A sampling from the past week of entries in The Spokesman-Review blog SportsLink at spokesman.com/ sportslink.
It wasn’t too long ago that Gonzaga’s offense was drawing national attention (from ESPN’s Jay Bilas and others) and ranked highly in several statistical categories.
That hasn’t changed, but the offense has taken a backseat to the defense, which has emerged as the main reason for GU’s 5-1 start and hold on first place in the WCC.
The defensive series that sticks in my mind came in the second half Thursday. Pepperdine’s Stacy Davis drove into the middle of the lane and was met by three defenders. He dished the ball underneath and the three defenders quickly shifted and swarmed Davis’ teammate, who was fouled. It typified Gonzaga’s energy and effort to contest the Waves at all points on the floor.
“Everyone was on the same page and being aggressive,” said junior guard Kevin Pangos. “We weren’t trying to analyze things too much. We just took the game plan out there.”
It’s happened before: shooting percentages of San Francisco (25.5 percent), Saint Mary’s (31.9), Pacific (31.7) and Pepperdine (32.7).
WSU women’s basketball coach June Daugherty joined the (Cougar Calls radio) show (on KXLY) to talk about her team’s 4-0 start to conference play. The Cougars swept UW, who they previously hadn’t beaten in nearly 20 years. She said that her cellphone battery died after both wins because so many people were calling/texting.
“We’re a pretty good team when we play as hard as we’re playing right now and we can pretty much beat anybody any time anywhere,” she said.
The obvious question on the minds of many Shock followers is whether the team will stay in Spokane. I asked that question of (new co-owner Nader) Naini, former owner Brady Nelson, public facilities director Kevin Twohig and several others close to the team and the responses were nearly identical that the new owners have no intention of moving the team.
One more note: Veteran general manager Ryan Rigmaiden is no longer serving in that capacity. He is now a consultant and is helping assemble the roster, but he has taken a job as director of U.S. scouting for the CFL’s B.C. Lions. Rigmaiden, who joined the Shock front office in the franchise’s first season, will be at Shock training camp next month. Head coach Andy Olson, along with former P.R. director Ryan Eucker have assumed more of Rigmaiden’s duties.