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Quick women’s basketball post as the puck drops.
Some women’s basketball news to catch up with from Thursday, with several local players having big nights.
First, the game tonight is Gonzaga at Eastern Washington. It’s the first home game for the Eagles after five straight on the road. We’ll miss that one for hockey duties but we’ll get the word out through Twitter (SRtrim) as time permits from the Arena.
Sophomore Katie Baker (Lake City) had 19 points and 12 rebounds as Montana, which hosts Gonzaga on Sunday, beats Denver at the buzzer. … Senior Kelli Valentine (Mead), who was honored before the game for surpassing 1,000 points, had a big second half as Portland State beat Hawaii. … Senior Dara Zack (University) responded to being named the Great Northwest Conferce Player of the Week with a conference record 12 offensive rebounds among her 20 boards as Saint Martin’s edged Central Washington to open league play. Zack had 14 points and senior Roni Jo Mielke (Sprague-Harrington) had a game-high 19; freshman Kelsi Jacobson (East Valley) had 11 off the bench for Central.
You might recall, the girls basketball Class of 2007 around here was pretty special. It started with University’s Angie Bjorklund going to Tennessee, but she was one seven Division I players from the Greater Spokane League alone. There were other players in that class as well and as most of them play their final season, we hope to catch up to them. The first is a senior who is not a senior, Chewelah’s Nikki Nelson (above in a Chris Anderson photo when she was an eighth grader doing her dribbling exhibition at the State B tournament), the lead to our weekly women’s basketball notebook.
Is Washington State’s women’s basketball team better than early indications or is Gonzaga not quite ready for prime time? That’s the question after the Cougars took the Zags to the wire in Hawaii before Gonzaga pulled it out by two.
There are multiple ways to answer that question, but here’s one way to look at it, the Zags are not ranked in the Left Coast Hoops Best of the West Top 10. Yes, it’s Pac-10 heavy, but in the recent past the Bulldogs were No. 2. Though they played Stanford tough, they came up short in the clutch department in losses at USC and to Mississippi in Hawaii. Plenty of comment, notes and a top 25 vote below.
Late post … is the end of the holiday weekend or the start of the holiday season?
For basketball, it’s the start since teams often have Thanksgiving and Christmas tournaments to go to.
Idaho and Gonzaga both finished 2-1 in tournaments. Idaho improved to 5-1 by going 2-1 in the Oregon tourney with a win over previous undefeated Cal-Bakersfield, thanks to a good performance off the bench from a freshman. Gonzaga, meanwhile, ended up 2-1 in Hawaii but beating Washington State in Hawaii. It was a good game from the start and makes their matchup at McCarthey Athletic Center on Dec. 11 seems like a long ways away. See you there.
Three of four women’s basketball games picked up wins on Saturday - but that’s not surprising since after losing tournament openers they got to face teams that also lost.
Gonzaga romped over North Carolina Central by 42 as Courtney Vandersloot scores 22 with 13 assists.
Idaho beat Sacramento State as senior Yinka Olorunnife had her fourth double-double of the season, finishing with 17 points and 14 rebounds.
Washington State beat Long Beach State in a battle of 0-5 teams as freshmen Sage Romberg and Hana Potter combined for 25 points.
Unfortunately, Gonzaga and Washington State square off Sunday afternoon in Hawaii, less than two weeks before they meet in Spokane. (If the game isn’t pretty will that keep you home in the rematch?)
Eastern Washington lost to Evansville to go 0-2 in the Colorado tournament.
Check back for more links as they become available.
A quick check of women’s basketball news on this holiday weekend. It really was Black Friday.
Washington and Gonzaga are in Hawaii. The Cougars are down big to No. 15 North Carolina at halftime. Gonzaga (the latest Talking Hoops with Sloot is up) gave a layup at the buzzer to loose to Mississippi by one. The Zags got off to a hot start but let the SEC back in. Clair Rapp’s short baseline jumper gave Gonzaga the lead with 8 seconds left. (The Vandersloot link should put you close to where you want to be when the story gets posted soon.)
Idaho lost its opener at the Oregon tournament … to the host team. The schedule I had - and was never alerted there was an update - suggested a different first round matchup. Anyway, the Vandals suffer their first loss.
Eastern Washington lost to Illinois-Chicago in the Colorado tournament at the top of the hour.
North Idaho College tweets: “The NJCAA polls are in… NIC men’s basketball ranked No. 1 in the nation! Wrestling ranked No. 2! Women’s basketball ranked No. 3!”
It’s turkey time in college basketball, when teams participate in holiday tournaments and hope they’re not the main course. That’s our notebook for tomorrow, along with the start of keeping tabs on area players.
Gonzaga rolled at North Dakota, 83-45 as Katelan Redmon scored a career high 28 and Courtney Vandersloot had her second consecutive double-double of points and assists. Four starters were in double figures.
The Cougars gave Nebraska all it could handle Monday night in Pullman.
After a great game on Sunday, when Gonzaga pushed No. 3 Stanford to the limit before a frenzied sell-out crowd of 6,000 at McCarthey Athletic Center, we’ll see if we can catch up with the rest of the weekend. (Bart Rayniak’s slideshow from the game.)
Tonight’s game is powerful Nebraska at Washington State. Would love to hear a report from anyone who makes the game.
Waiting for the start of No. 3 Stanford at Gonzaga, playing a little catchup - but I have to brag: my obligations in the holiday decorating department are done and I’m officially a hero (to one).
OK, first, I’ll be tweeting during the game, SRtrim if you’re into that. Will have a blog post up as quickly after the game as I can. The first thing I noticed, Stanford is taller than a lot of high school boys teams I’ve covered over the years.
By the way,two North Idaho College players signed with four-year schools this past week. Coeur d’Alene star Kama Griffits is headed to Arizona, Kiki Edwards-Teasley, who played at Lewiston, is going to Portland.
A day early we ran the story that points out how rare it is to get a super power to show up in Spokane for a regular-season basketball game. In this case it’s women’s basektball and No. 3 Stanford (which won at Utah Friday night) plays at Gonzaga at 2 p.m. on Sunday. At last count there were less than 900 tickets, which assures the game of being the third-largest for a women’s game at McCarthey. Senior night the season McCarthey opened drew 5,800-plus and when Tennessee visited a couple years ago as the defending national champions there was a sellout. By the way, the Lady Vols beat Stanford for that title. The picture is junior star Nnemkadi Ogwumike scoring at the Final Four last season.
Changing routine always makes you feel like something isn’t right, but a light day of women’s basketball news makes it easier to right the ship.
On the local front, there was only one game yesterday - Washington State falling in a big hole early before rallying to a close loss at Portland. No games tonight, Saturday Idaho is at Santa Barbara, Eastern Washington at Boise State; Sunday it’s No. 3 Stanford at Gonzaga at 2 p.m. Less than 900 tickets remain. The Cardinal is at Utah tonight.
The local watch is below.
Washington State visits Portland tonight in the lone area women’s basketball game. Wednesday night Idaho put a surprising thumping on visiting Eastern Washington. Katie Baker (Lake City) leads Montana to its first win. Freshman Nyesha Joseph (U-Hi) has first double-double as Eastern Oregon romps.
I have confirmation that Nikki Nelson, a redshirt junior at New Mexico, will miss the season because of a preseason ACL injury. That’s why the Chewelah grad, who played one season at Mead, redshirted as a freshman. No idea if it’s the same knee or how she was injured. Finally, Lewis and Clark senior Hayley Hendricksen is headed to Saint Mary’s next year. I really enjoyed the intensity of the No. 2 Baylor-No. 1 UConn game last night. There’s plenty of stories for that and if you watched any of that, or even the GU men’s game, there was plenty of studio discussion … did you watch, what are your thoughts? And yes, a couple of players that had a hand in UConn’s last loss will be here on Sunday.
Hayley Hendricksen, a 6-foot forward from Lewis and Clark, signed with Saint Mary’s Tuesday night.
“It’s warm down there,” she said after taking her visit to the West Coast Conference school in Moraga, Calif., over the weekend.
Monday was full of news about area basketball teams and players, plus we took an early look at the March Madness that will be coming our way - with an excellent comment relating to the initial speculation about teams headed this way.
Katelan Redmon of Gonzaga was the initial WCC player of the week, Montana State’s Lyndi Seidensticker (Lewis and Clark) was the first Big Sky winner and Idaho added a third member to its recruiting class.
Senior Angie Bjorklund had six of the school-record 15 3-pointers as Tennessee romped. She now has 240 for her career, third on the school list, 26 from the record. … Freshman Kate Loper (Post Falls) had 16 points and five rebounds as Hofstra wins its first game.
When you stop to read the blog from Gonzaga’s Courtney Vandersloot, take an extra moment for the video entry, it’s always interesting. This week you get to listen to the accent of Kelly Bowen. It’s amazing to me that a senior that is likely to be a WNBA pick and with so much responsibility as an All-American candidate and point guard, would take the time to do all of that. … Tickets are on sale for the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas.
There is a ton of stuff on the No. 2 Baylor at No. 1 UConn game, which is on ESPN2 at 3 p.m.
It’s going to be a long season here at Spokane women’s basketball central because there are four rounds, two weekends of the NCAA Tournament in Spokane.
The first weekend includes Gonzaga as a host site and if all goes well the Bulldogs should be playing there.
The second weekend marks the third time the regional has come to the Arena with Washington State as the host. You might remember the first two, when the Huskies won their first game but were denied a trip to the Final Four by Jackie Stiles; and when Stanford and Maryland put on one of the great games ever in the Arena, men or women.
So read on. (And to prepare for the 8 p.m. Tuesday Gonzaga men’s game, settle in early to watch No. 1 UConn and No. 2 Baylor battle in the first women’s basketball marquee game of the season.)
Sunday afternoon, time to start finalizing weekly women’s basketball poll. Big question - does Gonzaga get ranked after losing opener at USC? The Bulldogs won’t be in the top 25, they were just outside in the AP poll and a loss certainly won’t move them back in. Will they drop out of coach’s poll?
Meanwhile, three games today for area teams and the first is in. Washington State loses at UC Davis, which is helped by the 14 points of senior Heidi Heintz (CV). Most disturbing is the score, 77-38. Eastern Washington gets pounded on the boards (not so good with 34% shooting) and loses 77-58 at home to Portland. Tara Cronin (GPrep) has 3 points and Sarah Kliewer (LC) has 2 for the Pilots.
Gonzaga women are up so far at half, not coming back for an update. Mixed day for area high school alums. Check twitter, SRtrim.
Idaho women open with a solid 72-55 win over Eastern Oregon as senior Yinka Olorunnife (10-13) and freshman Ashley Walters (11-12) have double doubles.
Three games Sunday, Gonzaga’s home opener (a yawner with Whitman at 6), Eastern Washington at home against Tara Cronin (GPrep) and Portland at 2, when the Eagles will honor its only NCAA team and WSU at UC Davis.
Six players scored in double figures, led by Tatjana Sparavalo’s 16 points to go with 11 rebounds, as Eastern Washington opened its women’s basketball season with an 80-70 win over Cal State Fullerton Friday night. (It was a late game, doubleheader with the men, and we may not have a link tonight.)
For updates on area players (we know LC grad Lyndi Seidersticker had a big game in a loss and GPrep grad Tara Cronin led Portland in a win, Post Falls frosh Katie Loper had an impressive debut in Hofstra loss), check Twitter, SRtrim.
We’re stilling waiting to wrap-up the recruiting news for the area women’s basketball teams.
Still, there is plenty of news as the season starts tomorrow, leading off with Gonzaga at USC in an afternoon game. Also, Eastern Washington will honor is NCAA Tournament team from almost 25 years ago at Sunday’s game, a nice tribute. By the way, the Pac-10/12 has announced its basketball schedules for when the 10 is erased.
Many more notes below.
Seems to be too much news in the world of women’s basketball.
Washington State’s list was in the previous post, along with Eastern’s (those are the ones we know committed but EWU won’t have an announcement until all letters of intent are returned. Idaho has one letter back: Tayler Weiks, a 5-foot-9 guard from Tumwater High School in Tumwater. A two-time all-league selection averaged 15.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.8 assists last season.
Gonzaga is waiting for all letters and local products Shaniqua Nilles of West Valley and Shelby Cheslek of Pullman, were meeting for dinner in Spokane Wednesday night to sign their letters of intent together. The Great Northern League rivals (both are also volleyball players and participate in track) were teammates with the Spokane Stars in the off-season.
In the meantime, ESPN.com continues its season preview. It’s top 5 at each position includes Gonzaga’s Courtney Vandersloot at PG and Tennessee’s Angie Bjorklund (U-Hi) at shooting guard. Notice two players from Stanford, which is feature in the preview - the Cardinal will be here a week from Sunday (the 21st) to play GU, plus there is the usual Pac-10 visit to Pullman. There are also a pair of Xavier players, a team GU faced and split with in the past two NCAA Tournaments, and North Carolina and Texas A&M, teams the Zags beat in the NCAA last year. And there is a play from Notre Dame, whom the Zags see in Seattle after Christmas. Impressive.
While surfing … Vandersloot and EWU’s Kyla Evans had posted their most recent blog entries.
As the countdown continues to Friday’s season openers, no doubt we’ll keep stumbling into women’s basketball news.
Today is the first day of the fall signing period. We know some local girls are signing, but it could take all week to get the news out. Typically schools don’t make accouncements until all letters of intent are in.
Today’s signings: WSU. EWU and Idaho will have announcement, Gonzaga probably Thursday.
EWU signees: Melissa Williams (Camas High School - Vancouver, Wash.) - forward, post - 3A Greater St. Helen’s League Player of the Year; Hayley Hodgins (Chiawana High School - Pasco, Wash.) - shooting guard; Kylie Huerta (Kentwood High School - Covington, Wash.) - point guard - co-MVP of South Puget Sound League 4A North; Kayleigh Ryan (Lynden Christian High School - Lyden, Wash.) - Brianne Ryan’s sister.
ESPN.com has started its season-preview and Gonzaga’s Courtney Vandersloot (above in a Colin Mulvaney photo from the Sweet 16 game in Sacramento last March) is listed as the top point guard in the Courtney, or one of five. Since her name is on top - and alphabetically that never happens - I assume she’s No. 1.
She has been named to every preseason watch list, the most recent being the Naismith Award, announced today. Like most of the other lists, Tennessee’s Angie Bjorklund (University) is also on the list. Fans can participate in voting.
Speaking of Gonzaga, the athletic department is rolling out “What’s in your locker?” billed as an interactive site with the women’s basketball program.
In case you missed it, Gonzaga Prep’s Tia Presley is signing with Washington State while two 2A stars, 6-5 Shelby Cheslek of Pullman and 6-0 Shaniqua Nilles of West Valley, are joining Gonzaga. The early signing period opens Wednesday. The 2A rivals/friends/summer teammates are getting together Wednesday night to make it official. The schools won’t be able to announce anything until they get the letters of intent.
Gonzaga Prep senior Tia Presley, No. 23, is going to sign a letter of intent to play basketball at Washington State.
No surprises as long as we judge on W’s and L’s, the area women’s basketball teams won their exhibition games.
One list has Courtney Vandersloot of Gonzaga as the No. 13 on a list of NCAA WNBA Draft prospects. There is more, a couple other exhibition games and notes, on the extended entry.
As advertised, our college basketball preview came out today.
It has a Facebook look and starts with a John Blanchette column on the social media - and you don’t want to miss that.
A few other notes below on exhibition games and previews of exhibition games.
Our basketball preview section comes out tomorrow. The plan is to link to the women’s stories as soon as possible before heading off to the Tri-Cities to cover a football playoff game on Friday and state cross country on Saturday.
Plan to use Friday’s post as a forum to discuss how the area teams look during their exhibition games. Idaho plays LC State on Friday, Gonzaga plays Western Oregon on Saturday and Eastern plays Simon Fraser and Washington State plays LCSC on Sunday. I’ll be curious to hear your opinions and if you see LC State, which has a handful of area players, how they looking, including freshman and special friend Loree Hill.
There are a few notes for today on the extended entry.
Gonzaga cracked the Top 25 of the coaches preseason poll, where UConn isn’t a unanimous pick. The Bulldogs check in at No. 22. GU got into the top 20 last year but have never been in a preseason poll.
More news below.