Arrow-right Camera
Subscribe now
Gonzaga Basketball

Family wears matchup well

Chris Derrick Chrisd@Spokesman.Com

Presenting the latest in chic apparel: Stanzaga T-shirts.

They’ll make their first appearance on Sunday, when top-ranked Stanford plays at Gonzaga at 2 p.m. in an unforgettable Tinkle family reunion.

The Tinkle family will unveil its Stanzaga creation, a hybrid that combines older daughter Joslyn’s Stanford Cardinal and younger daughter Elle’s Gonzaga Bulldogs, to celebrate another meeting between two of the West Coast’s top women’s basketball teams.

“They won’t show us (the T-shirts) yet, but it’s supposed to be a surprise on game day,” said Elle, a 6-foot-2 freshman guard.

Elle and Joslyn, a 6-3 senior forward, have never played on opposite sides in an official game. They were teammates for one season at Big Sky High before Joslyn graduated and left Missoula for coach Tara VanDerveer’s premier program at Stanford.

“I’m just hoping that I don’t look to give her the ball, (which is) what I was so used to in high school,” Elle said.

Joslyn has developed into one of the top players for Stanford, 7-0 after an 87-38 thrashing of UC Davis on Friday night.

Stanford defeated defending national champion Baylor on Nov. 16 to take over the top spot in the Associated Press poll for the first time since 2005. Joslyn averages 16.7 points and 5.4 rebounds.

Elle is coming off a career-best 14-point effort in a win over Winthrop that improved GU’s record to 6-1.

The sold-out crowd of 6,000 at McCarthey Athletic Center will include a healthy contingent of Tinkles, their friends and Missoulians who cheered on the Tinkle girls for seven consecutive high school seasons.

Dad Wayne Tinkle, Montana’s men’s basketball coach and former Grizzlies and Ferris High player, made sure to have his schedule cleared for Sunday. Mom Lisa (McLeod) Tinkle was also a basketball standout for the UM Grizzlies.

“The whole family issue should be interesting,” Elle said. “We discussed this (Tuesday) night in a big group message between our whole family: ‘Who’s bench are you going to pick?’ I think my parents will pick her bench and then my brother (Tres) will sit behind mine.”

“It’s a really cool feeling because here I am, a senior, about to leave and end my career here at Stanford, while (Elle’s) just beginning hers,” Joslyn said.

The sisters are different types of players. Joslyn is more of a post presence while Elle tends to play outside. Elle said Stanford’s coaches asked Joslyn if she could guard her little sister.

“As much as I hope that she has a good game, secretly I don’t want her to have a good game,” Elle said.

Gonzaga experienced a similar situation when the Bjorklund sisters, GU’s Jami and Tennessee’s Angie, met during the 2007-08 season.

“There will be times when we’ll put Elle on Joslyn,” GU coach Kelly Graves said. “Not for the novelty of it, but just because she’s going to have to guard Joslyn. … They’ll be matched up, which will be really cool, but that’s a sideshow. The main show is our five against their five.”