March 24, 2013 in Sports

Promise for the future

GU loses only two seniors; 6 of top 7 scorers return
Chris Derrick And Greg Lee
 
Tyler Tjomsland photo

Gonzaga’s Kiara Kudron (23) and Iowa State’s Chelsea Poppens (33) and Hallie Christofferson (5) battle for the ball.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Another Gonzaga women’s basketball season has come to an end, but Bulldogs fans should have plenty to cheer next year.

GU’s 2012-13 roster had just two seniors, starting guard Taelor Karr and reserve guard Meghan Winters.

The Bulldogs will return starting guards Haiden Palmer and Jazmine Redmon as well as starting forwards Sunny Greinacher and Shelby Cheslek. Six of their seven top scorers will return, and more than 75 percent of their overall scoring.

GU will also add Lindsay Sherbert, a guard who transferred from California, and strong new players from Fresno, Calif., and British Columbia.

“The future’s bright,” GU coach Kelly Graves said. “I mean you look and this is a young basketball team, including our transfer that’s been sitting out this year. We have 11 freshmen and sophomores. That’s a good group that’s coming back. So I like where we’re at.”

The numbers

The loss was Gonzaga’s earliest exit from the tournament since the 2006-07 season. The Bulldogs are 8-6 overall at the tournament.

Karr moved into 14th place in GU career scoring with 1,237 points. She also moved into fifth for 3-pointers with 69.

Gonzaga had 393 steals for the season, the second-best effort in team history.

Point of attack

Gonzaga hassled Iowa State point guard Nikki Moody from the start, often daring other Cyclones players to handle the ball.

“She knows and our team knows, everyone knows, the whole world knows we have one person that can dribble on our team,” Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. “And Kidd (Blaskowsky) can dribble a little. So we have 1½.”

Came up short

Montana coach Robin Selvig has taken 20 teams to the NCAA tournament in his 35 years in Missoula.

His Grizzlies are 6-20.

One could tell Saturday that although Georgia pulled away, Selvig wasn’t overly disappointed.

“You have to give some of the credit to Georgia,” Selvig said. “They are pretty good defensively. I thought we did a pretty good job of getting shots, but we had 11 turnovers at the half (20 overall) and that was their pressure that did that.

“We haven’t seen as good of pressure as they put on us this year. “We end up with 20 turnovers, which against them isn’t horrible. We had enough good shots … we could have stayed with them.”

End of career

Former Lake City standout Katie Baker, a four-year starter at Montana, fought back tears as she thought about her career.

“What a blessing to play for the University of Montana,” Baker said.

She mentioned the Big Sky Conference championship and tournament title.

“It was a picture perfect senior year for us,” Baker said. “It has been the best opportunity, the best career, the best decision that I personally have ever made.”

Selvig wasn’t sure his seniors could accomplish their goals.

“I told them they made believers out of me,” he said. “In fact, every time we lost a game, they came back with a vengeance. Where you might get discouraged they got motivated.”


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