Archive for March 2013
Spokane went on the road for the second straight week and claimed its second straight AFL win.
The Shock thumped the Chicago Rush 76-61 on Sunday to improve to 2-0. Erik Meyer finished with seven touchdown passes, three to Adron Tennell.
Find an unedited game recap below.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
There once was a time I arose on Easter Sunday to sneak outside and hide Easter eggs. Or inside, depending on the weather. But those days are long gone. Nowadays I just arise early because I can't sleep. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — Funny how much different this place looks when the weather is nice. Or maybe it's just because I actually left my apartment yesterday. Either way, we have links — Easter links, even — so read on.
Captain Brenden Kichton had one goal and one assist and Eric Williams stopped 36 shots Saturday night as the Spokane Chiefs defeated the Tri-City Americans 3-1 in Kennewick to clinch their best-of-seven Western Hockey League series 4-1. The Chiefs advance to the second round. Spokane won't know its second-round opponent until the other Western Conference series have ended.
Brenden Kichton's power-play goal at 7:50 of the second period Saturday night has given the Spokane Chiefs a 2-0 lead over the Tri-City Americans with 20 minutes left in Game 5 at Kennewick. Spokane had been 0 for 5 on the power play until Kichton's goal. Kichton also assisted on Mike Aviani's first-period goal. The Chiefs are one period away from winning the best-of-seven series.
Mike Aviani's goal has given the Spokane Chiefs a 1-0 lead over Tri-City after one period of Game 5 of their WHL first-round series.
The Spokane Chiefs are one win away from advancing to the second round of the Western Hockey League playoffs. The Chiefs lead the Tri-City Americans 3-1 with Game 5 ready to begin in 30 minutes at Toyota Center in Kennewick. The Americans will have to make due without goaltender Luke Lee-Knight, their Game 3 winner. Lee-Knight made 41 saves Thursday during Game 4 before he suffered a shoulder injury in overtime during a collision with the Chiefs' Adam Helewka. Troy Trombley, who lost Games 1 and 2, replaced Lee-Knight and allowed Blake Gal's winning goal in overtime. Trombley will start tonight. All four Western Conference first-round series stand at 3-1 and could end tonight. The Eastern Conference has completed its first-round series. In the next round, Calgary will play Red Deer and Edmonton will meet Medicine Hat.
FROM PULLMAN — Mike Leach was sure to point out that the defense played well during team session, and it did. But WSU's offense — the receivers, particularly — had its moments in 1-on-1 drills, too. Read on.
In Idaho coach Paul Petrino's experience, only about 50 percent of junior-college signees become dependable players. But five of the seven JC players he signed in January as early enrollees have already made big impacts this spring, and all five played well in Saturday's scrimmage.
The new JC players, particularly Kris Olugbode, are the subject of our story below. Keep reading for that and notes.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
When you get to this point in the NCAA tournament – the Elite Eight – the talented teams usually rise to the forefront. Not always, of course. But usually. This season is one of the usual ones. The lowest-seeded team still alive? Wichita State, a ninth seed. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — A sunny Saturday morning brings basketball news for WSU. Read on.
The Portland Winterhawks, who had the best record in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference this season, rolled past Everett 11-4 Friday night in Game 4 of their best-of-seven, opening-round playoff series. Eighth-seeded Everett caught Portland by surprise by winning Game 1, but the series has belonged to Portland since. All four Western Conference series stand at 3-1 and could end Saturday. Seventh-seeded Seattle leads second-seeded Kelowna; third-seeded Kamloops leads sixth-seeded Victoria; and fourth-seeded Spokane leads fifth-seeded Tri-City. Unless one of the teams trailing 3-1 makes a big rally in the coming days, the second round of the playoffs would be Spokane against Kamloops and Portland against Seattle. Read story
The Spokane Chiefs have three shots at winning their best-of-seven opening-round series in the Western Hockey League playoffs. Spokane leads the Tri-City Americans 3-1 heading in to Saturday's game at Toyota Center in Kennewick. The next two games, if necessary, would be in Spokane, but the Chiefs would be fine with clinching the series on the Americans' ice. Read story
A GRIP ON SPORTS
There was a lot of angst around here concerning Gonzaga's unexpected loss in the NCAA's round of 32 last weekend. The pastime in Spokane for about a week was about what went wrong. Was it this player or that one? Was it this coaching decision or that one? Was it time for this player or this coach to visit a shrink? Well we finally have the real answer for you. Wichita State was just really darn good. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — Plenty of happenings on the WSU front yesterday, though today figures to be much quieter. There's a lot to read for now, though. Get your coffee/orange juice/Tang ready, and read on.
FROM PULLMAN — There were no ultimatums discussed. The coach wasn't made to plead for his job. Nor was he yelled at.
No, Washington State athletic director Bill Moos says his meeting with men's basketball coach Ken Bone on Wednesday was devoid of much drama, Moos deciding a while ago that he was likely to retain Bone for a fifth year as the Cougars' coach.
Moos said his decision about Bone's future was made before the two sat down to recap the season.
“I pretty much decided that I was going to retain him,” Moos said. “I did want to get a sense from him of where we were in regards to the program, the current players, incoming players that we had recruited and also his staff, so we had that discussion and at the end of it I told him I’m going to support him wholeheartedly.”
Blake Gal scored 5:10 into overtime Thursday night to give the Spokane Chiefs a 4-3 win over the Tri-City Americans in Game 4 of their WHL series. Spokane leads the series 3-1 and can clinch Saturday at Kennewick.
Mitch Topping and Drydn Dow scored in the final 5:10 of regulation Thursday night to allow the Tri-City Americans to force overtime with the Spokane Chiefs in a 3-all game. Brenden Kichton's goal at 6:35 of the third had given Spokane a 3-1 lead. Topping's power-play goal came a minute after a kneeing penalty on Riley Whittingham. T-C beat Spokane 5-4 in overtime on Tuesday. Sixteen of the last 25 Chiefs-Americans games have gone into OT.
The Spokane Chiefs will carry a 2-1 lead into the final period of Game 4 of their WHL playoff with the Tri-City Americans at Kennewick. The Chiefs killed three Americans power-play opportunities during the scoreless second period. Spokane hasn't been on the power play. Shots favor the Chiefs 26-19.
Every few years, Gonzaga head coach Mark Few loses one of his assistant coaches and one of his best friends in the process. Six years ago it was Billy Grier to San Diego (replaced at GU by Ray Giacoletti) and three years ago it was Leon Rice to Boise State (replaced by Donny Daniels).
Today it was Giacoletti, who was announced as the new head coach at Drake. He agreed to a five-year contract. I couldn't pin down the annual salary but heard it's in the $400,000-$450,000 range. Here's my article on Giacoletti's departure. Here's the Des Moines Register article.
Who replaces Giacoletti? It'll be interesting to see if Few goes with someone with no previous affiliation to GU (as he did in selecting Daniels) or someone with Zag ties (possibly Brian Michaelson, assistant director of operations).
FROM PULLMAN — Things got a little heated on more than one occasion at Washington State's spring practice Thursday, though nothing too outlandish went down. Otherwise, things were pretty standard. Read on.
The Spokane Chiefs' offense, quiet for the equivalent of 60 minutes stretching back Tuesday's game, woke up during the final 4:22 of the first period Thursday in Kennewick. Adam Helewka and Todd Fiddler scored to give the Chiefs a 2-1 lead over the Tri-City Americans in Game 4 of their best-of-seven WHL series. Spokane outshot the Americans 14-8 to overcome Justin Feser's early score for T-C. The Tri-City crowd booed lustily after Helewka's goal, convinced that Spokane's Blake Gal should have been called for goalie interference for being on top of T-C goalie Luke Lee-Knight shortly before the shot. Replays showed an Americans player pushing Gal into Lee-Knight.
There's a definite sense that Game 4 of the Western Hockey League playoffs between the Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans could be a tipping point. After tonight's game at Kennewick's Toyota Center the Chiefs will either hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series or the Americans will add to the momentum from their Game 3 victory and tie the series. The teams have just begun warming up on the ice. The weather in the Tri-Cities was anything but winterlike today, with temperatures in the high 60s. Tri-City will again start Luke Lee-Knight in goal after he stopped the Chiefs for 44 consecutive minutes Tuesday night during the second and third periods and overtime. Eric Williams will start in goal for the Chiefs, as he did for the previous three games.
Gonzaga assistant coach Ray Giacoletti will be introduced as the new head coach at Drake University at a press conference at 2:30 CDT, The Spokesman-Review has confirmed.
Giacoletti interviewed for the job Sunday and was in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday to meet with Drake administrators, including president David Maxwell.
Giacoletti, who just completed his sixth season at Gonzaga, has been a head coach at North Dakota State (1998-2000), Eastern Washington (2001-04) and Utah (2005-07). He had winning records at all three schools and led EWU to its first NCAA Tournament appearance and Utah to a Sweet 16.
Giacoletti will replaces former Bulldogs coach Mark Phelps, who was 77-86 in five seasons the Missouri Valley Conference school.
Here's the Prep Page menu
Feature: Mead thrower Courtney Hutchinson (pictured above) poised for big senior season.
Track glance: Here's a league-by-league breakdown of top returning state placers and other things.
Column: Idaho state track not what it used to be.
Prep notebook: Mead, Gonzaga Prep name volleyball coaches.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
If today's post doesn't make a lot of sense – as if any of them really do – there is a reason. I had my rotisserie league draft last night and I'm moving kind of slow this morning. Read on.
Former Spokane Shock defensive back William Mulder is back with the team in a new role.
Mulder is the new defensive backs coach, following a career arc similar to his predecessor Stanley Franks. Franks, the former Idaho Vandal and Shock DB, suffered a horrific knee injury in the CFL and returned to Spokane as defensive backs coach. When Franks left for a coaching position at Idaho State University, the Shock turned to former player Mulder, who played the last two seasons with Utah, overcoming a torn ACL in 2011.
More on Mulder, quarterback Erik Meyer and the team's travel woes in my notebook. Also, how tough is the AFL's West Division? Four of the top five in the first coaches' poll reside in the West: 1). Arizona. 2). Utah. 3). San Jose, and 5). Spokane.
FROM PULLMAN — Plenty to get to in Pullman today. Football practice. Ken Bone's teleconference. A baseball notebook to write. Doritos Locos tacos to eat. Eh, might skip the last one. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — What many had already assumed was confirmed Wednesday after WSU basketball coach Ken Bone and athletic director Bill Moos held their end-of-season meeting, as the Spokesman-Review has learned that Bone remains the Cougars' coach and is expected to return for his fifth season.
Bone, who is headed back on the road to recruit, is scheduled to hold his annual wrap-up teleconference on Thursday afternoon to recap the season.
After the Cougars finished 13-19 and 4-14 in Pac-12 play in 2012-13, there was speculation that Bone's job might be in jeopardy. But it was considered unlikely that Moos would make a coaching change with three years remaining on Bone's contract. He would have been owed $2.55 million by the school if his contract was terminated this season.
After Game 3 slipped away from them on Tuesday night in Kennewick, the Spokane Chiefs are hoping to get their offense roaring again for Game 4 on Thursday, also at Toyota Center. Read story
After the Idaho State Board of Education approved the University of Idaho's request to seek membership in the Sun Belt Conference, athletic director Rob Spear confirmed via Twitter that UI will join its old conference in football only in 2014. Spear tweeted: “I want to the thank our State Board of Education and Regent of the UI for approving football membership in the Sun Belt.”
We've got our full story below and a few additional notes.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
It's funny. I expected today to be a really light day in the world of sports. It's kind of an in-between day, actually, in-between the weekend's college hoop action. But after doing my usual spin around the Web, I ended up with three-dozen stories to link. I guess that's what qualifies as light these days. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — Not a lot going on today on the Palouse, as the football team is off for a day before returning to the field for its fourth practice of the spring. We have links and notes from yesterday's practice, so read on.
The Spokane Chiefs couldn't protect a 4-1 lead Tuesday night during Game 3 of their Western Hockey League playoff series against the Tri-City Americans at the Toyota Center in Kennewick. The Americans tied the game with a 7-minute outburst in the second period, then held Spokane in check during the third period and more than 10 minutes of overtime for a 5-4 win. The Chiefs lead the best-of-seven series 2-1. Games 4 and 5 are Thursday and Saturday nights in Kennewick. Read story
The Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans skated to a scoreless third period Tuesday night and ended regulation tied at 4. The teams will play overtime after a 15-minute break. The Americans will be on the power play for 1:25 when play resumes. Tri-City is attempting to avoid a 0-3 deficit in the WHL first-round series.
Trailing 4-1 midway through the second period, the Tri-City Americans scored three goals in 7 1/2 minutes to tie the Spokane Chiefs at 4 after two periods in Game 3 of the WHL playoffs in Kennewick. Liam Stewart scored during the period for Spokane. The Chiefs are attempting to take a 3-0 lead in the series.
Power plays are a big factor through one period of Tuesday night's Chiefs-Americans WHL playoff game in Kennewick. Spokane has shorthanded goals by Mike Aviani and Blake Gal and a power-play goal by Mitch Holmberg for a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes. Tri-City has outshot Spokane 16-12 but is 0 for 4 on the power play, including a 5-on-3 chance late in the period.
FROM PULLMAN — Would be hard to ask for better practice conditions in Pullman in March than what we saw today. Well, I guess it wouldn't be that hard to ask. It would just be hard to actually see that request granted. Read on.
The pleasant weather in Kennewick conjures up thoughts of baseball, softball and golf, but there's still hockey to be played. The Spokane Chiefs will attempt to take a 3-0 series lead over the Tri-City Americans in the first game of the WHL best-of-seven first-round series at the Toyota Center. Spokane defeated Tri-City Friday and Saturday nights at the Arena. Mitch Holmberg is leading Spokane with four points in the series. He also has 13 goals in his last 14 playoffs games. Game time is 30 minutes away. Americans fans are ready with their cowbells.
This is the time of year when Mark Few's name is mentioned in connection with high-profile job openings in college basketball. Another member of GU's staff, assistant coach Ray Giacoletti, also receives a number of calls from schools searching for a head coach.
Drake University, a Missouri Valley Conference school in Des Moines, Iowa, interviewed Giacoletti on Sunday. It's a job that would seem to suit Giacoletti, who is a native of Peoria, Ill, location of MVC member Bradley University. Giacoletti has extensive Midwest ties and also was an assistant coach at Illinois State, another MVC school, in the early 1990s.
Giacoletti is believed to be a finalist at Drake, which is replacing Mark Phelps, who was fired after five seasons.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
It's spring and a young man's thoughts turn to … well, I can't remember. But an older man's thoughts turn to baseball. And with the Weather Channel predicting a high temperature of 67 on Saturday, who can blame me? Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — The blog will be back and running in earnest later today, as Washington State takes the field for its third practice of the spring. We'll be there this time. Read on.
Georgia built a big lead, gave it all away in 6 minutes, then bounced back Monday night for a 65-60 win over Iowa State in an NCAA tournament second-round game at McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs advance to Saturday's Sweet 16 games at the Arena. California also qualified with an overtime win over South Florida. The field will be completed after the results of two games on Tuesday. Saturday's winners in Spokane will play in the Elite Eight on Monday. Read story Read California story
The Spokane Chiefs can seize a commanding lead in their Western Hockey League playoff series with Tri-City with a win Tuesday night at the Toyota Center in Kennewick. Read story
The University of Idaho this week will seek permission from the State Board of Education to join the Sun Belt Conference as a football-only member in 2014, the Idaho Statesman reported Monday. UI athletic director Rob Spear told the Statesman that the apparent invitation from the Sun Belt has brought a “sense of relief.” Idaho left the Sun Belt in 2005 after four years to join the WAC, which has disintegrated with its core membership leaving for more stable conferences.
Spear told The Spokesman-Review that Idaho will likely meet with the State Board on Wednesday. The Vandals will operate as an FBS independent this fall, and they had already scheduled games as an independent for 2014.
ESPN.com reported Monday the Sun Belt will add Appalachian State and Georgia Southern in 2015. Both schools are currently in the FCS. In the story, Sun Belt comissioner Karl Benson, who brought Idaho to the WAC in 2005, said Idaho and New Mexico State were being considered by his new conference.
The field for Saturday's NCAA women's basketball Sweet 16 games at the Spokane Arena will start to take shape tonight. Fourth-seeded Georgia (26-6) and fifth-seeded Iowa State (24-8) will meet in 25 minutes at McCarthey Athletic Center. The winner will play at the Arena on Saturday against Tuesday's winner between Stanford (32-2) and Michigan (22-10). Also tonight, second-seeded California (29-3) and 10th-seeded South Florida (22-10) are playing in Lubbock, Texas, for a trip to Spokane. That winner will play Saturday against Tuesday's winner between third-seeded Penn State (26-5) and sixth-seeded LSU (21-11).
A GRIP ON SPORTS
How quickly things can change. Just 24 hours ago there was so much to write about our fingers hurt. Now, not so much. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — Finally back in Eastern Washington, where it's probably about the same temperature it was in Salt Lake City. There isn't a lot of WSU-related news on this March morning, but we found enough stories to make it through our post, so read on.
Yes, Gonzaga's season ended too soon for loyal Bulldogs fans, but there's quite an NCAA tournament game scheduled Monday night at McCarthey Athletic Center. Fourth-seeded Georgia and fifth-seeded Iowa State will meet at 6:50 for a berth to next weekend's Sweet 16 game at the Arena. Read story
En route back home – the Zags chartered last night and probably arrived in the early morning hours Pacific time – so we’ll put together the last day-after post of the season.
Gonzaga’s season ended in stunning fashion Saturday. The Bulldogs had climbed out of a 13-point deficit and had an 8-point lead in the second half and all of the momentum. Then Wichita State, which entered the game as a pedestrian 33-percent shooting team from 3-point land, made everything it looked at, including seven 3s in a row at one point.
The Shockers, getting contributions from unlikely sources – forward Jake White hadn’t made a 3 since Dec. 30th and was 2 of 25 from distance this season when he buried one to give WSU a 29-19 lead; Ron Baker, 31 percent on the season, went 4 of 6; Cleanthony Early, 30 percent on the season, made 4 of 7 – an sprinted past Gonzaga, turning a 7-point deficit into a 4-point lead in 3 minutes and 40 seconds.
That fast, GU’s season was over. The Bulldogs had bumped their heads again on the NCAA ceiling, which the Zags and their fans no doubt think should be higher than their exits in the round of 32 the last four seasons.
Read on for more.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Nothing all that big happened yesterday, did it? OK, I probably shouldn't be flippant about Gonzaga's loss. I'm sure there are a lot of readers who took it really hard. I understand. I have done the same thing in the past. Heck, I haven't rooted for Notre Dame since they lost to USC in 1964 for goodness sakes. So I get it. And I also understand there are a lot of people trying to answer the question of “why.” Not sure we can do that for them. Read on.
FROM SALT LAKE CITY — It's time to head back to the Palouse, and because Gonzaga lost last night, we'll be home for the foreseeable future. As we make our way back, read these links to stories with words and such.
Gonzaga's historic season came to an unfulfilling conclusion Saturday when No. 9 Wichita State handed the top-ranked and top-seeded Bulldogs a 76-70 loss in the round of 32.
The Shockers did it by making 14 of 28 3-pointers — two nights after hitting 2 of 20 — and riding the contributions of unsung players Fred VanVleet (13 points) and Ron Baker (16 points, four 3s). Gonzaga had a 58-51 lead with 6:30 left, but the Shockers scored on eight consecutive possessions to pull off the upset.
And with that, Gonzaga's storybook season (32 wins, first No. 1 ranking and first No. 1 NCAA Tournament seeding) came to an abrupt ending. My game story here and S-R photos here, and an unedited notebook is below.
UPDATE: Here's John Blanchette's column.
Blake Gal scored twice, including the winner late in the third period, to ignite the Spokane Chiefs to a 6-4 win over the Tri-City Americans in a Western Hockey League playoff at the Arena on Saturday night. Gal has three goals in the best-of-seven series, which favors the Chiefs 2-0. The next two games are in Kennewick. The fifth game, if necessary, will also be in Kennewick. Read story
Blake Gal scored twice, including the go-ahead goal with 3:29 left Saturday night, and the Spokane Chiefs defeated the Tri-City Americans 6-4 at the Arena to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 WHL playoff series. Story to come
Blake Gal and Todd Fiddler scored second-period goals to give the Spokane Chiefs a 4-3 lead over the Tri-City Americans after two periods of Game 2 of their Western Hockey League playoff series. The Chiefs are aiming to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven opening-round series. Spokane has outshot Tri-City 25-8.
The Tri-City Americans lead the Spokane Chiefs 3-2 after one period of Game 2 of their Western Hockey League playoff at the Arena. All of the goals came during a span of 5 minutes, 27 seconds. Spokane has outshot the Americans 15-4.
S-R photojournalists Colin Mulvany and Dan Pelle are in Salt Lake City covering the Zags against Wichita State. Check out a big picture gallery of their photos.
We interrupt your Gonzaga basketball watching to announce Game 2 of the Western Hockey League playoff series between the Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans at the Arena. Spokane won the opener 4-1 on Friday night, thanks to two goals by Mitch Holmberg. The best-of-seven series won't return to Spokane until April 2, and then only if a Game 6 is necessary. Game 3 is Tuesday night in Kennewick. Friday's game officially drew 5,000 fans and tonight's crowd seems affected by Gonzaga's NCAA men's basketball tournament game against Wichita State, which is at halftime. Game time is 20 minutes away.
Gonzaga's stay at the NCAA tournament was short. The Bulldogs stuggled with their field-goal shooting and fell to Iowa State 72-60 in an opener Saturday afternoon at McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzaga finished the season 27-6, with five losses coming when the Bulldogs shot 33 percent or less from the floor. Iowa State will play Georgia on Monday night at McCarthey for a berth to next weekend's Sweet 16 game at the Arena. Read story See big picture gallery
Chelsea Poppens, Hallie Christofferson and Brynn Williamson combined for 54 points and Iowa State shot 52 percent from the field Saturday afternoon during a 72-60 win over Gonzaga to open the NCAA tournament at McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzaga's defense forced 23 turnovers and its bench outscored Iowa State 25-0, but the Bulldogs shot 32 percent from the floor, including 27 percent in the second half. Gonzaga finished 27-6, lost an NCAA tournament game at home for the first time and had its 15-game winning streak snapped. Story to come
S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland covered the GU women's game against Iowa State. Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.
Gonzaga and Iowa State have begun their NCAA women's basketball tournament game at McCarthey Athletic Center.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
What else is there to write about today than the NCAA tournament? I can't think about anything. Unless it's the women's tournament. Or playoff hockey. Or big Mariners news. Yep, it's one of those mornings. Read on.
FROM SALT LAKE CITY — There isn't much to report on the WSU front today (unless you're talking about Wichita State, but you're not). So what follows is a small dose of Pac-12 links. They aren't happy ones, especially if you're a Ben Howland fan. Read on.
The Spokane Chiefs began postseason play Friday night at the Arena with a 4-1 win over their biggest rivals, the Tri-City Americans. Mitch Holmberg scored the third and fourth goals for the Chiefs. The best-of-7 series continues Saturday night on Spokane's home ice. Read story See big picture story
Mitch Holmberg scored twice and Eric Williams made 26 saves Friday night as the Spokane Chiefs opened the Western Hockey League playoffs with a 4-1 win over the Tri-City Americans at the Arena. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday at the Arena. Story to come.
S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Chiefs' home game against the Tri-Cities. Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.
The Spokane Chiefs still lead the Tri-City Americans 3-1 after a scoreless second period Friday in the opener of a first-round series in the Western Hockey League playoffs at the Arena. The Americans thought they had scored on a power play late in the second period, but officials ruled it wasn't a goal. Shots favor Spokane 25-16.
Good evening again from Salt Lake City.
Blake Gal, Alessio Bertaggia and Mitch Holmberg scored Friday night to give the Spokane Chiefs a 3-1 lead over the Tri-City Americans after one period in a WHL first-round playoff opener at the Arena. Brenden Kichton and Reid Gow both assisted on the second and third goals. Shots favor Spokane 12-9.
Regular-season records are a thing of the past as the Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans prepare for the opening game of the Western Hockey League first-round playoff tonight at the Arena. The Chiefs have home ice for the best-of-seven series for finishing five points ahead of the Americans in Western Conference standings. Spokane was 7-3-2-0 against the Americans during the regular season. The teams have met six times in postseason, with Spokane winning four. But the American won last year's second-round series by taking Game 7. Game time is 15 minutes away.
S-R photojournalist Dan Pelle shot this photo in GU's locker room, Friday of Gonzaga team manager Colin Stevens, left, and player David Stockton giving teammate Sam Dower some good-natured ribbing during press conference time at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, UT. The Zags are preparing to play Wichita State on Saturday evening.
NCAA women's basketball tournament games at McCarthey Athletic Center on Saturday and Monday will be coached by some of the best-known and most successful names in the business. Read notebook
Gonzaga is 4-0 in NCAA women's basketball tournament games on its home floor at McCarthey Athletic Center. To make it 5-0, the 12th-seeded Bulldogs must defeat a talented Iowa State team on Saturday afternoon. Read story
One of the nice things about the NCAAs is we have a few more reporters on hand and there's quite a bit more Gonzaga coverage (on the blog, twitter and in the actual S-R). That volume of material obviously takes away some of the items that find their way into my day-after posts. So, my day-posts after NCAA games will be shorter as we turn our attention to the next matchup. After watching Wichita State take apart Pittsburgh, the Zags might want to do the same. They'll have their hands full on Saturday.
Here's our S-R coverage from last night's 64-58 win over Southern. And one more: Greg Bishop of the New York Times was embedded with Southern for the day leading up to the game (was on hand for bus rides, meetings, meals, etc.) and filed this behind-the-scenes look at the Jags.
Wichita State press conferences are about to begin. Check back later for more.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
A few years ago, while covering the NCAA tournament, I heard Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun – a crusty, curmudgeonly fella who won two national titles – say the funniest thing about the first round of the tournament. And his statement actually made me think. Read on.
FROM SALT LAKE CITY — Sounds like it was quite the weather experience on the Palouse yesterday. Wasn't there, but Josh Wright was kind enough to fill in and file a story from WSU's first football practice of the spring. That and more after the jump.
Not sure how it came across on television, but Gonzaga-Southern was interesting from the start and turned into a thriller when the gutsy Jaguars mounted their umpteenth comeback late in the second half.
Gonzaga hung on, riding key baskets by Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr., for a 64-58 win over the Jaguars.
Idaho sophomore guard Stacey Barr, the MVP of last week's Western Athletic Conference tournament, has played with a heavy heart during the late stages of the 2012-23 season. She and the Vandals will play Connecticut at the NCAA tournament on Saturday. Read story
It's becoming old hat for the Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans to meet in the postseason. The major rivals will be at it again, starting Friday night at the Arena, in Game 1 of a Western Hockey League first-round series. Read story
Last week's overtime loss in the Big Sky Conference tournament semifinals didn't end Eastern Washington's season after all. The Eagles will play at Washington on Friday night in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament. Read story
S-R photojournalists Dan Pelle and Colin Mulvany are in Salt Lake City covering GU's game against Southern. Check out a big picture gallery of their photos.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
It's finally here. The first (real) day of the NCAA basketball tournament. Do you have your schedule ready? Read on.
FROM SALT LAKE CITY — Maybe it doesn't quite feel like it outside. Or maybe it does. I'm not in Pullman. In any event, it's spring, especially because Washington State begins spring football practices today at Martin Stadium (and, too, on what's left of Rogers Field). Read on.
FROM SALT LAKE CITY — As promised, here's a brief look at WSU's defense and special teams as the Cougars open spring practices this afternoon.
Good evening from Salt Lake City.
We have a variety of stories to post as the Zags await their matchup with Southern at EnergySolutions Arena on Thursday afternoon.
We'll link to the available links and cut-and-paste more below.
Here's my GU-Southern game preview, my notebook with the first item on Przemek Karnowski's progress as a freshman, John Blanchette's column on David Stockton's Salt Lake City homecoming and here's Christian Caple's notebook on the Jaguars and talented sixth man Malcolm Miller.
With tipoff Thursday afternoon coming right up for Gonzaga, we thought we'd serve up a couple of timelines to illustrate how the Zags got to where they are now. Take a look at this season, game-by-game, and then go a bit farther back, to relive Gonzaga's 15-year tournament run.
Brenden Kichton has been a constant for the Spokane Chiefs for five seasons. He's excited about this year's Western Hockey League playoffs, his final with Spokane, especially after an injury knocked him out of last year's postseason in the first game. Read more
Few people would have seen the Idaho Vandals as an NCAA tournament team in late December, when their record stood at 3-9. But Idaho coach Jon Newlee liked his mixture of freshmen and returning players and watched his team catch fire at the right time. Read story
(Video courtesy of WSU Athletics)
S-R photographer Dan Pelle covered GU's practice in preparation for their NCAA game against Southern in Salt Lake City. Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.
FROM SALT LAKE CITY — They call it “practice,” technically, but as you can see from the video posted below, these open-to-the-public, day-before-the-tourney practice sessions aren't all that strenuous. Here's a look.
FROM SALT LAKE CITY — As is customary the day before the NCAA tournament, the head coach and players from each participating team took the stage to answer questions at a press conference. Here's the transcription of Gonzaga's media session, as provided by ASAP Sports.
I'm admittedly jumping back and forth between a few things this week, so I haven't had a chance to fully peruse WSU's spring roster. But at first glance, there doesn't appear to be any major personnel defections or additions, with the obvious exception of a number of new walk-ons. But that's standard procedure.
Have a look.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Well, that seemed all too easy. St. Mary's win over Middle Tennessee State, I mean. Does that bode well for Gonzaga? Read on.
FROM SALT LAKE CITY — We've got basketball on the brain this week, but are also trying our hand at double-duty as well. So that means a couple of football links for you from the road as WSU gears up for spring practices. Read on.
Ohio State parted ways with coach Jim Foster on Tuesday. Foster's Buckeyes were one of five teams to defeat Gonzaga this season, a 65-60 decision at McCarthey Athletic Center on Dec. 17. Read story
FROM SALT LAKE CITY — There's some sort of basketball tournament starting this week, but Washington State also begins its spring football practices on Thursday. Just to whet your appetite — and to have an excuse to use the word “whet” — here's a look at where the Cougars stand at each offensive position. We'll look at the defense tomorrow.
A couple of caveats: the players listed are based on what the roster reflects at present, but the roster hasn't been updated since the end of the season. We know about the defections of players like Cody Clements (transfer) and David Gilbertson (graduated with a year of eligiblity left), but it's entirely possible that a handful of other scholarship players or a walk-on or two (or three, or four) have left the program. We'll know for sure when the spring roster is released tomorrow (presumably, anyway. It will at least be out there by Thursday).
Anyway, here's what the offense looks like, near as we can tell at this point.
While the rest of the Western Hockey League prepares for postseason, the teams that didn't qualify are concentrating on Wednesday's Bantam Draft lottery. Read story
Gonzaga junior guard Haiden Palmer was named Most Valuable Player at last week's West Coast Conference tournament in Las Vegas. Her teammates have known about her value for a long time. Read story
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Ever wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to get back to sleep? A million thoughts are running through your head. Finally your mind focuses on one. You refine the thought, clean it up, mull it over and decide it's brilliant. Something that is perfect. Just what you need. Sleep comes. When you wake in the morning you can't remember what it was. Then it hits you. That's it. That's what you were thinking about. And guess what? It's really, really stupid. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — We're headed back on the road this morning to help with the paper's Gonzaga coverage this week in Salt Lake City. But that doesn't mean we're ignoring WSU. Read on.
Pac-12 Conference rivals Stanford and California are the top two seeds to the Spokane Regional. The teams are looking at a possible April 1 matchup at the Arena to decide a Final Four berth. Read story
Fourth-seeded Georgia will be the highest-seeded team playing at McCarthey Athletic Center on Saturday. The Bulldogs have a long history of success. Read story
Eastern Washington gets another shot at a 20th win on Friday when it plays at Washington to open the Women's National Invitational Tournament. The Eagles (19-12) lost in the Big Sky Conference tournament semifinals to Northern Colorado. EWU also played at the WNIT in 2010. Read EWU's release
Idaho, making its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1985, will open Saturday morning against Connecticut at Storrs, Conn. The Vandals, champions of the Western Athletic Conference tournament, were awarded a 16th seed and the always-tough Huskies (29-4) earned the top seed in the Bridgeport Regional. Idaho is 17-15 after three narrow wins at the WAC tournament. Read Christian Caple's story
Monday's NCAA Selection Show revealed Gonzaga's fate as the Bulldogs prepare for their fifth consecutive tournament appearance. GU was given a 12th seed and will open at 1:15 p.m. Saturday on its home court at McCarthey Athletic Center against fifth-seeded Iowa State. The teams have never met. Fourth-seeded Georgia and No. 13 Montana will play after the Gonzaga-Iowa State game. Saturday's winner will play at 6:30 p.m. Monday at GU for a berth in the Sweet 16 at the Arena. Gonzaga's route to its first Final Four appearance would feature four consecutive games in Spokane. Read story
FROM PULLMAN — WSU announced its spring football practice schedule today. It's pretty much the same as last season's, though you'll see that the Saturday times are to be determined.
Thursday, March 21 3 p.m.
Saturday, March 23 TBD
Tuesday, March 26 3 p.m.
Thursday, March 28 3 p.m.
Saturday, March 30 TBD
Tuesday, April 2 3 p.m.
Thursday, April 4 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 6 TBD
Tuesday, April 9 3 p.m.
Thursday, April 11 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 13 TBD
Tuesday, April 16 3 p.m.
Thursday, April 18 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 20 2 p.m. (Crimson and Gray Game at Joe Albi Stadium, Spokane)
Tuesday, April 23 3 p.m.
FROM PULLMAN — Washington State athletic director Bill Moos said on his weekly radio show Monday that he plans to meet next week with coach Ken Bone to discuss the future of the program.
Moos did not say specifically whether he's decided Bone will be retained or not. He said the two will recap the season, discuss recruiting and “chart the course” for the future of the team when they meet.
That's standard operating procedure for Moos. He meets with each coach at the end of their respective seasons to discuss the future and check in to see how they feel things are going. Those aren't conversations that happen during the season, Moos said, “unless there's a question about recruiting or scheduling. This will give us a chance to have a long visit and chart our course.”
Moos noted that last year's end-of-season meeting wound up yielding a staff shake-up, with assistant coach Jeff Hironaka being reassigned to an operations role and Ray Lopes being hired as a new assistant.
Bone said after WSU's season-ending 64-62 loss to Washington in the Pac-12 tournament that he's not concerned about his job status.
“I think we’ve done a good job and decisions will be made, whether it’s this year or next year or the following year,” said Bone, who has three years remaining on a 7-year contract. “It’s out of my control, so I’m not going to worry about things that are out of my control. Just going to keep doing the best I can.”
Bone would be owed $2.55 million if terminated this season.
One little click in the URL line and I'm back in the blogging world after 2-3 days on the sidelines. Onward.
Hmm, could have sworn I saw Gonzaga seeded No. 1 when the brackets came out, despite all the pro-con sparring of Jay Bilas and Jay Williams, and Doug Gottlieb and Seth Davis. Later, I looked at some of the predictions of the “experts” and GU might as well be a six seed. Seth Greenberg still has the Zags going to the Final Four, but he backtracked a bit by saying they're the most susceptible of the No. 1s. Several have GU falling to No. 5 Wisconsin, nearly everyone has No. 2 Ohio State making the Final Four out of the West Region. My non-expert opinion is that the West bracket looks pretty favorable to the Zags, so we'll see.
Here's a look back at Selection Sunday with my article, John Blanchette's column and the reaction of GU students. And here is the A-1 cover today (tip of the hat to Ralph Walter). More on next season's GU-Kansas State game in Wichita here.
Ex-Zag Dan Dickau will take part in a live chat at 11:30 on the S-R website. Go to spokesman.com for more details.
Re-live moments from the drive to no. 1, as played in the pages of the newspaper. More will be added as the tourney begins.
You can view the pages, and order reprints.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
It's the Monday morning following Selection Sunday, so our post is dominated with NCAA tournament items. Isn't that the way it should be? Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — Back on the Palouse, albeit for a very short time before hitting the road again. We do have a recap of yesterday's NCAA tournament selections, which went much better for the Pac-12 this year than last. Read on.
Last year's NCAA bracket pool was pretty popular, so we've brought it back this season. Anyone who wants to participate can do so by clicking this link:
The group ID is 102194. The group password is cougs. Let me know if you have any problems signing up. Anyone who participated last season has already received an invite via email.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
“And the at-large berth goes to …” No, tonight isn't Oscar night, but it might as well be. It's Selection Sunday (both words capitalized please), the day we find out who is playing whom in the NCAA tournament. Read on.
FROM LAS VEGAS — Yep. Just like Nicholas Cage. Time to get out of here. But first, we have links to wrap up the Pac-12 tournament. Read on.
The Spokane Chiefs have won 10 of their last 11 games after Saturday night's 3-2 overtime win over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick. The Western Hockey League regular season ends Sunday with the Chiefs at Portland. Spokane won the season series over Tri-City 7-3-2-0, including three of the last four games between the teams. Spokane and T-C will meet again at least four times in the postseason in a best-of-seven first-round series. The Chiefs have home-ice advantage and will host the first two games, Friday and next Saturday. Read story
Idaho qualified for its first NCAA tournament since 1985 by holding off Seattle 67-64 in Saturday's Western Athletic Conference championship game in Las Vegas. UI's Stacey Barr, a sophomore from Australia, was named tournament most valuable player. Idaho will find out its opening-round assignment at 4 p.m. Monday when the tournament draw is revealed. One expert pegged the Vandals to play top-seeded Stanford at Stanford. Read Christian Caple's story
A GRIP ON SPORTS
College basketball has its ups and downs. A good example of that occurred last night at the Pac-12 tournament, where UCLA came up big with a semifinal win over Arizona, only to have star freshman Jordan Adams come down wrong on his foot to end the game. Read on.
FROM LAS VEGAS — Not much Washington State news to pass along this morning, but we do have our usual batch of links around the conference. Today, that means recapping the Pac-12 tournament semifinals. Read on.
The Spokane Chiefs took care of business Friday night, avoiding the need to win on the road Saturday and Sunday during the final two games of the Western Hockey League's regular season. Spokane's 6-0 win over visiting Tri-City clinched the No. 4 seed for the playoffs, and home-ice advantage over the Americans when postseason begins next week. Read story See picture story
Carter Proft scored twice and Eric Williams made 20 saves for his fourth shutout of the season Friday night as the Spokane Chiefs clinched the No. 4 seed to Western Hockey League's Western Conference playoffs with a 6-0 win over the Tri-City Americans at the Arena. Alessio Bertaggia added one goal and one assist, and Reid Gow, Brenden Kichton and Todd Fiddler had two assists apiece as Spokane made a statement before it begins a best-of-seven series with Tri-City next Friday at home. Spokane will have home-ice advantage over the fifth-seeded Americans. Story to come
Carter Proft, named earlier in the night as the Chiefs' Players Player of the Year, scored twice in the second period Friday to increase Spokane's lead to 3-0 over the Tri-City Americans. Proft registered his first multigoal game of the season. He has 11 goals for the season, but five have come in the last eight games. The Chiefs are 20 minutes away from clinching the conference's No. 4 seed to the playoffs.
Alessio Bertaggia's 29th goal of the season, on a power play at 12:44, has given the Spokane Chiefs a 1-0 lead over the Tri-City Americans after one period in the Chiefs' final home game of the regular season. Beraggia's goal came 12 seconds after Spokane's Eric Williams made a save on a shorthanded breakaway.
The Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans already know one another well, but starting tonight the Western Hockey League archrivals will be nearly inseparable for the next couple of weeks. The Chiefs and Americans will play one another six times in the next 14 days — tonight and Saturday in regular-season games, and four times between next Friday and March 28 in a first-round playoff series. More Chiefs-Ams games will follow if the best-of-seven series isn't wrapped up by March 28. Spokane leads the season series 5-3-2. Game time is 25 minutes away, but the Chiefs, playing their final regular-season game at the Arena, will hand out team awards before the puck is dropped.
Eastern Washington came roaring back to force overtime on Friday afternoon, but the Eagles fell in overtime to Northern Colorado at the Big Sky Conference tournament semifinal in Missoula. Read Colter Nuanez's story:
Close games are nothing new to Idaho's basketball team, which edged Utah State 84-82 on Friday afternoon in Las Vegas to advance to Saturday's championship game of the WAC tournament. Read Christian Caple's story:
A GRIP ON SPORTS
March is beginning to enter its lamb phase, which means it's about time for college basketball fans to turn into bracket lions. Shoot, that sounded better in my head. Read on.
FROM LAS VEGAS — There are no Washington State teams playing here anymore, though we still had a busy day yesterday at the WAC and Pac-12 tournaments. Read on for links and such from a crazy day.
Spokane's Tyler Johnson, who had a brilliant four-year career with the Spokane Chiefs, made his NHL debut Thursday night for the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 2-0 loss to the New York Islanders. Johnson was on the ice for more than 11 minutes and said the night's highlight may have been taking in the scene during warmups. Read story
The Vandals had come back twice this season versus New Mexico State to set up wild finishes. But they couldn't make the same late-game charge this afternoon in the quarterfinals of the WAC tournament. Sixth-seeded UI fell 65-49 to finish the year 12-18.
In the final game of his accomplished career, Kyle Barone scored 19 points, but he had only five rebounds — half his average during WAC play — against the big frontline of the Aggies. Connor Hill was the only Vandal to reach double-digit points, with 14 on 5-of-11 shooting. UI made just 3 of 19 3-pointers (16 percent) after canning 13 last week against Seattle U.
With another quarterfinal loss, Idaho moved to 0-5 in the WAC tourney under Don Verlin. NMSU (22-10) advanced to play No. 7 seed Texas State, which shocked second-seeded Denver 72-68.
Christian Caple was at the game and filed this story.
It's official: Kent Leiss (pictured above) will not return as boys basketball coach at Coeur d'Alene.
The on-again, off-again saga that began in late January concluded Thursday when Leiss was told by Principal Warren Olson and athletic director Todd Gilkey in a 1-hour meeting that they were recommending that he not be rehired.
Post Falls' Dani Failor (pictured in the middle above) has been named Gatorade player of year in Idaho.
See story below.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
No, it's too warm to be Christmas. But it feels like it a bit around here. The new Mariners' commercials are out. Read on.
Stephen Madison and the other veterans for Idaho know what the Orleans Arena is like early on the first real day of the WAC tournament: lots of empty seats, quiet, kind of surreal in such a big venue. “You’ve got to bring your own energy, bring your own passion and just show what you’ve got,” Madison said.
We'll see what the Vandals have got at noon against New Mexico State in the quarterfinals. Keep reading below.
FROM LAS VEGAS — Washington State's season is over after it lost a 64-62 heartbreaker to Washington last night. It was a late one, so we don't have quite as much as usual to pass along. But we do have quite a bit. Read on.
FROM LAS VEGAS — It's extremely late, but we do have our tale of the tape to pass along. Read on.
Lexie Nelson's 18 points led five Eastern Washington players in double figures on Wednesday as the third-seeded Eagles opened the Big Sky Conference tournament in Missoula with a win over No. 6 Montana State. EWU will play second-seeded Northern Colorado on Friday morning in the semifinals. Read correspondent Colter Nuanez's story
FROM LAS VEGAS — Utah leads USC by 13 points with about eight minutes left as I'm writing this, so it won't be long until WSU and Washington get going in the 8:30 game. Of course, those 8:30 games have a way of turning into 8:45 games. Let's hope this isn't one of them. Keep reading for more thoughts on the game.
Krissy Karr's buzzer-beating shot gave third-seeded Idaho a 57-55 win over No. 6 San Jose State in a Western Athletic Conference tournament opener in Las Vegas. The Vandals will play second-seeded Utah State in Friday's semifinals. Read Christian Caple's story
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Tuesday was sort of the eye of the hurricane in Las Vegas. The WCC – and the nation's No. 1 team – had just blown through Monday night. Today the Pac-12 tourney starts pelting the town. All that happened in the basketball center of the West Coast yesterday was some bottom-rung WAC teams had their moment in the desert sun. Read on.
FROM LAS VEGAS — The seemingly non-stop conference tournament tour of Las Vegas continues today when the Pac-12 tournament begins at the MGM Grand. We'll be there a little later on — swinging over to the Orleans this morning to cover the Idaho women — and have our usual crop of links to start your day. Read on.
The Spokane Chiefs defeated Prince George 6-4 on Tuesday night despite a third-period outburst by the Cougars that put Spokane back on its heels. Spokane now leads Tri-City by two points in the chase for fourth place and home-ice advantage in the playoffs. Read story See photo gallery
S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Chiefs win against Prince George. Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.
The Spokane Chiefs built a 5-0 lead and defeated the Prince George Cougars 6-4 in Western Hockey League play at the Arena on Tuesday night. Spokane improved to 86 points and took over fourth place alone in the Western Conference with Tri-City's loss to Seattle. There are three games left in the regular season, including Tri-City at Spokane on Friday and Spokane at Tri-City on Saturday. Fourth place brings home-ice advantage when the Chiefs and Tri-City open their first-round playoff next week. Story to come.
FROM LAS VEGAS — Ken Bone spoke with reporters inside the media workroom at the MGM Grand Garden Arena tonight. Here's a transcript of his comments.
Mitch Holmberg scored his 38th goal, which ranks second on the team, and Brenden Kichton picked up his team-high 59th assist as the Spokane Chiefs scored once in the second period to increase their lead over the Prince George Cougars to 4-0 at the Arena on Tuesday night. Spokane is keeping its eye on the Tri-City Americans, who trail Seattle 4-2 after two periods. Spokane and Tri-City are tied for fourth place in the WHL's Western Conference with 84 points apiece.
Gonzaga junior forward Kelly Olynyk has been named District IX player of the year and Mark Few was named coach of the year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
Olynyk is the fourth Zag to receive the award, joining Dan Dickau (2002), Blake Stepp (2004) and Adam Morrison (2006). Saint Mary's Matthew Dellavedova was the only other WCC player selected to the All-District IX team. Seven Pac-10 players, including WSU's Brock Motum, and Long Beach State's James Ennis completed the 10-member team.
District IX encompasses California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.
Olynyk is a finalist for the Wooden Award and the Oscar Robertson Trophy.
Todd Fiddler scored his team-best 42nd goal, Markson Bechtold scored his first career goal, and Adam Helewka had one goal and one assist Tuesday night as the Spokane Chiefs burst to a 3-0 lead over the Prince George Cougars after one period in WHL play at the Arena. Spokane has outshot PG 26-6.
The Spokane Chiefs' regular season is down to four games in six days, including tonight's game at the Arena against Prince George. The Chiefs already know that they'll play the Tri-City Americans to open the Western Hockey League playoffs next week, but they are attempting to take the No. 4 seed and home-ice advantage away from the Ams. Both teams enter tonight with 84 points. Tri-City is playing at Seattle. The Ams will travel to Spokane on Friday night and host the Chiefs on Saturday night. Spokane is 2-1 against Prince George this season but hasn't played the Cougars since late October. The Cougars still have a big goal in mind: They are four points behind idle Everett for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Game time is 20 minutes away.
Eastern Washington and Idaho are both No. 3 seeds to their conference tournaments, both of which begin Wednesday. Neither school has made the NCAA tournament in a generation, but this year might be ripe for the taking. Read story
After seeing the sites in Las Vegas for a few days, I get to see the sites up and down the West Coast on my way home (Las Vegas to LAX to Phoenix to Spokane). Hardly alone, with numerous Zag fans on the same schedule. Thanks Southwest!
I’m actually glad to be on board. My cab driver missed the airport exit. We were chatting away and he zipped right on by. He caught the next exit and must have seen me eyeing the meter as it climbed into the mid $30s. He adjusted it accordingly.
So on to the day-after Saint Mary’s post. Here are the links for the GU men’s win over Saint Mary’s: S-R gamer, Blanchette column, Mulvany photos. Here are the links for the GU women’s victory over San Diego: S-R gamer, Mulvany photos. It was an impressive showing by the GU women, in particular Taelor Karr. She was fighting an ailing lower back and watching her walk gingerly on the sidelines during Sunday's practice brought back bad memories of my lower-back issues years ago. I thought she might try to play, but wouldn't have imagined she could have the impact she did with 14 points and six assists against USD. As coach Kelly Graves said, “Tough kid.”
More on GU men below.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Think back. Has there been many March days over the years in the Pacific Northwest better than yesterday? Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — A 10:45 a.m. flight awaits yours truly, as it's time to matriculate to Las Vegas for the Pac-12 tournament. WSU coach Ken Bone and Washington coach Lorenzo Romar will be available to the media later tonight, and we'll have some notes then. For now, we have links. Read on.
It's a formula that has served Gonzaga well throughout this memorable season.
Gonzaga worked the ball inside to Elias Harris and Kelly Olynyk — the duo combining for 40 points — and its defense did the rest as the Bulldogs handled Saint Mary's 65-51 in the WCC Tournament title game Monday at the Orleans Arena.
My unedited game story is below.
S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the GU win over Saint Mary's. Check out a big picture gallery of his photos
About 20 minutes from tipoff of the Gonzaga men's game against Saint Mary's at the Orleans Arena. We'll see if GU can make it 2 for 2 in title games.
The Gonzaga women shut down San Diego 62-50 earlier Monday to claim the WCC Tournament championship. The Zags are headed to the NCAAs for the fifth straight year.
My unedited game story is below.
In-game updates on the GU-Saint Mary's men at twitter.com/srjimm.
S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the GU women's victory over San Diego. Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.
FROM PULLMAN — For the second consecutive season, Brock Motum was honored as part of the Pac-12's all-conference selections. He was a first-teamer last year, and a second-teamer this time around. Read on for the complete list of conference awards and honors.
Gonzaga (30-2) remained No. 1 in both polls. The Zags defeated LMU 66-48 in their only game of the week.
GU received 54 first-place votes (51 last week) and 1,611 points (1,607 last week) in the AP Top 25. Duke (11 first-place votes, 1,559 points) picked up six more first-place votes and moved from third to second.
Gonzaga received the same number of first-place votes (29) and nearly the same points (772 vs. 773) to stay on top of the USA Today poll. Duke received the other two first-place votes and jumped from fourth to second.
Gonzaga faces Saint Mary's, No. 21 in USA Today's rankings, at 6 for the WCC championship.
As mentioned here before, the WCC will keep the WCC men's and women's tournaments at the Orleans Arena. The conference made it official on Monday, announcing a three-year agreement.
In-game updates from the GU-San Diego women's title game at 1 and the men's game at 6 at twitter.com/srjimm.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
A lot of money could be on the line in Las Vegas tonight, and we're not talking about what's happening in the casinos. We're talking about the game between Gonzaga and St. Mary's. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — Mondays during basketball season typically don't bring much news. But there's an odd story developing that involves a Pac-12 team and an incident right here in Spokane. Read on.
Press conferences Sunday at the Orleans on the day before the WCC Tournament title games.
After 125 games over four seasons, Kyle Barone is at or near the top in almost every meaningful statistical category in Idaho men's basketball history. And Sunday he accomplished another feat: He became the first Vandal to be honored as WAC player of the year.
Barone, the 6-foot-10 senior center who has played the most games in UI history, led the WAC by averaging 18.2 points and 10.9 rebounds per game in conference play. Last night he registered his 16th double-double of the season and ninth game with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The Garden Grove, Calif., product was the only Vandal to be recognized by the coaches, and his award comes after UI finished sixth in the conference. But he was clearly the most consistent (and often dominant) player this season, from start to finish.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Ever feel as if you have a connection with something occurring on television? I'm not talking about having a crush on a sitcom star or being on a first-name basis with an HSN operator. We're talking sports here. You know, the hard-to-prove psychic connection that's at the heart of so many recent beer commercials. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — The regular season is over for Washington State, which probably feels today about as good as a team with a 4-14 conference record can can feel. Two big wins over two solid teams will do that for you. We have links, notes and thoughts after the jump, so read on.
FROM PULLMAN — Here are some additional quotes from WSU's 76-51 win over USC on Saturday.
Waiting for USD-SMC game to end in overtime, I'll post my unedited game story from Gonzaga's 66-48 win over Loyola Marymount on Saturday.
S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland covered Whitworth's home win against Emory. Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.
Mike McChristian's day was made well before the Vandals tipped off with Seattle U. He got a surprise visit from his mother, who flew in from California just in time to watch her son drop a career-high 26 points — and go on one of the most impressive 3-point displays in recent Idaho history — in a 76-72 win.
We've got our story and notes below after the Vandals' final game of the regular season.
S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the GU victory over LMU to advance to the finals of the WCC. Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.
FROM PULLMAN — Washington State has now won consecutive games for the first time since December, and it couldn't have come at a better time. WSU's 76-51 win over USC is recapped after the jump. Read on.
Gonzaga's women took control with a 12-2 run late in the first half to build an 11-point lead and the Bulldogs went on to a comfortable 62-43 victory over fourth-seeded BYU in the WCC Tournament semfinals on Saturday at the Orleans Arena.
Shelby Cheslek led GU with 16 points. Kiara Kudron added a season-high eight points, six in Gonzaga's decisive run at the close the first half. The top-seeded Bulldogs will face No. 2 San Diego, which routed No. 3 Saint Mary's, for the championship at 1 Monday.
Taelor Karr, the WCC player of the year, landed hard on her lower back after being fouled by a Cougar player with 7 minutes left in the first half. Karr returned to the game several minutes later and also played in the second half, but she was taken for further medical evaluation following the game.
My unedited game story is below.
Gonzaga's men are about 15 minutes from starting. In-game updates at twitter.com/srjimm.
S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the GU women vs. BYU game in Las Vegas. GU women beat BYU 62-43. GU will face Saint Mary's-San Diego winner for title Monday. Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.
Heading over to the Orleans Arena for the GU women's semifinal against BYU at noon, but a little news to pass on first.
Gonzaga junior Kelly Olynyk is one of 15 finalists for the Wooden Award.
Olynyk, who averaged 17.7 points and 7 rebounds, was named the WCC player of the year earlier this week. Olynyk, Indiana's Victor Oladipo and Miami's Shane Larkin weren't on the award's mid-season top 25 but all three made the final ballot.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
All of you who had Loyola Marymount as Gonzaga's first opponent in the WCC tournament, please step forward. That many? Well, it confirms what I thought. This blog is read by a bunch of untruthful sports fans. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — The time has come for Brock Motum and Mike Ladd to say farewell to Beasley Coliseum. The Cougars are hoping both will be able to play. It's possible. Read on for links.
The Washington State Cougars put matters in perspective after Friday's loss to Stanford in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals at KeyArena in Seattle. The Cougars were simply happy to have head coach June Daugherty sitting behind them and offering a few pointers during timeouts. Daugherty missed Thursday's win over Arizona State after having an appendectomy. Read story
It's been two weeks since the Idaho basketball team played at Cowan Spectrum. In that time, the Vandals have won two out of three and had their seed (and opponent) determined for next week's WAC tournament. But before the postseason starts, they play their last game of the regular season against Seattle U at home.
We've got the full rundown below, and we also have more on the remarkable career of Kyle Barone.
S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Chiefs' win over Everett at the Spokane Arena. Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.
It's probably safe to say that Gonzaga, at the beginning of the week, wasn't expecting to see Loyola Marymount in the WCC semifinals. But the ninth-seeded Lions have pulled off three upsets in three nights, the latest a 60-58 win over No. 4 Santa Clara on Friday, to earn a date with the Bulldogs.
More on Gonzaga's motivation in the tournament and the matchup with LMU below in my unedited preview.
Junior forward Chiney Ogwumike powered for 23 points and 21 rebounds Friday night as Stanford knocked off Washington State 79-60 in a Pac-12 Conference quarterfinal at KeyArena is Seattle. The top-seeded and fourth-ranked Cardinal (29-2) will play either Washington or Colorado in Saturday's semifinals. WSU, which entered as the eighth seed, finished 11-20. Story to come
Washington State trails Stanford 35-23 at halftime of Friday's Pac-12 Conference tournament quarterfinal at KeyArena in Seattle. The Cougars haven't been able to stop 6-foot-4 junior forward Chiney Ogwumike, the Pac-12's player of the year, who has 17 points at halftime. WSU fell behind by 17 points (26-9) but cut the Cardinal's lead to eight points (31-23) before Amber Orrange and Ogwumike had baskets in the final 36 seconds. WSU head coach June Daugherty, who had an appendectomy on Thursday, is watching the game from behind the Cougars' bench but is joining in during timeouts.
Washington State head women's basketball coach June Daugherty, who had an appendectomy on Thursday, will sit behind the Cougars' bench as a spectator for tonight's Pac-12 Conference tournament quarterfinal against Stanford in Seattle. Daugherty's husband, Mike, will serve as interim coach, as he did for Thursday's opening-round win over Arizona State. Before coming to Pullman, the Daughertys coached together at the University of Washington. Both were excited to see the conference tournament move from Los Angeles to Seattle. June Daugherty's surgeon and WSU's team doctor cleared her to attend the game, just 24 hours after her surgery. The game will start in 15 minutes.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Last night the Washington State women won their first game in the Pac-12 basketball tournament. It wasn't as important as what went on at a nearby hospital. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — It's Friday, which means little news from the Washington State front. Read on for links, anyway.
An emotional day for the Washington State women's basketball team began with head coach June Daugherty being stricken with acute appendicitis and ended with a win to open the Pac-12 Conference tournament in Seattle. Read story
Washington State's stay at the Pac-12 Conference tournament in Seattle is off to a shocking start, as head coach June Daugherty has been hospitalized with acute appendicitis. Daugherty started experiencing pain in the morning and started feeling worse during the team's shootaround at KeyArena. Daugherty was scheduled to have an appendectomy at the same time the eighth-seeded Cougars prepared for their opener against ninth-seeded Arizona State. Daugherty's husband, associate head coach Mike Daugherty, will serve as interim coach tonight. The couple have coached together for 24 years and have never missed a game together. June Daugherty is expected to be released on Friday and has vowed to coach if the Cougars win tonight and advance to the quarterfinals against top-seeded Stanford. WSU and Arizona State will tip off in 50 minutes. The Cougars are 2-0 against ASU this season.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
We're about to take a trip down memory lane, which is probably appropriate since Washington State did something last night it hadn't done since 1993. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — You have to admire the effort of guys like Marcus Capers and Ben Loewen last night, giving UCLA a heck of a game without Klay Thompson or Reggie Moore on the floor. Oh, sorry. Wrong narrative. Besides, last night's game ended in a win for the home team. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — We have additional quotes for you to read from WSU's 73-61 win over UCLA last night. Read on.
Eighth-seeded Washington State will begin the Pac-12 women's basketball tournament in Seattle at 6 p.m. Thursday against No. 9 Arizona State. Read more
S-R photojournalist Jesse Tinsley covered the Chiefs' game against the Seattle Thunderbirds. Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.
FROM PULLMAN — The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! OK, not quite. But the Cougars did end their 19-game home losing streak against UCLA with a resounding 73-61 win over the Bruins at Beasley Coliseum tonight, and we have our usual recap for you after the jump. Read on.
Gonzaga is taking everybody's best shot, sometimes literally, in the WCC.
Opponents have become increasingly physical trying to defend Gonzaga's main scoring options, particularly the inside tandem of Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris, which is understandable because the Zags play a physical brand of basketball.
That's the focus of my article that will run with our College basketball/Four Corners page in Thursday's S-R.
FROM PULLMAN — When it rains, it pours. And we're not talking about the weather. Read on.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
The UCLA Bruins are in the Inland Northwest tonight to face Washington State. Did they fly in on a B-2? Their arrival was so quiet it hardly even registered on our radar. Read on.
FROM PULLMAN — Washington State is back on the court already, taking on UCLA in a 6:30 p.m. game at Beasley Coliseum tonight. We have links and such to get you started. Read on.
The Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans are in a race for fourth place in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference, which brings home-ice advantage during the first round of the playoffs. Tri-City leads Spokane by one point, but the Americans lost to Prince George on Tuesday in their bid to boost the edge to three points. T-C has six games left in the regular season while Spokane has seven. Read story
Gonzaga senior guard Taelor Karr was named West Coast Conference player of the year on Tuesday. Her coach and teammates know there's more to Karr than pure statistics. Read story
Gonzaga was well represented when the WCC announced its all-conference awards on Tuesday.
Kelly Olynyk was voted player of the year, Mike Hart defensive player of the year and Mark Few coach of the year. Olynyk, Elias Harrs and Kevin Pangos were named to the 10-member All-WCC team.
Gary Bell Jr. made honorable mention. Przemek Karnowski was chosen for the All-Freshman team.
My unedited article for Wednesday's S-R below.
The Spokane Chiefs will almost assuredly meet the Tri-City Americans in the first round of the Western Hockey League playoffs. Now comes the battle for fourth place and home-ice advantage. Read story
FROM PULLMAN — Ken Bone held his weekly press conference today, and while there is little news, there is an update on Mike Ladd.
The update: he's still doubtful to play this week, but he did manage to get a few more shots up yesterday in practice.
Click the jump for a transcript of Bone's comments.
Gonzaga junior forward Kelly Olynyk has been named WCC player of the year, the conference announced Tuesday.
Olynyk, who is averaging 19.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in conference, becomes the 11th Gonzaga player to be selected WCC player of the year.
Mark Few was named WCC coach of the year for the ninth time in his career.
Senior Mike Hart was selected defensive player of the year. Pepperdine freshman Stacy Davis was named newcomer of the year.
Elias Harris and Kevin Pangos joined Olynyk on the All-WCC first team. Gary Bell Jr. was honorable mention. Przemek Karnowski was selected to the All-Freshman team.
Here's the WCC release. We'll have more on the blog and twitter later today
Check out this cool timeline of Gonzaga's 2012-2013 season. It includes game-by-game updates, with photos, highlights and the subsequent climb up the rankings to No. 1.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
Anything happen around here yesterday? I was a bit busy and didn't have time to check. What, you're kidding? Gonzaga is No. 1 in the nation? In what, ROTC rankings? Basketball? Men's basketball? You have to be kidding. Read on.
For the second time this season and fourth time of his career, Kyle Barone, Idaho's accomplished center, has been named the WAC Player of the Week. The conference's top rebounder and third-leading scorer strung together two more double-doubles last week — his 14th and 15th of the season. He had 26 points and 14 rebounds in a win at Texas State on Saturday that helped UI lock up the sixth seed in next week's WAC tournament.
Barone will be honored Saturday night as part of Idaho's Senior Night festivities. The Vandals (11-17, 6-11) host Seattle U at 7:05.
FROM PULLMAN — Just like that, it's already Tuesday. There won't be much to read this morning, as usual. But there will be for the rest of the week. Read on.
An historic day for Gonzaga, which earned the No. 1 ranking for the first time in school history.
The Zags topped the AP and USA Today polls by fairly comfortable margins. We had an early story on the website Monday morning (find it below) and an expanded version later Monday. Hoping this link works for a look at the front page of Tuesday's S-R: https://twitter.com/joequist/status/308735062558511104/photo/1.
Assistant coach Tommy Lloyd filled in for coach Mark Few, who went fishing. Lloyd fielded questions wearing a Run DMC t-shirt, which someone confused for Run SMC (Saint Mary's College). The coach quickly pointed out the 'D' in DMC.
Check back tomorrow. All-WCC teams and individual honors will be released Tuesday with media day later in the afternoon.
A GRIP ON SPORTS • UPDATED: 9 A.M.
Today's the day. The day folks in Spokane can raise their index finger high in the air and yell … well, you know. After all, there isn't anyone in town who didn't attend Gonzaga. Read on.
FROM SEATTLE — We're hitting the road shortly for the trek back to Pullman. That's a trip the WSU basketball team already made last night — though it did it on an airplane and a bus — and it's a good thing, because the Cougars have to play another basketball game on Wednesday. We have links from the basketball game it played yesterday, as well as a quick look around the conference. Read on.
FROM SEATTLE — Emptying out our notebook and passing along some more quotes after Washington State's 72-68 loss to Washington here on Sunday. Read on.
FROM SEATTLE — It was another close loss for Washington State. Seems like that's been written here before. But that's how it was again here earlier today, as the Cougars lost 72-68 to Washington. Read on for our recap.
FROM SEATTLE — Is 11 a.m. still considered morning? For our purposes, it is. Anyway, we've settled at Hec Edmundson Pavilion and have a few thoughts before this game tips off. Read on.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
There is so much ground to cover, let's get right at it. Read on.
Another Senior Day is over (more on that below) and now Gonzaga sits and waits for the polls to be released Monday to see if the Zags have a No. 1 by their name for the first time in school history. Most think it'll happen, but final word won't come until Monday morning.
Read on for more.
FROM SEATTLE — Hope you remembered to set your alarm this afternoon so you can be sure you're awake in time for Washington State's game at Washington. OK, so maybe it's not being played that early. But a 12:30 p.m. tip time feels like the crack of dawn compared to some of the Cougars' other start times this season. Gameday reading follows the jump.
Gonzaga completed a 16-0 WCC campaign by routing Portland 81-52 on Saturday at the MAC.
The Bulldogs sent seniors Elias Harris, Guy Landry Edi and Mike Hart out in style with an easy win in front of an appreciative crowd of 6,000.
My unedited game story is below.
Check back tomorrow morning for a day-after post.
S-R photojournalists Jesse Tinsley and Tyler Tjomsland covered the championship games at the State B tournament. Check out a big picture gallery of their photos.
S-R photojournalist Dan Pelle covered GU's home win against Portland. Check out a big picture gallery of his photos.
February was a miserable month for the Idaho Vandals. They squeaked out a win at home over San Jose State on Feb. 2 … then lost five straight WAC games. But even with the late-season swoon, the Vandals likely have done enough to avoid the opening round of the WAC tournament that will feature the bottom four teams. Today's 90-81 win at Texas State all but assured that.
We've got more on Idaho's 11th win of the season below.
It's usually Senior Night, but with tipoff at 2 to accommodate the WCC Game of the Week telecast, Gonzaga will celebrate Senior Day against Portland at the MAC.
In addition to honoring Elias Harris, Mike Hart and Guy Landry Edi, the Bulldogs will try to conclude an unbeaten march through the WCC and stay on course for the program's first ever No. 1 ranking when the polls are released Monday.
Here's a look at the careers of Gonzaga's three seniors.
In-game updates from GU-Portland on twitter @srjimm.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
One more game. That's what's left in every high school basketball season. From the Mead girls through the Moscow boys and many places in-between, that final game may lead to a state championship. For others, it is just the end of the season. Or more. Read on.
FROM SEATTLE — Remember Wednesday, when there were a bunch of Pac-12 games on and none involved Washington State? That's what today will be like, too. Read on.
The Spokane Chiefs' win at Victoria on Friday night, coupled with Tri-City losing, allowed Spokane to leap past Tri-City into fourth place in the Western Hockey League Western Conference. Spokane plays at Victoria again Saturday night. Read story
S-R photojournalists Colin Mulvany and Tyler Tjomsland covered the State B semifinal action at the Spokane Arena Friday night. Check out a big picture gallery of their photos.
S-R photojournalist Kathy Plonka covered NIC's semifinal game against Salt Lake Community College. Check out a big picture gallery of her photos.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
In my spare time recently, I've been watching Ken Burns' documentary “Baseball” on my iPad. Man, I love NetFlix. Anyhow, I just got through the 1930s. Included in the archival film was Lou Gehrig's farewell speech at Yankee Stadium. You know the one, immortalized by Gary Cooper in “Pride of the Yankees.” In the speech, an obviously touched Gehrig, head bowed, tells the gathered multitudes he feels like the luckiest man in the world. Makes me tear up every time I see it. But I understand his sentiment. Some days I feel like the luckiest man in the world. And yesterday was one of those days. Read on.
Gonzaga has played better – much better – but even without its ‘A’ game (B-minus perhaps?), it still had enough to defeat BYU 70-65 on Thursday.
Read on for my day-after post.
FROM SEATTLE — Over on the west side a little early for Sunday's game between Washington State and Washington. That doesn't stop us from culling together as many links as we could find. There aren't a whole bunch, but there are a few. Read on.