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Gonzaga’s magical run ends

UPDATED: 12:15 a.m.

Stanford whipped Gonzaga in the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament and the photographers whipped us writers, getting the slide show up first.

On the budget is a game story, a notebook (Greg Lee's credit was left off) and John Blanchette's column, which is a must read good-bye to Courtney Vandersloot.

Elite 8 reading, Vandersloot vs. Pohlen


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.

Starting to build up for Elite Eight

It's overload time … I have filed an advance for Gonzaga's Elite Eight game with Tennessee on Monday night. Coming later is my notebook and keys to the game and John Blanchette is just wrapping up a column. Those stories will be along later tonight or in the morning, but I've found plenty of other stuff for your reading pleasure.

Sweet 16 wrap, on to Elite 8

Yep, woke up this morning (mind you it wasn't too early), saw the newspaper and confirmed, Gonzaga is headed to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament.

Our coverage included a game story, John Blanchette column, notebook, slide show and the other Sweet 16 Game.

Now the Zags face Stanford, which kindly came to Spokane last November and pulled out a close win over the Zags. But as both teams have been saying today, that was a long time ago.

There will be much more from the Spokane Regional tonight and tomorrow.

For what else I've found for this morning, read on.

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.

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.

More to read until Sweet 16 tip-off

Good morning. Back to catch up with more stories out of the Spokane Regional of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament  before settling in to watch Angie Bjorklund (U-Hi) and Tennessee against Ohio State in the Dayton Regional.

First is columnist John Blanchette's glance back as the group that got this all started for the Gonzaga women, who face Louisville and freshman sensation Shoni Schimmel (above).

There's more, read on.

Gearing up for Gonzaga Sweet 16 in Spokane

Home from the Arena and time to catch up on the women's basketball news.

We have filed our game advances for the Spokane Regional. I'm on the Gonzaga-Louisville game, Greg Lee has the North Carolina-Stanford game. Do you think I need to thank Courtney Vandersloot for the Zags drawing the 6 p.m. game? That 8:30 tip is going to be a deadline nightmare. There is also today's column with John Blanchette's column questioning Gonzaga playing here and the Chris Anderson/Dan Pelle slide show from today's practices at the Arena. (By the way, there are 11,200 tickets to be sold - 600 seats go to bands and other necessary personnel - and less than 1,000 remained as of 4 p.m. on Friday.)

Read on for more.

Bowen is Gonzaga’s unsung hero

Headed down to the Arena to gather the news for the Spokane Regional in the NCAA Women's Basktball Tournament but first wanted to give you the news on Gonzaga's key player from Down Under (Kelly Bowen, pictured above). There should be plenty of reading later today.

Buildup continues for Sweet 16

Boy, did this day get away from me. Writing a basketball story, hockey story and getting a handle on a track story for next week. I can't think any more. Time to go surfing.

Plenty of attention in Spokane for the NCAA Women's tournament. The Sweet 16 at the Arena on Saturday with links to the school releases as available. Both games on ESPN2:

6 p.m. - No. 11 Gonzaga (30-4) vs No. 7 Louisville (22-12)

8:30 - No. 5 North Carolina (28-8) vs. No. 1 Stanford (31-2)

Read on for what else I stumbled into.

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.

Louisville upsets to fill Spokane Regional

There will be no rubber match between Gonzaga and Xavier in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament as the second-seeded Muskateers just got smoked down the stretch by seventh-seeded Louisville. Read one.

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.

Primer for Gonzaga-UCLA matchup

Gonzaga and UCLA have contrasting styles but exactly what the Bruins will throw at the Bulldogs is a guess, our preview of tonight's NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament second-round game at McCarthey Athletic Center. The game is at 6:30 on ESPN2 and if it's not, don't leave me any nasty messages or emails, that's what I've been told and I was just as bummed out as anyone when I recorded ESPN2 Saturday and didn't get to watch the game. Don't forget, there's a radio station with the game and you could have bought a ticket.

The Los Angeles Times looks at the environment and matchups the Bruins face. There is also the angle from The Associated Press. Freelancer Howie Stalwick has another story on Courtney Vandersloot and how she is the key to handling UCLA's press.

(And detour to North Idaho College's national title).

Opposites clash at McCarthey Monday

Our preview on the second round matchup in the NCAA women's basketball tournament at Gonzaga focuses on the contrasting styles of the 11th-seeded Bulldogs, coached by Kelly Graves (above) and third-seeded UCLA. Monday's newspaper will also have a notebook, with a little more information on the Bruins' press and keys to the game.

There is more, so read on, but I would also like to take a minute to direct you to a great piece of writing from a former colleague, Dave Boling.

S-R coverage of GU’s 89-67 loss to BYU

Back with all of our S-R coverage from Gonzaga's 89-67 loss to BYU on Saturday.

Here's my game story, John Blanchette's column, my notebook and Dan Pelle's photos.

Good night from Denver.

Roundup from Gonzaga’s win over Iowa

It was quite a Saturday of NCAA Basketball Tournament - women's style - at McCarthey Athletic Center.

Of course the highlight was Gonzaga's high-octane upset of Iowa that had the sellout crowd in a frenzy. 

The on the opposite end of the spectrum UCLA held off Montana's upset bid in a defensive struggle

We have a notebook and outstanding slide shows to go with both stories … including 33 of Gonzaga (Kayla Standish pictured here) … from Chris Anderson and Jesse Tinsley. Take a look and guess which one is going to be the big picture in your Sunday paper.

We interrupt this NCAA report to announce the North Idaho women won the Junior College national championship. Congratulations to Chris (and Cary) Carlson and the Cardinals.

Back to the NCAA's, there's the Cedar Rapids Gazette story, the Des Moines Register story and the Associated Press story.

Stanford had no problem with UC Davis but Heidi Heintz (Central Valley) had 11 points in her only NCAA Tournament appearance.

We have more, read on.

GU-BYU tip at 4:55 Pacific

Gonzaga-BYU tip time will be at 5:55 (4:55 Pacific).

In-game updates at Twitter.com/SRjimm.

Bjorklund, Tennessee kick-start NCAA women

Were your eyes open enough to see the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament get off with a bang … Angie Bjorklund (U-Hi) hitting her first three 3's, to be 19 of 21 over five games, as Tennessee beat somebody … and an early upset, Marist over Iowa State, which I picked.

Anyway, now we focus on McCarthey Athletic Center, where Gonzaga faces Iowa at 1, followed by Montana and UCLA.

For all we can find in the time we have … read on.

GU takes on Fredette-led Cougars

Good evening from Denver. A quick post of the GU-related material that will run in Saturday's S-R.

Here's my game preview, John Blanchette's column and a Gonzaga notebook. There's a quick capsule look at tomorrow's contest below. UPDATE: Dan Pelle's photo gallery here.

You can find the Salt Lake Tribune's BYU coverage here.

Gonzaga 86, St. John’s 71

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No. 11-seeded Gonzaga took command early with a 12-0 run, built an 11-point halftime lead and cruised to an 86-71 victory over No. 6 St. John’s on Thursday in the second round of the NCAA tournament in Denver. Gonzaga (25-9) will face No. 3 BYU (31-4), which will join the WCC next season, on Saturday. The winner advances to the Sweet 16. BYU eliminated Wofford 74-66. Marquise Carter scored 24 points, Steven Gray hit four 3-pointers and added 16 points, and Elias Harris had 15 for the Bulldogs, who shot over 60 percent from the field for most of the game before dropping into the 50s late. Dwight Hardy led SJU (21-12) with 24 points/Jim Meehan, SR. Gonzaga-St. John's ESPN boxscore here  (SR photos: Dan Pelle)

And for your halftime reading, women’s hoops

Back in the old days - or is that the young days - today would be the start of my personal two-day vacation. After the deadline stress of state basketball, two days of recliner basketball recharged the batteries. (I think I'm starting to sound like our Cougar writer).

Gonzaga has changed all of that - in a good way. So what do we have about women's basketball as the NCAA Tournament bears down?

Well, so far I haven't found anything on Courtney Vandersloot winning another award (though I have the all-District team that was announced Wednesday) - but it's still early.

Central Washington has released its long time women's coach and given former Mead star Stacy Clinesmith the option to stay in an interim basis and apply for the head job.

Read on for my other discoveries.

News and notes from women’s basketball

OK .. we're ready to take on the world, or at least our world of women's basketball.

As you all know by now, Gonzaga is sacrificing the hoopla of heading off to an exotic site for the NCAA Tournament to sleep at home. There are other things to check out as well, including some unhappiness in Iowa City. Read on.

Zags are homebound

As long as Gonzaga can stay in the NCAA Women's Tournament they don't have to leave home until it's time to head to the Final Four.

Of course, they would probably have to pull off four upsets as well, but their chances have to be better at home. They're obviously happy about the opportunity, judging by Colin Mulvany's photo.

Here's our story about the draw. We're working on a few other things. Hopefully we'll get back to you later, if not, I'll dedicate my afternoon to providing information (the morning is committed to high school track).

Idaho got in a tournament as well.

Blanchette: Zags Glad To Be Dancin’

Greg Gumbel, the Bert Parks of Selection Sunday, hadn’t even taken his first breath when the yowling began drifting in from Bracket Nation. UAB? Clemson? If the NCAA committee was going to put anyone in, why not Northwestern, which has had its nose against the glass for 73 years? The overall No. 1 seed, Ohio State, in a region with North Carolina, Syracuse and Kentucky – while Pitt gets valet parking to the Final Four? More teams – 68 – are in the NCAA basketball tournament than ever before and still the complaints and conspiracy theories topped all previous records, except at Gonzaga University, where both opportunity and perspective have been hard-won. “This is one year,” coach Mark Few said, “I would have crawled on broken glass to Cleveland to play”/John Blanchette, SR. More here.

Question: Who will win opening round game between Gonzaga & Saint John's?

Count down to women’s NCAA show

Time will drag for most of the day, awaiting the Selection Show for the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at 4 p.m. on ESPN.

There are two items of local interest because Spokane is the first city the NCAA ever award first weekend games (at McCarthey Athletic Center Saturday-Monday) and a regional (at the Arena the next Saturday-Monday). 

I'll tweet the information as fast as my hands can type at twitter.com/SRtrim.

Gonzaga is in the field and at home, but who is filling out the pod? Gonzaga being in the field doesn't mean being slotted into the Spokane Regional, so how does it shape up?

We have some thoughts, read on.

No. 11 Gonzaga draws St. John’s

Gonzaga, seeded No. 11, will face No. 6 St. John's on Thursday in the second round (that's what the NCAA is calling it with the expanded field/four Dayton games) in the Southeast Region in Denver. The GU-St. John's winner will take on the winner of No. 3 BYU-No. 14 Wofford. 

This will be Gonzaga's 13th straight trip to the NCAAs. St. John's finished 21-11, falling to Syracuse in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals.

Saint Mary's, co-WCC champions, didn't make the NCAA field.

More later.

Blanchette: Zags’ Run Continues

In the garden of Gonzaga basketball have grown any number of dubious truths. The Bulldogs are dragged down by a weak league, say. Their thoroughly spoiled devotees take the program’s prolonged dominance for granted. And the players – each recruiting class more highly regarded than the last – are increasingly nonchalant about the whole Zag thing. It doesn’t mean as much to them. Some of these can be weeds, mistaken for flowers. One undeniable truth: The Zags’ run of NCAA tournament appearances will end sometime. Maybe next year’s addition of Brigham Young to the West Coast Conference and another round of young recruits will be the tipping point. But whatever the fears of the fan base were in January, this is not that year/John Blanchette, SR. More here. (SR file photo: Christopher Anderson)

Question: What seed does Gonzaga deserve in NCAA Tournament?

Blanchette: Zags’ Climb Finally Over

The Gonzaga Bulldogs celebrated Monday night in a way they haven’t in at least a decade. They celebrated like it mattered, because it did. One more time, they turned back the challenge of Saint Mary’s, the Frazier to Gonzaga’s Ali here in the West Coast Conference, 75-63 in the championship game of the league tournament – and the NCAA Tournament pass that came with it, extending that residency to 13 consecutive years, was by no means incidental. But, really, this was about something else. “It was real,” Gray said. “It was … over.” Not the season, not by any means. But the climb/John Blanchette, SR. More here. (SR photo/Christopher Anderson: Marquise Carter of Gonzaga drives hard to the basket against the defense of Matthew Dellavedova of Saint Marys during their WCC Championship game on Monday. Carter was named the tournament’s MVP.)

Question: What do you think of this year's Gonzaga Bulldogs team now?

Ramblings on the NCAA possibilities for Spokane

Time for the latest update of "Who Has To Come To Spokane" when the NCAA basketball tournament arrives at Gonzaga's McCarthey Athletic Center in mid-March.

That may sound like a bad thing, who has to come to Spokane and, well it is, sort of. Spokane isn't a bad destination by any stretch of the imagination, but McCarthey is. Read on.