5, 2-0 WCC) won its eighth straight game.

Back with complete game story in about two hours.

WSU minutes away at Cal

COUGARS

There must be something about Haas Pavilion. We just watched Washington State nail seven consecutive 3-pointers in warmups. Sort of like the show Klay Thompson put on last year during the first half. Read on for more pregame musings.

Arop starting; Bell not for Waves

Manny Arop is back in GU's starting lineup, along with regulars Harris, Sacre, Gray and Goodson.

Pepperdine's Keion Bell, who torched Gonzaga for 37 points last year (34 in the second half) is not listed as a starter. He's been battling an ankle injury and missed Pepperdine's last three games. Waves starters are Mychel Thompson, Lorne Jackson, Gus Clardy, Taylor Darby and Corbin Moore. Jackson had three big games (23, 26 and 15 points) with Bell sidelined.

Move over to Twitter.com/SRjimm for in-game updates. Check back here later for a game story.

Chiefs almost giddy for outdoor game

It's only fitting that Bobby Brett, owner of the Spokane Indians baseball team and Spokane Chiefs hockey team, threw out the first pitch at Avista Stadium on a warm winter Thursday afternoon.

The big thing is that Darren Kramer, using his stick as a baseball bat, was on the other end, trying to hit Brett's snowball.

The Chiefs were waiting to take the ice for practice in preparation of Saturday's Rockstar Outdoor Hockey Classic (photo above courtesy of the Western Hockey League and Gary Peterson/Action Sports Images/Spokane Chiefs) and they were obvoiusly excited. Like baseball players, some applied eye black to help reduce the glare of the sun and a handful of them got a little carried away. Like Kramer, who gave himself a full beard. And Levko Koper, who had a van dyke, Brady Brassart with a handlebar mustache and Collin Valcourt with a fu manchu. And goalies James Reid and Mac Engle had stocking caps tied to the top of their masks.

As practice went on, some playes were shielding their eyes against the sun. In the first post-practice competition, the team that had the wind at its back won easily. Does that mean Saturday's coinflip is going to play a critical role in the outcome?

Everybody, from Brett, to team officials, WHL officials, sponors and arena works scurrying to get the last piece of plexiglass in place, was savoring the moment, along with some fans who turned out to watch.

One parent said, “What a spectacle. This is putting the Chiefs on the map.”

Busy weekend for women’s basketball

Full slate of games for women's basketball teams, though the Washington State schedule is Friday-Sunday.

Gonzaga plays one of its tougher WCC foes, at Pepperdine (game on TV, CBS college sports, hopefully my kids can find that channel for me), with LMU on Saturday. Idaho goes for 500th win against visiting Hawaii in only game. Eastern goes to Sacramento State and then Northern Colorado. Cougars get Cal (game on FSN NW) first then No. 4 Stanford Sunday afternoon. 

Chiefs closing in on Portland

The Spokane Chiefs picked up a big win Wednesday night in Portland, pulling within two points of the league-leading Winterhawks.

Now we're headed to practice at Avista Stadium for Saturday's outdoor game. The weather forecast is for temperatures in the 40 and rain. Hopefully we'll find out how that is going to impact the game, which is the second of a home-and-home with the Kootenay Ice. Hopefully the teams will bring some real ice back from Friday's game.

In the meantime, some interesting reading on rosters and especially goalies on Alan Caldwell's blog. FYI, James Reid of the Chiefs is facing about the fewest shots of any team in the league. While there, you can use that for a jumping off point to read about the resolution to the bruhaha in Kamloops between the newspaper and the Blazers. What the team and the league were thinking is a mystery to me and certainly foreign becausee I deal with a professionally run organization. Makes me appreciate my working relationship.

WSU faces Bears tonight

COUGARS

We're a little late today because we are on our way to the Bay Area and all the connections were quite tight. But we've run down links and we have some notes, so read on.

Thursday Prep Page

 

PREPS

You know the routine. Click the link below and you'll see the menu for this week's Prep Page.

Vandals off to best WAC start

The Idaho Vandals haven't played this well during the conference portion of their season in a long time — definitely not since joining the WAC. UI managed to hold off Nevada 72-67 tonight at Cowan Spectrum for their fourth straight win. Read on for an early look at our game story.

Waves’ coach won’t be at GU game

A couple of items before we shut it down for the night. Pepperdine coach Tom Asbury won't be on the sideline for Thursday's game against Gonzaga. He'll be with his first grandchild, who was born prematurely Sunday.

Also, Pepperdine's Keion Bell, who scored 37 points in a 91-84 loss to Gonzaga last season at the McCarthey Athletic Center, practiced Wednesday night and is listed as probable for Thursday's game. He's missed the last three games with an ankle injury.

Read on for more on Asbury and the matchup with Pepperdine.

Halftime: Vandals lead 30-28

Idaho's Jeff Ledbetter put on a clinic in the last few minutes of the half, scoring seven straight points and grabbing steals on three consecutive possessions to help the Vandals take a 30-28 lead over Nevada at halftime. The Vandals (9-6, 3-1) are seeking their fourth consecutive win in WAC play. Ledbetter leads Idaho with 10 points and has already set a career high with three steals. UI shot 38 percent in the first half while UNR shot 46 percent.

Catch in-game updates on Twitter at @SR_JoshWright.

Keita making quick strides on, off court

Back with my feature article on Mathis Keita, who has gone from barely playing to starting the last three games. Here's a link to the article that will run on the Four Corners Page in Thursday's S-R.

I'll post a short preview of Thursday's GU-Pepperdine game when (maybe I should say if) I find out whether Keion Bell (ankle) is playing. Bell did make the trip with the team. He sat out the last three games.

Also, here's a link to a great article on Steven Gray on ESPN.com.

Tuesday night prep roundup

Here's my game story from the Ferris/Rogers boys basketball game and roundup of GSL games. Brett Bailey of University swats a shot by Garrett Sawyer of Central Valley in the picture above.

Here's our GSL girls roundup. Here's our area girls roundup. Here's our area boys roundup. And not to be overlooked, a wrestling roundup.

Rain, rain stay away

Did I just hear that? A weather update on a local sports radio station said things are looking good for the outdoor hockey game, it's supposed to rian on Saturday.

Not sure that is so good but who can't be excited the game with the weather we're having now?

Of course the heavy snow wouldn't be too nice for a fast-paced hockey game. Fear not, the weather forecast now says the low Friday night is 40 after a day of showers and the high on Saturday with 42 with a chance of showers.

Update: Ground rules have been made for the game, appropriated at the ball park, right? One includes an official game if they reach the bottom of the seventh - or end of the second period.

Updates on Heytvelt, Turiaf, Kong

Never thought I'd have occasion to put these three names in the same sentence, but here are updates on ex-Zags Josh Heytvelt, Ronny Turiaf and Bol Kong.

Links on Heytvelt, who left his team in Italy may be heading back to Turkey; Turiaf helping the Knicks to a big win over Portland; and Kong trying to get back on track in Canada.

Programming note: I'm putting together a feature on Mathis Keita for Thursday's Four Corners page. I'll post it later today.

WSU headed to warmer climes

COUGARS

Sitting here looking out the window at what appears to be an inch of snow per minute makes me wonder how the flight schedules might be disrupted the next couple days. And long for summer. With that in mind, we have our morning post, so read on.

Catching with Maryland coach and mom

We start our women's basketball news today with an update.

We got to know the Maryland women's basketball program a few years ago when the Terrapins were the No. 1 seed in the 2008 regional at the Arena. First we found the local connection, a Valley lady whose son was an assistant coach. Then we did a story about the challenges of motherhood, focusing on coach Brenda Frese, who had just delivered twins. Then, of course, Stanford and Maryland played an epic game with the Cardinal earning the berth to the Final Four.

 Well, I've stumbled into a story by Milton Nelson to update you on the twins Frese delivered a month before arriving in Spokane. The boys are now 2 and sadly the story I found on fanhouse.com, dated Dec. 24, is about Tyler and his battle with lukemia. Sure puts the game in perspective.

Our notebook today was about EWU senior Tatjana Sparavalo (EWU photo above). We'll have links for the weekend games on Thursday.

Vandals prepare for Nevada

The Idaho men's basketball team is starting to play better and it has a chance to show its improvement on ESPN2 on Wednesday night against Nevada (8 p.m. tipoff). Click below for a preview that you can find in the S-R tomorrow.

Website reports WSU staff changes

COUGARS • UPDATED: 10:45 A.M., WEDNESDAY

The national title football game corresponds with the football coaches' convention, so there is always a lot of news about job movement. One source that keeps up with the comings and goings has a report about two Washington State assistants. Read on.

GSL scoring leaders

Click the tab below to see the updated Greater Spokane League boys and girls scoring leaders.

WSU’s Bone looks ahead to weekend

COUGARS

Just got done with Washington State coach Ken Bone's weekly news conference. We have some notes on the link, so read on.

Weather warming for outdoor hockey game

The Spokane Chiefs stayed on the sideline as the Western Hockey League trade deadline passed on Monday.

The question is how that affects the team, which is the hottest in the league right now. No deal means the continue has to continue to succeed with hard work and chemistry, but will that be enough to stay keep up with Portland and Tri-City, which made deals? How about staying ahead of Seattle and Everett? The other team that can affect the Chiefs is Kootenay because the teams meet three times in eight days, beginning Friday and including Saturday's outdoor game at Avista Stadium. More on trades from the Gregg Drinnan and Alan Caldwell blogs.

And speaking of the outdoor game, four days away, here's the forecast: It's not supposed to be below freezing from Thursday on with the low on Friday night 41 degrees and the high on Saturday 42, which I assume means the snow/rain showers means rain.

Basketball still keeps Lloyd busy

Idaho has to wait for the 500th win in women's basketball history, maybe when Hawaii visits on Thursday. The Vandals were battling defending WAC champion Fresno State, which had won 19 league games in a row, tough until a late 18-0 run buried them. The Bulldogs, who lead the nation in 3-pointers baskets per game at 9, sank 18 treys in 34 attempts.

For now, our other basketball news is a Then and Now with former Moscow High School star Andrea Lloyd (above), who had a much decorated college and professional career and is now in broadcasting.

Update: Courtney Vandersloot makes cut to 20 for Wooden Award. … Texas and Oklahoma State drop out of Top 25 (ESPN).

State hoop brackets posted

I linked to this on my twitter.com/srpreps account last night. The WIAA posted state boys and girls basketball brackets. No more blind draws. Seeding for the new regional/state format is now predetermined.

Here's the link.

QUESTION: What are your thoughts about not having a blind draw anymore?

Football season ends with a whimper

COUGARS

Well, that wasn't as good as everyone thought it would be. The Oregon/Auburn showdown was instead a slowdown, with one key replay call making more difference than the two Heisman finalists. But it's basketball season and we have more on that, so read on.

No moves for Chiefs

UPDATED

The Western Hockey League trade deadline passed Monday afternoon and the Spokane Chiefs didn't make a move, except to reassign defenseman Kyle Krzyzaniak, who was  a minus-2 in seven games with seven penalty minutes, to the Dauphin Kings of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. 

There were a couple of blockbuster deals in the las couple of day. The one the will have the most immediate impact on the Spokane Chiefs was the Kootenay Ice getting Cody Eakin from Swift Current. That's because The Chief and Ice play three times in eight days, including Saturday  in the outdoor game at Avista  Stadium. About 500 tickets remain for that game.

Weather channel forecast for Saturday: Cold until the end of the week, then above freezing, Saturday's previous cold temperatures and snow, now 37 degrees, rain and snow showers.

Five players enter WSU for spring

COUGARS

We skipped the morning post today because of familial obligations. But we have some news to pass on, and we are pretty much free of said responsibilities, so we can put something together. Read on.

Zags slip, Gaels 26th

Gonzaga's win over Portland (12-4) didn't do much to impress voters in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 poll. The Bulldogs (11-5) received nine points, three less than last week, and remain in the 'Others Receiving Votes' category.

WCC rival Saint Mary's is on the verge of cracking the Top 25. The Gaels earned 65 points, nine behind No. 25 Minnesota. The Gaels (14-2) are one of nine teams receiving more votes than GU, so technically the Zags are 35th, tied with Utah State and Arizona.

Four of GU's opponents are in the rankings: No. 6 San Diego State, No. 11 Notre Dame, No. 16 Illinois and No. 20 Kansas State. The Bulldogs lost to all four. Three others — Baylor (58 pts.), Memphis (36) and Oklahoma State (17) — are receiving votes. GU defeated Baylor and Oklahoma State, and will face Memphis on Feb. 5 at the Arena.

BYU, which will join the WCC next season, is No. 10, giving the Mountain West two teams in the top 10.

UPDATE: In the A.P.poll, Gonzaga received 29 points for 36th place overall. Saint Mary's is 33rd with 49 points.

Vandals go for 500th win

The Idaho women's basketball team is going for the 500th win in program history tonight at home when defending WAC champion Fresno State visits. The Vandals are coming off an exciting road win at Nevada to open conference play.

The Vandals are 8-5 overall, 3-0 at home. Six of the next seven games are at home. Fresno State leads the nation by making more than 9 3-pointes a game.

I'll update throughout they day when the Top 25 comes out (my vote below) or players receive honors. Don't recalling linking Gonzaga's Kayla Standish named the WCC Player of the Month for December.

Day after Portland

Interesting game last night at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzaga ruled the first half, then struggled to score in the second half. However, GU's defense stayed the course throughout, paving the way for a 74-61 win over Portland.

First, the links: S-R gamer and Oregonian gamer.

UPDATE: Ex-Zag Keegan Hyland appears to be bound for Vermont.

Read on for my day-after post.

WSU’s up-and-down game enough

COUGARS

A basketball season is like a rollercoaster. There are ups, which build anticipation. And there are downs, which scare the crud out of you. The key is for the rollercoaster to be more like the one in Spokane's Riverfront Park that even I would ride, and less like Magic Mountain's Colossus, which I can see from the concession stand is pretty darn scary. The lower the highs and the higher the lows, the better off a team. Which brings us to Washington State and last night. For more, read on.

GU-Portland game story

A little later than usual (I drove home while waiting for the link to be posted), here's my game story and a nice photo by S-R's Jesse Tinsley of Steven Gray shooting a 3-pointer in Gonzaga's 74-61 win over Portland.

Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

WSU does enough to cruise past Oregon

COUGARS

It's getting late early tonight, so we'll give you a quick post and head on out of Beasley. You can read more concerning Washington State's 77-63 defeat of Oregon – snapping a three-game losing streak to the Ducks. Read on.

Good wins for area women

The Eastern Washington women's basketball team began defense of its Big Sky Conference title by beating Portland State at Reese Court. The win came despite a sub-par performance from reigning league MVP Julie Piper, although she came through when it counted.

Washington State got its first Pac-10 win, pulling away at Oregon State, and Gonzaga started after  its seventh straight WCC title by rolling at Portland.

Next game for the local teams is at Idaho Monday when defending WAC champion Fresno State visits. EWU, GU on road next weekend, No. 4 Stanford and Cal call on Cougars.

Vandals beat SJSU, off to best WAC start

Playing against high-scoring San Jose State on the road, the Idaho men trailed by eight at half and by five with 4:58 left. But then came a 17-2 flourish for the Vandals, who zoomed past the Spartans 75-67 in San Jose. The Vandals (9-6, 3-1) won for the third time in a row to solidify their best conference start since joining the WAC in 2005.

Read on for more.
  

Chiefs edge Everett 4-2

Tyler Johnson reaches 30 goals with an empty netter with 2.9 seconds left to ice the Spokane Chiefs' 4-2 win over Everett Saturday night. Johnson also set up Levko Koper's short-handed goal to open the scoring in the second period and then scored a power play goal. Brenden Kichton had three assists. Brady Brassart's goal midway through the third period broke a 2-2 tie. Long box below. The 3 stars are 3, Kichton, 2, Brassart, 1, Johnson. Next home game is Saturday, the WHL-first outdoor game at Avista Stadium. With their sixth-straight win the Chiefs remain two points behind Portland in the U.S. Division. Here is the story.

WSU up 39-26 at half

COUGARS

I'm going to give you some numbers. Faisal Aden, 0-4 from the floor, 0-2 from beyond the arc. Klay Thompson, 2-6, 1-4. Abe Lodwick, 0-3, 0-2. So how bad is Washington State losing? No, the Cougars are up 39-26 at the half against Oregon. Part of it is Oregon just can't shoot. The Ducks are 10-34 from the floor, 29.4 percent. And part of it is Reggie Moore. The sophomore point guard, sensing some of his teammates were struggling, has shot a lot more tonight, though only five times. But he's hit three, including 3-4 from beyond the arc. That, and three trips to the line after faking Duck defenders into the air, has led to 15 points, tying his season high. With Moore leading the way, WSU is shooting 42.9 percent from the floor, despite the numbers at the start of this post. Marcus Capers is 3-4, with two of his makes dunks, both on follows. The second was really impressive as he seemed to get the ball caught on the front rim but still got it over and through. After six turnovers in the first 5:29, WSU has had just three more the rest of the way, a big reason it went from being down 17-9 to leading 27-19 in a little more than 6 minutes. More after the game.

GU holds off Portland

The Gonzaga Bulldogs withstood Portland’s second-half comeback, holding off the Pilots 74-61 Saturday for their seventh straight win. It was the WCC opener for both schools.

Gonzaga cruised to a 47-29 halftime lead by making 50 percent of its shots and 10 of 11 free throws. The Pilots didn’t attempt a free throw in the first half.

But the Pilots (12-4) opened the second half with a 13-1 run to pull within six. GU’s lead eventually melted to 56-53, but the Bulldogs rattled off nine straight points, five by Kelly Olynyk, to rebuild their lead to 12.

Steven Gray led Gonzaga with 19 points, 13 in the first half. He was the only Zag in double figures, but eight others had between 4 and 9 points.

Nemanja Mitrovic paced Portland with 16 points, but the Pilots were stung by 20 turnovers. Gonzaga Prep grad Ryan Nicholas scored four points for the Pilots in the last minute.

More in two hours.

WSU, Oregon meet in an hour

COUGARS

Not a lot more to add from my morning post, but we do have a couple of pregame notes, so read on.

Friday night preps

Sorry I didn't post sooner, but I spent much of the day helping my youngest daughter purchase a car.

Here's a link to my Fight for the Fish story - Lake City's boys edged Coeur d'Alene 61-57 and Coeur d'Alene's girls stopped Lake City 48-44. LC guard Sydney Butler is pictured above trying to weave through traffic.

The Gonzaga Prep girls pulled away from Shadle Park here. Here's our GSL boys roundup. Here's our area boys roundup. And here's our area girls roundup.

Tip in about 10 minutes

Gonzaga and Portland are about 10 minutes from tipping off at the Kennel.

Live updates at Twitter.com/SRjimm, check back here at the final buzzer for a quick recap and then about two hours later for my game story..

GU starters: Gray, Goodson, Sacre, Harris and Keita.

WSU hasn’t forgotten

COUGARS

Saturday mornings way back when were filled with cartoons, a bowl or six of Trix and putting together maniac plans for a day without school. Then we turned eight. Those were still the good old days. Nowadays, Saturday mornings are filled with reading the Internet, a half-bowl of bran flakes and wondering when we can fit in a nap. Read on.

Greet the Eagles

Eastern Washington's charter flight to Spokane is expected to land at approximately 2:30 a.m Saturday morning at XN Air on the Geiger Field side of the Spokane International Airport.
 
A celebration rally has been scheduled after the return of students to school for winter quarter, on Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. at Reese Court.

Chiefs tame Hurricanes

The Spokane Chiefs have made their run up the standings in the Western Hockey League by throwing pucks at the opposition's net until they crack. They're out-shooting teams by more than 11 shots a game. Not all of those are good shots, but without shots, nothing happens.

The Chiefs had two shots in the first period Friday. They scored early in the second on a pass, not a shot. They coach Don Nachbaur made mixed up the forward lines. The result was two periods with 15 shots each a 6-0 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes, James Reid getting his fourth shutout with 21 saves.

“I thought we turend the puck over uncharasticlly tonight far too often. trying to be too fancy, not pulling the trigger when we should have, looking to make plays,” Nachbaur said. “But I thought we turned it around in the third, we had a pretty good third period.”

The long box is below. The three stars were 3, Kenton Miller, 2, Reid, 1, Dominik Uher. The Chiefs play Everett tonight at home.

Agony of defeat

Here is the headline that will be in Saturday's Delaware Journal.

Well Done!

HEAVEN — And we thought that hamburger was big.

            In the greatest game in the greatest season in the history of football—perhaps of all sports—our little Eastern Washington University won the Football Championship Subdivision title game here 20-19 over Delaware on Friday night in Frisco, Texas.

            Down 19-0 and looking as trashed as our hotel room, the Eagles did what they've done all season, put together the most unlikely fourth-quarter comeback since … well the last time they played.

            Who's the national champion?

            Just Eastern. (Really, Marketing Dept., you can have that one.)

           

On top of the world

Apparently there was some other game going on in Dallas tonight called the Cotton Bowl.

Big deal…

Doug made the band!

Spokesman-Review columnist Doug Clark toots his own horn in Frisco!

National Champs!

There are no more fields to storm!

Eagles win the crown

EWU defeats Delaware 20-19 for the FCS national championship. Click here for our Eagle Report with complete coverage as the night wears on.

Eags find end zone, but trail 19-6 after three quarters

Delaware continued its dominance at the start of the third quarter of Friday night's NCAA Division I Football Championship game against Eastern Washington, marching 60 yards in 10 plays and taking a 19-0 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by David Hayes.

Eastern's offense, which was stagnant throughout most of the first three periods, found a quick answer, however, marching 80 yards on five plays and cutting the Blue Hens lead to 19-6 on a 22-yard pass from Bo Levi Mitchell to Brandon Kauman.

The Eagles went for two on the PAT try, but Mitchell's pass intended for Tyler Hart was too high.

EWU's touchdown came with 1:48 left in the third period, leaving the Eagles looking at a 13-point deficit heading into the fourth period.

 

Eags down 12-0 at halftime of title game

Delaware used its precise short passing game and a couple of surprise option runs by quarterback Pat Devlin to dominate Eastern Washington and post a 12-0 halftime lead in the NCAA Division I Championship football game at Pizza Hut Park here in Frisco, Tex.

The Blue Hens outgained the Eagles 230 yards to 62 and had a 5 1/2-minute edge in time of possession.  Devlin completed 11 of 17 first-half passes for 114 yards and was sacked only once.  Still, Delaware, after getting the game's first touchdown on a 2-yard run by Andrew Pierce with 5:14 left in the first quarter, had the PAT kick blocked and was then forced to settle for short field goals on two long second-quarter drives.

Eastern's rushing game, with Taiwan Jones watching from the sidelines with a broken foot, produced only 26 net yards — an average of less than two per carry.

Healthier Zags await WCC opener

We took a closer look at Gonzaga's up-and-down-and-up preconference season as the Bulldogs enter WCC play. Here's a link to my story that will run in Saturday's S-R.

Catching up with Will Brandenburg

Here is a story put out by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association to update fans on World Cup skier Will Brandenburg, a Mead HS graduate who competed in the Vancouver Olympics. Thanks to Ferris grad Shannon Camp, who works for the USSA, for sending this along.

EWU’s most famous alum arrives

This may be Eastern's most famous alum. We're not sure.

There goes our VP, Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden, a Delaware grad, just drove by. Will try to send something on famous EWU alum.

WSU gets ready for a visit from the Ducks

COUGARS • UPDATE: 7 P.M.

About an hour until Eastern Washington University represents for this side of the state in the NCAA FCS championship game. We'll be watching that and rooting – yes, when we don't cover the team we can be a fan – for the Eagles. But before that, we have a quick post and a link to our advance of tomorrow's Oregon game. Read on.

Plenty of time to spare

Eastern Washington students Haley Tank, Cassandra Herdrick and Taylor Walker join friends at an EWU tailgate party after arriving in Frisco at 2 a.m. on Friday — a full 30 hours after leaving Cheney.

Kickoff in 1 hour, 30 minutes….

Less than 4 hours away

EWU tailgate area anticipating the arrival of one Kevin Bacon. (Yes, that one.) His cousin Brian just arrived from New York.

Hope we’re in the right place

Pizza Hut Park doesn't look as impressive as we thought it might. In fact, it just looks like a Pizza Hut. (I mentioned stuffed crust and Ralph started giggling.)

Big win for Vandal women

Great win (Reno Journal Gazette story) for the Idaho women's basketball team Thursday night, on the road at 11-2 Nevada trying for its best start in school history. Clutch in OT. … Washington State plays strong game at Oregon but can't close it in the final minutes. … A game after failing to score as the team ended a long streak of games with a 3-pointer, Angie Bjorklund (University) hits all five shots, including four 3's, and a pair of free throws as Tennessee humiliates Alabama. … Lyndi Seidenstick (Lewis and Clark) had a strong game in Montana State romp and Katie Baker (Lake City) had a strong game in Montana loss.

Six hours to kickoff

We're busy making a “Go Eags” sign because TSA confiscated Ralph's big red foam finger Wednesday following a routine patdown.

WHL trade deadline looming

Circumstances kept me from providing you Spokane Chief fans the story that ran in the Friday morning paper in advance of tonight's game with Lethbridge and Saturday's visit from Everett. The question is, with the Chiefs playing so well, do they make a move before Monday afternoon's trade deadline? The headline says “Chiefs figure to stand pat.” The part that was cut from the end of the story said: “So the probably that the rebuilding Chiefs would be sellers, maybe moving Cowen to strengthen the foundation for the future as once thought, though still possible seems more and more unlikely. No doubt general manager Tim Speltz is talking to a lot of contemporaries, but what do the Chiefs need? More importantly what does the coach/chemist want and who would he be willing to give up?”  I imagine time will really drag for the players until 2 p.m. on Monday. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, the Chiefs announced the broadcast plans for the outdoor game,w hich is just a week away.

Game Day: Let’s kick it!

Less than six hours until the NCAA Division I Championship football game between EWU and Delaware kicks off Pizza Hut Park here in Frisco, Texas.  I just strolled over to the park, where the vendors are setting up shop. The tailgating should start shortly, and I hope to see a few of the former Eastern players who are supposed to be here.

Ran into former Buck Buchanana Award winner Greg Peach, who at the banquet last night when Eagles linebacker J.C. Sherritt picked up this year's Buchanan Award.  In case you missed it, here's the link to story on Sherritt.

In addition, you can read the game advance that ran in Friday morning' s S-R here, you can see what columnist John Blanchette wrote about the upcoming game here, and you can check out the latest Walter Brother installment of their Road to Frisco series here.

I've also included this link to a EWU notebook that ran in this morning's S-R, and this link to all things Eastern.

WSU’s win over Oregon State from a different perspective

COUGARS

We – meaning most readers and myself – have a difference of opinion when it comes to Washington State's home games not being televised, as was the case with last night's 84-70 win over Oregon State. You folks hate it. We like it. If you want to know why, read on.

Slow start to the day

Day 2 of our journey to Texas has left one of us feeling a little ill on Day 3. Nothing a Gas-X, two Tylenol and a good plate of ribs can't fix.

Vandal men stifle Hawaii

Hawaii came into last night 8-1 at home and as the WAC's best 3-pointing shooting team. But Idaho squelched the Warriors' long-range attack and came up with a satisfying 59-44 road win. The Vandals moved to 8-6 and 2-1 in the WAC after holding their second straight opponent to under 50 points.

Read on for more.

Subtle change helps WSU hold off OSU

COUGARS

It happened against Baylor in Hawaii, but WSU was able to hold on. It happened against Butler and the Cougars couldn't. It happened against UCLA in the Pac-10 opener for another defeat. But Thursday, when it looked as Washington State might cough up a big early lead in the second half, coach Ken Bone found an answer. And WSU had it's first Pac-10 win of the year, 84-70 over Oregon State. Read on.

WSU leads 42-30 at half

COUGARS

The Cougars are wearing their gray uniforms tonight, a color usually reserved for the road team – in baseball at least. And WSU is shooting as if it's on the road, and for the Cougars this year, that's a good thing. As we documented in our story this morning, for some weird reason WSU has shot markedly better from long range on the road. Well, tonight the Cougars have hit half of their 14 3-point attempts. Klay Thompson (3 of 6 from 3) leads with 13 points, but Faisal Aden (2 of 3) is right behind with 12 – and three fouls. Reggie Moore has nine points and five assists. WSU's biggest problem is turnovers (eight) and a lack of aggressiveness at times. The Beavers seemed to be figuring out WSU's defense – after starting in a 2-3 zone, the Cougars switched to man with about 13 minutes left and stayed with it – late in the half and scored the half's final six points. That helped cut WSU's once 19-point lead (41-22) to the 12-point halftime edge. More afterward.

Countdown to the big one

FRISCO, TEXAS, US of A — All day long, the anticipation weighed on us. Would we be ready? Were we up to the challenge?

Not the big game. That's tomorrow, when our beloved alma mater, Eastern Washington University plays the University of Delaware in the Football Championship Subdivision title game.

No, what we were nervous about was the big burger.

WSU vs. OSU in about an hour

COUGARS

We have some news in our pregame post – I know, a shock, huh? – so we won't waste any time. We already have wasted enough catching up with some old sports writing friends. Read on.

No match

Dinner: The El Jefe Grande from Kenny's Burger Joint in Frisco, Texas. Seven pounds, 7,000 calories and still the champion. (Here's what's left of it.)

EWU season in photos

Eastern was perfect on the red turf at Roos Stadium this season. Click here for a look back, in photos, at the success the Eagles enjoyed at home.

Lopina signs with AFL San Jose

Former Washington State University quarterback Kevin Lopina has signed with the San Jose SaberCats of the AFL.

Lopina will likely back up AFL veteran Mark Grieb, a two-time ArenaBowl MVP. In 2008, Lopina completed 87 of 153 passes for 841 yards, with 11 interceptions and 0 touchdowns. In 2009, Lopina was 54 of 103 for 596 yards, with three interceptions and two touchdowns.

San Jose entertains Spokane to open the 2011 season on Friday, March 11.

EWU’s Sherritt captures Buchanan Award

Eastern Washington University's senior linebacker and two-time All-American J.C. Sherritt has been named the winner of the 2010 Buck Buchanan Award as the Football Championship Subdivision's top defensive player.

Sherritt, who finished second in last year's Buchanan voting, was to be honored at a banquet later this evening in Frisco, Texas., where he and his Eastern teammates will take on Delaware in Friday's NCAA Division I Championship at Pizza Hut Park.

You can see an early Associated Press story on Sherritt's award here, but be sure to check back later for more details, along with a look ahead toward Friday's title matchup and a notebook dealing with other related issues — including the latest update on EWU's injured running back Taiwan Jones.

 

Breaking news from Dallas

While crashing in our room snacking on Cheetos, these reporters learned (by way of ESPN) that the Dallas Cowboys might retain interim coach Jason Garrett. (Actually I'm not 100 percent sure … Jess changed the channel to Judge Joe Brown.)

No worries

Just watched Delaware's practice … frankly we're not worried one bit. They don't even wear helmets or pads.

Harris, Gray trimmed from Wooden list

Gonzaga's Elias Harris and Steven Gray made the Wooden preseason Top 50 watch list, but they weren't on the mid-season Top 30 list, which was released today. Find the Top 30 here.

WSU's Klay Thompson made the Top 30, as did Washington's Isaiah Thomas.

Strip malls and parking lots

What a view from our deluxe suite. Makes the Tri-Cities look like Maui.

Women’s basketball & the Walter brothers

It's time to prepare you for the first full weekend of women's basketball conference games, but I'm going to take a detour first.

What a great morning to wake up to the first installment of the Fabulous (not) Baker Boys trip Frisco, Texas, as they follow the Eagles for the FCS champions game. I'm thrilled for the Eastern Washington football team and can't wait for the championship game - the only downside is that is no longer my beat. The upside is I get to enjoy it through the eyes of EWU alumns and my good friends Ralph and Jess Walter. You can read the first installment of their roadtrip and keeping checking to read their updates on the Road to Frisco. That also gives you the opportunity to go back in time for their trip to Kansas City when the Eagles made the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in 2004. You'll know why Jess is a great author and wonder what Ralph does for a living besides caddy for Jess. Enjoy

Now, back to basketball. Keep reading.

View from Portland, around the WCC

The start of the WCC season means a wider selection of stories around the conference. My WCC preview ran in today's S-R (uncut version is in the previous post).

Elsewhere, Portland, Gonzaga's opponent on Saturday, won 12 pre-conference games; Saint Mary's, which ranks in the top 10 nationally in seven offensive categories, has found another scoring option, Santa Clara lost a scoring option (it's a couple of items down); a ranking of Bay Area teams, and San Diego needs a boost of confidence.

Thursday Prep Page

Here's our first Prep Page for 2011. Click the tab below to check out the stories.

Earlybird special

Hooked up with real sportswriters last night, but in this town, bars close at 11, convenience stores quit selling beer at midnight and, as our friend Steve Bergum said, “How could George Bush have gotten a DUI in this place?”

Thrilled to not be hung over this morning, but not sure how I feel about these Whataburger meatsweats…

Brothers save school spirit for big game

By Jess and Ralph Walter

Correspondents

CANTINA GRILL, DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – This fall, my brother and I had a secret.

We were in love.

Uh … not with each other. Or at least no more than usual.

No, we were in love with our alma mater’s football team.

A quiet morning at WSU

COUGARS

There's a reason we rarely tweet about upcoming radio interviews and the like. You just never know if it's going to work out. Take today for instance. We were supposed to be on a Seattle station at 7:30 a.m. If we had tweeted that information last night, at least two of you would have tried to listen. But we weren't on. They ran out of time (priorities, right?). So those two poor guys would have been disappointed. And we don't like to disappoint our readers (more than we already do with our writing). By the way, does anyone think we'll ever say yes again? Have we mentioned we're Sicilian? But, oh well, it is no big deal. We'll just move on to all the basketball news from Washington State and the football information from around the conference. Read on.

Waking up in Frisco without a hangover

Arrived in Frisco, Texas, last night about 11:15 and went straight to the hotel to check in.

Big mistake.  Huge!  Because after dropping off our bags in our rooms we headed back out to find a burger and beer — only to learn that every bar AND convenience story in the weird little community just north of Dallas shuts down at midnight.

Never thought I would say it, but thank you, Whattaburger.  At least I didn't go to bed hungry — just sober AND angry.

But the morning has dawned, leaving me in much better spirits, mainly because of this hilarious piece, written by a couple of my favorite  Eastern Washington alums, who are following the Eagles on this last leg of their unlikely journey to Friday's championship game of the FCS playoffs.  I've also included this link ot the feature story I did on EWU's twin brother Zach and Matt Johnson.

That's it for now. There are luncheons and practice sessions to attend this afternoon, followed by an awards banquet tonight, where Eagles linebacker J.C. Sherritt just might pick up some hardware as the nation's best defensive player.  We'll see, and report back when we officially learn the winner of this year's Buck Buchanan Award.

GU: Nothing easy about WCC grind

With Gonzaga a few days away from its conference opener against Portland, I put together a look at the WCC for the debut of the Four Corners page that will run every Thursday in the S-R.

Gonzaga has won 10 straight WCC titles, tied for the second longest streak in NCAA history behind UCLA's 13-year run (1967-79), but the Zags don't expect an easy path to No. 11.

Read on for more.

More on WSU’s Moore and the weekend

COUGARS

OK, we have more on the Reggie Moore situation – bottom line, he hasn't been suspended for tomorrow's game with Oregon State – and a preview of the upcoming weekend. Both are on the link, so read on.

Dillon returns to Shock

Charles Dillon, the former Washington State Cougar receiver who helped Spokane win the 2009 arenafootball2 title, is back with the Shock.

Dillon was with the Green Bay Packers, registering eight receptions in preseason games, before being released. Dillon will be reunited with former WSU teammate, Michael Bumpus, who recently signed with the Shock..

To make room for Dillon on the roster, Spokane released WR D.J. Hall.

More here.

WSU’s Moore cited for marijuana possession

COUGARS

We will have a story for tomorrow's S-R on the importance of this weekend, but we have one piece of news for you right now, so read on.

Walter brothers depart

WE'RE OFF!
We're just two cramped flights, two airports and a rental car away from Frisco, Texas! I'm decamped here at the airport bar while Ralph goes through the TSA line for his fourth pat down. 
Go Eags! Go hot TSA agent!

G-Prep boys top University

Had my first chance to see the University boys play Tuesday. Amazing the Titans still were in the game despite 27 turnovers. If they can curb some of those unforced errors in their run-and-gun attack, they could give some teams fits.

Here's my game story. G-Prep senior Parker Kelly is pictured above.

I caught half of the Gonzaga Prep/U-Hi girls game. The Titans will be a team to reckon with down the road as well. Here's our GSL girls roundup.

Some answers from WSU

COUGARS

It is less than a month until football's letter-of-intent day, so it's no wonder there were a couple recruiting questions on the blog yesterday. We don't have all the answers but we can add a few things, so read on.

Delaware QB one of nation’s best

Just a hunch, here, but I'm thinking Eastern Washington' s defense is going to have its hands full dealing with Delaware's Pat Devlin.

Read more about the Blue Hens' 6-foot-4 quarterback, who transferred from Penn State two years ago here, and tell us what you think.

Conference season set to start

Gonzaga, Eastern Washington and Idaho start conference play this week with tough games, the subject of our women's basketball notebook.

Gonzaga women get national notice

When it comes to Gonzaga women's basketball, recognition starts at point guard with Courtney Vandersloot leading the NCAA in assists again. But as Graham Hays of ESPN.com points out, it's the seamless transition that Katelan Redmon and Kayla Standish have made to convert those passes that has the Bulldogs rolling along.

Red turf investment pays off for former EWU standout

Former Eastern Washington University all-American Michael Roos didn't have to wait long for the $500,000 investment he made in his alma mater's Red Turf Project to pay off.

You can read what Roos had to say about Eastern's magical run to Friday's championship game of this year's Football Championship Subdivision playoffs in this story that ran in Tuesday morning' s S-R. I've also included this link to the list of former EWU players planning to join Roos and his wife, Katherine, at title game in Frisco, Texas.

 And check back for links to more stories leading up to the championship game.

   

Johnson honored by WHL

Spokane native Tyler Johnson is the Western Hockey League Player of the Month for December. The Spokane Chiefs center, tied for second in the league in scoring, had  11 goals and 11 assists in 12 games.

A somewhat busy Tuesday from WSU

COUGARS

There is a lot to get to this morning, odd considering it is a Tuesday, which is usually the quiet day of the week. But there rarely is a Monday night in which a Pac-10 team looked as good as Stanford did last night. Read on.

Gonzaga women clip Thunderbirds

Gonzaga hammers Southern Utah 102-61, the Bulldogs' fourth century, with five players in double figures, led by Courtney Vandersloot with 20 points and 16 assists, her eighth double-double. Back shortly with a link to the story. Former Bulldog assistants J.R. Payne and Toriano Towns, Southern Utah's wife-husband team, are impressed, considering they were in on the ground floor of Gonzaga's build up to this point.

Cowen to play for gold

Spokane Chiefs captain Jared Cowen will play for a gold medal as Team Canada whipped Team USA 4-1 at World Junior Tournament in Buffalo. Team Canada plays Russia on Wednesday.

Interesting Monday in women’s basketball

Getting ready for what we hope is a good game … but won't bet on it because the Gonzaga women are so disappointing at home. OK, that's not fair. I'm being facetious The GU women are really good at home, many of the games are disappointing. Hopefully Southern Utah will put up a good fight tonight at McCarthey. GAme time is 6 p.m.

We'll talk about that in moment, but first, Gonzaga's Kayla Standish (above left in GU photo) gets her second WCC Player of the Week award, who replaces UConn at No. 1 in the AP poll and Charle Creme of ESPN has his latest bracketology with a couple of interesting twists predicted for Spokane, which we'll also discuss below.

GSL scoring leaders

Well, it's been a while since we last checked in. To get the new year off right, I calculated Greater Spokane League scoring leaders this morning.

Click the tab below to see.

I would have guessed who the girls' leader was but wouldn't have pegged the boys' leader.

Chiefs’ Tri-City game rescheduled

Here is the WHL release:

The Western Hockey League announced today the date for the re-scheduled game between Spokane and Tri-City.  The two Clubs met on Friday, December 31 in Tri-City, in a game that was postponed early in the 2nd period due to poor ice conditions that made it unsafe for the players to continue to play on.  

The date for the re-scheduled Spokane @ Tri-City game will be Monday, February 21, at 7:05 pm at Toyota Center in Tri-City.

The WHL also advised that the February 21 game will be re-played in entirety, with both Clubs able to dress their best rosters available.  Statistical information from the December 31 postponed game will be removed from the WHL records.”

Day after Wake Forest

A shorter-than-usual day-after post from Gonzaga's 73-63 road victory over Wake Forest.

First, the links: Game recaps in the S-R, Winston-Salem Journal and A.P.

The latest rankings are out: GU picked up a couple more votes in each poll, but remain outside the Top 25. The Bulldogs received seven points in the A.P. poll and 12 in the coaches' poll. Saint Mary's has one more point than Gonzaga in each poll.

As those who follow this blog know, on rare occasions I'll post NCAA Tournament projections so here's the latest ones from ESPN.com. GU is projected as an eight seed, to face No. 9 North Carolina in Cleveland. Saint Mary's (a 10 seed) and Portland (13) also are projected to make the field.

Read on.

No school but WSU still learning

COUGARS

As we begin a week with no school in Pullman and the first Pac-10 home games of the new year, we stop a while and look around. All we see is snow. A pile here, a mountain of it there. Snowboarding is great, but driving? That's a little dicey. Anyhow, we have Washington State news and links, so read on.

Good weekend for Chiefs, Cowen

Quick weekend update … Spokane Chiefs captain Jared Cowen and Team Canada face Team USA in the world junior semifinals on Monday … The Chiefs got an impressive Western Hockey League win at Kelowna on New Year's Day, led by Levko Koper's hat trick … The New Year's Eve tilt at Tri-City ended early in the second period because of bad ice (nice picture Rene, maybe I better get a this century phone to help with my reporting).

UConn bounced in this vote

For the first time in more than two years, I have a new No. 1 atop my women's basketball Top 25 vote. It took a lot to pull out the eraser, but the bottom line is Baylor lost to UConn by 1, UConn lost to a team that lost to DePaul, which lost to traditionally good but unranked Purdue and Arizona State … it's difficult to judge the wins and losses but it does make the UConn streak even more impressive, just being on top of your game enough to avoid an upset game in and game out.

Almost every league that didn't start league play in the last week starts league play this coming week. Gonzaga gets the last non-league game on Monday, facing a decent Southern Utah team coached by  J.R. Payne (and associate head coach Toriano Towns), both former Zag assistants - Payne played for Kelly Graves at Saint Mary's. The 9-5 Thunderbirds could be the last tough test for the Zags, 11-4, unless you count bordom, considering the WCC hasn't exactly shown too well against quality competition.

Before you get to the vote … Washington State falls to No. 8 UCLA … Tennessee was on TV, beating LSU, but Angie Bjorklund didn't score for the Vols, who didn't make a 3-pointer for the first time in like 422 games.

GU beats Wake Forest for sixth win in row

Here's more on Gonzaga's 73-63 win over Wake Forest on Sunday, GU's sixth straight victory.

Read on.

Zags pull away from Wake Forest

Gonzaga earned its sixth straight men’s basketball victory, using a strong second half to pull away from Wake Forest 73-63 on Sunday at Joel Coliseum.

Steven Gray, in his best performance since returning from back spasms three games ago, led Gonzaga with 18 points, five rebounds and five assists. Rob Sacre (13), Mathis Keita (12) and Elias Harris (13) also reached double figures. Demetri Goodson added eight points and four assists.

The Bulldogs outscored the Demon Deacons 37-28 in the second half. GU (10-5) led by 13 but the Demon Deacons rallied when Gray picked up his fourth foul with 6:35 left. Wake Forest quickly pulled within 62-58, but GU responded with a 9-1 run (Sacre five points, Gray two and Harris two) to ice the victory.

Wake Forest's Travis McKie scored just one point in the second half and finished with 16 points.

More in about 90 minutes.

EWU seniors: Small numbers, big results

Though small in numbers and big-name stars, the senior class on this year's Eastern Washington University has lead the Eagles to new heights.

You can read Sunday's S-R feature story on the remaining members of EWU's 2006 recruiting class that will play its final game in Friday's NCAA Division I Championship in Frisco, Texas, here.  And you can see the notes on the upcoming title game that were posted by Eastern's sports information department here.

In addition, I've included this link what the Big Sky Conference website has on Friday's FCS playoff finale.

View from N.C.

GU-Wake Forest previews in the Winston-Salem Journal, Charlotte Observer and Sports Network. Reminder: In-game updates at Twitter.com/srjimm.

Quick turnaround for Gonzaga

Back with my game preview of Sunday's GU-Wake Forest game. The Demon Deacons are struggling, but they have been pretty efficient offensively (45.8% FG, 42.6% 3-pointers, 75.9% FT), but they averaged nearly five more turnovers per game than assists. Wake opponents are also scoring nearly 75 points per game. 

Here's a link to the article that will run in Sunday's S-R.

Blast from the past: The Road to Cheney

December 2, 2004: Nine kinds of meat add local flavor

What the hell are we doing out here again?

With Eastern Washington University's football team playing Sam Houston State in the second round of the NCAA I-AA playoffs, the editors have recommissioned my brother Ralph (EWU class of '91) and me (class of '87) to reprise the road trip we took last year to Kansas City with the historic men's basketball team.

Only this time, we're going to … Cheney?

OK. But we usually prefer a little more road in our road trips.

Blast from the past: The Road to KC

March 14, 2004: EWU alums flying high over tourney pick

Now the real selection process begins: Fly or drive?

There never was any doubt we were going. For years, my brother Ralph and I had promised each other that if our alma mater, Eastern Washington University, somehow made it to the NCAA men's basketball tournament, we would find a way to go.

Last week, when the Eagles won the Big Sky Conference tournament, Ralph (EWU class of '91) and I (class of '87) spontaneously raced down from the relaxed waistband section of Reese Court to storm the floor and take our place among the body-painted students, where we raised our hands, jumped in place and screamed.

Day after Oklahoma State

Good morning. I hope everyone had a happy and safe New Year's celebration. The Zags' celebration of their 73-52 win over Oklahoma State probably didn't last too long. They were on a bus this morning at 6:50 for their charter flight across the country and a date with Wake Forest on Sunday morning.

One note before I get to the day-after post. Freshman guard Keegan Hyland has left the program, coach Mark Few confirmed. Hyland has requested his release to at least a couple of schools, and I'm guessing those are located back East. Hyland is from Portland, Maine.

Hyland has rarely practiced in the first three months of the season. He had a knee problem early in fall camp and was later sidelined by a concussion. He didn't appear in a game. It was probably going to be a difficult task for a healthy Hyland to crack into the rotation with GU's options at guard/wing (Gray, Goodson, Carter, Stockton, Arop, Hart, Keita, Monninghoff, etc.) and with a guard-heavy 2011 class.

Onward. The links: My game story, John Blanchette's column (I couldn't find S-R photo gallery, other than this shot of Sacre and Arop blocking a shot), and game recaps in the Daily Oklahoman and Tulsa World..

Read on for my day-after post.

WSU’s loss to USC, one day later

COUGARS

Here's a suggestion for you. If you want to get a good night's sleep on New Year's Eve – you know, you've been on the road working and just want to sleep? – then don't spend the night in a hotel. Some call New Year's Eve “Amateur Night.” Here, it was “Loud People in a Hotel Night.” How many times can one guy yell “on Wisconsin” at 1 in the morning anyway? I lost count at 11. Anyhow, we have your day-after post from Los Angeles, so read on.

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Jim Allen (@srjimallen) Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

Recent work by Chris

Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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