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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Locally: New Washington State women’s basketball coach Kamie Ethridge announces first recruits

New Washington State women’s basketball coach, Kamie Ethridge, left, announced her first two recruits. (Geoff Crimmins / AP)

Borders have not restricted Washington State women’s basketball recruiting. It appears that practice will continue.

The first recruits for new Cougars coach Kamie Ethridge are from overseas – Shir Levy, a 5-foot-9 wing from Ness Ziona, Israel, and Ula Motuga, a 6-foot forward from Loganholme, Australia.

“These are two fantastic players that complement our current personnel and system,” Ethridge said in the release announcing the signings.

“Ula and Shir bring a wealth of elite-level experience. They have both played for their national teams and are currently playing in their countries’ pro and semipro leagues, which have them competing against 18- to 30-year-old professional athletes.”

Levy will join the Cougars in August after completing her mandatory military service in the Israeli armed forces. A 2015 high school graduate, she has played the last three years in the Israeli League First Division.

“Shir is a dynamic wing player that has tremendous perimeter skills,” Ethridge said. “We love her ability to shoot the 3 and slash to the basket. Her size and length will be great assets in the Pac-12.”

Motuga comes from Canterbury College and plays for the Logan Thunder basketball club. With her state team of Queensland last year, Motuga won a silver medal in the U-18 national tournament while averaging eight points and eight rebounds.

“Ula brings a versatile game that we value,” Ethridge said. “She has the ability to play any number of positions.”

College scene

Sage Scheiwiller of Lewis and Clark, a senior softball player at New York University, capped a stellar four-year career by receiving the school’s Student-Athlete Academic Achievement Award with a grade-point average of 3.5 or better.

Scheiwiller, who will graduate with a degree in chemical and biomolecular engineering, is the only player who has been with the Violets since NYU instituted varsity softball during her freshman year, 2014-15.

Mainly the team’s second baseman who has also pitched, she is credited with playing a big role in setting the foundation for the program. She not only recorded the team’s first hit but also pitched the first no-hitter. As a freshman, she led the Violets in wins, strikeouts, runs scored and hits, ranking second in batting average, doubles and total bases.

She went on to lead the team in multiple categories the next three seasons and was second-team All-University Athletic Association in 2017 and was an Eastern College Athletic Conference Metro All-Star in 2015.

Scheiwiller has been honored by the NYU Intercollegiate Athletics Advisory Committee three times, received UAA All-Academic honors three times, National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Scholar-Athlete once, and Easton/NFCA Division III Scholar-Athlete once.

Jaya Allen turned in an all-star performance in her freshman softball season at Yavapai College in the Arizona Community College Athletic Association.

The former Shadle Park standout was named to one of three pitching positions on both the All-ACCAC Division I first team and Division I All-Region team.

She compiled a 24-5 record with one save during the regular season and a 2.59 earned-run average, that ranks seventh in the conference. Her 225 strikeouts in 170 1/3 innings rank first and third, respectively, the strikeouts 38 ahead of the runner-up. Her 40 appearances rank first, her wins are second and 29 starts rank third.

Vanessa Shippy, the Oklahoma State senior from Lake City, a two-time Academic All-American, was named to the Academic All-Big 12 softball team for a third straight year with a GPA of 3.20 or higher.

• Three former area players were named to Great Northwest Athletic Conference softball all-conference teams.

Katie Kastning, a Central Washington freshman outfielder from Lakeland of Rathdrum, was a unanimous first-team selection; Rachael Johnson, a Central junior outfielder from University, was named to the second team; and Zoe Clark, a Coeur d’Alene High graduate from Hayden, a senior outfielder at Western Oregon, received honorable mention.

• Two former area high school track and field standouts, Amanda Chan from Mead and Kinsey Pease from Cheney, won titles at the Golden State Athletic Conference Championships last weekend in Santa Barbara, California, earning All-GSAC honors in the process.

Chan, a freshman at Vanguard University, won the women’s high jump by 2 inches at 5 feet, 3 inches.

Pease, a senior at Arizona Christian University, capped her collegiate career by winning the javelin by nearly 5 feet with a school-record throw of 125-9 and placing third in the 400-meter hurdles. The time of 1 minute, 8.96 seconds was six-hundredths of a second off her school record in an event she started running two years ago.

Scout Cai, the Seattle Pacific sophomore from Colfax, surpassed 5,000 points in the heptathlon for the first time but had to settle for a second straight second-place finish in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championships last week.

Cai compiled 5,017 points in the seven events, surpassing her previous best of 4,921, but freshman teammate Renick Meyer scored 5,114, highlighted by a long jump of 20-5.

• Washington State’s Alissa Brooks-Johnson was named the Pac-12 Women’s Track Athlete of the Week after scoring 23 of the Cougars women’s 88 points in a dual meet win over Washington last weekend.

The redshirt senior from Doty, Washington, won four of the six events in which she competed – the 100 hurdles (13.73, tying her PR), the 400 hurdles (58.05), the high jump (5-5 ) and anchor on the 4x100 relay (45.28, a season best). She was runner-up in the long jump (19-3 ½, a PR) and ran the third leg on the 4x400 relay.

Delaney Warren, a Lewis-Clark State freshman from Mead, is the Frontier Conference Women’s Outdoor Field Athlete of the Week after she took first in the discus at the Border Challenge last weekend in Boise. Her PR mark of 143 feet is an NAIA B standard qualifying throw.

Zach Anderson, a Washington State senior from Nanaimo, British Columbia, was named All-Pac-12 honorable mention in men’s golf after placing eighth in the Pac-12 Championships with a career-best, 9-under-par 275. He had a 73.52 stroke average during the season.

• Washington State freshman Michaela Bayerlova has been selected to play in the 2018 NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship singles field May 23-28 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with a 27-5 record and No. 26 national ranking.

Gonzaga’s Sophie Whittle is an alternate in women’s singles. She and partner Graciela Rosas are alternates in women’s doubles. Both are juniors.

• Idaho and Eastern Washington hauled away hardware when Big Sky honors were passed out in women’s tennis.

Champion Idaho (15-6), which will face West Coast Conference champion No. 13 Pepperdine (22-2) in the first round of the NCAA Division I Championships on Friday in Winston-Salem, and Babar Akbar was named Big Sky Coach of the Year in his second year leading the Vandals and junior Marianna Petrei voted MVP for a third straight year.

Petrei, ranked 31st nationally, is the first Vandal selected to play in the NCAA Division I women’s singles field. She went 9-0 at No. 1 singles in winning a third straight conference championship and ran her Big Sky career record to 30-0.

Three other Vandals and four Eastern Eagles, led by Big Sky co-Freshman of the Year Zoey Nelson, gained all-conference recognition.

Idaho junior Maria Tavares joined Petrei on the singles first team and senior Lucia Badillos and freshman Laura Spataro were on the second team. Petrei and Tavares were also first team in doubles and Badillos and Spataro were honorable mention in doubles.

Eastern’s Nelson, who had an 11-8 overall singles record and 7-2 mark in conference playing primarily at No. 2 and No. 3, was also selected to the All-Big Sky singles second team. Senior Janaya Smith and freshman Rylee Braeden became the school’s first first-team all-conference doubles selection. Freshman Stephanie Broussard was a singles honorable mention.

• Five members of the champion Idaho Vandals and Eastern Washington junior Jeremy Field collected All-Big Sky Conference honors in men’s tennis.

Field was named to the second team in singles following a season in which had a 9-2 conference record playing primarily at No. 2.

Idaho (15-7), which will face No. 2 UCLA (26-2), the Pac-12 champion, in the first round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Championships in Winston-Salem on Saturday, was led by senior Mark Kovacs, who was a first-team repeater in both singles and doubles. Kovacs had a 7-4 Big Sky record and set the school record for career wins with 97.

Senior Felipe Fonseca was second team in singles; junior Carlos Longhi Neto was honorable mention in singles and joined partner Kovacs on the first team in doubles; and junior Lucas Coutinho and sophomore Esteban Santibanez were honorable mention in doubles.

• Gonzaga junior Nevada Apollo was named to the West Coast Conference All-Tournament team in women’s tennis after earning a win at No. 2 singles in the conference tournament.

• Community Colleges of Spokane claimed three NWAC player-of-the-week awards.

Brayden Olson, a sophomore catcher from Rogers, was singled out in baseball after he batted .706 during the week with 12 hits and seven RBIs in four games. He’s among the NWAC batting leaders, leading the Sasquatch with a .476 average and 30 hits.

Sean Singco, a sophomore from Yakima, the Sasquatch’s No. 1 singles player, received the men’s tennis honor. Coach Wally Heidenson noted that last year’s NWAC runner-up as a freshman has lost only once to a community college player and that was in three sets.

Women’s golf honors went to sophomore Kelci Parker from Hoquiam, Washington, who made a 14-stroke improvement over her previous match to finish second and lead CCS to the championship of the Skagit Valley League Match. The win put CCS on top of the standings with one match to go.

Adam Paulson, a Northwest Nazarene senior from Medical Lake and Lewis-Clark State College, collected Great Northwest Athletic Conference honors last week for his work on the field and in the classroom.

The 6-foot-2 right-hander was named GNAC Baseball Pitcher of the Week after throwing a complete-game, three-hit shutout in a 14-0 win over Concordia. He walked one, struck out four and faced four batters over the minimum to keep the Nighthawks in title contention.

And he was named to the GNAC all-academic team in baseball with a 3.50 GPA in management.

• Sixteen Washington State student-athletes were selected as Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars.

Since 1992, the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Awards, inspired by the tennis legend, honor undergraduates of color who have excelled in the classroom as well as on the athletic field and are nominated by their colleges and universities.

One male and one female will be selected from among 20 semifinalists of each gender to be national Sports Scholars. WSU junior Ray Littles, a track and field competitor from Issaquah, Washington, with a 3.82 GPA in sports science, is one of the 2018 male semifinalists.

The other Cougars:

First team – Katherine Dittmann, track and field; Ciera Kelly, swimming; Jasmine Margetts, swimming.

Second team – Elyse Bennett, soccer; Malachi Flynn, basketball; Jake Nienhuis, track and field; Breya Wynne, track and field.

Third team – Brandon Arconado, football; Anthony Castillo, football; Ja’Maun Charles, track and field; Alexis Dirige, volleyball; Jordyn Tucker, track and field.

Fourth team – Madeline Haro, soccer.

Honorable mention – Adreonia Bradley, track and field; Kelsee Crenshaw, soccer.

• Distance runner Troy Fraley, Gonzaga’s first track and field All-American, was named the Male Senior Athlete of the Year and women’s rower Isabelle Belzil, a four-year starter on GU’s top crew, was named Female Senior Athlete of the Year at the school’s seventh annual Evening of Excellence that honored GU seniors and recognized all its student-athletes.

Jordan Thurston (women’s cross country and track and field) was named the Female Scholar Athlete of the Year; men’s soccer player Nick Ulowetz was the Male Scholar-Athlete; and women’s basketball player Emma Wolfram was presented the Leadership Award.

• With top-three finishes in 11 of 18 sports, including championships in women’s cross country and men’s swimming, Whitworth compiled 241 points to win its 11th straight Northwest Conference McIlroy-Lewis All-Sports Trophy.

The Pirates had seconds in football (tie), women’s soccer (tie), volleyball, men’s basketball, men’s golf and women’s track and field and thirds in softball, women’s golf and men’s track and field in posting a14-point margin over runner-up Pacific Lutheran.

Letters of intent

Eastern Washington women’s tennis – Louise Waite, New Plymouth, New Zealand.

Eastern Washington men’s tennis – Jan Lajos, Rijeka, Croatia; Wout Doumen, Maaseik, Belgium.


Devon Thomas, who has been on the staff at Eastern Washington and has held positions at three other area universities, has been named the Eagles senior associate athletics director for external affairs by new EWU athletics director Lynn Hickey.

Since March, Thomas has been working in the development branch of the EWU Foundation as associate athletic director/director of philanthropy specifically assigned to athletics. With the departure of long-time administrator Marc Hughes to the public sector, Hickey selected Thomas to fill that role.

His responsibilities will include overseeing development, marketing, communications and ticket operations and serving as the liaison to Eagles Sports Properties.

Prior to arriving in Cheney, Thomas was assistant athletic director for Spokane operations with Washington State since 2014. He has also worked in related positions at Gonzaga and Idaho.

His son, Joshua, recently completed his redshirt freshman season on the Eastern men’s basketball team after graduating from Central Valley in 2016.