Since joining the WAC, the Idaho men's basketball team has won one conference tournament game, and that was an opening round affair in 2007. The Vandals are 1-7 in the event all-time and 0-5 under Don Verlin. But Idaho's postseason struggles go back even further: Since 1997, the program is 2-14 in conference tournaments as members of the WAC and Big West. That's right — 1-7 in the WAC, 1-7 in the Big West.
The Vandals will try to break through this afternoon against UMKC when the quarterfinals of the WAC tourney get under way in Las Vegas. The topic of our preview for this morning's paper was Idaho's suddenly aggressive transition game. We've posted a longer version of the story below, as well as a few quotes from coaches and players.
From Las Vegas — Day one of the Pac-12 is in the books and four teams are already out. One of those teams was Washington State, which saw its season end in a thrilling late-night match against Stanford. Here is our story from the game, as well as quotes and video of coach Ken Bone and DaVonte Lacy. While in town I also covered top-seeded Idaho's blowout of Chicago State in WAC women's action.
From Las Vegas — The Cougars went on a 7-0 run to take a second-half lead against the heavily favored Cardinal. The game was a face-off of the team's starting fives — both teams received just two points from their bench. Though the Cougars played one of their better games of the season Stanford — which has two First Team All-Pac-12 players, the conference's Most Improved Player and an All Defense Team member — proved too talented.
After the game we spoke with coach Ken Bone spoke about the game and speculation surrounding his future as head coach.
The Spokane Chiefs could conceivably skate off the ice Saturday night in Kennewick, finished with their Western Hockey League regular season, and not know their assignment for the first round of the playoffs. Read story
Every Canadian Hockey League Top 10 poll since the start of 2014 has had the Kelowna Rockets on top. The 25th edition of the poll, released Wednesday, was more of the same. Read story
Gonzaga took all the guesswork – other than seeding, opponent and location — out of Selection Sunday by winning the WCC Tournament title over BYU on Tuesday. Had the Zags lost, most pundits still had them in the NCAA field as an at-large team but it would have been an uncomfortable few days waiting for Sunday’s announcement. (I’m guessing an 8 or 9 seed, I’m pulling for a trip to San Diego).
GU did it with a near flawless first half, leading by as many as 21 before settling for a 17-point edge at the break. The cushion helped the Zags withstand BYU’s second-half rally for a 75-64 victory.
Here’s my game story, John Blanchette’s column and Colin Mulvany’s photos. The view from Utah here, here, here, here and here. The Zags doubled up on championships as Gonzaga's women thumped BYU. My game story here and Colin's photos.
Onward for my day-after BYU post.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
It's almost a little ridiculous. Sixteen consecutive years in the NCAA tournament. For those of us who were around here in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when Dan Fitzgerald's Gonzaga teams were battling to break through and make the NCAA tournament just once, it seems a bit overwhelming that GU has earned its 16th consecutive tournament bid. Read on.
From Las Vegas — Today the Washington State men will take on Stanford in the Pac-12 tournament. Here's our advance on WSU's do or die situation. We'll also be covering the top-seeded Idaho women. Josh Wright has the preview here. We've also got the news that starting cornerback DaQuawn Brown has been arrested and will in all likelihood be dismissed from the team. Oregon will look to defend its tournament title.
Tha-tha-tha-that's all, folks!
The WAC men's and women's basketball tournaments will again be held at one site — Orleans Arena in Las Vegas — over the next four days. The top-seeded Idaho women (22-8) get things started Wednesday at noon with a quarterfinal matchup with Chicago State. The Vandals are looking to get back to the NCAA tournament for the second straight year, but the situation is different this time. We wrote about this in our preview.
The Idaho men take on UMKC on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. The Vandals are just 1-7 in the WAC tournament since joining the conference in 2005-06, and Don Verlin is 0-5. We'll have more on this tomorrow. Idaho star Stephen Madison was named to the US Basketball Writers Assocaition's All-District VIII team on Tuesday, two days after being named a first-team all-WAC player. Meanwhile, guard Connor Hill was selected as the WAC player of the week on Monday — the seventh such honor for a Vandal this year.
Connor Chartier scored again Tuesday night, giving the Spokane Chiefs' right wing 13 goals for the season, more than double what he tallied last season. Read story
Spokane had lost all seven games against Seattle this season, but the Chiefs took care of that Tuesday night by toppling the Thunderbirds 6-4 during a rough-and-tumble road game. Read story
As junior guard Gary Bell Jr. put it afterward, “No more bubble talk.”
Gonzaga secured the WCC Tournament title with a 75-64 victory over BYU on Tuesday, earning its 16th straight NCAA Tournament berth. Sam Dower, with 20 points and 13 boards, was named MVP. David Stockton had seven assists, five rebounds, four points and three steals to join Dower, BYU's Tyler Haws and Kyle Collinsworth and USF's Cole Dickerson on the All-Tournament team.
My unedited game story is below. Check back tomorrow for my day-after post.
S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the GU men's 75-64 win against BYU in the WCC finals. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
From Las Vegas — Washington State cornerback DaQuawn Brown was arrested Friday and booked into the Whitman County Jail on charges of felony second-degree assault and misdemeanor assault.
The rising sophomore was released on Monday. Police logs indicate he was also arrested earlier this month for driving without valid identification.
More after the jump.
Gonzaga rode its defense to another WCC title.
The Bulldogs limited BYU to 14 first-half points and cruised to a 71-57 victory Tuesday in the championship game at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Keani Albanez led the way with 20 points, Sunny Greinacher added 16 and Lindsay Sherbert had 15.
My unedited game story is below.
S-R photojournalist Colin Mulvany covered the GU women's game against BYU in the WCC finals. Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.
Another busy day ahead in Las Vegas with the Gonzaga men and women playing for titles at Orleans Arena — GU-BYU women at 1, GU-BYU men at 6 — so we'll move on to our day-after Saint Mary's post.
It'll be shorter than usual. Heading to the arena soon and Gonzaga players had exited the locker room by the time the Bulldogs' press conference ended.
GU roughed up the Gaels again Monday night, 70-54, to advance to the championship game. Here's my game story, John Blanchette's column, Colin Mulvany's photos (many of these pictures show the physical nature of the contest), and recaps in the San Francisco Chronicle and Contra Costa Times.
BYU's men went cold for the last 6 minutes of regulation but managed to advance to the title game by edging San Francisco in overtime. More on that game here, here, here and here. BYU's women pulled away in the second half against Pacific.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
There is a ritual this time of year as dependable as the first robin of spring or the swallows returning to Capistrano. People won't be happy with all-conference selections. Read on.