It was another first this week for the Gonzaga women’s basketball team.
The Zags debuted in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Top 25 poll at No. 23. The poll was released Tuesday. The Zags are also ranked 22nd in the Associated Press Top 25 this week.
It is the first time since the 2004-05 campaign that the Bulldogs have been ranked in the coaches’ poll. Gonzaga, then riding the nation’s longest win streak at 20 games, entered the coaches’ poll for the first time in school history on Feb. 22, 2005, with a No. 25 ranking. The Zags moved up to No. 23 a week later on March 1.
Gonzaga is only the third West Coast Conference team to enter the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ poll. The University of Portland ended the 1996-97 regular season with a No. 25 ranking. Bulldogs head coach Kelly Graves was then an assistant coach on the Pilots squad. The University of San Francisco is the other WCC entrant with four rankings during the 1996-97 season and a No. 16 spot in the final 1995-96 poll after a trip to the Sweet Sixteen.
Gonzaga is at Saint Mary’s at 7 p.m. Thursday and the University of San Diego at 2 p.m. Saturday. Saint Mary’s is in second place in the WCC, one game behind the Bulldogs with an 8-1 mark. San Diego is in third place with a 6-3 conference record.
No shortage of Enas
Montana’s Sarah Ena has a few ties to area schools.
The Big Sky-leading Eastern women visit Ena and the Grizzlies on Saturday. The Eagles play Montana State on Thursday.
Ena, a junior forward, leads the team in rebounds with 5.5 a game and averages 12.3 points. Her brother is Eastern football player Paul Ena, who played as a true freshman last season and made 63 tackles.
Another brother, Tali Ena, played quarterback for the Washington State Cougars before transferring to New Mexico. Their father, also Tali Ena, is a former running back for the Cougars.
Cougars think pink
The Washington State women’s team will be in pink on Sunday for Valentine’s Day as it takes on the No. 2 team in the nation, Stanford.
As part of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s Pink Zone initiative, fans are asked to attend the game at Friel Court (noon tipoff) wearing pink to help in raising breast cancer awareness.
Fans wearing pink pay just $2 each for general admission. The first 250 fans arriving at the coliseum will receive a special Washington State women’s basketball “Pink Out” T-shirt.
The Cougars, coming off their first conference win of the season, host California on Friday at Friel Court at 6 p.m. The Golden Bears have lost two of their last three after winning five straight.
Player of week
Alysha Green of Carroll College was named the Frontier Conference’s women’s player of the week.
Green, a sophomore guard from Mead High School, helped Carroll win two games on the road over the weekend. The Saints beat Montana Western 67-55 and Montana Tech 58-50. Green averaged 19.5 points, five rebounds and 2.5 assists in the two wins.
Eye on 1,000 points
Spokane’s Angie Bjorklund (University) scored 10 points in Tennessee’s 69-60 win over Vanderbilt, putting her two from 1,000 for her career. The junior guard will become the 34th Lady Vol to eclipse the 1,000-point mark.