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Archive for February 2012

Bring on the state tournaments

I made it over SNOWqualmie Pass this afternoon. Slow going, but a safe trip thankfully.

I'll be at all the State 4A and 3A boys and girls basketball games involving our local teams. I will tweet as often as possible. You can follow at: srpreps.

If you want to follow the Seattle/Tacoma media, try: @DougPaceyTNT and @masonkelley

First tip Thursday involves the Central Valley girls at 9 a.m.

REMINDE: If you haven't voted in one of the two polls I posted earlier this week, please do so. We have well over 500 votes in the poll asking how the small schools will fare at state and more than 400 votes in the poll asking how the bigger schools will fare.

Which teams can take state?

I'll post a similar poll about our area small schools in a day or so. The poll I posted last week about regionals drew more than 1,000 votes. Pictured above is Central Valley junior Austin Rehkow driving against Richland in a 4A regional game Friday. Click the tab below to see the pairings for all the state tournaments. This is the last time I'll re-post this at the top of SportsLink.. 

How about the smaller schools?

Here's a poll question for our smaller boys and girls basketball teams. This is the last time I'll re-post this at the top of SportsLink.

A win-win for Eagles, fans

Eastern Washington's rousing Senior Night win last night over Idaho State (check out Dan Pelle's great photo essay here) was not only a big win for the program and first-year head coach Jim Hayford, it means that fans will get one more chance to see seniors Cliff Colimon, Laron Griffin, Cliff Ederaine and Tremayne Johnson. The tip-off for the quarterfinal against ISU is at 2 p.m. Saturday at Reese Court, and tickets may be obtained at www.goeags.com or by calling 1-800-325-7328.         

Hey snow, you can leap this

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Around the Inland Northwest, there is a lot of truth to the old saw about March coming in like a lion. And this year did not disappoint. Here it is, the first day of March and there's more snow … wait, what? Leap year? Really. Another damn day of winter? Great. … Anyway, here it is, the final day of Februrary – if Kim is to be believed – and there's more snow on the ground. Though some people connected to our local college basketball programs get to escape to Southern California or Las Vegas this week, land of sunshine, bright lights and Double-Doubles, some of us will be shoveling snow and hoping spring hurries up and gets here. Of course, it will only take longer if the powers-that-be continue adding days to February.  Read on.

Call this Turmoil Wednesday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Yes, turmoil. Not for Washington State. But for a couple other teams around the conference — particularly UCLA — Tuesday's news isn't great. Regardless, we pass it along after the jump.

Chiefs beat Victoria, end two-game slide

After back-to-back losses to Portland and Tri-City, the Spokane Chiefs scored a 4-2 victory on the road over the Victoria Royals on Tuesday night. Details from the game are below.

Also, in case you missed it, here's a feature on Chiefs import forward Dominik Uher - who came a long way to play hockey in America.

Four Zags honored as All-WCC women’s team announced

Following the Gonzaga University women’s basketball team’s eighth straight West Coast Conference title victory, the individual accolades started flowing in. Read on to find out which of the Zags made the All-West Coast Conference team and what's in store this week for Washington State, Eastern Washington and Idaho this week.

Tuesdays with Ken Bone

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — There were a couple of news items to come out of Ken Bone's press conference today, so we'll get right to it. Hop on over to the jump to read more.

Sacre, Harris, Pangos, Bell honored by WCC

The conference office just released its All-WCC team and the four individual awards and Gonzaga was well represented on both.

Senior center Robert Sacre was named Defensive Player of the Year and freshman guard Kevin Pangos was voted Newcomer of the Year. Saint Mary's guard Matthew Dellavedova was selected Player of the Year and Loyola Marymount's Max Good was Coach of the Year.

Sacre, Pangos and Elias Harris made the 10-player All-WCC team. GU's Gary Bell Jr. joined Pangos on the five-member All-Freshman team.

The teams and awards are voted on by the WCC's nine head coaches.

All-WCC teams/awards listed below. More here later.

Day after Longwood

The Bulldogs accomplished pretty much all of their objectives last night, pummeling Longwood 92-60, distributing playing time to everyone on the roster and celebrating a no-stress sendoff for seniors Robert Sacre and Marquise Carter.

The links: My game story, Colin Mulvany's photos and  A.P.

(Programming note: All-WCC teams will be announced later today around noon.)

Read on for my day-after post.

Huge night for Eagles

If the Eastern men's basketball team wants to stay at home, it needs to win tonight against Idaho State in order to stay there tonight for an even bigger game Saturday - the Big Sky Conference quarterfinals. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. at Reese Court.

Noon, really?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Really, we were going to bide our time on this subject. Wait until next week to vent. But you can't always control the news cycle. Sometimes your hand is forced by an outside entity. So you have to move before you're ready. Read on.

A busy Tuesday begins with links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — There's plenty to do in the next 48 hours. But Tuesday's morning post is always like the calm before the storm — not a ton of reading material, but just enough to prepare myself for another busy week ahead. Read on, if that's your thing.

Zags send seniors out in style

Gonzaga got contributions from its entire roster in a 92-60 rout of Longwood on Senior Night on Monday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Marquise Carter had 13 points and five assists and Robert Sacre added five points and six rebounds as Gonzaga improved to 24-5 heading into the WCC Tournament.

My unedited game story is below. I'll have a day-after post in the morning.

A few Gonzaga women’s notes

Following their 77-60 win over Brigham Young on Saturday to clinch their eighth consecutive West Coast Conference title, the Gonzaga women's basketball team moved up three spots to No. 22 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll on Monday. Also, seniors Katelan Redmon and Shannon Reader were honored.

Redmon was named WCC Player of the Week  for the second time this season after finishing with 28 points and seven rebounds in Gonzaga's win over BYU, while Reader was named to the WCC women’s basketball All-Academic Team. Reader, who has played in 21 games, holds a 3.26 GPA in public relations.

Gonzaga heads to the WCC tournament in Las Vegas as the No. 1 seed and will play Saturday at noon against No. 4 Saint Mary’s College, No. 5 Pepperdine University, No. 8 University of San Francisco, or No. 9 Loyola Marymount University.

Harris honored; GU just outside Top 25

Gonzaga junior forward Elias Harris has been named the West Coast Conference player of the week after averaging a double-double in two games last week. Harris had 19 points and 16 rebounds in a victory over BYU and came back with seven points and 12 boards in a win over San Diego.

Harris has 10 double-doubles this season. He’s averaging 11 rebounds over GU’s last nine games.  

—A 2-0 week inched Gonzaga closer to the Top 25. The Bulldogs sit at 26th in the A.P. and ESPN/USA Today rankings.

Second-seeded Gonzaga opens the WCC Tournament in the semifinals Saturday at approximately 8 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

Saint Mary’s, the top seed in the WCC Tournament, is No. 21 in ESPN/USA Today, 28th in A.P. Third-seeded BYU is receiving votes in A.P.

UPDATE: Mike Hart and Shannon Reader earned WCC all-academic honors. More here.

It’s high school state tourney time

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Really contemplated just sleeping in until about noon today. After the weekend we had in Spokane – there is about a foot of snow on my back deck, though that's mostly in a pile pushed up against the railing due to the wind – and the probable lack of news to pass along, I thought it would be permissible to just skip out on my morning post. But after heading downstairs to let the dog out and seeing the beautiful weather – bright sunshine reflected on pristine snow – it was easy to sit down in front of the computer. Now if there were just more news to pass along. Read on.

Last Monday of the season

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Some more snow tonight, but the Honda managed to make it all the way to my apartment building last night, so all is well. We have a couple Pac-12 games to recap on our last Monday of the regular season, so read on.

Sacre, Carter await Senior Night

The final home game for Gonzaga seniors Robert Sacre and Marquise Carter arrives Monday night when Longwood visits the MAC. The Lancers are a Division I independent from Farmville, Va. joining the Big South Conference next year.

I chatted with both seniors and coach Mark Few after the USD game Saturday and put together this article for Monday's S-R.

In case you missed it earlier, here's my day-after San Diego post.

Day after San Diego

Good afternoon. You know how you plan some trips out and they go off without a hitch. This wasn't one of those trips.

From lousy wireless (shouldn't that be a non-issue in this age of technology?) to blog posts that literally vanished into hyperspace, not to mention a reporter's notebook stuffed with play-by-play from GU-BYU and GU-USD as well as extensive breakdowns of Elias Harris' last nine games and David Stockton's last five that is somewhere in a seat pouch on an Alaska Airlines plane, it's been an adventure. No worries, we made it home, and the wireless works fine. 

We'll post the day-after San Diego now and  check back later for a look at GU's two seniors, Robert Sacre and Marquise Carter, as they prepare for their last game at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

First the links: My game story and the San Diego Union-Tribune's gamer, My game story has the seeding and pairings for the WCC Tournament (You'll note the game times for the second games of the night sessions are listed as 8:15. the league office lists them at 8 but with a 30-minute break after the conclusion of the 6 p.m. contest, the nightcaps generally start between 8:15-8:30).

Elsewhere, Saint Mary's did what Gonzaga couldn't do last Saturday. The Gaels beat San Francisco to wrap up an outright WCC title and their post-game celebration left as least one Dons player fuming. BYU, without Noah Hartsock, secured the third seed with a win over Portland. LMU downed Santa Clara, which finished 0-16 in WCC play. 

Read on..

Sometimes even winning isn’t winning

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Well, that wasn't a good night if you are a local men's college basketball fan. Unless, of course, your team of choice is Whitworth. Because, on this Saturday, the only local college team that really won was the Pirates. Read on.

WSU, the next morning

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We have some links on the day after WSU's 59-55 loss to Washington.

EWU women fall to Idaho State

There is still plenty of women’s basketball left for Eastern Washington this season, but it won’t be played at Reese Court. Jim Allen has this game story from the Eagles' loss to Idaho State on Saturday afternoon.

Gonzaga women win eighth straight West Coast Conference title

It was the final West Coast Conference regular-season contest for the No. 25 Gonzaga women’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon, and in fighting for outright ownership of the title they had won for the previous seven years against a team that defeated them by 30 points earlier this month, the Bulldogs scored a 77-60 win over Brigham Young to capture their eighth consecutive WCC championship in front of a sold-out crowd of 6,000 at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

You can read my game story here.

The game that was: Washington 59, WSU 55

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We have our postgame overview of Washington State's tough 59-55 loss here to Washington. Read on.

Zags hold off USD; Gaels win title

I've posted my unedited game story below from Gonzaga's win over San Diego.

UPDATE: Saint Mary's defeated San Francisco 67-60 at War Memorial Gym, giving the Gaels an outright WCC title and ending Gonzaga's streak of consecutive titles at 11. Gonzaga was likely chartering back to Spokane when the SMC-USF game went final.

Gonzaga had its hands full with Bill Grier's improving San Diego squad. The Zags scored the last eight points for a 65-57 victory Saturday.

—Below, at the very bottom, I've put together a list of the WCC seeds and pairings for the tournament.

Pregame from Beasley, one last time

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — A small amount of snow covers the ground here, and a road closure in Spokane has made that trek a bit more difficult. Still, an electric atmosphere is building already here. We have some thoughts before the Cougars face the Huskies.

Don’t plan too much for today

A GRIP ON SPORTS

What is it about Saturday mornings this time of year? If you want to spend your day cleaning out the garage or showshoeing on Mt. Spokane or golfing in Phoenix, don't click the link. By the time you are done, you'll only have enough time to shower, shave and shine your shoes before heading to dinner and a movie. But who really wants to clean the garage? So go ahead and read on.

It’s that time again

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — The students are camping outside Beasley as we speak (type? read?). It's senior night. The Huskies are in town. Should be a fun one tonight. More  good news: We have plenty of reading for you to start it off.

Senior spotlight: Neil Stover

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Our senior spotlight series concludes with a cool story about a guy whose name may not be known by many of you. But he's been an essential part of the WSU program the last five years. He's Neil Stover, the team's head manager.

Senior spotlight: Faisal Aden

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Our senior spotlight series continues with a look at the career of Faisal Aden.

Utah State blasts Idaho in Logan

The Vandals couldn't have asked for a more promising start Friday at Utah State. The last 25 minutes of game action, though, couldn't have been worse.

Idaho's 15-point lead melted quickly on Senior Night in Logan, and the Vandals were manhandled in the second half of a 67-50 loss.

Our recap for the paper is below.

Day after BYU, day before San Diego

Any later and this would have been the first day after day-after post, or something like that. But we're back with a day-after BYU post and a quick look at Saturday's game against surprising San Diego.

It's a shorter-than-usual day-after post following Gonzaga’s 74-63 win over BYU last night, the main reason being there's a vast amount of information contained in the numerous articles from the game. The links: S-R game story, Blanchette column, Anderson photos (of course he got Elias Harris' one-hand jam; pictured above). Elsewhere, articles in the Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, A.P. and Seattle Times. Here's the rundown on seeding/tiebreakers/scenarios, etc., from the WCC office.

 

Read on below for more.

Rathdrum angler skunked on opening of Bassmaster Classic

TOURNAMENT FISHING — Brandon Palaniuk, 24, of Rathdrum, Idaho, had a horrible start among the 50 select anglers who roared off this morning to start the 2012 Bassmaster Classic on the Red River near Shreveport-Bossier City, La.

The weigh-in has just been completed, and Palaniuk is the only angler in the field who caught no fish.

He's in last place after Day 1. I don't have a report on what happened.

See more details on Rich Landers' Outdoors Blog.

Senior spotlight: Abe Lodwick and Charlie Enquist

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Our senior spotlight series continues with a look at the careers of close friends and roommates Abe Lodwick and Charlie Enquist.

Eagles are in, and hope for more

With a huge road win last night, Eastern Washington clinched a spot in the Big Sky Conference tournament. We told you that much in this morning's paper, but not the reason, which are losses the same night by Northern Colorado and Sacramento State.

The Kennel’s magic is alive and well

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Behold the power of the Kennel. Gonzaga obviously didn't play all that well Thursday night, giving up a battalion of offensive rebounds and turning the ball over 20 times, but they still defeated visiting Brigham Young by 11. That, my friends, is the power of the Kennel. Read on.

On the eve of game day, we have links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — At 5 p.m. tonight, students can begin lining up for the campout outside Beasley Coliseum. Twenty-four hours after that, the Cougars will tip-off against the Huskies. About five seconds from now, you'll be reading this morning's links.

Gonzaga downs BYU, 74-63

Gonzaga earned a season split with BYU with a 74-63 victory Thursday in front of a packed house at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Elias Harris led the way with 19 points and 16 rebounds and Kevin Pangos added 18 points as the Bulldogs made 36 free throws and limiited BYU to 31-percent shooting.

The victory assures GU of at least a second seed and a bye into the semifinal round of the WCC Tournament.

Here's a link to my game story. Check back tomorrow for a day-after post and a short preview of the San Diego game.

Senior spotlight: Marcus Capers

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — As I conducted interviews this week with each of WSU's outgoing seniors, I realized the insights and memories they shared were just too good not to print. And there's no way I'm getting everything they said into my story for Saturday's newspaper. So I decided to dedicate a blog post to each of them leading up to Saturday's home finale against  Washington. We'll start with Marcus Capers.

GU, BYU ready for showdown

Gonzaga and BYU are going through pre-game warmups at the MAC with tip about 45 minutes away. BYU's Noah Hartsock, who strained his knee in Saturday's win over Santa Clara, is suited up and warming up with a brace/sleeve on his left knee. It looks like he will play.

In-game updates at Twitter.com/srjimm.

Akey says Gesser will be Idaho’s new OC

Jason Gesser, the 32-year-old former Washington State quarterback, is the new offensive coordinator at Idaho.

We've got all the details below, including lots of quotes from Robb Akey and Gesser.

Thursday Prep Page

Here's our Thursday prep-related stories.

I need to pass along an apology to the Gonzaga Prep girls basketball team. I didn't list the Bullpups regional game in our story today. It was a mistake of omission. It wasn't on purpose - regardless of the emails I've received to the contrary. Fun job at times.

Gonzaga Prep takes on Olympia on Saturday at 6 at Spokane Falls Community College.

Zech Martin has arguably been University's most consistent player.

The Post Falls wrestling team is favored to capture the Idaho 5A state championship this weekend. Pictured above at practice are Cole Jesienouski and Nathan McLeod. Both are seeded No. 1 at their weights.

Area boys and girls basketball teams a win away from state berth.

BYU, GU face off in WCC’s newest rivalry

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I'm sorry, but I don't get it. How does dressing up in a dark suit and tie for a basketball game constitute hate? Read on.

Higher attendance Saturday at Beasley?

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — As gameday nears, we have some more WSU notes and stories for you, including the news that there could be a pretty decent crowd at Beasley for this one. Read on.

Harris grows up on, off court

The Zags have a key game with visiting BYU tomorrow and I've put together some information on that matchup and a feature on GU junior forward Elias Harris for Thursday's S-R.

Here's the link to the Harris article. Below is a glance at tomorrow's contest.

Wednesday with Ken Bone

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — With just one game on the schedule this week, Ken Bone pushed his weekly press conference back to Wednesday after giving the team Tuesday off. We have a summary of his comments below.

EWU hits the road, and then some

As I write this, the Eastern men's basketball team is at the Spokane airport for its trip to Pocatello, Idaho, and Thursday night's game at Idaho State.  The Eagles will fly first to Las Vegas, then catch another flight to Salt Lake City, then take a three-hour bus ride to Pocatello. “It's one of the tougher trips in the Big Sky,” coach Jim Hayford said. And then there's a game to play.

A little extra on this Wednesday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

We've always prided ourselves on being a full-service blog station. We not only fill up your computer screen with tales from the professional, collegiate and prep worlds, but we check under the hood to give you news you can use as well. And that tradition continues today. Read on.

Eric Morris, Ken Bone and some links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We said the week would get busier as it progressed, and we weren't lying. More WSU reading material awaits you after the jump, should you choose to soldier on.

Verlin on Utah St., Kyle Barone and more

Idaho coach Don Verlin spoke with the media on Tuesday. I've got a summary of his thoughts below. The Vandals, 16-11, have won five straight and finish the regular season with three huge WAC games — all on the road.

Lots more after the jump.

GU, BYU hook up in big game

Back with a notebook from Gonzaga's practice and media day on Tuesday.

One of the biggest games of the season is approaching with BYU, which thumped Gonzaga in Provo, visiting the Bulldogs on Thursday. We checked in with coaches Dave Rose (BYU) and Mark Few (Gonzaga), explored Gonzaga's home-vs.-road statistics and updated Noah Hartsock's status in an article that will run in Wednesday's S-R.

Tuesdays with Ken Bone, abridged

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — The basketball team has the day off, but Ken Bone still called into the Pac-12 coaches teleconference. We have a summary of that below.

Big week for Eagles…

…and almost everyone else in the Big Sky Conference (sorry, NAU). The Eagles get three games in six days, including two against Idaho State and one at Portland State. So where will the Eags wind up in the postseason? It's way too complicated, but if they can at least win two of these next three, it's a good bet the Eagles will host a first-round conference playoff game on March 3.

A light day with a couple of great stories

A GRIP ON SPORTS

If I really wanted to take a day off, today would be the day. Nothing much in the way of local stories, not a lot from the local college's conference connections and very little from the professional ranks. But those are often the days when, while trying to find tracings, you end up with nuggets. And we found one. Read on.

Calm before the storm on a Tuesday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It's about to be a busy week, but for now, we take a minimalist approach with our Pac-12 links. Because there aren't very many of them.

UCLA, USC game times announced, and a note about Shelton

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We have some scheduling news for you, plus a note about D.J. Shelton's citation over the weekend.

Zag women back in Top 25, Bowen named Player of the Week

A week after dropping out of the Associated Press Top 25 poll, the Gonzaga University women’s basketball team returned to the poll at No. 25. The Bulldogs received 75 votes. Also announced on Monday, senior forward Kelly Bowen was named West Coast Conference Player of the Week for the first time in her career at Gonzaga. More below.

Zags drop out of both polls

As expected, the Gonzaga men’s basketball team slipped out of the Top 25 rankings in both major polls following a 66-65 loss at San Francisco on Saturday.

The Bulldogs (21-5, 11-3 WCC), No. 24 last week in A.P. and ESPN/USA Today, dropped into the others receiving votes category. They’re 27th in A.P. and 29th in ESPN/USA Today.

BYU, which visits Gonzaga on Thursday, is just behind GU at 28th in A.P. Conference-leading Saint Mary’s, which lost twice last week, dropped from No. 16 to No. 23 in ESPN/USA Today and fell from No. 21 out of the A.P. rankings.

 

Sorry, today doesn’t pass holiday test

A GRIP ON SPORTS

How do you decide whether a day is a holiday or not? Is it whether the kids are in school, because that seems to mean there are a lot more holidays than there used to be. Or is when you don't have to work on a usual work day, because that would seem to indicate that there are a lot less holidays than there used to be. Me, I go by the garbage index. If the trash is picked up the regular day, then that means there was no holiday that week. So today, under my criteria, is not really a holiday. And we will treat it as such here. Read on.

Not much news on this holiday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — This is Peter Gibbons' kind of Monday — a holiday, a day off from school, and a day off from work. For most, anyway. There isn't much out there in terms of news, but we've put together what links we found for your morning post.

Chiefs get first shutout of season

SEATTLE - Spokane Chiefs goalie Mac Engel stopped 18 shots and the Chiefs ended a season-high four-game losing streak with their first shutout victory of the season – a 3-0 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Western Hockey League action Sunday.

Dominik Uher, Collin Valcourt and Liam Stewart all scored for the Chiefs (32-30-4-3, 71 points), who are fifth in the Western Conference standings behind Vancouver (35-22-1-3, 74 points). Stewart's line has been on a tear. The goal was the rookie's fourth in five games.

The Chiefs are Portland on Friday and return home to host Tri-City on Saturday. The Chiefs need to win the next three games against the Americans to go .500 against their U.S. Division rivals this season.

Day after San Francisco

I wrote nearly all of this before 10 a.m, but tight connections kept me from posting it until now.

Entertaining game last night with a closing stretch that pretty much went opposite of the first 36 minutes.

Gonzaga and San Francisco weren’t any trouble scoring – outside of the Bulldogs’ season-high 22 turnovers obviously – as GU took a 65-64 lead with 3:45 left. Both teams were shooting in the mid-50 percent range before defenses took over late, with the exception of Rashad Green’s game-deciding 7-footer in the lane with 3.3 seconds left.

You know the day-after drill.

The links: My game story, San Francisco Chronicle and A.P. Elsewhere, Saint Mary’s lost again in a non-conference matchup with Murray State, but GU’s loss leaves the Gaels alone in first place and two wins from ending the Zags’ run of WCC titles at 11. BYU joined Gonzaga in second place at 11-3 with a road win over Santa Clara.

Read on.   

Zags on a wild ride

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I'm not a rollercoaster guy. Mainly it has to do with heights – to say I hate them is an understatement; it's more like an irrational fear – but it also has to do with the constant up and downs. Speed is fine. Give me a ride that races around corners and stretches the boundaries of centrifugal force anytime. But rollercoasters? No thanks. What does this have to do with sports? I think you know. Read on.

Day after the blowout

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We have some more notes, quotes and Pac-12 links to brighten your Sunday. Read on.

Vandals win fifth straight

Kyle Barone remained hot Saturday night, going for a career-high 25 points. And the Vandals remained hot, dispatching Portland State 77-68 to push their winning streak to five games.

My game story with all the details is below, if you're interested.

Chiefs’ skid reaches four

After losing 3-2 on Saturday night to the U.S. Division-rival Americans in Tri-City, the Spokane Chiefs have now lost four-straight games - their longest losing streak of the season.

Not ideal timing with the Western Hockey League regular season winding down.

The Chiefs had a chance to lock up a playoff spot tonight. All they needed to do was score a point against the Ams. If that didn't happen, Everett had to lose to Vancouver AND Prince George and Victoria couldn't go into overtime. Well, the Chiefs didn't earn a point, and Everett beat Vancouver in a shootout - so while they are getting close, the Chiefs don't yet have a spot in the playoffs.

The season-high four-game skid began with a home game against Tri-City, and continued with a disappointing missed opportunity against the Vancouver Giants on Thursday. On Friday night, the Chiefs fell at Kootenay.

Zags fall again at USF

Senior center Robert Sacre is still the only Bulldog on the roster to experience a win at San Francisco's War Memorial Gym.

Gonzaga, after overtime losses to USF the last two years, lost on Rashad Green's 7-foot shot with 3.3 seconds left, giving the Dons a 66-65 win Saturday. GU is one game behind Saint Mary's with two games left as it chases its 12th straight WCC crown.Saint Mary's visits Portland and USF next week. Gonzaga has a home game with BYU on Thursday and a road game against San Diego on Saturday.

Here's a link to my game story that will run in Sunday's S-R. Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

The game that was: WSU 72, Arizona State 50

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — WSU used a dominant first half to end a two-game skid, and we have our usual game in review for you below. Read on.

Postgame: Zags roll past Waves

The Gonzaga women shook off a slow start and pushed ahead in the second half to score a 66-40 victory over Pepperdine on Saturday afternoon. You can read about the game here.

Pregame from a grayed-out Beasley

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — There's 3,700 gray t-shirts spread over many of the seats in the lower bowl, as you can see (kind of) in the above photo. We have some quick thoughts on today's game, so read on.

Pregame from McCarthey

Less than an hour until the Gonzaga women's basketball team and Pepperdine Waves (12-12, 7-6 WCC) tip-off at the Kennel. One piece of good news, aside from the Bulldogs' 87-55 win over Santa Clara on Thursday, was last-place San Francisco's victory over BYU this week - leaving the Bulldogs in sole possession of first place in the WCC standings. 

Some quick hits between the Bulldogs and Waves:

  • The all-time series between the two teams is tied 28-28.
  • Gonzaga has won 17 of the last 21 games between the two, going back to the 2004 season.
  • In the teams' previous meeting - Gonzaga pounded Pepperdine 79-50 on Jan. 5. I'd expect today's matchup to be a little tighter than the last.
  • The last times the teams met, seniors Katelan Redmon and Kelly Bowen finished with double-doubles. Redmon had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Bowen had 12 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.
  • Pepperdine last beat Gonzaga 72-62 on Feb. 21, 2009.

Up next: game time. We'll see you on the other side, or you can keep up with the game on twitter @jbrown_srsports.

Bandoumel, Idaho seniors bid adieu

The Vandals still have three more WAC regular-season games to play, but all are on the road. So tonight is it — the final home date of the season. Portland State is in Moscow for a BracketBuster matchup (7:05 tip). And four Idaho seniors will be honored, including one who has lived in Nigeria, Quebec, New York and now North Idaho.

We've got more on Djim Bandoumel and the Vandals after the jump.

Is Motum POY worthy? That, plus links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — The Cougars have a chance to climb back above .500 today against Arizona State, as well as a shot to avenge one of their poorer performances of the season. That and more after the jump.

Zags face tough test at USF

Gonzaga avenged one of its two WCC road losses from last season with a win over Santa Clara on Thursday. The Zags will try to do the same against San Francisco on Saturday at War Memorial Gym. The Dons have knocked off Gonzaga the last two seasons in their home building.

Here's my preview that will run in Saturday's S-R. Here's a link to my day-after Santa Clara post from earlier today.

Shock open camp tomorrow

Believe it or not, the Spokane Shock open training camp Saturday in preparation for their March 12th season opener.

I checked in with head coach Andy Olson earlier this week to get an overview on his camp priorities. Returning receiver Adron Tennell won't be at camp after he was arrested earlier this month for sexual misconduct. Tennell has been placed on league suspension and Olson said Tennell’s status on the team won’t be known “until we hear further what goes on with his case.”

Here's a link to an article that will run in Saturday's S-R.

Mat Classic XXIV under way

In the photo I snapped above, Chandler Rogers of Mead paces before his State 4A quarterfinal match Friday evening at the Tacoma Dome.

Rogers scored a 17-4 major decision, joining six other Panthers (before Mead's heayweight had wrestled) in the semifinals.

Mead is rolling. More later.

Day after Santa Clara

Good morning. Gonzaga got a scare and a win last night, holding off Santa Clara 73-62 at the Leavey Center. It was an inside job with Robert Sacre and Sam Dower combining for 38 points and Elias Harris and Guy Landry Edi combining for 12 points and eight boards.

The links: My game story, San Jose Mercury News and A.P. Elsewhere, San Francisco, which entertains GU tomorrow, couldn't complete its comeback against BYU and Billy Grier's USD squad earned its sixth WCC win, defeating Portland in overtime. Saint Mary's isn't healthy for its matchup with Murray State.

Read on for my day-after post.

A question on another good day

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Yesterday was a good day. After eating lunch with a bunch of folks and talking sports, got to go on the radio and talk sports for three hours. Then, en route to the Spokane Valley to cover a high school basketball game, got to listen to Bud Nameck and the first part of the Cougar game. After writing, headed home and got to listen to Tom Hudson, Matt Santangelo and the end of the Zag game. Yep, this retired thingee is cool. Read on.

Miller praises Motum, plus more links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We have some more notes from Washington State's 76-72 loss to Arizona, plus our usual Friday roundup of Thursday's Pac-12 action. Read on. Or don't. I can't make you, after all.

GU holds off stubborn Broncos, 73-62

My computer isn't cooperating so I'll put up a quick post with my unedited game story below.

Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

The game that was: Arizona 76, WSU 72

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We're back with our game-in-review after Washington State's tough 76-72 loss to Arizona. Read on.

Pregame from Beasley

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We're back at Beasley Coliseum for tonight's game between the Cougars and Arizona Wildcats. I expect this one to be a bit different than the game these teams played in the desert three weeks ago. Why, you ask? Well, read on.

Eagles, the morning after a big win

Thanks to a stirring win last night over Northern Colorado, the Eastern Washington men's basketball team will be in a nice frame of mind for Saturday's Bracket Buster game at UC Irvine. They also got some help Wednesday from Weber State, which defeated reeling Montana State, and from Portland State, which handed Sacramento State its 10th conference loss and put the Hornets on the brink of elimination from the Big Sky Tournament. So, what are the Eagles' chances for postseason play?

Thursday Prep Page

I'll jump in the company 4x4 Friday morning and make the trek to Tacoma to cover Mat Classic XXIV. I've never been to a Mat Classic and I understand I'm in for a treat - and braced for the most work I'll ever do in two days.

With our staff, I've become the jack of all trades and master of none. Just call me Mr. Versatile. So I won't be able to watch the District 8 3A or District 8 4A girls and boys basketball title games. I'm leaving you in capable hands - those of Vince Grippi and Mike Vlahovich.

I could also be in Boise for the Idaho state girls basketball tournaments. Coeur d'Alene will win another state championship. We'll have correspondents there to help us cover it.

I'll be tweeting updates from the Tacoma Dome. So if you want to follow along, check me out at: srpreps. Our state preview story and info box will be published in Friday's newspaper.

Click the tab below to see today's menu.

Another title in Gonzaga’s sights

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It happened again. A week ago Zags' nation had changed its name to consternation. The consensus was there was little, if any, chance Gonzaga would be able to catch St. Mary's and win its 12th-consecutive West Coast Conference title. Then the Bulldogs blew out the Gaels on Thursday. And last night, well, last night St. Mary's opened the door to GU and said, “come in.”  Read on.

A Thursday full of WSU links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Hard to believe WSU only plays three more games here this season. One of those is tonight, which means we have a whole bunch of links for you. Read on.

Giants beat Chiefs 2-1

If this was a preview of what’s to come, expect a first-round playoff series that could easily go the distance. The Spokane Chiefs, of course, will be looking for a different result than they got on Wednesday night if that’s the case.

Jackson Houck scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period and Vancouver goalie Adam Morrison made 32 saves as the Giants picked up a 2-1 Western Hockey League victory over the Chiefs in front of 4,011 fans at the Arena.

The win gave Vancouver (34-21-1-2, 71 points) sole possession of fourth place in the Western Conference standings, though Spokane (31-18-4-3, 69 points) still has two games in hand.

LMU defeats Saint Mary’s

Loyola Marymount went into McKeon Pavilion on Wednesday night and handed the Saint Mary's Gaels a rare home loss.

LMU pulled away for a 75-60 victory over Saint Mary's, which was 16-0 at home, 7-0 in WCC games. The loss leaves SMC (23-4, 12-2 WCC) and Gonzaga (20-4, 10-2) even in the loss column. GU faces Santa Clara tomorrow and San Francisco on Saturday while Saint Mary's visits Murray State in a BracketBusters game Saturday.

Loyola Marymount (17-10, 10-4) is 7-1 on the road in conference games, the lone loss a 78-59 setback against Gonzaga last Saturday.The Gaels have dropped two of their last three.

LMU's Drew Viney, Anthony Ireland and Jarred DuBois combined for 48 points. Rob Jones led the Gaels with 25 point and 15 rebounds. Find the box score here.

UPDATE: SMC coach Randy Bennett says lineup changes may be coming and the Gaels could be without guard Stephen Holt (knee) for a while. Game stories here and here.

Rough year for Keating, Broncos

Gonzaga is en route to the Bay Area where it will face Santa Clara, picked fifth in the WCC preseason poll, on Thursday and San Francisco on Saturday.

Santa Clara has suffered through a rocky season with key injuries, suspensions, etc. I checked in with Broncos coach Kerry Keating and he didn't sugarcoat what has become his toughest season in his five at SCU. He also sees the potential for a quick turnaround.

More from Keating on the Broncos' season here in an article that will run in Thursday's S-R. 

High school hoops a form of time travel

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Spent last night in a high school gym covering a high school basketball game. Seems as if I've spent a lot of my life in high school gyms attending high school basketball games. And seems is reality in this case. Read on.

Links for your chocolate hangover

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — After a nice pasta dinner and some fudge cake last night, it's time to put the Hallmark holiday behind us and get on to Wednesday's post, brought to you by Russell Stover and an accompanying bellyache.

Zags get handle on opponents’ 3s

Good evening. I put together a notebook from today's media day with the focus on Gonzaga's 3-point defense, an injury update and the announcement of Blake Stepp being selected for induction into the WCC's Hall of Honor next month in Las Vegas.

GU's 3-point defense has been a highly scutinized topic by Zag followers over the years. This year's 3-point percentage defense ranks as the best in Mark Few's 13 seasons. (29.7 percent, with four conference games left.)  Below, I list GU's 3-point percentage defense under Few.

Click here to read my article that will run in Wednesday's S-R.

Tuesdays with Ken Bone

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Another Tuesday, another couple of interviews with Cougars coach Ken Bone. This one is very Mike Ladd-oriented. Bet you can't guess what I'm writing about this week.

Don’t forget what day it is

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Unless you've been living under the Rock of Gibraltar, or possibly under Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson's house, you know what today is. It comes fast on the heels of Groundhog's Day and, if you don't want to be stuck under a shadow for six weeks, most of you better get today right. Read on.

Linking Monday to Tuesday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It's a scant news day in the links department, though today will bring much more to talk about. We do have some stories to pass along, so continue reading.

MWC, C-USA forming new league

UPDATED: 9:40 p.m.

The 16 universities in the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA announced they are working on forming a new league that will begin in 2013-14. The new yet-to-be-named league will include 18-24 teams, according to the press release. That means the league would add two to eight schools, perhaps some from the WAC.

Click below for more, including a statement this evening from Idaho athletic director Rob Spear.

Matt Classic brackets posted

The brackets for the Washington state wrestling tournaments can be found here.

Mead has three No. 1 seeds - Matthew Petrini at 113 pounds, Jordan Rogers at 182 and Cody Bocook at 285. Chandler Rogers (160) and Jeremy Golding (145), pictured above, are third seeds and Sam Voigtlaender (170) is a fourth seed.

Zach Koepp arrested early Sunday for obstructing public servant

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We have a brief item to pass along about the arrest of WSU long-snapper Zach Koepp.

Gonzaga returns to rankings

Gonzaga, in and out of the rankings a couple times this season, returned to the A.P. and ESPN/USA Today Top 25 polls at No. 24 after wins over Saint Mary's and Loyola Marymount last week.

The Bulldogs (20-4, 10-2), who face road games at Santa Clara on Thursday and San Francisco on Saturday, shares the A.P.'s 24th spot with Wichita State. Saint Mary's dropped from 16th to 21st in A.P. and from 13th to 16th in ESPN/USA Today after losing to Gonzaga 73-59. BYU is 29th, fourth in the A.P. receiving votes category.

GU freshman guard Kevin Pangos earned his third WCC player of the week award. Pangos scored 27 points in the victory over Saint Mary's and added 21 points and nine assists against Loyola Maymount. His closest competition was probably teammate Elias Harris (10 points, 10 rebounds vs. Saint Mary's and 17 points, 15 rebounds vs. LMU), but I believe teams are limited to one nomination. BYU's Charles Abouo was the only other player nominated.

Pangos hasn't committed a turnover in three games.    

Programming note: Media day will be Tuesday.

Around the Big Sky

For the stat geeks out there, here's a look at Northern Colorado, which visits Eastern Washington for an important Big Sky game Wednesday night. The Bears are coming off a 77-64 overtime win over Montana State, and boast the 27th best field-goal percentage in the country at 47.7 percent

Knockout Sunday television

A GRIP ON SPORTS

We're going in a different direction today, one you'll see off and on as the weather warms – and the local sports news thins. We spent much of yesterday afternoon glued to the television, watching a heavyweight fight, though the guys on the screen weren't boxers. It was a knockout though. And it was the best action of the weekend, though I don't believe anyone involved broke a sweat. Read on.

More links than usual on a Monday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Traveling is fun, but there's always a certain comfort to walking through your own front door and knowing you're going to be home for a while. Such was the case Sunday. But, Monday begins another week, and we have some links for you to get it started. Read on.

College women’s hoops: A week in review

What a week for area Division I women's basketball teams. Read below for a roundup of the week's action. 

Day after Loyola Marymount

Good morning. Kids' stuff today, so I'll post this and hit the road.

GU had perhaps its best 80 minutes of basketball this season, thumping Saint Mary's and LMU at the Kennel. The Bulldogs have had several impressive efforts (Arizona, Notre Dame, Xavier) but probably the one that came closest to SMC/LMU was the home rout of Portland, followed by the road win at Xavier. 

Here are the links: My game story, Jesse Tinsley's fine photo gallery. Elsewhere, Saint Mary's rebounded from the GU loss to defeat Santa Clara — the Broncos' 13-game losing streak is the school's longest since WWII; BYU hit 12 3-pointers to clobber Pepperdine; and San Francisco knocked off San Diego, despite Johnny Dee setting USD's freshman scoring record.

Read on.

Opportunity awaits for Eagles

After a tough loss at Weber State, it's time for Eastern Washington to move on.

Just one look at the Big Sky Conference men's basketball standings (below) underscores the importance of Eastern's home game Wednesday night against Northern Colorado. A win would put the Eagles two games ahead in the loss column over UNC.

A sick Sunday morning blog post

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Sorry this is so late on this rainy Sunday, but you know that virus I wrote about yesterday, the one that attacked my computer? Well, it somehow jumped through the keyboard and infected me – Tron III anyone? – and now I'm the one running hot, processing information slowly and watching my batteries run down at lightning speed. The computer? It's just fine thank you. Read on.

Day after for Cougs, game day for others

COUGARS

FROM PORTLAND — It's just about time to fly back to Spokane, but first, our daily Pac-12 roundup and some more WSU notes.

Vandals extend win streak to four

Something has clicked for the Idaho Vandals — and for Kyle Barone — over the last week. With Saturday night's 73-64 win over Louisiana Tech, the Vandals made it four wins in a row. Barone played a big part again in the victory.

Read on for more.

Gonzaga crushes LMU, 78-59

Back with my game story from Gonzaga's 78-59 win over LMU on Saturday. The Zags didn't let down after Thursday's big win over Saint Mary's. They dominated the Lions from the opening tip.

Kevin Pangos had 21 points and nine assists. He's probably in line for WCC player of the week honors after pouring in 27 points vs. Saint Mary's. Elias Harris also merits consideration after a pair of double-doubles (10 and 10 vs. SMC, 17 and 15 vs. LMU).

Here's a link to my game story that will run in Sunday's S-R. Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.  

The game that was: Oregon 78, WSU 69

COUGARS

FROM EUGENE — WSU tried everything it could to prevent the Ducks from shooting the lights out again. And again, nothing worked. But the Cougars played considerably better today than they have on the road this season, and can head home with a sense of progress. Read on for our game in review.

Pre-game from that place with the weird court

COUGARS

FROM EUGENE — Arrived at Matthew Knight Arena a bit early so we could look around and shoot some video. We have that posted below, along with some additional thoughts.

Road-tested Lions visit Gonzaga

Out of town for several hours last night, slept in this morning and woke up with the realization I forgot to post my short advance of the Gonzaga-LMU game. All I can say is: My fault for not getting this post up sooner.

Here's a quick look at the Lions. It'll be interesting to see if GU can summon the emotion and intensity it had for 40 minutes in Thursday's win over Saint Mary's against a confident LMU squad.

In the preview I mention that a $681,000 check from Mark and Marcy Few's Coaches vs. Cancer event last summer will be presented to the American Cancer Society. This will not be the normal check-passing ceremony you've seen dozens of times on the evening news.

The check will be accepted on behalf of the ACS by Jo Lynn Chastain, mother of 11-year-old Brandon Bird, the avid Zags fan who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. GU players and staff visited Bird in the hospital prior to Thanksgiving and he visited practice in mid-December. While the team watched video in the locker room and Brandon took pictures at center court, I spoke to Jo Lynn for a few minutes about Brandon's journey and came away floored by her and her son's courage, and I just about lost it (my daughter had undergone surgery the day before).

I'm told Brandon still communicates with the team and continues to follow the Zags despite his failing health. Below, I posted my short article on Brandon from Dec. 15th. I'm hoping the check-passing ovation is the loudest of the day.

No more sniffles on the weekend

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I can't prove it, because I'm not a computer doctor, but I'm afraid my computer-machine-thingee caught a virus over the past few days. Running hot, battery problems, slow to get moving. Yep, all the earmarks. But after a day spent reloading the system file and downloading the newest versions of my favorite software – by favorite, I mean most used; there is no value judgment here concerning anyone's products – my machine is back in fine fettle. Which means I can return to writing my drivel for you. Read on.

Vandals don’t want letdown

Idaho coach Don Verlin will tell you the last week has been great for the Vandals. But it won't be nearly as sweet if they slip-up tonight.

Read on.

Links on another Pac-12 Saturday

COUGARS

FROM EUGENE — WSU can play the role of spoiler today against the Ducks, who are still in the Pac-12 title hunt. We have some links to pass along as we preview another Saturday in the Pac-12.

WSU hoops notes from Eugene

COUGARS

FROM EUGENE — Highlight of the day: eating at a Sonic Drive-In — there's one in nearby Springfield — for the first time. Worth it. Also, we have some basketball notes as the Cougars prepare to face Oregon tomorrow. Read on.

GSL basketball teams end league

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Attached above is a brief video interview I did Thursday with Central Valley girls basketball coach Freddie Rehkow.

NOTE: The North Central boys go to Mt. Spokane on Saturday in a play-in game to see which team goes to No. 2 seed Shadle Park on Tuesday in a District 8 3A opener. Tipoff Saturday at Mt. Spokane is 7:30.

Day after Saint Mary’s

Caught a double-feature this morning. I watched the second half of the GU-Saint Mary's game (I took in the first half at 1:30 a.m. before the eyes gave out) and then caught the last 7 minutes of GU-SMC from 2009 on ESPNU(Zags 72-70 in Moraga — pretty good five on the floor with Pargo, Bouldin, Downs, Daye and Heytvelt; an injured Patty Mills on SMC's bench).

I told several people last night that the first 30 minutes of Thursday's game was as high-level as any I've seen at the Kennel in five years. Raucous atmosphere, two top 20 teams playing well, fiercely contested, great individual efforts. And then GU played even better, continuing to get quality shots and muzzling SMC's offense en route to a 73-59 victory.

There were two prominent story angles: I went with GU's freshmen duo — Kevin Pangos scored 27, Gary Bell Jr. 12 — in the game story, John Blanchette addressed GU's toughness in his column. Photos by Dan Pelle here. More coverage by CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman, San Jose Mercury News and A.P. Goodman had a follow-up this morning detailing why he believes Mark Few will never leave Spokane.

Elsewhere, San Diego won again (Bill Grier may be doing the best coaching job of his career), LMU shot down Portland and USF's Cody Doolin had a heated exchange with coach Rex Walters and carried the Dons past Santa Clara.

Read on for my day-after post.

Well, got that one wrong

A GRIP ON SPORTS

OK, I'll admit it. I picked St. Mary's to win last night. When asked my choice on the Patchin, Lukens and Osso radio show (featuring Vince Grippi), I went with the Gaels. What was I thinking? Well, read on and I'll tell you.

Gazing at the Big Sky scoreboard

Let the scoreboard watching begin. Well, let it continue, since we do it all the time. Eastern wasn't playing last night, but was more than an interested bystander as the rest of the Big Sky Conference was in action. And while EWU's next opponent, Weber State, and Montana clinched first-round byes last night in the Big Sky Tournament, the rest of the six-team field is unsettled. In fact it's downright unsettling, expecially if your name is Montana State.

Happy links, notes and quotes on the day after

COUGARS

FROM CORVALLIS — It's just about time to head to Eugene, but first, we have our usual Friday day-after-but-also-day-between-games post with links, a Pac-12 roundup and some more quotes from last night's WSU win. Read on.

Pangos powers GU past Gaels

The atmosphere inside the McCarthey Athletic Center was electric Thursday and the game lived up to the hype for 30 minutes. Gonzaga, behind freshmen guards Kevin Pangos (27 points) and Gary Bell Jr. (12 points), pulled away in the final 10 minutes to register a 73-59 victory over first-place Saint Mary's.

Gonzaga improved to 19-4, 9-2 in the WCC. The loss snapped Saint Mary's 12-game winning streak. The Gaels dropped to 22-3, 11-1.

Here's a link to my game story that will run in Friday's S-R. Here's Dan Pelle's photo gallery (highly recommended) and I'll post John Blanchette's column in the a.m. Check back tomorrow for my day-after post.

Idaho wins a thriller over NMSU

At this time last Thursday the Vandals appeared to have major issues. Since then, all they've done is post two of the most impressive wins by a WAC team in conference play this year.

Thursday night, Idaho came back for a thrilling 59-58 victory over second-place New Mexico State. Read on for more about the surging Vandals.

The game that was: WSU 83, Oregon State 73

COUGARS

FROM CORVALLIS — It'll be a happy bus ride from here to Eugene tonight, as the Cougars put together perhaps their best team effort of the season in an 83-73 win at Gill Coliseum. Read on for our game in review.

Pre-game from Gill Coliseum

COUGARS

FROM CORVALLIS — We've arrived at Gill Coliseum — one of the more unremarkable venues in the conference, yet a trip I always enjoy nonetheless — for tonight's contest between the Cougars and Oregon State (7 p.m., no TV). As usual, we have some notes and thoughts in our pre-game post below. Read on.

Thursday Prep Page

Click the menu below to see our prep offerings today. Pictured above is standout student and athlete Aleisha Hathaway of Shadle Park, the subject of my feature today.

It’s Rivalry Thursday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Yep, it's Rivalry Thursday in Spokane. The best rivalry on the West Coast (that's your opinion, as per our poll from yesterday) is about to tipoff the second of what may be three matchups this seasons. Tonight's edition comes from the McCarthey Athletic Center, home of the loudest, rowdiest, most intimidating crowd in the West Coast Conference. Or is it? That's what I'm asking you to decide today in our poll (with a hat tip to Jim Meehan, who made the suggestion when we were chatting on the radio yesterday afternoon). Read on.

•••

Gameday links from Corvallis

COUGARS

FROM CORVALLIS — It was a long day of travel on Wednesday, but we're safely in Corvallis and have our usual morning post for you. Read on.

A chat with Mike Breske

COUGARS

FROM CORVALLIS — We're in Oregon for the basketball games this weekend, but wanted to pass along a partial transcript of our conversation with defensive coordinator Mike Breske last week. Read on.

Zags trying to preserve streak

Less than 24 hours before the Gonzaga-Saint Mary's showdown at the MAC. The Bulldogs' 11-year rule of the WCC is in jeopardy as GU (18-4, 8-2 WCC) trails the Gaels (22-2, 11-0) as the regular season winds down. That was the topic of my article that will run in Thursday's S-R. Here's the link.

Below, you'll find a quick glance at the GU-SMC matchup and a couple of notes that will appear in tomorrow's college basketball notebook.

Tuesday night prep hoops

The Coeur d'Alene girls basketball team captured the 5A Region I tournament championship, 50-22, over Post Falls. In the photo above, taken on my company Iphone, is Coeur d'Alene junior guard Caelyn Orlandi, who had a team-high 14 points, nine rebounds and two assists. Here's the link to my game story.

The Central Valley boys captured the school's first Greater Spokane League championship since 1999. Correspondent Vince Grippi was on hand to file this story. The Gonzaga Prep girls locked up second place. Here's our area girls roundup and here's our area boys roundup.

Times change but complaining doesn’t

A GRIP ON SPORTS

For the first time in quite a while, we're suffering through a tough Internet day. It's tough to connect with sites, it's tough to tweet, it's just tough to do anything. And we know it's our problem because it's intermittent. So we're working on it while we type – and by working on it, we mean we're ignoring it for now hoping it will fix itself. Read on.

A busier Wednesday on the Palouse

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — There was some more news here yesterday, from C.J. Mizell's dismissal to Ken Bone's teleconference. That — and our usual Pac-12  roundup — after the jump.

UI rallies from 17 down to edge Seattle U

Lots of drama tonight at Cowan Spectrum in the Vandals' come-from-behind victory over Seattle U. Idaho rallied from 17 points down — its largest comeback under Don Verlin — and came up with a huge stop in the closing seconds. The only downside for UI: The crowd at Cowan Spectrum was listed at 803.

Read on for my game story.

Preps this week

Idaho girls basketball teams are in the midst of state-qualifying tournaments.

The Greater Spokane League and Great Northern League boys and girls basketball teams conclude regular-season play this week before launching into district tournaments next week.

Washington small schools are in the midst of their district tourneys.

And wrestling teams gear up for regionals this weekend - with state next week.

Click the tab below to see the latest GNL boys and girls basketball scoring leaders.

Tuesdays with Ken Bone

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — As usual, we have our summary of Ken Bone's Tuesday teleconference. However, other duties kept us from listening in on his segment on the Pac-12 coaches call. Read on.

Update on Idaho coaching vacancies

It’s been eight weeks since Idaho offensive coordinator Steve Axman announced his retirement. Days later, news filtered out – via a player’s Twitter feed – that wide receivers coach Luther Carr was no longer with the Vandals. And just over a week ago, offensive line coach John McDonell left for the same position at Tulane.

As of Monday night, though, there was no official word on replacements for any of the Vandals’ assistants – only a lot of speculation and assurance from Robb Akey that at least two of the spots will be filled by this week.For more on Akey’s staff, check out my update after the jump.

Update: See below for comments from Robb Akey on Jason Gesser being named the WAC Recruiter of the Year by Scout.com.

C.J. Mizell dismissed from WSU football team

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — C.J. Mizell has been dismissed from the WSU football team. Read on for a brief web story we just filed.

Big Sky = Big Two

Montana clinched a playoff spot last night with a dominating win over Idaho State, joining Weber at the top of the men's basketball standings. Barring some upsets, those two will get the first-round byes in the Big Sky tournament which begins on March 3.

The Wildcats' Damian Lillard is about ready to retire the Sky's Player of the Week award, winning it for the fifth time this season. He's also the leading scorer in the nation at 25.5 points a game.

Take a breath; the rest of the week is better

A GRIP ON SPORTS • UPDATED: 11:55 A.M.

Today is not what you would call a compelling sports day. Really. Caught in the malaise that is post Super Bowl week, the sporting world took 24 hours to catch its breath. Sort of. Read on.

GU’s timely freshmen

I had hoped to post this last night, but it wasn't up on our site by 11 p.m. I explored the amount of playing time GU freshmen Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. (pictured above) are logging this season and compared it with past Bulldogs in their first seasons.

I remember talking to Austin Daye about hitting the so-called freshman wall a few years ago and he admitted he felt the impact of the longer collegiate season. Oddly, his numbers seemed to get better and better in the latter half of the WCC season. It should be pointed out that Daye played about 18 minutes a game while splitting time with David Pendergraft. Pangos and Bell are logging 31.5 and 27 minutes, respectively.

Pangos experienced a bit of a slump recently but was still productive despite losing his shooting touch over a five-game span. He had a strong outing against Pepperdine (three 3s, 15 points) on Saturday. Bell has been steady throughout. Both are dealing with the bumps and bruises that come with playing big minutes.

Here's my notebook on freshmen playing time (there's an update on Ryan Spangler at the bottom). Below, there's a list of Zags and their freshmen-year playing time from the last 15 seasons. (NOTE: The graphic that ran in today's S-R is also for the last 15 years, not school history). .

Linking Monday to Tuesday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — A pretty uneventful Monday night turned busy in a hurry. We have our usual links around the conference, so read on.

Chiefs grind out win over Seattle

Here's a touch of irony for you. The Spokane Chiefs beat the Seattle Thunderbirds 7-3 on Monday night, and as you'll see in the game story, it wasn't the prettiest game. But the ugliest play of the night, well, that belongs to me. At the bottom of the article, you may or may not notice an error. I'm just going to call it out here, because I noticed and it bothers me. Anyway, in the Ice Chips, Dominik Uher's four goals came in a 5-3 win at Seattle, not Kamloops. Uher had the lone goal in a 4-1 loss to Kamloops. What a rookie mistake. I'm ashamed.

Also, if you didn't get a chance today, you can read my feature on Mac Engel and … Mac Engel right here. You'll see what I mean.

C.J. Mizell arrested after alleged fight at frat party

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We have some details on the Sunday arrest of WSU linebacker C.J. Mizell. Read on.

GU falls out of poll, Gaels 16/13

As expected, Gonzaga dropped out of the A.P. Top 25 when the newest poll was released earlier today. GU is 30th (fifth in receiving votes), 27th in ESPN/USA Today's Top 25. Gonzaga was No. 24 entering last week but lost to BYU on Thursday. Here's a link to both polls.

Saint Mary's climbed up a couple more spots and sits at No. 16 in A.P. and No. 13 in ESPN/USA Today. The Gaels and Bulldogs collide Thursday at the Kennel.

Checked Bracketology this morning to see what Thursday's loss did to Gonzaga's position. Joe Lunardi has Gonzaga as a seven seed (and dropping), facing No. 10 … drumrollllllllllll …. Notre Dame in Columbus. Hmmm. Uhh, really? GU clobbered the Irish 73-53 in late November, but N.D. has been red-hot of late and is 26th in both polls. Ironically, GU's win over N.D. is now considered one of, if not its best, wins to this point of the season.

Lunardi also has Saint Mary's as a five and BYU as an 11.

Media day this afternoon. I'll post my notebook later tonight.

Eagles’ next home game looms large

Following a tough home loss to Sacramento State, Eastern Washington is still in playoff position, but you can't help but look ahead to next Wednesday's (Feb. 15) home game against Northern Colorado as a defining moment for the Eagles. There are five conference games to play, but this one should be pivotal. And here's why:

The day after the Super Bowl

A GRIP ON SPORTS • UPDATED: 10:20 A.M.

Super Bowl Sunday is usually a day of fun for the American sports fan. Gather with friends or sit with family and watch the game (and commercials). Yesterday was no different for most of you, I'm sure. And it was a game worth watching, with the Giants scoring late, Tom Brady trying to drive the Patriots down the field as time expired and a Hail Mary to end it all. Throughout the day, the nation's eyes were transfixed on its television sets. And it was the day NBC picked to show the country Steve Gleason's fight with ALS, which you can watch below. Read on.

•••

Not much to read on a Monday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — There must have been some other game yesterday that required most folks' attention, because Pac-12 reading material is scant on this Monday. Oh, well. We still found a couple stories, at least, so read on.

Day after Pepperdine

Made it home for the Super Bowl and got my homework done on the plane — just didn't have a chance to post it until now with a quick connection in Portland.

You know the routine. The links: S-R game story and another from A.P. Elsewhere, BYU and LMU stayed right on GU's heels. Free throws proved costly for Portland in a home loss to BYU, and Loyola Marymount staged a huge comeback to beat San Francisco.

Read on for my day-after Pepperdine post.

This day is perfect

A GRIP ON SPORTS

When I awoke this morning, something felt different. No, the knees still hurt. And the waistline hadn't shrunk. But something was strange. Was the sun actually brighter? Were the birds really chirping louder? Did the air seem fresher? Yes. It is Super Bowl Sunday, when a Disney-like aura surrounds everyone in the world. I almost broke into song. Read on.

Day-after UCLA with notes, quotes and Pac-12 links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We have our usual Pac-12 roundup after a full slate of games on Saturday. Read on for that and some additional quotes and video wrapping up WSU's loss to UCLA.

Area women’s basketball roundup

Local NCAA Division I women's basketball teams had a successful Saturday - with the exception of Washington State, which lost at UCLA

We were at Gonzaga today, where the Bulldogs turned up the heat in the second half and beat a defensive San Diego team. John Blanchette wrote this column on the Zag women in the post-Courtney Vandersloot era, Jesse Tinsley told the game story through his photo lens, and here's the link to my game story.

The Eastern Washington women continued their quest for a Big Sky Conference title with a win at Sacramento State and the Idaho women picked up their second Western Athletic Conference win in a late game at San Jose State.

Vandals pull off stunner at Nevada

As I wrote this morning, there was no reason to think Idaho — teetering at 11-11 — could topple Nevada. But the circumanstances around this matchup made me wonder if it would at least be a close game, and it was more than that. The Vandals were clearly the better team in the second half, and they used a little luck in the final minute to secure a 72-68 victory in Reno and end the Wolf Pack's 16-game winning streak.

Read on for a recap and reaction from the Vandals' best win of the year.

Gonzaga holds off Pepperdine

Gonzaga got back on the winning track, but it wasn't easy. The Bulldogs let a 15-point lead dwindle to 2 before going on a decisive 10-0 run in the second half. Gonzaga's 72-60 victory keeps the Bulldogs in second place in the WCC. Saint Mary's is 11-0, GU 8-2 and LMU and BYU are at 8-3.

Gonzaga returns home to face Saint Mary's on Thursday and LMU on Saturday.

Here's a link to my game story that will run in Sunday's S-R (I left the unedited version below because it has a few more details/quotes).

Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

The game that was: UCLA 63, WSU 60

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — You can read our game story from UCLA's 63-60 win over WSU on the link. Read on for our usual game in review.

Pregame notes from Beasley

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Meant to pass this along in this morning's post, but wanted to note that the Cougars are supporting the fight against cancer in a couple of different ways this afternoon. Read on for details.

Saturday morning links on UCLA day

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — The Cougars will atempt to do something today they haven't done since 1993. Right now, I'm doing something I haven't done in about 24 hours. Writing a morning post. Read on for today's Pac-12 hoops rundown.

Analyzing Idaho’s chances at Nevada

Tonight at 7 the Vandals play on the road against the WAC’s powerhouse team, Nevada. The Wolf Pack has won 16 straight and is starting to get the attention of national writers like Seth Davis. Idaho has let back-to-back winnable games slip away and is playing perhaps its worst basketball since last January.

There’s no reason to believe UI can upset Nevada. But it’s not as unlikely as you might think. Find out why after the jump.

Chiefs pull out shootout win over Royals

Spokane Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur wasn't too thrilled with his team's performance level on Friday night, but his team did pick up two points in the standings with a 6-5 shootout victory over the Victoria Royals to remain ahead of Vancouver for fourth in the Western Conference standings.

When I asked Cole Wedman, who scored his first Western Hockey League goal in the game, what it's going to take for the Chiefs to beat the lower-end teams the same way they've been beating the high-end teams, he pointed out that the team - as a whole - needs to “manage the puck better and put the same effort in against those teams as (they) do against teams like Tri-City and Portland.”

Big opportunity for Eags

After a tough first half, things couldn't have gone better Thursday night for the Eastern Washington men's basketball team, which rallied to beat the Lumberjacks 74-68.

The Eagles evened their conference record to 5-5, and got a great opportunity to improve  their postseason situation

Thursday prep hoops

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Attached is a brief postgame interview with Gonzaga Prep boys basketball coach Matty McIntyre after his Bullpups rallied from a 23-8 deficit in the first quarter to pull away from Lewis and Clark. Here's a link to the game story.

The Central Valley boys won their 11th straight and University of Idahho-bound Ty Egbert went off for 40 points here. The University girls rallied to top Mt. Spokane.

CLICK the tab below to see updated Great Northern League boys and girls scoring leaders provided by Cheney athletic director Jim Missel.

Day after BYU

Not sure if I actually slept last night or if I simply dreamed that I slept for a couple hours. I’m guessing Gonzaga’s staff and players were pretty restless after a disappointing 83-73 setback to BYU last night at the Marriott Center.

So many things went wrong. Another stinker of a first half — that’s two straight, after trailing Portland by four last Thursday. Three, really, counting the San Diego game (32-28 GU at the break). Another road test failed. GU is 11-1 at home and 3-0 on neutral courts but just 3-3 on the road with two double-digit WCC losses. Another rash of turnovers, an issue that has surfaced from time to time with GU this season. Another subpar performance in a big game.

First, the links: S-R game story, other reports by the Salt Lake Tribune (also here), Daily Herald (also here).

Read on for my day-after BYU post.

There’s a shadow on local hoops

A GRIP ON SPORTS

So we are supposed to have six more weeks of winter, right? Well if it's anything like the preceding six weeks, I'm fine with that. Other than a couple days, this has been an easy winter to navigate in the Inland Northwest. Now for the basketball around the area, that hasn't been as warm. Read on.

Crossing the Pac-12’s midway point

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — As usual, we round up Thursday's Pac-12 basketball action in our Friday morning post. And we've got some more quotes from last night's WSU game. Read on.

Vandals fall to .500 with loss at Fresno

Idaho had two highly winnable WAC games the last six days. And in both, the Vandals fell flat at pivotal moments. After losing track of Hawaii in the last few minutes on Saturday, UI could do little right in the first half at Fresno State on Thursday night in a 65-55 loss.

The back-to-back losses have dropped Idaho back to. 500 — on the year (11-11), in the WAC (4-4) and in the last four years in conference games under Don Verlin (28-28). More on the Vandals after the jump.

Cougars throttle Gonzaga again

BYU, which ended GU's season last year in the NCAA Tournament, handed the Bulldogs another lopsided defeat Thursday that will make Gonzaga's bid for a 12th straight WCC title even more difficult.

BYU rolled to an 83-73 win, dropping GU to 17-4, 7-2 in the WCC. Saint Mary's is 11-0 after knocking off San Diego.

You can read my game story here. Check back tomorrow for a day-after post.

The game that was: WSU 60, USC 53

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State stayed perfect at Beasley this season with a 60-53 win over USC. Here's our overview.

Chiefs defenseman Corbin Baldwin receives suspension

Spokane Chiefs defenseman Corbin Baldwin received a two-game suspension by the Western Hockey League after a major checking to the head penalty and a game misconduct in Wednesday night's 4-1 loss at Kamloops.

Baldwin, one of three 20-year-olds on the team, will miss the Chiefs' games this weekend when they host Victoria today and travel to Kootenay on Saturday.

The ailing Chiefs are already playing with limited reserves, as Tanner Mort (upper body, two weeks), Cole Wedman (upper body, one week) and Reid Gow (right hand, one month) are all sidelined with injuries.

Pregame from Beasley

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Might have been easy to forget amid all of yesterday's football excitement that there's still a basketball game tonight. We're on press row and have some thoughts. Read on.

Highlights of Mike Leach’s press conference

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Mike Leach spoke about his recruiting class for roughly 51 minutes on Wednesday. And while we didn't transcribe the entire thing, we did come close. The result is posted below for your perusal.

Signing day revs up local schools’ fans

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Last year I trekked up U.S. 195 to Northern Quest Casino for Washington State's signing day get-together. This year all I had to do was drive from home. But there was a lot more that was different to the event than just a much shorter drive. Read on.

Read up on GU-BYU

Good morning. I was a little surprised — and not just because it was 5-something in the morning — when I saw the odds in the S-R and BYU was listed as a 3.5-point favorite over visiting Gonzaga tonight. Figured it'd be a toss-up or 1-point either way.

Lots of coverage of the first GU-BYU WCC matchup, beginning with my game preview, GU-portion of S-R basketball notebook, glance and John Blanchette's column. Elsewhere, there was coverage in the Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News and Daily Herald.

Check back here tonight (11-ish) for my game story. For in-game updates, follow me at twitter.com/SRjimm.

Links on the day after the big day

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Boy, do we have some links for you. Lots of them. Links for days and miles. So many that we've broken today's post into three parts. Read on for both of them.

Meet WSU’s 2012 signees

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Here's the complete list of Washington State's signees, with comments from Mike Leach about each of them. Click here to watch Leach's press conference.

Tuesday prep hoops

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UPDATED

The video is of Central Valley boys basketball coach Rick Sloan. I asked him about his team's 10th straight win Tuesday, 69-52 over Shadle Park. Here's a link to the CV/Shadle boys story and roundup of the other Greater Spokane League games.

The shocker last night occured in the girls when the No. 1-ranked Central Valley girls were upset 54-53 by the vastly improved Shadle Park Highlanders. Here's that story along with the other GSL games.

The Post Falls boys topped Lake City to throw the 5A Inland Empire League race into a logjam. Here's our area boys roundup. And Lewiston's girls grabbed share of league title with Coeur d'Alene, but the first night of the 5A Region I tournament will be held at Coeur d'Alene on Friday.

Here's a link to the updated GSL boys and girls scoring leaders.

Vandals reel in 23 recruits

UPDATED: 2:20 p.m

Robb Akey and his staff at Idaho have finalized their 2012 recruiting class — 20 high school and JC players and three JC players who are already on campus. The group includes Coeur d'Alene High's Chad Chalich and Deon Watson. Another Idaho product, Eagle High kicker Jace Johnson, has also signed.

Chalich is one of three prep QBs apart of the class, but only two will stay at the position.

See the full list below — and we have an update on the Vandals' coaching staff openings after talking to Akey this afternoon.

EWU signs 20 to letters of intent

Eastern Washington announced its recruiting class Wednesday morning, which includes seven defensive backs, 12 defensive players total - and a quarterback named Bowe.

“Every position required a hole or two to be filled, and we did a good job of that,” said EWU head coach Beau Baldwin.

The Eagles signed Bowe Merin, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound QB out of Stockton, Calif.

Read on to see the complete list of Eagle signees…

Out goes Bo, in comes Bowe

As in Bowe Merin, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound quarterback from Stockton, Calif., who signed a national letter of intent Wednesday to play at Eastern Washington. Here are some video highlights of Merin from last year.

For the season in his only year as a starter at St. Mary's of Stockton, Merin was 73-of-134 for 1,158 yards, 13 TDs and seven interceptions. St. Mary’s finished the year 9-3 overall and won the Tri-City League title with a perfect 5-0 record.

 

 

It’s Signing Day. You can open your presents now

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Like a lot of you, I read before I go to sleep at night. Sometimes it's a book – right now I have sort of started Stephen King's 11/22/63 – and sometimes it's Twitter or Google news. Last night it was Sports Illustrated. A statistic contained within hit my eye. Read on.

Cougars: Live NLI thread

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Check back here throughout the day for an updated list of WSU's signees.

Fax machine takes center stage on Signing Day

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — By the end of today, we should know — officially and for serious — who will compose the Cougars' freshman class next season. There's a heck of a lot going on today, so hurry up and read on for what we hope is a useful summary.

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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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