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Bulldogs relaxed, ready to go

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS _ If Gonzaga women’s basketball players were miffed about being sent to Texas to play their opening round, they haven’t shown it here. Continue reading.

 

Zag women turn focus to WSU

The end score of 87-43 Monday night wasn’t able to erase the depth of the struggles that the No. 25 Gonzaga women’s basketball team endured in the first half against UC Riverside.

The (9-2) Zags went one-for-eight from free-point land and numerous layups that turned into bricks. As a result, Gonzaga trailed several times before the defense of Haiden Palmer allowed the Bulldogs to make a run late in the first half.

In one series alone before the half, the Zags missed four shots as the seconds ticked off right before halftime.

“It’s super frustrating,” said forward Sunny Greinacher, whose eyes widened as she spoke. “We practice those shots. They are supposed to go in during the game. You definitely feel bad for the coaches.”

 

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.

 

Zag women’s break is about to end

After playing four games, Kelly Graves and the Gonzaga women's basketball team get a 10-day stretch between games. But the rest ends on Saturday when Gonzaga plays Colgate at 2 p.m. in the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Game day for Gonzaga women in NCAA tournament: Round Two

We're back courtside at the McCarthey Athletic Center for the second round of the women's NCAA basketball tournament where the 11th-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs and No. 3 Miami Hurricanes will tipoff in a little over a half hour. Vince Grippi will have an online story posted immediately following the game, and my story will follow along with a notebook from Greg Lee and myself.

In case you missed our advance, here's a story focusing on the Hurricanes that ran in this morning's sports section. And if you want a refresher, here's our game story from Gonzaga's win over Rutgers in the first round of the tournament and Greg Lee's story on Miami's victory over Idaho State.

Game day for Gonzaga women in NCAA tournament opener

We're sitting courtside at the McCarthey Athletic Center ready for tipoff between the Gonzaga women's basketball team and Rutgers in the opening round of the women's NCAA tournament. In case you missed it, here's an advance story on the long journey the Scarlet Knights took to Spokane. 

Following the GU-Rutgers game, No. 3 Miami and No. 14 Idaho State will play. Here's our advance from Greg Lee and an overview.

The overview for the GU-Rugers game is below.

Postgame: Zags roll past Waves

The Gonzaga women shook off a slow start and pushed ahead in the second half to score a 66-40 victory over Pepperdine on Saturday afternoon. You can read about the game here.

Area women’s basketball roundup

Local NCAA Division I women's basketball teams had a successful Saturday - with the exception of Washington State, which lost at UCLA

We were at Gonzaga today, where the Bulldogs turned up the heat in the second half and beat a defensive San Diego team. John Blanchette wrote this column on the Zag women in the post-Courtney Vandersloot era, Jesse Tinsley told the game story through his photo lens, and here's the link to my game story.

The Eastern Washington women continued their quest for a Big Sky Conference title with a win at Sacramento State and the Idaho women picked up their second Western Athletic Conference win in a late game at San Jose State.

Golden sparkles in Gonzaga women’s win over LMU

Stephanie Golden had a career-high 15 points and the No. 22 Gonzaga women's basketball team earned a 79-61 win over Loyola Marymount at the McCarthey Athletic Center on Thursday night. As you'll see in my story, I overheard a fan throw out a horrendously obvious pun after the game. I'd like to thank that fan. After he said it, I couldn't get it out of my head. Hence, the first couple paragraphs.

Oh well.

Keep reading for more on area women's basketball teams.

Area women’s basketball teams look to rebound after tough week

June Daugherty summed it up quite simply.

“We have to be able to rebound,” the Washington State women’s basketball coach said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Daughtery was speaking literally, of course, about rebounding in order to get more looks at second and third shots in an effort to jumpstart the Cougars’offense – which has been out of sync and is still adjusting after losing guard Ireti Amojo, a key component to WSU’s offense.  

It’s not just the Cougars that need to rebound, however. After last week, all area Division I women’s basketball teams are looking to bounce back from losses – some more surprising than others. Read on for the rest of my unedited area college women's basketball notebook, which will run in tomorrow's paper.

Gonzaga’s Graves gets 300th win

Sorry about the late post. Computer problems in Moscow and obligations this moring. But without further ado, hats off to Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves for his 300th win as a college basketball coach and a good win for Eastern Washington.

Overgaard scripting a good story at UI

With a commitment Wedneday morning, instead of waiting for the women's basketball post, we'll get to it early.

Tomorrow's notebook features Idaho success story Ana Overgaard. Read on for more.

A frightful day for Gonzaga women’s basketball

There couldn't be a better way to start Halloween than with John Blanchette's column on a big kid that manages to enjoy the spirit of the day despite a few other demands on his time. It's part of what makes Kelly Graves (above, surrounded by his best friends in this Jesse Tinsley photo) so unique - and successful I'd say.

However, the Zags aren't in the preseason Top 25, a reflection of losing All-American point guard Courtney Vandersloot to graduation. An FYI, I'm no longer voting in the Associated Press poll since I will not be employed by The Spokesman-Review after Dec. 31.

Leftcoasthoops shows that the Zags are still pretty highly regarded. They'll certainly get a chance to prove it, going to Stanford for their second game Nov. 13 and getting a visit from USC on Dec. 4. By the way, while at leftcoasthoops, check out the series friend Michelle Smith is doing for ESPNW, a full access look at Stanford. Something tells me that Tara Vanderveer is one of the few coaches of an elite program that would allow that, though I'm sure Kelly Graves would as well.

Washington State is the only Division I team in the area that will play both of its allotted exhibition games. The Cougars played Seattle Pacific on Saturday and got a big boost from Spokane freshman Tia Pressley.

GU women among the elite

Wins matter, but not as much as who they come against, so it's not surprising that after Gonzaga charged to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament the Bulldogs are considered one of the best women's basketball teams in the country.

How good?

Well, the website tha tis ranking the Top 100 programs in the country, released No. 11-25 today and the Zags check in at No. 22. (Read the previous links to see the other criteria used in ranking programs.)

When you check out those 15 names - for example Iowa is No. 23, Texas Tech is No. 21, you're going to find some of the biggests names in the sport. There's North Carolina, Purdue and Texas, there's Rutgers, LSU and LSU, there's Ohio State, Vandy and Georgia.

That's pretty heady company and James Bowman of Swish Appeal, calls the Zags “the best women's basketball program in the Pacific Northwest.” Arizona State, UCLA, Utah, New Mexico and Montana, among the traditional strong teams in the West, didn't even make the top 25. Washington, which was once pretty good, didn't make the Top 100.

That's impressive. And here's why, according to Bowman: “It's going to be hard for the Zags to top what they did last season.  Seven straight West Coast Conference titles, and the second year undefeated in conference play.  A 31-win season, and an Elite Eight season, and a top three WNBA Draft Pick in G Courtney Vandersloot, who came close to sending Gonzaga to the Final Four through sheer willpower.  The hype put Gonzaga in the top 25 of NCAA women's basketball attendance.

“Gonzaga knew what was good for it, and signed coach Kelly Graves to a 10-year contract extension.  But how much of it was a perfect storm?  Having one of the top three seniors in the country and playing a regional semifinal on your own homecourt?  Graves might have been tempted into take the job at Washington, but keeping Gonzaga on top might be as much of a challenge as resurrecting the Huskies.  Lucky for Graves he just picked up G Taelor Karr who averaged 10.3 points last year at Kansas State…and due to the circumstances that led to her transfer, the NCAA made the decision to grant Karr immediate eligibility at Gonzaga  rather than making her wait a year.”

No question Graves and the Zags deserve the recognition and the fans are joining in. After finishing in the top 25 in attendance, they've set a record for season tickets of more than 4,000. It should be another entertaining season for the Bulldogs.

  

NCAA hands GU women a present

The NCAA made an unprecedented decision by granting Kansas State transfer Taelor Karr (above, in a Chris Anderson photo) eligibility to play with the Gonzaga women’s basketball team this season.

 

Not a bad way to kick off the first day of practice.

 

Here is the story.

Gonzaga gives Graves 10-year contract

Gonzaga gives Kelly Graves, who has taken the Gonzaga women's basketball team to the NCAA Tournament four times in five years, including the last three, a new 10-year contract

PM: Kelly Graves Staying At Gonzaga

Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves applauds his team during practice in the first round of the NCAA women's college basketball tournament, in Spokane, Wash. After a brief discussion about the head coaching job at Washington, Graves has decided to remain at Gonzaga, he said today. See Dave Trimmer's story here. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Question: Can Kelly Graves make the Lady Zags into a long-term quality program like Mark Few has done with the men's basketball team?

Graves officially turns down Huskies

Kelly Graves made it official - again.

The Gonzaga women's basketball coach said he was not interested in the same position at the University of Washington, although he  was on the UW campus on Wednesday.

For more, read on.

Countdown to tip-off for Zags

Less than an hour before Gonzaga and Louisville tip-off in the Sweet 16, the Spokane Regional of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament.

And no, don't ask again, I'm not making my prediction public.

Just a couple of things I missed when I blogged at 6 a.m.. Bud Withers from The Seattle Times, which may make you nervous as it talks about the possibility of Graves coaching the Huskies; Michelle Voepel from ESPN.com looking at Courtney Vandersloot and Jackie Stiles.

Tennessee turns back Ohio State to make the Elite 8 in Dayton.

Vandersloot WCC MVP again

Courtney Vandersloot is the West Coast Conference Player of the Year for an unprecedented third-straight year. The senior point guard from Kent averaged a double-double in WCC play, leading the league in scoring at 20.7 while dishing off 10.1 assists.

Vandersloot, who was the league's Freshman of the Year when teammate Heather Bowman was the Player of the Year, made the all-league team for the fourth straight season, something only Bowman and four other players have done. She is joined on the all-league team by Kayla Standish, from Ellensburg, and Katelan Redmon, Bowman's former teammate at Lewis and Clark. Janelle Bekkering earned honorable mention.

Kelly Graves, who has guided the Bulldogs to seven straight WCC regular-season titles, is coach of the year for the second time in a row, fourth time in five years and sixth overall.

The Bulldogs are now ranked 20th in the ESPN coach's poll.