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Gonzaga women rolling

Coming into the 1 p.m. Saturday showdown with No. 6 Stanford, the No. 23 Gonzaga women’s basketball team has all the marks of a good team that has yet to find it’s true identity.

Despite off nights Tuesday against Wisconsin for Haiden Palmer (6 points, 6 rebounds) and Lindsay Sherbert (9 points, 6 rebounds), the Zags got a huge lift from senior guard Jazmine Redmon. She scored 15 points on 5-of-8 from the floor and 3-for-3 from the 3-point line.

Graves sang her praises, noting that Redmon currently has 45 assists to only nine turnovers on the year.

“Both Taylor Karr and Courtney (Vandersloot) twice led the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio. For Redmon to be 5-to-1 (in the same category) is incredible,” Graves said.

 

Gonzaga women No. 25 in coaches’ poll

The Gonzaga women return to the Top 25. ESPNW also provided an in-depth look into the rise of the Bulldogs to national prominence, powered by Courtney Vandersloot.

Washington State is hosting Louisville next Monday and it's Native American Appreciation Night.

Green making her mark in Montana

Under the radar is a good description for Alysha Green but the Mead grad has made her mark in college basketball. She's the subject for the weekly basketball notebook. For a couple of other notes, including some that ended up on the cutting room floor, read on.

Vandersloot’s take on her rookie season

ESPNW has a final take on Courtney Vandersloot's rookie season in the WNBA.

Vandersloot makes WNBA rookie team

Former Gonzaga women's basketball star Courtney Vandersloot (above, throwing out a first pitch at a Mariner's game early this season - I just like the pix) completed her first WNBA season on Sunday and was named to the All-Rookie team on Friday.

The No. 3 overall draft pick is surrounded by some familiar names, including top pick Maya Moore, who went to Minnesota from UConn, Oklahoma's Danielle Robinson and Texas A&M's Danielle Adams, both of San Antonio, and Australian Liz Cambage of Tulsa.

The voting was done by coaches, who couldn't  vote for their own player. Moore was rookie of the year after leading the Lynx from the worst record to the best. Moore and Robinson were named by all 11 opposing coaches, Vandersloot got 10 and the other two nine.

Vandersloot (the subject of a Lukens at Large inteview) set Chicago's single-season assist record and made the WNBA all-star team. She started 26 of 34 games and averaged 6.5 points and 3.7 assists. She will play in Turkey before returning for her second season with Chicago next summer.

It’s over for Vandersloot & Sky

Just a quick post for the link our game story from  Courtney Vandersloot and the Chicago Sky ending the WNBA regular season with a loss at defending champion Seattle. (Monday exhaustion and Tuesday forgetfulness, a bad combo.)

BTW, in the photo above, Vandersloot's idol, Sue Bird, fouled her. As she bumped Vandersloot off-balance, Vandersloot's hand flew out and smacked Bird in the mouth, causing a slight bloody lip. Afterwards, with a shy smile, Vandersloot said, “Yeah, I felt bad about that.”

Vandersloot back in Washington

UPDATE: Vandersloot finishes with five points and two assists in 22 minutes of an 81-70 loss.

Vandersloot hits a 3 late in first half but her Chicago Sky trail Seattle Storm 41-33. Vandersloot is 1-5 with one board, two assists, two fouls in 13 minutes.

 

Getting from the interstate to Key Arena, with the Mercer exit closed, was nothing compared to getting on-line at Key Arena, but we did. Didn't need to look up with Courtney Vandersloot came out for warmups.

There was a story today about her rookie season in the WNBA (the by-line was left off, but yes, I took a break from hockey and rodeo to talk to her), as well as a little catch-up with local players Briann January and Angie Bjorklund, who are injured.

There could be a near-record crowd here because of Vandersloot. There was a Gonzaga alumni function before the game and another after. The GU women's team is here, plaeyrs in Sky T's, and the City of Kent, where Vandersloot went to high school, is doing something.

Back later.

Vandersloot, Bjorklund Lead Chicago

Chicago Sky's Courtney Vandersloot, right photo, drives to the basket as Tulsa Shock's Andrea Riley guards during the second half of an WNBA basketball game earlier today in Rosemont, Ill. Also, Tulsa' Shock's Amber Holt, left photo, looks to pass as Chicago Sky's Angie Bjorklund guards her during the second half. Vandersloot, a 2010-11 Gonzaga Bulldog Star, and Bjorklund, a Spokane product who played for Tennessee, are now both playing for the Sky. The Sky won 72-54, as Vandersloot had 8 points, 2 assists, 2 steals, & 2 blocks in 26 minutes. Bjorklund didn't score in 12 minutes of play. You can see game recap & boxscore here. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

WNBA tips off tonight, locals meet Sat.

The WNBA season opens tonight but the first game for the local trio is Saturday.

The Chicago Sky, with rookies Courtney Vandersloot (Gonzaga) and Angie Bjorklund (University HS) opens at Indiana, with third-year veteran Briann January (Lewis and Clark HS).

Preseason stories for the Sky and Fever project both Vandersloot and January as starting point guards and calls each of them the “Player on the Spot” for their team.

You can find information about the two teams and the league in general at ESPN.com, WNBA.com and Sports Illustrated. Most predictions have the Seattle Storm repeating as WNBA champion with Indiana expected to make the East Division playoffs. It's about 50-50 on the Sky making the top 4 in the East for the first time ever.

Seattle raises its banner Saturday in a noon game on ABC.

Chicago-Indiana is at 4 p.m., and it can be followed through the WNBA website or the team websites.

By the way, the game tonight, 8 p.m. , is Minnesota, with No. 1 draft pick Maya Moore, at Los Angeles and Candace Parker.

Indiana plays its only game at Seattle on June 17, Chicago's only trip is the season finale on Sept. 11 (you don't suppose that will get overshadowed quite a bit, do you?).

Each team only has one appearance on ESPN2 (full schedule below), Tulsa at Indian on June 14 and Seattle at Chicago on July 19.

Vandersloot turning heads for Team USA

Courtesy of Jayda Evans and her women's basketball blog at The Seattle Times I found this report from Team USA training camp on former Gonzaga star Courtney Vandersloot.

National team coach Geno Auriemma was also asked to evaluate Vandersloot, stating, “I'll tell you what, I must have heard from five or six coaches that watched practice and I'd say 'Who is the most surprising player at practice?' and they would tell you Courtney Vandersloot, every one of them, every one of them.

“That says a lot for somebody who really doesn't play that kind of game. She's not going up and down the floor going 'I just saw Sue do this, let me try it. I just saw D do this, let me try it.' She does exactly what she's good at and she does it well.”

There is more from Slam Online about Chicago Sky players and Vandersloot, the Sky's No. 1 pick last month.

Vandersloot accepts Lieberman Award

Before there was Courtney Vandersloot there was Nancy Lieberman, a true point guard.

Vandersloot invited to Team USA tryouts

Every time you turn around it seems like Courtney Vandesloot is doing something special … and the mayor hasn't even given her a key to the city - yet.

After hauling in numberous awards at the NCAA Women's Final Four she headed to ESPN headquarters for the WNBA Draft - where she wsa picked third by the Chicago Sky.

Sunday it was throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for the Mariners and Tuesday, while she was en route to Detroit to pick up the Nancy Lieberman Award as the nation's best point guard, USA Basketball announced that the Gonzaga senior and 6-8 Baylor junior Brittney Griner were joining the national team tryouts in Las Vegas next month.

This is the first step in determining the team for the 2012 Olympics in London.

Team USA won gold at the world championships in 2010 and all those players are back, plus all that were cut to get down to 12, so Vandersloot faces long odds, but pretty soon some new blood will have to be considered for international cmpetition.

If you want to be impress with the company Vandersloot is keeping, check the roster below.

Vandersloot takes the mound

Courtney Vandersloot at Safeco Field, courtesy of the Seattle Mariners Facebook page.

Vandersloot to throw out first pitch for M’s

Record-breaking point guard Courtney Vandersloot, who led the Gonzaga women’s basketball team on a magical run to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on Easter Sunday.

The third pick in the WNBA draft by the Chicago Sky became the first player in NCAA history to surpass 2,000 points and 1,000 assists. The Kent, Wash., native won numerous awards and was a consensus All-American.

The Mariners play the Oakland Athletics, with the first official pitch at 1:10 p.m.

After the Zags made the Sweet 16 last year, coach Kelly Graves and Seattle native Vivian Frieson performed the same honor.

The Gonzaga release is here.

Vandersloot and Bjorkland and WNBA draft roundup

Better late than never, my story on Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot and U-Hi grad Angie Bjorklund both being drafted by the Chicago Sky of the WNBA.

For other stories I found, keep reading.

Chicago takes Vandersloot & Bjorklund

Gonzaga star Courtney Vandersloot became the highest drafted basketball player with local ties when the Chicago Sky selected her with the third pick in the WNBA Draft Monday afternoon.

 

The Sky added University High School graduate Angie Bjorklund, from Tennessee, in the second round, the 17th pick overall.

 

With Tacoma native Alex Montgomery, who averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds at Georgia Tech, going to the New York Liberty as the 10th pick in the first round, that's three players from Washington in the first 17 picks.

 

Keep reading, there is more now and we'll have more later.

INW: Chicago Picks Vandersloot No. 3

Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot speaks to the media after being chosen by the Chicago Sky as the No. 3 pick in the WNBA basketball draft in Bristol, Conn., earlier today. Chicago also took Spokane's Angie Bjorklund, who played for Tennessee. Story here. (AP Photo/Pat Eaton Robb)

Last minute Vandersloot reading

Gonzaga women's basketball coach Kelly Graves is in Conneticut but there is no truth to the rumor that he is replacing UConn Geno Auriemma, who is headed to coach UCLA so he can be closer to Hollywood.

No, Graves is joining his star point guard Courtney Vandersloot at ESPN for today's WNBA Draft. He flew into Hartford on Sunday and is now in Bristol.

Some last minute reading as you wait for the Draft, which begins at noon … ESPN will be sure to let you know where to tune in.

ESPNW projects Vandersloot at No. 5 to Los Angeles Sparks, but anticipates a trade. WNBA.com had a Q&A with Vandersloot. In case you missed it, Saturday's post had several other links relating to Vandersloot and local product Angie Bjorklund awaiting the draft. Plus, Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times checks in with Vandersloot and the prospects of a couple other local products.

Wanted to throw in this story and another on 6-8 Australian teenager who said she has been misunderstood.

Check back early this afternoon for news on the draft or follow tweets at SRtrim.

Vandersloot & Bjorklund talk draft

I visited with Courtney Vandersloot and Angie Bjorklund about Monday's WNBA Draft, as well was local WNBA player Briann January. Needless to say, Vandersloot is now a media darling, that's for people who waited until the NCAA Tournament to learn what we've known around here. But she's the subject of a story on ESPNW and she wrote a diary item for USA Today. Just as impressive, she was third in the Wooden Award voting behind Maya Moore and Brittney Griner, impressive company.

Vandersloot, Bjorklund await WNBA draft

Spare time this week was spent connecting with Courtney Vandersloot and Angie Bjorklund as they await Monday's WNBA draft. Our story for Sunday's paper, which includes  local product Briann January, a former first-round pick, giving her thoughts, will be up late Saturday or early Sunday, so be sure to come back.

There are other stories, plenty from ESPN.com, which, of course, has a vested interest as the host for the draft. The 12-team, 3-round draft is at noon on the ESPN stations. Vandersloot is going to go in the Top 10, Bjorklund is also considered a top prospect.

For a roundup, try Jayda Evans' women's hoops blog at The Seattle Times, which indicates some area stars might be shopping for places to go after going with Xavier and Cal, which lost their coaches. It might help that the X coach is now running the Huskies. The Cal coach bolted for Virginia, and of course UCLA is open with Nikki Caldwell headed to LSU.

Another All-American honor for Vandersloot

Make that consensus All-American.

Gonzaga star Courtney Vandersloot was named to the State Farm Coaches' All-America team, announced Saturday at the Women's Final Final in Indianapolis.

“I continue to be humbled by all these accolades,” Vandersloot said through a Gonzaga release. “To have my name associated with these other extremely talented athletes is an honor. I want to thank the WBCA and State Farm. And I can't thank Gonzaga enough. I am here today receiving this award because of all their support and the environment they created for me to succeed.” 
  

Earlier this week the three-time West Coast Conference Player of the Year was named to the Associated Press All-America second team, the USBWA All-American team, the Wooden Award All-America team and won the Nancy Lieberman Award as the top point guard in the nation.

On Sunday she will received the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, given to the top player 5-foot-8 or shorter, at an awards banquet in Indianapolis. That honor was announced a month ago.

For more on the State Farm release ndersloot stats, read on.

Vandersloot wins Lieberman Award

Gonzaga senior Courtney Vandersloot was named the winner of the Nancy Liberman Award by the Rotary Club of Detroit.  The award recognizes the nation’s top collegiate point guard in women’s Division I basketball.  The criteria for the award are the floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills that personified Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman during her career. Sportswriters from across the country determined the award winner and finalists.

INW: Vandersloot Wins Honors

Courtney Vandersloot of Gonzaga comes off the floor for the last time to a standing ovation and hugs from her teammates. Gonzaga lost to Stanford on Monday 83-60 to end their run in the NCAA Tournament at the Elite Eight. Vandersloot has been named to the AP All-America second team for college women's basketball here. (SR photo: Christopher Anderson)

Vandersloot 2nd team All-American

Courtney Vandersloot achieved another milestone on Tuesday, becoming the first Gonzaga women’s basketball player to earn Associated Press Second-team All-American honors.

AP All-America List w/o Vandersloot

The 2010-11 AP Women's All-America college basketball team consists of, from left, Texas A&M's Danielle Adams, Stanford's Jeanette Pohlen, Ohio State's Jantel Lavender, Connecticut's Maya Moore and Baylor's Brittney Griner. Story here. (AP Photo/File)

Question: Why do you suppose Courtney Vandersloot isn't on the list, in the place of Stanford's Jeanette Pohlen?

Elite 8 reading, Vandersloot vs. Pohlen

UPDATED: 9:30

Once again it's time to go surfing on the big wave that will carry you right up to the 6 p.m. tip-off off Gonzaga's Elite 8 game with Stanford at the Arena (and on ESPN).

This morning, in addition to the game advance, we had a notebook and John Blanchette's column.   Read on for more of our discoveries.

Gonzaga joins the Elite

Gonzaga made history Saturday night - women's division - by becoming the lowest seed (11) to make the Elite Eight of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. They did it by holding up down the stretch to beat seventh-seeded Louisville 76-69 before more than 10,700 fans at the Arena.  As usual, Courtney Vandersloot (21) led the charge, setting a NCAA single season assist record and the WCC career steals record along the way.

They get a rematch with Stanford … the Cardinals won 84-78 in McCarthey the second game of the season … after the top-seeded Cardinal survived No. 5 North Carolina 72-65.  We're limited by deadline and exhaustion from providing you more than the story and an amazing 41-picture slide show from Chris Anderson and Dan Pelle. Tomorrow you get John Blanchette's column and a notebook.

You can find a lot more goodies on ESPN.com and a Bud Withers story in the Seattle Times.

Zags respect Louisville & more notes

A late post with a few things I've stumbled onto and a story on Gonzaga's reaction to facing Louisville on Saturday instead of Xavier. Read on.

Sweeeet 16 for Bulldogs

UPDATED: 12:30 a.m.

Gonzaga is headed back to the Sweet 16 for the second year in a row, taking apart UCLA's defense 89-75. And Courtney Vandersloot makes NCAA history. Courtney Vandersloot was amazing and has done something no other NCAA basketball players has, 2,000 points, 1,000 assists. Kayla Standish poured in 30 and was overshadowed.

There is also a slide show of Colin Mulvany's picture.

A short story is up at the LOs Angeles Times.. There's the ESPN.com take. And TheAssociated Press.