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Archive for January 2013

Bulldogs pummel LMU 88-43

Back with my game story from Gonzaga's 88-43 victory over LMU tonight. Gary Bell Jr. and Kelly Olynyk each had 15 points and Drew Barham and Sam Dower each had 13 as GU improved to 20-2, 7-0 in the WCC.

My unedited game story is below.

I'll have a day-after post up in the a.m.

Tale of the tape: Arizona State 63, WSU 59

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Another frustrating finish by Washington State, as the Cougars lost 63-59 to Arizona State at home earlier tonight. We have our recap below. Read on.

Kelowna’s home winning streak hits 22

The Victoria Royals have been hot in the Western Hockey League, steadily gaining ground on the nearest two teams ahead of them in the Western Conference standings, Spokane and Tri-City. But the Royals were no match Thursday night for Kelowna, which won its 22nd consecutive home game. The Spokane Chiefs are one of two teams to win in Kelowna this season, 6-4 on Oct. 10. The Chiefs don't play at Kelowna again during the regular season, but they host the Rockets on Wednesday. Read story

BYU knocks Gaels out of tie with Gonzaga

Details of BYU's victory over Saint Mary's on Thursday night in Provo, Utah. Both teams now have two West Coast Conference losses, which means Gonzaga (7-1 WCC) is in control of its destiny if it continues to win. Read story

Vandals manhandled late by Utah State

After a miserable start, the Vandals went blow-for-blow with Utah State tonight. That is, until midway through the second half when the depleted Aggies pulled away for a 77-67 win at Cowan Spectrum. The bottom line: “I thought we battled for some of the game. I didn’t think we battled all the game,” coach Don Verlin said. “And what you’ve got to do to beat Utah State is battle every possession.”

Verlin has coached with and against Stew Morrill enough to know what it takes to hang with the Aggies, but he admitted afterward that “I got my butt outcoached tonight.” You can read more in our game story below.

Greinacher’s career-best 21 boosts Gonzaga

Gonzaga's women took over first place alone in the West Coast Conference on Thursday night with a 79-57 win over Loyola Marymount at McCarthey Athletic Center. Sophomore Sunny Greinacher led the way for the Bulldogs with a career-high 21 points, including 17 in the second half. Read story See picture story

Gonzaga women defeat Loyola Marymount 79-57

S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the GU women vs. Loyola game.  Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

Gonzaga takes over first place alone

Sunny Greinacher scored a career-high 21 points, Jazmine Redmon added 12 and Taelor Karr scored 10, all in the first half, as Gonzaga (17-5, 7-1 West Coast Conference) defeated Loyola Marymount 79-57 at McCarthey Athletic Center Thursday night. Gonzaga took over first place alone because BYU defeated Saint Mary's (6-2 WCC). Story to come

WSU, ASU ready for 8 p.m. tip

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We're seated on press row at Beasley Coliseum, where Washington State will try to win its second consecutive game in a late start against Arizona State tonight. We have a few things to watch after the jump, so read on.

Gonzaga leads LMU by 15 at halftime

Senior guards are leading the way for Gonzaga on Thursday night as the Bulldogs hold a 43-28 edge over Loyola Marymount in West Coast Conference play at McCarthey Athletic Center. Starter Taelor Karr has 10 points and reserve Meghan Winters has eight for the Bulldogs, who have led by as many as 21 points. Gonzaga has hit six 3-pointers, including two apiece by Karr and Winters. Hazel Ramirez leads the Lions with 10 points, including nine straight after Gonzaga took a 40-21 advantage.

First-place Gonzaga women host LMU

Gonzaga will play its first home game in two weeks when the Bulldogs (16-5, 6-1 West Coast Conference) tip off in 20 minutes against Loyola Marymount (8-12, 2-5) at McCarthey Athletic Center. GU has won four consecutive games and won't play any of the teams in the upper part of the conference standings for another two weeks. GU shares first place with Saint Mary's (14-5, 6-1), but the Gaels are at third-place BYU (13-6, 4-2) tonight. The Bulldogs own nine consecutive wins over LMU. The Lions have lost seven of their last nine games.

Olynyk on Robertson Trophy watch list

Gonzaga junior forward Kelly Olynyk is one of 12 players on the Oscar Robertson Trophy Midseason Watch list, announced Thursday by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association

Ex-Zag Adam Morrison and J.J. Redick shared the award in 2006.

More here and more below.

WSU’s Brooks arrested for DUI

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State running back Leon Brooks was arrested early Sunday morning by a Whitman County Sheriff's Deputy on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

The sheriff office’s arrest log shows Brooks was arrested at 3:01 a.m. on Sunday. According to an arrest report obtained by the Spokesman-Review, Brooks was pulled over after making a wide turn from Monroe Street onto Stadium Way.

Whitman County Sheriff’s Deputy Bryce Nebe reported that after he noticed an odor of intoxicants, he asked Brooks to step out of the car and perform a field sobriety test. The deputy concluded from that test that Brooks was impaired, transported him to the Pullman Police Department and administered two breathalyzer tests.

Brooks, age 21, allegedly blew a .088 and a .092 four minutes apart. The legal maximum in Washington is .08. Brooks was transported to the Whitman County Jail and was later released.

Brooks, who will be a fifth-year senior next season, was the Cougars’ primary punt returner the last two seasons.

WSU coaches are aware of the situation.

Christian Caple can be reached at christianc@spokesman.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple

Those dang ACL injuries

I wrote two stories for our newspaper today about the eve-growing concern with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries. Pictured above is Reed Hopkins of Gonzaga Prep doing rehab.

Here's a link to a story about a handful of basketball players who have suffered season-ending injuries this winter. Here's a general overview about the injuries.

It’s time for hoops

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Thursday's are always crowded this time of year with college basketball news. Today is no exception (Question: Does that also prove the rule?) so instead of rambling about the weather or whatnot, we'll get right to it. You're welcome. Read on.

Live chat, and a busy WSU Thursday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State returns to the court later tonight. Way later tonight. The Cougars play Arizona State at 8 p.m., which, of course, is the start time that every sports writer dreams about. In our nightmares. Read on.

Stanford, Cal continue to lead way in Pac-12

Here's one writer's take on the Pac-12 women's basketball race to date. Read story

Zags return to road in WCC

Game day is approaching for Gonzaga, which visits Loyola Marymount on Thursday in Los Angeles.

Here's my preview of the Bulldogs-Lions, a glance at the game and a couple of notes that will run on our Four Corners college basketball page in Thursday's S-R.

 More below.

Zags women return home for two games

The Gonzaga women, tied for first place in the West Coast Conference with Saint Mary's, are set to play at home for the first time in two weeks. First up is Loyola Marymount on Thursday night, followed by Pepperdine on Saturday afternoon. Read story

All the news we could gather in time

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Rarely does one face a hard deadline when working on the web. Not like the old days of print, that's for sure. Back then, some crusty guy with a cigar in one hand and a knife in the other would basically threaten you until your story was ready to go on time. You know those spots on the paper you thought were ink blots back in the day? They were really blood, shed when a unwilling editor tried to push deadline. But those days are gone, replaced by the electronic 24-hour news cycle. There are no real deadlines when every second is a deadline. That's not true today, however. We are working on a hard deadline – and I'm not handling it well. Read on.

A Wednesday without hoops

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Well, for Washington State, anyway. The Cougars are back on the normal Thursday-Saturday schedule this week, waiting another day to host Arizona State. Until then, we have quotes, video and links to tide you over, so read on.

Portland becomes first to clinch

The Portland Winterhawks became the first team in the Western Hockey League to clinch a postseason berth by winning Tuesday. The Spokane Chiefs stalled Portland for a while, taking two of three games from the Winterhawks last week. Read story

NIC sophomores chart own course

This week's women's basketball notebook leads with Angela Woods and the sophomores from NJCAA Division I second-ranked North Idaho College. Read story

Gonzaga Prep girls defeat Mt. Spokane 65-46

S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the Gonzaga Prep vs. Mt. Spokane game.  Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

Bone: No practice for Que, plus other notes

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Ken Bone conducted his weekly press conference earlier this afternoon, and we have a bit of news to pass along. Read on.

Gonzaga and game planning

Good morning. After watching Gonzaga's defense shut down the top two scoring on options on BYU's and San Francisco's teams (Haws and Davies; Doolin and Dickerson), I wanted to explore the Zags' approach to scouting.

It was done in general terms — how long they spend watching tape, what they're looking for, etc, how much/little info do they give to the players — because I knew going in coaches weren't going to give away too many specifics against teams they have to play again. Anyway, here's my article that ran in today's S-R (with a couple of notes at the bottom).

Also, Guy Landry Edi (ankle) practiced Monday and seemed to be moving around pretty well. He didn' t play Saturday, but he probably could have if the situation warranted. I expect he'll be available vs. LMU on Thursday.

It’s hard to find super local connections

A GRIP ON SPORTS

One of the charges of this daily column is to highlight the local items. If you read it consistently, you'll find news and commentary related to all things local from the neighborhood prep ranks to regional professional sports. But big national news events like the Super Bowl are a bit more problematic. Finding the local connections sometimes takes a bit more digging. However, as my dad used to say, digging is the only way to find nuggets. Read on.

Cougs lose Pettway, plus links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Today's morning post brings some unfortunate personnel news for the Washington State football team. Read on.

EWU beats Portland State

S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the Eagles' win over Portland State.  Check out a big picture gallery of his game photos.

Yesterday seemed a bit odd

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The NFL season ends and so does our typical Sunday, or at least the way our Sundays have become since September. Didn't it seem odd to not have any professional football to watch yesterday? OK, I'll give you the Pro Bowl was on – and was, at times, entertaining – but you know it's not a real game when Marshawn Lynch runs off left tackle into a pile and basically just stands there until the whistle blows. It was a very civilized move, not something you would expect from a guy known to everyone in the league as a beast. Read on.

WSU links on another Monday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We're back in Pullman and ready to gear up for another week. But as is usual with Mondays during basketball season, there isn't a ton of news. But there is, of course, enough to warrant a post, so read on.

Day after USF

Good morning. We'll get right to it because I get to be a fan of my kid's games today!

The links: My game story, John Blanchette column, Tyler Tjomsland's photos and AP here and here.

Read on for my day-after San Francisco post. 

Hurry, you don’t want to miss the Pro Bowl

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Sunday mornings are a lazy time. And we're feeling lazy as well. But not so lazy we can't fill the hours before noon with more than enough stories to keep you busy. Read on.

Day after Oregon State

COUGARS

FROM PORTLAND — It's another Sunday in the Pac-12, which means we look back at Saturday's games while also previewing the two games being played today. But, perhaps most importantly to this blog's readership, we also recap WSU's first road win of the season. Read on.

Quotable: Cougars win on the road

COUGARS

FROM PORTLAND — Flying back to Pullman here in a few hours, but first wanted to pass along some additional quotes from Washington State's 71-68 win over Oregon State on Saturday. Read on.

Lanigan makes big saves to thwart Chiefs

Cam Lanigan, the reigning Western Hockey League Goaltender of the Week, stopped 55 shots and chalked up two rare assists Saturday night during the Medicine Hat Tigers' 4-3 win over the Spokane Chiefs at the Arena. Spokane outshot the Tigers 22-7 in the second period and 22-8 in the third. Read story

Barone’s huge game carries Idaho

Kyle Barone is making a strong case for WAC player of the year honors. He followed a 27-point, 16-rebound effort on Thursday with 25 points and 16 rebounds tonight in a 74-70 win over UTSA. He also made the biggest play of the night when he found Mike McChristian in the corner for a huge 3-pointer with a minute left. 

That key assist late in the game? It came with Barone 10-for-10 from the field. He didn't take another shot the rest of night and set a school record for the best shooting performance from the field, eclipsing the 9-for-9 efforts from Tanoris Shepherd in 2002 and Phil Hopson in 1982.

In two games this week, Barone went 18-for-20 with 14 straight shots made. We have our game story below.

Medicine Hat holds off Chiefs

Cam Lanigan made 55 saves and assisted on two goals Saturday night as the Medicine Hat Tigers edged the Spokane Chiefs 4-3 in WHL play at the Arena. Story to come.

GU’s quick start buries another WCC foe

Gonzaga got off to another quick start, endured another somewhat sloppy second half and won another WCC home game. The Bulldogs knocked off San Francisco 66-52 on Saturday, following a similar pattern to their two previous conference home games.

GU outscored Saint Mary's, BYU and USF 129-70 in the first half. The Bulldogs have been outscored 123-103 in the second half of those three games — Saint Mary's by 13, USF by 8, after scoring the game's final 9 points in the last 1:45. The Dons never seriously threatened the Zags, whose lead never dropped below 15.

My unedited game story is below. Day-after post coming Sunday morning.

Medicine Hat makes most of its shots

Boston Leier and Hunter Shinkaruk scored second-period goals Saturday to give the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers a 2-1 lead over the Spokane Chiefs in Western Hockey League play. Spokane outshot the Tigers 20-7 in the second period and just missed scoring seconds before Leier's goal at 3:39. Spokane went 0 for 2 on the power play during the period to continue a six-game swoon in which the Chiefs are 1 for 27 with an extra man.

Fiddler’s 34th gives Chiefs 1-0 lead

Todd Fiddler scored his Western Hockey League-leading 34th goal of the season at 17:15 of the first period Saturday night to give the Spokane Chiefs a 1-0 lead over the Medicine Hat Tigers at the Arena. Mike Aviani assisted on the goal for his 50th point of the season. Shots favor the Tigers 16-14.

GU beats San Francisco 66-52

S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland covered GU's win over San Francisco.  Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.

Rare look at Medicine Hat

The Spokane Chiefs are 25 minutes away from their only matchup of the 2012-13 Western Hockey League season against the Medicine Hat Tigers. Medicine Hat hasn't played at the Arena since Dec. 3, 2010. The Tigers are hovering around .500, but they've won seven of their last 10 games. Their road record (8-15-2-1) has held them back, but they won Friday night at Tri-City. The Tigers feature three of the league's top 13 scorers in Curtis Valk (63 points), Elgin Pearce (59) and Hunter Shinkaruk (58). Pearce played three seasons with the Kootenay Ice.

Tale of the tape: WSU 71, OSU 68

COUGARS

FROM CORVALLIS — A physical, emotional game finally went the way of the Washington State Cougars, who won at Gill Coliseum today for the fourth consecutive time. We have our usual recap after the jump, so read on.

From Gill’s friendly confines

COUGARS

FROM CORVALLIS — That phrase in the headline is a standard-issue cliche. But it's true when applied to the Washington State basketball team's recent success in this building. Read on.

I gave my heart years ago

A GRIP ON SPORTS

What makes a relationship work? When a long history is shared and expectations have grown, sometimes it takes a lot of work to keep a relationship going, growing, and to keep it fresh. I'm in one of those relationships right now and let me tell you, at times it takes a lot of give-and-take to keep it going. Read on.

From Corvallis, with links

COUGARS

FROM CORVALLIS — It's another Pac-12 gameday, this one featuring four games. Washington State's tilt with Oregon State is among them. We have some links before that game tips at 2 p.m., so read on.

Portland powers past Chiefs in shutout

The Portland Winterhawks, with the best record in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference, took advantage of seven power-play chances Friday night to score three times and blank the Spokane Chiefs 3-0 at the Arena. Spokane, after defeating Portland on Monday and Wednesday, came up empty despite seven power-play opportunities, one breakaway and a penalty shot. Read story

Winterhawks shut out Chiefs

Mac Carruth stopped 36 shots and the Portland Winterhawks scored three power-play goals Friday night to blank the Spokane Chiefs 3-0 in Western Hockey League play at the Arena. Spokane, shut out for the first time this season, finished 0 for 7 on the power play. Spokane had defeated Portland on Monday at Portland and Wednesday at the Arena. Story to come

Chiefs can’t cash in during second period

The Spokane Chiefs were 0 for 5 on power-play chances during the second period Friday night and still trail the Portland Winterhawks 2-0 in Western Hockey League play at the Arena. Spokane is 1 for 23 on the power play in its last five games.

Power-play goals put Chiefs in 2-0 hole

Ty Rattie and Nicolas Petan have scored power-play goals Friday night to give the Portland Winterhawks a 2-0 lead over the Spokane Chiefs after one period at the Arena. Portland has been on the power play five times, Spokane none. Petan's goal, his 32nd of the season, came as Spokane was killing off a 5-on-3 power play. Spokane's Mike Aviani has been whistled for three penalties. Portland has outshot Spokane 19-7.

Chiefs seek week sweep

The Spokane Chiefs are attempting tonight to become the first Western Hockey League team with three wins over the Portland Winterhawks this season. The Chiefs and Winterhawks will drop the puck in 20 minutes at the Arena. Spokane (30-16-2-0) defeated Portland 5-2 on Monday at Portland and 5-4 in a shootout on Wednesday at the Arena. Portland (37-7-1-2) has lost four consecutive games after losing just once during November and December. Portland's Troy Rutkowski will set a franchise record tonight with his 327th game, including 216 straight. Kevin Haupt (1994-99) held the record. Spokane and Portland will meet three more times during the regular season, all at Portland.

Zags entertain USF, Blanchette on conference landscape

Gonzaga, fresh from a 20-point win over BYU on Thursday, takes on visiting San Francisco on Saturday at the Kennel. The Dons have won two straight, including a 75-72 victory at Portland on Thursday.

USF has knocked off Gonzaga the last three years at Memorial Gym in San Francisco, but the Dons haven't won in Spokane since 1988-89 season (67-64).

My short game preview for Saturday's S-R is below.

Update: John Blanchette weighs in on the Catholic 7 and Gonzaga after a visit with  WCC commissioner Jamie Zaninovich.

Day after BYU

Back with my day-after BYU post following Gonzaga's 83-63 win over the Cougars at the MAC last night. These two programs are used to winning, but they can't seem to play a close game against each other. GU has won three straight, by 11, 19 and 20. BYU won the two before that, by 22 and 10.

Gonzaga was sharp at both ends of the floor, save for 19 turnovers, to keep its WCC record unblemished at 5-0.

The lnks: Game stories from The S-R, A.P. Tacoma News Tribune, Salt Lake Tribune (sidebar here),Daily Herald and Deseret News. S-R photo gallery here.

By the way, GU president Thayne McCulloh's halftime announcement centered on a proposed four-story university center.

One other item: Several sources say that the WCC has re-upped with the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas as the site of the conference's men's and women's tournaments. It's a multi-year deal — my guess is three years, as it was in the previous contract that was set to expire after the 2013 event in March. The WCC explored a few other options — KeyArena in Seattle was one — but the tournaments have been a hit at the Orleans since arriving in 2009.

 Read on.

 

Zags defend home court

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Basically all the ESPN guys could talk about last night was the near-perfect play on the offensive end of Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris. And the duo deserved praise as they combined for 51 points in GU's dominating 83-63 win over BYU. But I saw something else, something that will be key if this Zag team is going to advance to previously unseen heights come March. Read on.

Live chat, and Friday Pac-12 roundup

COUGARS

There was a packed slate of games in the Pac-12 yesterday. Some day, Washington State will be part of the Thursday night lineup. Some day. Until then, we have links. Read on.

Idaho blows huge lead, loses to Texas St.

When your team is up 17 points at home to one of the WAC's worst teams, you don't expect to lose. And the 1,279 in attendance Thursday night at the Cowan Spectrum had to feel pretty good in the first half about Idaho winning its second straight game. But then turnovers started to mount for the Vandals, and Texas State completed a huge comeback to nab a 78-73 win.

More below.

GU handles BYU to remain in first

It was a one-two punch offensively with Kelly Olynyk (26 points) and Elias Harris (25).

It was a one-two-three-four-five punch on defense as Gonzaga held BYU to 63 points, 15 under its season average, and 35.6-percent shooting. The Bulldogs' Gary Bell Jr. (on BYU's Tyler Haws, who had 1 point, 20 below his average) and Elias Harris (on Brandon Davies, who had 14 points, 4 under his average) were outstanding defensively, and they had a lot of help from their teammates.  

The Bulldogs rolled to an 83-63 victory Thursday at the MAC to remain unbeaten in WCC play at 5-0. Saint Mary's is in second place at 5-1. BYU dropped to 5-2.

My unedited game story is below. I'll be back with a day-after post in the a.m.

Gonzaga women stay atop WCC

A balanced attack helped the Gonzaga women to an 80-46 win at Pepperdine on Thursday night. The Bulldogs continue to lead the West Coast Conference, with Saint Mary's and BYU in pursuit. Read story

Big picture gallery of GU’s win against BYU

S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the GU vs. BYU home game.  Check out this large-format gallery of his photos.

Big picture show of Wednesday’s Chiefs game

Check out Colin Mulvany's photos from Wednesday's Spokane Chiefs win over Portland at the Spokane Arena.

Shock to hold preseason scrimmage

The Spokane Shock announced that they will hold an Orange and White preseason scrimmage on Sunday, March 10, at the Arena. Details below.

Tickets for EWU basketball, movies

Take our weekly news quiz and be automatically entered in our drawing for four tickets to the Eastern Washington-Montana State game on Jan. 31. You will also be entered in the drawing for movie tickets and the overall prize of a $50 gift card to the Davenport.  Click here to take the news quiz. Good luck.

A quiz before the test

Great, a visit from my old adversary back pain and then I wake up and I have to take a quiz? Man, I thought I was past these things.

The first one is a true pain. The second one, John Blanchette's Gonzaga trivia quiz, is truly hard, but fun. I scored 7 out of 18 — I really wanted to get at least half correct — but the pre-1990s questions buried me. (Yes, I gave myself a half point if I got one of the two required answers). Here are the answers, for AFTER you take the exam! Hint: That guy pictured above is one of the correct answers.

It was open book, er, open media guide, right?

Also, as part of National Gonzaga Day and the school's celebration of 125 years, there was this nugget in a news release: GU President Thayne McCulloh will deliver some good news about Gonzaga’s future during a special halftime program broadcast live over the Internet from the Gonzaga-BYU men’s basketball game.

Moving on. Anyway, here's my GU-BYU preview and a note on Drew Barham, Salt Lake Tribune advance and the re-emergence of point guard Matt Carlino, a Daily Herald preview and a Deseret News preview. I'll be tweeting live in-game updates tonight at twitter.com/SRjimm.

 

 

Shout it from the smart phone apps

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Not happy with how your team is playing? Well, the answer is simple. Open your front door, step out onto the social media superhighway and shout until your heart is content. Read on.

Day after Oregon

COUGARS

FROM EUGENE — The Cougars are back in Pullman and will be attending classes shortly. We'll be spending the next couple of days down here before WSU plays at Oregon State on Saturday. For now, we have notes and links. Read on.

Williams helps Chiefs overcome Portland in shootout

Eric Williams made 41 saves, including eight in overtime, and stopped three shootout attempts Wednesday night as the Spokane Chiefs topped Portland 5-4 in Western Hockey League play at the Arena. Spokane also defeated Portland on Monday on the road. Read story

Quotable: Cougs fall short at Oregon

COUGARS

FROM EUGENE — We have a few remaining quotes to pass along from WSU's 68-61 loss at Oregon on Wednesday. Read on.

Tale of the tape: Oregon 68, WSU 61

COUGARS

FROM EUGENE — A 10-point halftime lead dissipated early in the second half, and WSU ultimately fell to Oregon here 68-61 at Matthew Knight Arena. We have our usual tale of the tape, so read on.

Chiefs win in shootout

Brenden Kichton's goal in the third round of the shootout gave the Spokane Chiefs a 5-4 win over Portland Wednesday in WHL play at the  Arena. Story to come.

Chiefs, Winterhawks go to shootout

The Spokane Chiefs and Portland Winterhawks are entering a shootout at the Arena. The teams were tied at 4 after regulation and Spokane withstood Portland's shooting barrage in overtime.

Chiefs extend lead over Portland

Eric Williams stopped all 13 shots he faced in the second period Wednesday night and Adam Helewka scored to give the Spokane Chiefs a 3-1 lead over the Portland Wiinterhawks in Western Hockey League play at the Arena. Helewka scored a little more than 5 minutes after he had a goal waved off for high sticking. Portland has won 33 of its last 38 games but has dropped three straight for the first time this season.

Zags entertain BYU

Gonzaga returns to WCC play and tries to put the tough loss to Butler in the rear-view mirror when it entertains BYU on Thursday night.

Here's my game preview that will run in Thursday's S-R.

There's a bit more on the game and a note on Drew Barham below that run on the S-R Four Corners page tomorrow.

Chiefs lead on two late goals

Dylan Walchuk scored at 17 minutes, 27 seconds of the first period and assisted on Brenden Kichton's goal at 18:23 Wednesday night to give the Spokane Chiefs a 2-1 lead over the Portland Winterhawks. The shots are 13-12 for Portland, but the Chiefs only had two shots after 12 minutes.

Chiefs, Winterhawks prep for middle game

The Spokane Chiefs and Portland Winterhawks are warming up for tonight's Western Hockey League game at the Arena. The teams met Monday in Portland, a 5-2 Chiefs win, and will also play Friday at the Arena. Portland is on a season-high three-game losing streak but is still 33-4-0-1 since Oct. 9. The Winterhawks have won three of four against Spokane this season. The teams will meet nine times this season. Spokane hits the two-thirds mark of the 72-game schedule tonight.

Prince George hires new coach

The Western Hockey League's Prince George Cougars have a new coach. The Spokane Chiefs won two of three games from Prince George in late October. The teams don't meet again until the final week of the regular season, March 12 in Spokane. Read story

Pregame thoughts from Eugene

COUGARS

FROM EUGENE — We've arrived at Matthew Knight Arena, the big, shiny building that sticks out like a sore thumb among the college-town-type business that surround it. And then there's that court. Anyway, we have thoughts, so read on.

Former Chiefs prospect opts for college

Rhett Gardner, the Spokane Chiefs' second-round selection in the 2011 Bantam Draft, has decided to play hockey at the University of North Dakota and not play for the Brandon Wheat Kings. The Chiefs traded Gardner, Marek Kalus and two draft picks to Brandon two weeks ago for 19-year-old forward Alessio Bertaggia. Read more

Winning isn’t the only thing today

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I really want you to read Christian Caple's super blog post this morning. Read it even more than mine. After all, Christian is a friend and I hate the organization behind “A Grip on Sports,” so when I got up this morning, I decided to change the game plan and write boring crud, just so Christian could win today. Hope no one says anything for about, oh, 10 years or so. Read on.

Heading to Eugene

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Should be on an airplane in Spokane by the time this posts. Call it the early-bird special, except I'm not a bird (or all that special). Anyway, we'll be in Portland and then Eugene before too long, but we have some links to pass along first. Read on.

Verlin on the Vandals

We caught up with Idaho coach Don Verlin on Tuesday afternoon with the Vandals preparing for a four-game home stand that will likely determine if UI gets back near the top of the WAC standings – or stays in the lower tier of the 10-team league.

Read on for Verlin's thoughts.

Portland comes to Spokane for two

The Portland Winterhawks, who own the best record in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference, will play at Spokane on Wednesday and Friday nights. Portland has experienced a rare dip in the last few days, losing three consecutive games. Read story:

GU-Butler series on hold

When you witness a game as entertaining as Gonzaga-Butler on Saturday, it's natural to wonder if the series will continue at some point. The teams have met the last two years and Saturday's game in Indianapolis was an instant classic.

For now, it looks like the series will take a break. You can see Mark Few's thoughts on the series and a closer look at Gary Bell Jr.'s recent struggles in my GU notebook that will run in Wednesday's S-R.

Salvatore goes to great lengths for Vandals

This week's women's basketball notebook features Idaho freshman guard/wing Christina Salvatore, who is ahead of pace to break the school's record for 3-pointers in a season. Read story

Tuesday notes from WSU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Ken Bone's press conference was cancelled today — he was supposed to return from a recruiting trip in Seattle this morning but his travel plans got muddied — but he still was available on the Pac-12 coaches' call. We have some notes from that, as well as from WSU players, to pass along. Read on.

The NBA is headed back to Washington

A GRIP ON SPORTS • UPDATED: 9:50 A.M.

The NBA has never held any real fascination for me. There was a time when I was real young and the Lakers were the league's continual bridesmaids, then I was an NBA fan. Later, when I shared the backcourt for St. Rita's School with Joe Mullaney, the son of the Lakers' coach, I was a fan then as well. And Magic Johnson, he made me a fan. The matchups with Larry Bird's Celtics, those were classics. But other than that, the NBA hasn't been on my radar much. Read on.

Tuesday’s light on links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — The WSU basketball team departs in a few hours, and will make the relatively brief trek from here to the Willamatte Valley for Wednesday's game against Oregon. Before that, coach Ken Bone will meet with the media, as usual. Right now, we don't have much. But there is a bit of recruiting news to pass along. Read on.

Have a great holiday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

We wrote a lot about a couple different subjects yesterday morning, so today we'll keep it a little simpler, mainly because we're a little burned out, not because it's a holiday. Read on.

The streak continues (plus links)

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — There was nothing wrong with the quality of basketball played at Beasley Coliseum yesterday. But for fans of the WSU women's team, there was something wrong with the outcome. Hint: it's the same thing that's been wrong since 1995, as far as the Washington series is concerned. Read on.

Day after Butler

Planes to catch, an inbound play to scrutinize from several perspectives.

We'll start with the links: My game story, Indianapolis Star coverage here, here and here, USA Today, ESPN.com, CBSsports.com and A.P.

Read on for my day-after Butler post.

Did that really happen?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

When I got up this morning, I was looking for the answer to one two-part question. After more than an hour of searching, I'm still not sure I found what I was looking for. Read on.

Day after Colorado (and day of UW)

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We have our usual next-day recap of our coverage of Washington State's basketball game against Colorado on Saturday, as well as a look around the Pac-12. And today, we'll be in attendance to see whether the WSU women can end their losing streak against UW. Read on.

Quotable: Another tough loss for WSU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We have a few more quotes to pass along from Washington State's 58-49 loss to Colorado on Saturday. Read on.

Lee-Knight stars as Ams beat Chiefs in OT

Former Spokane Chiefs goaltender Luke Lee-Knight, now playing for the Tri-City Americans, made 39 saves Saturday night to disappoint a sold-out Arena crowd in a 4-3 Tri-City overtime win in Western Hockey League play. Read story

Butler steals win away from Gonzaga

Not much to write about after that one.

Holy moly, I could have penned a couple of chapters on the final 2 minutes alone with all the plot changes. As it is, this was maybe the longest game story I've ever put together — but a game that good probably is deserving of some extra words.

Butler's Roosevelt Jones picked off an inbound pass, drove down the floor and made an off-balance 12-footer just before the buzzer to give the home-standing Bulldogs a 64-63 win over Gonzaga.

Read on below for Jones' explanation of his steal, David Stockton experiencing a bad case of deja vu and the rest of the details from a memorable game.

Tale of the tape: Colorado 58, WSU 49

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Another loss that felt too familar for Washington State. The Cougars led in the second half, engaged in some back-and-forth, then wilted down the stretch before falling 58-49 to Colorado on Saturday night. We recap the loss. Read on.

Chiefs lose in overtime

Malte Stromwall scored 21 seconds into overtime Saturday night to give the Tri-City Americans a 4-3 win over the Spokane Chiefs in Western Hockey League play at the Arena. Story to come

Vandals snap 4-game losing skid

Kyle Barone notched his WAC-best eighth double-double of the season and gathered a career-high 18 rebounds to help Idaho breeze past UT Arlington 77-64 and break a four-game losing skid. The Vandals were dominant on the glass — thanks in large part to Barone, a senior center — and connected on 59.5 percent of their field goals, a season high.

More below on Idaho, which improved to 7-10 and 3-4 in the WAC with its next four games at Cowan Spectrum.

Chiefs carry 2-1 lead into final period

Carter Proft's sixth goal of the season, at the 12:29 mark of the second period, snapped a tie and the Spokane Chiefs reached the end of the second period Saturday night with a 2-1 edge over Tri-City in Western Hockey League play. Spokane has outshot the Americans 27-14.

Late goal ties game for Chiefs

Todd Fiddler scored his team-high 30th goal with 11.1 seconds left in the first period Saturday night to allow the Spokane Chiefs to tie the Tri-City Americans at 1 after 20 minutes. Spokane outshot the Americans 18-6 during the period. Former Spokane Chief Luke Lee-Knight, starting in goal for Tri-City because of a season-ending injury to Eric Comrie, thwarted shot after shot until Fiddler's goal. Parker Bowles scored unassisted for the Americans at 11:40.

Chiefs welcome Americans

The Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans will renew their long-standing Western Hockey League rivalry in 30 minutes at the Arena. Spokane leads the season series 4-2-0-1, but the Americans have won the last two matchups. By winning tonight, Tri-City (26-17-1-2, 55 points) would tie Spokane (28-16-1-0) for the fourth-best record in the Western Conference. As it stands now, Spokane and Tri-City would be in line to meet in the first round of the WHL playoffs, but No. 6 Victoria is on a hot streak and lurks four points behind Tri-City.

Thoughts before WSU plays Colorado

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — A tense homestand for Washington State concludes tonight with another important game, this one against Colorado. Read on for some thoughts.

Gonzaga remains in first place

Junior guard Haiden Palmer scored 22 points Saturday afternoon and Gonzaga (15-5, 5-1) retained first place in the West Coast Conference with a 62-50 win at San Diego. Read Gonzaga release

Go sit in the corner young man

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Remember when you were a little kid and there was a word you could say that would really set mom or dad off? Just uttering it would earn a trip to bathroom (for soapy mouthwash) or the corner (for a little alone time). Well, there are a couple words like that for Mark Few. Just uttering them around the Gonzaga coach can earn a look of disdain. We won't risk Dial on the tongue here, but will on the link. Read on.

Gameday variety from WSU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — There's another big game tonight at Beasley Coliseum, as Washington State welcomes the mercurial Colorado Buffaloes at 7 p.m. But we also have some other reading for you, so read on.

Chiefs can’t cool off sizzling Rockets

The Kelowna Rockets are 21-3 in the Western Hockey League since Thanksgiving. Their latest victory came Friday night at the Arena, a 4-2 decision over the Spokane Chiefs. Read story

Kelowna knocks off Spokane

Ryan Olsen scored twice Friday night as the Kelowna Rockets won for the 21st time in their last 24 Western Hockey League games, doubling up the Spokane Chiefs 4-2 at the Arena. Story to come

Kelowna increases lead at Arena

Ryan Olsen's second goal of the game and 23rd of the season highlighted the second period at the Arena on Friday night as Kelowna powered to a 4-1 lead over the Spokane Chiefs. The Rockets are looking for their 21st win in their last 24 Western Hockey League games.

Big game for both GU, Butler

You know you're in Indianapolis when the first store you see at the airport is Hoosiers' marketplace and down the concourse is a race car.

But we're here for basketball, the Gonzaga-Butler showdown on Saturday night at Butler's historic Hinkle Fieldhouse. Here's my preview that will run in Saturday's S-R.

Chiefs trail 2-1 after one period

Jesse Lees and Ryan Olsen scored during the first period Friday night to give the Kelowna Rockets a 2-1 lead over the Spokane Chiefs in Western Hockey League play at the Arena. Brenden Kichton scored for Spokane, his 15th goal and team-leading 55th point. Rockets outshot Chiefs 11-9.

Torrid Kelowna visits Chiefs

The Spokane Chiefs are home at the Arena tonight and 20 minutes away from facing the Kelowna Rockets in Western Hockey League play. Kelowna has taken over the lead in the Western Conference's B.C. Division by winning 20 of its last 23 games. The Rockets are 19-2 at home and 13-8-2-1 on the road. Spokane is one of two teams to win at Kelowna this season (Oct. 10), but the Rockets turned back the visiting Chiefs 5-3 on Wednesday. Spokane is in the midst of playing seven games in 11 days, including five at home.

WSU makes Yost hire official

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Here's the brief we just filed for tomorrow's newspaper on WSU's official hire of David Yost as inside receivers coach.

Day after Portland

Better late than never.

 

I was actually at the Portland airport even earlier than I anticipated this morning. That’s what happens when the person in the hotel room above yours for some reason decides to walk a marathon all night. Not sure of their official time, but it seemed like 4 hours and change.

I started this day-after post at the Portland airport, finished 90 percent of it in the air, but wasn't able to post it with a tight connection in Chicago.

 

Here are the links: S-R game story, Oregonian and A.P.

 

Read on for more. Check back later for my GU-Butler preview.

 

Mind if I play through?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You know what I always miss in mid- to late-January? Playing golf. Read on.

Around the Pac-12 on a Friday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It's the second of a handful of two-day layoffs between conference games for Washington State this season. Have to wait another day for WSU's game against Colorado. But we still have a links roundup for you. Read on.

Zags roll to 8th straight win

Gonzaga dominated Portland 71-49 at the Chiles Center on Thursday for one of the easier wins in its current eight-game streak.

The Bulldogs led by 14 in the first seven minutes. They were up 10 at half and then held the Pilots scoreless over the final seven minutes.

Kelly Olynyk scored 21 points in 19 minutes of playing time and Kevin Pangos added 14.

My unedited game story is below.

Gonzaga takes over first place in WCC

Gonzaga received career scoring highs from Sunny Greinacher and Shelby Cheslek on Thursday night while jumping into first place in the West Coast Conference with a 74-59 home home over BYU. Read story

Turnovers loom large in Idaho loss

The Idaho Vandals were once again in the thick of a Western Athletic Conference game down the stretch on Thursday night. And again they were doomed by turnovers. UI dropped a 72-66 decision at Louisiana Tech — its fourth straight loss. The Vandals (6-10, 2-4) turned the ball over a whopping 23 times, which led to 33 points for the Bulldogs.

This is Idaho's worst record through 16 games in Don Verlin's five years as coach. Read on for more.

Gonzaga defeats BYU in key WCC game

Sunny Greinacher (17 points) and Shelby Cheslek (16) scored career highs and Taelor Karr added 15 points Thursday night as Gonzaga (14-5, 4-1 West Coast Conference) defeated BYU (12-5, 3-1) 74-59 at McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzaga led  by as many as 27 points before BYU went on a 17-0 run. BYU had won nine straight. Story to come.

Gonzaga holds huge halftime lead

Gonzaga started the game with a 10-0 run and continued to build its lead on BYU in a key West Coast Conference game at McCarthey Athletic Center on Thursday night. The Bulldogs (13-5, 3-1) lead the Cougars (12-4, 3-0) 37-19 at halftime, their biggest edge of the game. Haiden Palmer has 10 points and Sunny Greinacher eight for the Bulldogs. BYU's Jennifer Hamson (13 ppg) has missed her only two field-goal attempts.

BYU comes to McCarthey

West Coast Conference coaches, in their preseason poll, selected Brigham Young as the team to beat during the 2012-13 season. Right behind BYU in the poll was eight-time conference champion Gonzaga. The teams will meet in 20 minutes at McCarthey Athletic Center. BYU is 3-0 in conference and has won nine consecutive games. GU is 3-1 in the WCC with a loss last week at Saint Mary's, which is tied with BYU for first place. BYU and Gonzaga split WCC games last season. BYU then defeated Gonzaga at the WCC tournament.

Upcoming home games will test Chiefs

The Spokane Chiefs wil play five home games in nine days, starting Friday against torrid Kelowna. Read story

A long-shot finish to the day

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It was a strange day yesterday. Really strange. But the way it ended was perfect. Read on.

Did anything happen yesterday?

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — If you picked yesterday to stay in bed all day with your phone, television and Internet turned off, you've got a lot of catching up to do. You're also our target audience this morning. Sort of. Read on.

Quotable: WSU picks up first Pac-12 win

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — We have plenty of quotes to pass along after Washington State's 75-65 win over Utah at Beasley Coliseum on Wednesday. Read on.

Rockets tie club mark as Chiefs fall 5-3

The Kelowna Rockets registered their 18th consecutive home win on Wednesday with a 5-3 Western Hockey League decision over the Spokane Chiefs. Kelowna led 4-0 when the Chiefs scored three goals in less than 8 minutes of the third period. The teams meet again Friday in Spokane. The Chiefs are the last team to beat the Rockets in Kelowna. Read story

Tale of the tape: WSU 75, Utah 65

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — And it's a happy one this time for the Cougars, who won their first Pac-12 game thanks to a barrage of 3-pointers and a balanced offensive effort. Read on for more.

Olynyk changes body, game

I've only covered Gonzaga for five years, but I've followed the Bulldogs to some degree since the late 1990s. I can't think of a Zag that has changed his body or his game more than junior forward Kelly Olynyk. Gone is the skinny, perimeter oriented 7-footer, replaced by a sturdy, confident player who can score inside and outside. The marked change has put Olynyk squarely on NBA mock draft boards.

I wanted to know more about Olynyk's training regimen so I visited with men's basketball strength coach Travis Knight, who came up with an assortment of drills and exercises, beyond the customary weight-lifting, to help bring out the best in Olynyk during his redshirt year last season. The results speak for themselves.

Here's a link to my Olynyk feature that will run in Thursday's S-R.

By the way, it's been an entertaining night of college basketball. Watched some of WSU's win and Boise State's loss. As of this post, BYU, which led by 16 early, is up 63-62 on Saint Mary's with 3:17 left and San Diego is down 35-30 to LMU.

Idaho legend Anderson dies at 82

Wayne Anderson, a former player, coach, and assistant athletic director at Idaho and charter member of the Vandal Athletics Hall of Fame, died Wednesday at the age of 82. We have more below on the Spokane native's passing.

Clarkston’s Weisner powers Oregon State

Clarkston's Jamie Weisner is off to quite a start with Oregon State. Read story

First-place BYU will visit Gonzaga

BYU, riding a nine-game winning streak, will make its annual appearance at sold-out McCarthey Athletic Center on Thursday night as Gonzaga (13-5, 3-1) seeks to hand the Cougars their first West Coast Conference loss of the season. Read story

Get ready for a slugfest

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Not sure what to expect tonight between Washington State and Utah? Here's a guess: few points and a tight finish. Read on.

Zags hit refresh button

Ah, the things you learn at Gonzaga media day. Classes for spring semester started Tuesday and Kevin Pangos offered a glimpse at his courses.

“I've got yoga, again,” Pangos said. “I'm a phys ed major so I've got some tough ones — anatomy, physiology.”

Beyond that, we concentrated on Gonzaga's rare break in the conference season, going a week between games and enjoying a game-free weekend. That ends quickly with another road trip, at Portland on Thursday and Butler on Saturday.

Here's my notebook that ran in today's S-R. I'm working on a Kelly Olynyk feature that will run in Thursday's S-R.

Cougars have a big game tonight

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It may only be the middle of January, but tonight's Washington State home game against Utah has a must-win feeling to me. How about you? Read on.

WSU, Utah set to face off

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It's Wednesday — news, I know — which means another couple of games in the Pac-12. Washington State plays one of them. You'd know this if you checked the schedule. Come on, people. Read on.

Linehan’s son commits to Idaho

We have news on a new Idaho football commitment and a Vandals offensive lineman in legal trouble. Both stories are below.

Saint Mary’s reacts to win over Gonzaga

Saint Mary's women's basketball coach Paul Thomas talks about the Gaels' 54-51 West Coast Conference home win over Gonzaga last week. The Gaels also defeated Gonzaga last season at GU. Saint Mary's, Brigham Young and Gonzaga figure to battle to the end for this year's WCC title. BYU plays at Gonzaga on Thursday night. Read story

Portland’s Jones tops rankings

Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks led the rankings Tuesday when the NHL Central Scouting Services released its midterm report for the upcoming entry draft. Spokane Chiefs fans can see Jones in action on Jan. 23 and Jan. 25 at the Arena. The Winterhawks are running away from the Chiefs for the U.S. Division title. Portland is 3-0 against Spokane this season. Read story

Tuesday with Ken Bone

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Our story is filed in advance of tomorrow's game and we have some more notes for you from caoch Ken Bone's press conference on Tuesday. Read on.

Travis battles back to boost Whitworth

This week's women's basketball notebook features Whitworth's Emily Travis, who has fought back from a shoulder injury to lead the Pirates in scoring average. Read story

It was “a hole in one”

A GRIP ON SPORTS

“The sea was angry that day my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.” Read on.

WSU ready to get back at it

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — With the Pac-12's modified basketball schedule this season, there's even less time than before to simmer over a Saturday loss/celebrate an important win. For WSU this week, that's a good thing. Read on.

You’ll get no answers here

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The word “why” was uttered a lot around the Grippi household yesterday. There were the “whys” when the Hawks eschewed an early field goal and tried fullback Michael Robinson on a fourth-and-1 at the goal line. There was a “why” followed by a “Marshawn” when he fumbled. The “why” that came out when Russell Wilson took a sack near the end of the first half, pushing the Hawks out of field goal range. And then there were a lot of “whys” followed by “god” all afternoon after Atlanta marched down the field in about two seconds and kicked the game-winning – and Seahawk-season-ending – field goal. Read on.

Monday links from WSU

COUGARS

PULLMAN — We've arrived back in Pullman after a long day of flying — and of disobeying FAA regulations in order to follow the heartbreaking finish of the Seahawks' game — and have just a few links for you on a Monday. Read on.

Sacre finding his way with Lakers

Seems weird to write that Robert Sacre is an ex-Zag. Technically, he is a former Zag but the reality is he stays in touch with his ex-GU teammates and coaches, like a number of ex-Zags playing professionally.

When Gonzaga was in the LA area last week, Sacre caught up with the team at a practice and then watched the Zags-Waves game in Malibu. He lives fairly close to the hotel where the Bulldogs stay near Santa Monica.

“It was good to see Big Rob again,” junior forward Sam Dower said. “We miss him around here.”

Sacre is working his tail off to make his mark with the Lakers. Due to recent injuries to Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard (and now Jordan Hill is out for the season), Sacre moved into the starting lineup. 

I caught up with Sacre last week between the Philly and Clippers games and filed a feature story that ran in Sunday's S-R. More here.

Will Hawks rise early today?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Ten in the morning comes darn early, especially on a Sunday. But that's when the Seahawks will kick off their quest for a third meeting with the 49ers this season. Or their NFL playoff game with Atlanta, if you prefer. The kickoff comes so early we don't want to get in the way, so we'll be quick. Read on.

Yost reportedly on board, plus links

COUGARS

FROM OAKLAND — It's another busy travel day as we make our way back to the Palouse. First, we have some football news and some links recapping yesterday's basketball action, so read on.

Holmberg, Kichton spark Chiefs

The Spokane Chiefs ended the Kootenay Ice's seven-game winning streak Saturday night at the Arena with a 4-2 win ignited by veterans Mitch Holmberg and Brenden Kichton. Spokane's next home game is Friday against the hot Kelowna Rockets. Read story

Quotable: WSU loses third straight

COUGARS

FROM BERKELEY — We empty out our notebook with quotes from Washington State's 67-54 loss to California at Haas Pavilion, the Cougars' third consecutive defeat to start Pac-12 play. Read on.

Mistake in final seconds dooms Idaho

Where have we have seen this before? Idaho was in position to send its game with New Mexico State to overtime — after trailing by 17 points late in the first half — but Marcus Bell's foul on an inbounds with 2.7 seconds left sent NMSU to the line, where the Aggies finished off the Vandals.

After another loss decided in the final seconds for Idaho, we have our early game story below.

Chiefs double up Kootenay

Mitch Holmberg had two goals and one assist and Brenden Kichton added one goal and two assists Saturday night as the Spokane Chiefs toppled the Kootenay Ice 4-2 in Western Hockey League play at the Arena. Spokane snapped Kootenay's seven-game winning streak. Story to come

Holmberg guides way to 3-2 lead

Mitch Holmberg has had a hand in every score Saturday night as the Spokane Chiefs lead the Kootenay Ice 3-2 after two periods of Western Hockey League play at the Arena. Holmberg has two goals and one assist, giving him 27 goals and 49 points on the season.

Chiefs lead Ice 2-0 after one period

Mitch Holmberg and Brenden Kichton have one goal and one assist apiece Saturday night as the Spokane Chiefs lead the Kootenay Ice 2-0 after one period in Western Hockey League play at the Arena.

Another streak challenges Chiefs

The Spokane Chiefs are hosting the Kootenay Ice in a Western Hockey League game that's set to start in 20 minutes at the Arena. Kootenay has a modest record of 17-24-1-0, but the Ice are in the midst of a seven-game winning streak that began Dec. 29 in Spokane with a 7-3 victory. On Friday night, Spokane lost at Portland 5-2 in an outcome that improved the Winterhawks' winning streak to 13.

Kennedy assists on NCAA record

Brittany Kennedy (Oregon State/Lewis and Clark High) had a career-high 12 assists on Saturday as Florida Gulf Coast set an NCAA Division I record with 22 3-pointers. Read FGCU release

Tale of the tape: Cal 67, WSU 54

COUGARS

FROM BERKELEY — Another frustrating loss for Washington State, this one 67-54 to California in Haas Pavilion. We've filed our story and have our usual tale of the tape after the jump. Read on.

Thoughts on WSU from Haas

COUGARS

FROM BERKELEY — After going one season without visiting the Bay Area, the Washington State men's basketball team is back in Haas Pavilion to take on California. We have thoughts about today's game, as usual. Read on.

Even the headline was a struggle

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I arose from bed this morning not sure what to write about. No worries, though. It always comes to me. Except today it didn't. Read on.

Another gameday in the Bay

COUGARS

FROM OAKLAND — It's back to work today for Washington State, which plays a 1 p.m. game at California in Haas Pavilion. We have some links and a few notes to pass along first. Read on.

Cougars lose sight of UCLA in second half

The Washington State Cougars played right with 14th-ranked UCLA during the first half Friday night. The game was tied at 25 with 3:49 left in the first half and UCLA reached halftime with a slim four-point advantage. The second half, however, was a different story. (By the way, USA Today ranks UCLA No. 15; Associated Press puts the Bruins at No. 14.) Read story

Portland tops Chiefs for 13th straight win

The Spokane Chiefs led the Portland Winterhawks 2-1 one-third of the way through the third period on Friday night. The rest of the third period definitely belonged to Portland, which chalked up its 13th consecutive victory. Read story Read Canadian Press story

Day after Saint Mary’s

Good morning. A lot of items to link to and get to in my day-after Saint Mary's post. Gonzaga relinquished nearly all of a 20-point lead before holding off the Gaels 83-78 last night.

Links: My game story, John Blanchette's column and Colin Mulvany's photo gallery. More coverage from the Seattle Times, San Jose Mercury News, Tacoma News Tribune and A.P.

Can't argue with Andy Katz pointing out that Kelly Olynyk should be on the Wooden Award midseason Top 25. For that matter, Matthew Dellavedova should be among the Cousy Award's 20 finalists (he was top 5 last year and his stats are better this season). The WCC player of the year race is going to be a close one between Olynyk, Dellavedova and BYU's Brandon Davies.

Read on.

Ending the week in style

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It was a pretty interesting Thursday around here, what with Gonzaga having to hold off St. Mary's best shots, Eastern winning in a blowout fashion for the first time this season and the Pac-12 releasing the football schedules for next season. We cover all those items. Read on.

Waiting another day for WSU

COUGARS

FROM OAKLAND — With an extra day between games this week, we're still in the Bay Area while Washington State won't come back here until later tonight. That's OK. We found something to do. Read on.

Vandals stumble late again

It was a frustrating night for Kyle Barone. And it was a frustrating last few minutes for the Idaho Vandals in general. After building a late seven-point lead, UI faltered in crunch time again in a 55-49 WAC loss to the University of Denver at Cowan Spectrum. The Vandals committed 18 turnovers, 12 in the second half, and Barone had six by himself. He also scored just six points, well off his average, with six rebounds.

UI fell to 6-8 overall, 2-2 in the WAC. You can read our story for the S-R, filed by Theo Lawson, and see more here.

Zags hold off Saint Mary’s, 83-78

It was a tale of two halves. Gonzaga got the better half — barely.

The Bulldogs built an 18-point halftime cushion and led by 20 early in the second before Saint Mary's stormed back. The Gaels got within three points twice and then closed within 79-78 with 15 seconds remaining. Kelly Olynyk, who finished with 31 points, his second straight game in the 30s, made a pair of free throws and the Gaels' Matthew Dellavedova missed an open 3-point look.

Kevin Pangos, who had 22 points, made two free throws to close out GU's 83-78 win, the Zags' seventh straight victory. Saint Mary's dropped to 12-4, 1-1. 

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

BYU win drops Gonzaga to third

The Gonzaga women have won the last eight West Coast Conference titles, compiling a 105-9 conference record along the way, but the Bulldogs find themselves in an unaccustomed spot - third place - after Thursday night's play. Gonzaga lost at Saint Mary's 54-51 in a game matching teams that had been 2-0 in the WCC. BYU, meanwhile, held off San Diego in overtime to improve to 2-0 in conference. After Gonzaga plays at Portland at Monday, it will host BYU at 6 p.m. Thursday. Read BYU story Read Gonzaga release

Winterhawks see no reason to deal

The Western Conference-leading Portland Winterhawks saw no reason to make any swaps as the Western Hockey League trade deadline came and went Thursday. Portland is 15-1 since former Spokane Chiefs player Travis Green took over for suspended coach Mike Johnston. The Chiefs, fourth place in the conference and second place to Portland in the U.S. Division, play at Portland on Friday night. Portland has won the previous two matchups this season. Read story

Chiefs acquire big-scoring forward from Brandon

The Spokane Chiefs traded away Marek Kalus, Collin Valcourt and prospect Rhett Gardner before Thursday's Western Hockey League trade deadline. The Chiefs' big acquisition is high-scoring 19-year-old forward Alessio Bertaggia, who was leading the Brandon Wheat Kings in scoring. Read story

Scholar Gow puts up numbers on ice

Here's a feature story on Spokane Chiefs defenseman Reid Gow, an 18-year-old from Manitoba. Read story

EWU tickets up for grabs

Take our news quiz and win a chance at four tickets to the EWU-Sacramento State men's basketball game on Saturday. You can also win movies tickets and a $50 gift card to the Davenport. Click here to take the quiz and you will be automatically entered into the drawings. Good luck.

Greater Spokane League hoops

Here's a link to this week's Greater Spokane League boys and girls scoring leaders.

Stu Stiles of Mt. Spokane moved into a tie for first with 30- and 42-point games.

Some surprises in WSU football schedule

COUGARS

FROM OAKLAND — The Pac-12 released its 2013 football schedule on Thursday, and it probably won't have Washington State fans jumping for joy. Read on.

This is where everyone knows your name

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Years ago I used to look forward to Thursday nights because it meant “Hill Street Blues” and “Cheers.” Now I look forward to Thursday nights because it means a full night of college basketball. These days are better, though I miss hearing “let's be careful out there.” Read on.

Game day for Zags, Gaels

Good morning. The WCC title will be decided over the next eight weeks and the two Gonzaga-Saint Mary's contests always play a large part in the outcome. The first one is tonight at 8 at the MAC. The Zags will have eight 8 p.m. tipoffs the rest of the season, seven of them on ESPN's family of networks.

Here's my preview. And from our weekly Four Corners page, here are a few notes and a GU-SMC glance. More previews in the San Francisco Chronicle and Contra Costa Times. (Oops, I short-changed San Diego in my preview. Toreros are 1-0 in WCC play).

Live chat, wrapping up Stanford

COUGARS

FROM OAKLAND — Technically we're in Fremont, but you get the gist. Time to put a bow on Washington State's loss to Stanford last night while also taking a look around the conference, as usual. And don't forget to tune in at 1 p.m. for our live chat. Read on.

Quotable: WSU’s loss at Stanford

COUGARS

FROM STANFORD — Emptying out the notebook following WsU's 78-67 loss at Stanford on Wednesday. Read on for quotes.

Chiefs’ winning streak reaches three

Liam Stewart cashed in with his second consecutive winning goal Wednesday during the Spokane Chiefs' 4-1 Western Hockey League win over the Seattle Thunderbirds at the Arena. Read story

Tale of the tape: Stanford 78, WSU 67

COUGARS

FROM STANFORD — Another game WSU felt it could win slipped away from the Cougars here in the Bay Area, as Stanford scored 14 unanswered points late in a 78-67 win at Maples Pavilion. Read on for our tale of the tape.

Chiefs win third consecutive game

The Spokane Chiefs turned back  the Seattle Thunderbirds 4-1 on Wednesday night at the Arena. The Chiefs won their third consecutive game, all against Seattle, which has lost 12 straight. Story to come.

Stewart gives Spokane 2-1 edge

Liam Stewart, who scored the winning goal during Tuesday's game at Seattle, has given the Spokane Chiefs a 2-1 advantage over the Thunderbirds with an early second-period goal Wednesday at the Arena. Stewart has 10 goals this season. The third period is 10 minutes away.

Chiefs, Thunderbirds tied at 1

Spokane's Mitch Holmberg (his 25th) and Seattle's Alexander Delnov have scored goals Wednesday during a 1-1 first period in Western Hockey League play at the Arena.

Pregame from Maples Pavilion

COUGARS

FROM STANFORD — Checking another Pac-12 arena off my list tonight, as Washington State makes its first visit to Stanford since the 200-11 season. OK, so that wasn't all that long ago. Anyway, we have some thoughts  before things get going, so read on.

Chiefs come back home

The Spokane Chiefs have returned home for the first time since Dec. 29. The Chiefs will host the struggling Seattle Thunderbirds in about 25 minutes at the Arena. Seattle has lost 11 consecutive games, including Saturday and Tuesday setbacks against Spokane. Spokane has won six of seven against the Thunderbirds this Western Hockey League season, including six straight. But the Chiefs have lost their last three home games since starting the season 13-2 at home.

Report: Leach close to hiring offensive coach

COUGARS

FROM STANFORD — There's a report out of Missouri tonight that David Yost, formerly the offensive coordinator at Missouri under coach Gary Pinkel, has interviewed with Mike Leach to fill the opening on Washington State's offensive staff.

It's not entirely clear from the Columbia Daily Tribune story what Yost's official title would be, though the story notes that he would have some input in the offense. That seems to imply that he wouldn't simply be a replacement of Eric Morris at inside receivers coach.

Yost's background is in the spread offense, which he helped implement at Missouri to decent success. He resigned from his job at that school on Dec. 3 due to “personal reasons,” according to the report.

Leach is also searching for a replacement for Jeff Choate, the linebackers coach who recently accepted the defensive coordinator job at UTEP.

Christian Caple can be reached at christianc@spokesman.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple

The final report on WSU

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The Pac-12 released its investigation into the Washington State football program yesterday and, at its core, refuted any allegations of abuse of the players. But it did something else. It shed a light on what happens at football practice and some things might surprise you. Read on.

Putting the past in the past

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It's about time to get on an airplane and transport ourselves down to Oakland. But if memory serves, there are a few things we still need to wrap up from yesterday. Read on.

Spokane’s Pokorny top collegiate at U.S. National Cross Country Skiing Championships

Annie Pokorny, 20, of Spokane was named the top college athlete at the U.S. National Cross Country Skiing Championships that concluded today (Jan. 8) on the Olympic courses at Soldier Hollow, Utah. She was one of four Eastern Washington skiers who delivered standout performances among the 300 athletes at the event.
 
Pokorny, a sophomore at Middlebury College in Vermont, won the “collegiate cup” as the top college athlete to participate in the event. She was competing against the country's top nordic skiers, with the exception of five women currently representing the U.S. Ski Team in Europe.
 
Pokorny's effort qualified her to ski for the U.S. at the World U-23 championships to be held in Liberic, Czech Republic at the end of January. She leaves for Europe Saturday, and will return in February to continue skiing for Middlebury. She plans to ski in the NCAA championships to be held at Middlebury in March.
 
Pokorny developed her skills as a teenager with the Spokane Nordic Junior Ski Team. She was named to the All Greater Spokane League Soccer Team in 2009 as she played for Lewis and Clark High School. But she moved to Sun Valley, Idaho, with her mother for her senior year where she could finish high school while devoting her sporting interests to nordic skiing.
 
Click “continue reading” for a summary of the top performances by Pokorny and Inland Northwest skiers Torin Koos of Leavenworth, Erik Bjornsen and his sister Sadie Bjornsen of Winthrop.
 
Sadie Bjornsen, Koos and Pokorny all have the distinction of winning top female or male titles as teenagers at the annual 10K Spokane Langlauf at Mount Spokane.

Stewart’s goal lifts Chiefs to win

Liam Stewart's unassisted third-period goal Tuesday night gave the Spokane Chiefs their sixth consecutive win over the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-3 in Kent, Wash. The teams meet again Wednesday night at the Arena. Read story

Stanford defeats California

Stanford and California figure to battle it out for the Pac-12 title this season. Stanford won Round One on Tuesday night. Washington State won't meet these teams until the final weekend of the season, at Pullman. Read story

Silvertips announce coaching shake-up

The Western Hockey League's Everett Silvertips fired their head coach and an assistant coach on Tuesday. The Spokane Chiefs are 3-2 against Everett this season and won't play the Silvertips again until Feb. 15. Read story

Gonzaga’s Albanez makes most of minutes

This week's women's basketball notebook features Gonzaga sophomore guard Keani Albanez, who doesn't start for the Bulldogs but provides the team's top scoring average per minutes played. Read story 

Tuesday with Ken Bone

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — It's been a little busier around here today than originally anticipated, but we do finally have a summary of Ken Bone's press conference for you. Read on.

Pac-12 review of WSU football program finds no abuse

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Here's a short story we just filed for web on the findings of the Pac-12's review of the Washington State  football program. You can read the full report here.

The Pac-12 announced the findings of its nearly 2-month review of the Washington State football program on Tuesday, concluding that no evidence was found to suggest that coach Mike Leach or his assistants had engaged in player abuse.

The investigation was prompted after former receiver Marquess Wilson quit the team following a Nov. 4 workout, then alleged in a Nov. 10 letter to news media that the staff had abused the players physically, emotionally and verbally.

WSU’s internal review of the program exonerated Leach and his staff, buoyed by a text message Wilson sent to athletic director Bill Moos in which he softened his claims against the coaching staff.

The Pac-12’s review was contracted to Bond, Schoenek and King, a law firm located in Kansas City. The review included interviews with 20 players, coaches, parents and other athletic department staff.

In its review, the Pac-12 did recommend that the school establish a workout/conditioning policy to be approved by Moos for future use, and that the school should pay closer attention to an NCAA bylaw limiting the number of hours the team can practice each week. 

Sarcasm is the best defense

A GRIP ON SPORTS

What a great game last night. The two best college football teams in the nation meeting for the national championship. The BCS got it right again. OK, I'm being sarcastic. But doesn't a game that bad, a game basically over in the first quarter, a game pitting a team with speed and power against a team, well, that doesn't have at least one of those things, deserve some sarcasm? Read on.

WSU about to get busy

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Washington State coach Ken Bone will meet with reporters later today. He will also join the rest of the Cougars team as they board a plane for the Bay Area. We'll make the same trip on Wednesday morning. But this morning, as with every morning, we have links. Read on.

Few exercises time management skills

Gonzaga coach Mark Few has four talented bigs, but just two positions and 80 minutes of playing time to work with. It's the luxury/downside of having quality depth. Few's not complaining and neither are the four bigs.

It's a topic I addressed in a notebook that will run in Tuesday's S-R.Here's a link.

Nothing can top a playoff win

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Woke up to a foot of snow this morning. Who cares? It's still going to be a great week. Read on.

A few links on Monday

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Mondays tend to be slow during Pac-12 basketball season, though there were two games yesterday and some interesting football coaching news to pass along. Hint: it involves Chip Kelly. Another hint: it isn't good news for the rest of the Pac-12. Read on.

Day after Santa Clara

I'm thrilled to post the day-after Santa Clara because it means I'm finally home! Seven-day road trip and my longest stay in Los Angeles since the 1997 Rose Bowl.

The links: My game story, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury-News and A.P.

Read on for more.

All the news that fits

A GRIP ON SPORTS

If you try to read every link we found on the Seattle/Washington playoff game, you probably won't be done in time for the kickoff. And it is the late game today. But it would be fun to try. Read on.

Day after Washington links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — The dust has settled from another tight finish between the Washington State and Washington basketball teams. And like the last three, this one went the Huskies' way, too. We have a bunch of stuff to link to, so read on for that.

Utah State hands UI gut-wrenching loss

In Don Verlin's word, Idaho's loss at Utah State on Saturday night is going to “stick in our hearts.” The Vandals, searching for their first victory in Logan since 2003, looked like they had the game won. They were by eight with four minutes to play — and by three in the final second. But Preston Medlin sunk a 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds to play and the Aggies ran off with a 82-75 win in overtime.

Idaho fell to 6-7 and 2-1 in the WAC. Like its games versus UTEP and Montana earlier in the season, this was a game UI should have had. “We had our chances,” Verlin said, “but it’s just heartbreaking that we didn’t get out of here with a win, because we deserved that win.”

More details below.

Quotable: UW tops WSU, 68-63

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Here is an assortment of postgame quotes from WSU's 68-63 loss to Washington on Saturday. Read on.

Tale of the tape: UW 68, WSU 63

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Another slugfest in this series resulted in a 68-63 win for Washington at Beasley Coliseum on Saturday. We have our capsulated tale of the tape after the jump. Read on.

Olynyk’s 33 points lift GU past Santa Clara

Junior forward Kelly Olynyk had the best game of his Gonzaga career, racking up 33 points and 10 rebounds to lift the visiting Gonzaga Bulldogs to an 81-74 win over Santa Clara on Saturday.

Gonzaga improved to 15-1, 2-0 WCC. Santa Clara dropped to 12-4, 1-1. Kevin Foster led SCU with 29 points, but made just 10 of 24 shots. Olynyk was 12 of 15 from the field and 8 of 9 at the free-throw line.

My unedited game story is below.

Palmer has hot hand in Gonzaga victory

Junior guard Haiden Palmer scored 17 points, four shy of her season high, to lead three players in double figures Saturday in Gonzaga's easy win over Santa Clara at McCarthey Athletic Center. Read story

From Beasley Coliseum, it’s UW at WSU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Students are filing in — just how many, well, that remains to be seen — and we're a little more than an hour away from tipoff between Washington State and Washington. We have some thoughts and notes to pass along. Read on.

Gonzaga cruises past Santa Clara

Guards Haiden Palmer and Taelor Karr combined for 32 points Saturday afternoon as Gonzaga improved to 12-4 overall and 2-0 in West Coast Conference women's basketball play with a 79-50 win over Santa Clara at McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzaga scored the first eight points of the game and was never challenged by the Broncos (9-6, 1-1). Story to come

Gonzaga leads by 30 at halftime

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are dominating Santa Clara 47-17 after one half of West Coast Conference women's basketball play at McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs have led by as many as 33 points. Junior guard Haiden Palmer is leading the way with 13 points. Senior guard Taelor Karr, coming off a 27-point game on Thursday, has 10 points. Sophomore forward Sunny Greinacher has nine. The Bulldogs opened the game with an 8-0 run and have added scoring runs of 10-0 and 11-0.

Mountain returns to Gonzaga

Former Gonzaga player and assistant coach Jennifer Mountain is back in Spokane today to coach Santa Clara (9-5-1-0) in a West Coast Conference women's basketball game against GU (11-4, 1-0) at McCarthey Athletic Center. Mountain, in her fifth season with the Broncos, also coached the St. George's boys to two State B title games. Mountain's first-year assistant is former Mead High standout Stacy Clinesmith, who played in the WNBA. Game time is 20 minutes away.

A busy weekend ahead

A GRIP ON SPORTS

By this time Monday, the day of the BCS national championship game, you might just be burnt out. After all, the human body can take only so much blocking, tackling, long jumpers, dunks and blown calls. Read on.

Gameday links with WSU

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — As Washington State readies to face Washington in its Pac-12 opener, we have links to tide you over until that game tips off. Read on.

Chiefs stumble to third consecutive loss

The last four weeks have been difficult for the Spokane Chiefs. Their 3-2 loss at Everett on Friday night gave them six setbacks in their last eight Western Hockey League games. Read story

Area skiers tops in U.S. Nordic Skiing Championships

Four Eastern Washington were in top form in the U.S. National Cross Country Skiing Championship races this week at the former Olympic course at Soldier Hollow, Utah.

  • Erik Bjornsen, 22, of Winthrop finished first in the men's 15-kilometer freestyle.
  • His sister, Sadie Bjornsen, 24, finished second in the women's 10k freestyle and second in the classic sprint.
  • Torin Koos of Wenatchee won the men's classic sprint, his seventh U.S. nordic title.
  • Annie Pokorny, 20, of Spokane finished fourth in the women's 10k freestyle.

Pokorny, who developed her skills as a teenager with the Spokane Junior Nordic Ski Team, left Lewis and Clark High School to complete her senior year in Sun Valley where she trained with national-class junior skiers. She's skiing collegiately at Middlebury College and has a shot at being named to a U.S. international team.

Sadie Bjornsen, Koos and Pokorny all have the distinction of winning top female or male titles as teenagers at the annual 10K Spokane Langlauf at Mount Spokane.

Zags, Broncos in early WCC showdown

There can't be another D-I program that has had a three-year stretch comparable to Santa Clara's. The Broncos had one of the better seasons in school history, winning 24 games and a post-season tournament, then lost every conference game the following season. The pendulum is swinging the other way this season as SCU is off to a 12-3 start.

Gonzaga visits the resurgent Broncos tonight at 5 at the Leavey Center. The game is sold out, but Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating is hoping to entice more students to attend.

Here's my game preview.

Five questions about Washington

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — With Pac-12 play beginning this week, we dust off our five-questions-with-a-beat-writer feature to preview the Washington Huskies. Todd Dybas of the Tacoma News Tribune was kind enough to stop by this week, and we also answered five questions about WSU on his blog. Read on for Todd's answers.

Day after Pepperdine

A little tardy for my day-after post, but there's a good reason. I spent about 15 minutes visiting with ex-Zag Robert Sacre at the Lakers practice facility this morning.

So better late than never, here's my day-after Pepperdine post. No road venue is easy for the Zags in the WCC, but the Waves have made GU's last two trips to Malibu fairly uncomfortable.

The links: S-R game story, A.P.

More below.

It’s just so tiring

A GRIP ON SPORTS

At about 9 p.m. last night, I knew exactly what I was going to be writing about today. This. But then it hit me. I'm tired of it all. And if I'm tired of it, you folks must be exhausted. Read on.

Day-before-Washington links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Good news: only three more days without cable and wired Internet. Bad news: Three more days without cable and wired Internet. Ah, the joys of moving. Anyway, we at least have a company-issued MiFi card to get us through these oh-so-trying times, and friends kind enough to let us watch BCS bowl games at their house. So there is that. Anyway, read on for links.

Vandals clamp down on San Jose State

Kyle Barone has been a consistent force inside, Mike McChristian looks more comfortable away from the ball and Robert Harris continues to give Idaho a lift at point guard. Those are three reasons why the Vandals won for the third time in four games on Thursday night, strangling San Jose State in a 64-55 WAC win.

But the biggest reason was the Vandals' defense on the Spartans in general and James Kinney in particular. Kinney, the nation's seventh-leading scorer coming in, had 17 points but was just 6 of 21 from the field.

We have all the details below.

Daugherty’s Cougars ready for Pac-12

Washington State begins Pac-12 women's basketball play Friday night at home against Arizona. Sixth-year coach June Daugherty sees progress in the program after big nonconference wins this season and last year's strong showing in the conference tournament. Read story

Karr carries Gonzaga in WCC opener

Senior guard Taelor Karr had a career night for Gonzaga on Thursday, hitting 8 of 9 3-pointers and finishing with a career-best 27 points during a West Coast Conference-opening win over visiting San Diego. Karr missed the school record for 3-pointers by one. The Bulldogs are vying for a ninth consecutive WCC crown. Read story

Zags grind out 78-62 win

It was far from pretty, but the Gonzaga Bulldogs pushed their winning streak to five with a hard-fought 78-62 road victory over improving Pepperdine on Saturday night.

Elias Harris had 18 points and six rebounds, Kelly Olynyk added 16 points (14 in second half) and David Stockton led a strong bench contribution with nine points and four steals (I believe he had a fifth steal in the final minute that he didn't receive credit for).

My unedited game story is below. Check back tomorrow for a day-after post and a preview of GU-Santa Clara.

Karr’s career night drives Gonzaga

Senior guard Taelor Karr scored a career-high 27 points, hittiing 8 of 9 on 3-pointers, to lead Gonzaga to a 77-57 win over San Diego on Thursday in a West Coast Conference opener at McCarthey Athletic Center. Story to come

Karr ignites Gonzaga in first half

Senior guard Taelor Karr has already eclipsed her season high Thursday by scoring 15 first-half points as Gonzaga leads San Diego 41-23 in a West Coast Conference opener at McCarthey Athletic Center. Karr has hit 4 for 4 on 3-pointers and the Bulldogs have six 3-pointers overall. Karr also has a game-high four rebounds. Junior guard Haiden Palmer, Gonzaga's season scoring leader, has 11 points. USD's Amy Kame, who averages 15.4 ppg, has eight points.

Gonzaga women begin WCC with USD

The Gonzaga women, playing at McCarthey Athletic Center, are 20 minutes away from opening the West Coast Conference part of their 2012-13 schedule. San Diego, the first opponent for the eight-time WCC champion Bulldogs, is anything but a pushover. The Toreros (8-4) finished 26-9 last season and advanced to the semifinals of the WNIT tournament.

There are two sides to the WCC

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You are a college basketball fan living somewhere in Middle America, say Davenport, Iowa. You have a good satellite package and you really enjoy watching the best that college basketball has to offer. So whenever the Gonzaga Bulldogs play on TV, you tune in. You know what your impression of the West Coast Conference would be? Yep, those gyms in that league really rock. That Kennel place is loud and the other schools really draw well too. But is it true? Not really. Read on.

Live chat on a Thursday, plus links

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — With WSU holding its media availability yesterday afternoon, we decided to postpone this week's live chat to this afternoon at 1 p.m. Hope you all can make it. We also have a few stories to pass along, so read on.

WHL trade deadline approaches

With the WHL trade deadline fast approaching on Jan. 10, players such as Calgary Flames prospect Michael Ferland of the Brandon Wheat Kings must be prepared in case a deal is sealed. Read story

GU wants to avoid falling into trap

Situated between Monday's win over No. 22 Oklahoma State and Saturday's contest at Santa Clara, Gonzaga will try to stay on task against Pepperdine on Thursday in Malibu. It has all the makings of a trap game, facing a squad picked to finish last in the WCC between two tough opponents. (At the time of this post, Santa Clara leads USF 39-28 at half on ESPNU.) 

The good news for Gonzaga is guard Gary Bell Jr. (right knee) appears to be fine after departing Monday's game for 7-1/2 minutes. He was expected to practice Wednesday and play in Thursday's contest. The Zags took Tuesday off after arriving in L.A. on a late-night/early-morning charter flight from Stillwater.

The Waves, for the most part, have been able to keep scores in the 50s and 60s with their deliberate, defensive-minded style. It'll be interesting to see how Pepperdine's freshmen frontcourt of Stacy Davis (6-6, 235) and Jett Raines (6-7, 200) fare against Gonzaga's interior foursome. Davis and Raines combine for 18.6 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. Fifth-year senior Lorne Jackson, who has dealt with two torn ACLs during his career, leads Pepperdine at 14.8 points per game and Jordan Baker, who averaged 11.3 points per WCC game last season as a freshman, checks in at 9.8 points per game.

More below.

Eight-time champion Gonzaga set for WCC play

Gonzaga has won eight consecutive West Coast Conference women's basketball titles. The drive toward No. 9 begins Thursday night at McCarthey Athletic Center against San Diego. Read story

Wednesday with Ken Bone

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — Ken Bone met with the media today to discuss Washington State's Pac-12 opener against the Washington Huskies on Saturday. We have a recap of his comments below. Read on.

GSL basketball scoring leaders

Beginning today and running each Wednesday here and Thursday in the newspaper are the Greater Spokane League boys and girls basketball scoring leaders.

Click the tab below to see the leaders. Pictured above is the girls leader, sophomore Madison Hovren of Central Valley.

Zags team to beat in WCC

For the umpteenth straight season, Gonzaga is the team to beat in the WCC. For the first time in a dozen seasons, the Bulldogs are not the defending champions.

Saint Mary's broke through last year and snapped Gonzaga's WCC title streak at 11. The Gaels almost did it the year before, but GU came back from a three-game losing streak to earn a share of the crown. The WCC begins tonight with San Francisco visiting Santa Clara.

Here's my WCC preview and another from the San Francisco Chronicle.

It seems like only yesterday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The headline hit me like a Montee Ball run up the middle. “41-year wait is over; Stanford gets Roses.” It has been 41 years since Stanford won a Rose Bowl game? Really? It seems like only yesterday. After all, the last time the Indians – as they were known then – won, I was sitting in the stands. In the south end zone, actually. And I was shocked by how wide the splits were on Stanford's offensive line. They were like a yard wide, if not more. Stanford coach John Ralston was Mike Leach before Mike Leach was Mike Leach. Read on.

Back to the grind

COUGARS

FROM PULLMAN — The new year also signals the beginning of Pac-12 play, with Washington State playing is conference opener against Washington on Saturday. WSU coach Ken Bone and players are available to the media later this afternoon, and we'll have more then. But we do have some links this morning. Read on.

Eastern’s Ojeda lives for the blocks

Eastern Washington senior Carrie Ojeda is moving up the school's all-time chart for blocking shots. Ojeda, a criminal justice major, is hoping to play for another Big Sky Conference champion and to make the all-conference team. She leads this week's women's notebook: Read story

Day after Oklahoma State

Back with my day-after post following Gonzaga’s 69-68 win over Oklahoma State on Monday. The victory moves Gonzaga to 13-1, its best start since joining D-I.

We’ll get right to it with the links: My game story, Daily Oklahoman gamer, A.P., and ESPN.com’s recap.

Read on for more.

Celebrate today

A GRIP ON SPORTS

When I was younger (and by that I mean in my 30s or so), I used to hate New Year's Day. After all, it was the last holiday for a while (and the last big day of college football). From the Rose Parade until Memorial Day, there wasn't a paid day off. Five long months. That's changed a little, of course, over the years, but today is still the final day to gorge yourself on multiple college football games before the long winter descends. Read on.

New Year’s links from WSU

COUGARS

A new year is upon us, which means … we're going to pass along our morning links as we always do. Read on.

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Jim Allen 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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