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A Grip on Sports: On a quiet night in a quiet week, Gonzaga does what it needs to do against Detroit Mercy

Gonzaga guard Ryan Woolridge (4) heads to the basket during the first half of a college basketball game, Mon., Dec. 30, 2019, at the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Ryan Woolridge (4) heads to the basket during the first half of a college basketball game, Mon., Dec. 30, 2019, at the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The week between Christmas and the first of the year is quiet everywhere except in the world of sports. But even that venue has lowered the decibel level a bit. At least around here.


• Oh, sure, the Seahawks played a loud – and losing – game Sunday. And the Zags played at home last night in a student-less Kennel.

The Big Sky Conference basketball schedule opened this weekend, though our local men’s teams were on the road. And there was a smattering of high school hoops.

All in all, though, it wasn’t as loud as it could be. No preparations in Cheney for a national championship football game. The Cougars’ bowl was after Christmas, but the Cheez-It Bowl just doesn’t vibrate the needle like some. And a game with Detroit Mercy isn’t going to bring ESPN into town to fill the Davenport, that’s for sure.

It was quiet in the Kennel last night. Too quiet, as some long-ago Western star might have muttered if it had been a B-movie. It wasn’t, though GU didn’t have its A-game. It had enough, though, to win handily and for those in attendance to applaud appreciatively – often.

We were in and out of the broadcast, mainly because lately we’ve been in and out of a lot of places, including wakefulness, but we saw enough to know the Zags got everything tuned up before WCC play opens this week. And that’s what such a game is about.

• Don’t know about where you live, but we received almost a half-foot of snow on Spokane’s South Hill. Seems like pretty good skiing snow too. Not too heavy. Winter, that long-awaited cousin of fall, has finally arrived. Nothing against ya, son, but you could have stayed in the North Country a while longer as far as I’m concerned.


WSU: We’ve known volleyball coach Jen Greeny a long time. We’ve always liked her. So we’re not going to be all that balanced in reporting her contract extension from WSU. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12, the biggest game this week is, of course, the Rose Bowl. Always is. Oregon will match up with Wisconsin. A traditional battle. … The Alamo Bowl is a distant second but don’t expect a depleted Utah team to play as it has all season. … Arizona State plays today in the Sun Bowl from El Paso. … California won the Redbox Bowl yesterday, defeating Illinois 35-20. … USC’s 2019 was one to forget. Except it might have been better than 2020 is going to be. … In basketball news, conference play gets underway. Who is favored? How does your team look?

Gonzaga: There is one thing missing from our usual coverage of the Zags’ 93-72 win over Detroit Mercy. Yep, it’s our TV Take. I wasn’t up to it last evening. But Jim Meehan was in McCarthey and has the game analysis as well as the three keys. He also had an early poll story. … John Blanchette has a column on the Zags’ nonconference schedule. … The folks in the office put together the usual in-depth recap with highlights. … Colin Mulvany has a bunch of photos. … Before the game, Jim spoke with Larry Weir for the latest Press Box pod. … Jim Allen looks back at a pretty special decade for the Gonzaga women. At least it looked pretty special from section 115, row 5.

EWU: The Eagles are expected to win the Big Sky title. Starting 1-1 isn’t what they wanted. But Idaho State clamped down and won 75-69 in Pocatello. … Elsewhere in the Big Sky, Montana State got past visiting Northern Arizona. … Montana did the same against Sacramento State.

Idaho: The men lost on the road at Weber State by a point. … The women are 2-0 in conference play after a 70-50 home win against the Wildcats.

Preps: Dave Nichols has a story on all the local players to make the Associated Press All-State football teams. … We also can pass along a roundup of local girls and boys basketball action.

Seahawks: The Hawks are headed to Philadelphia, the start of a harder-than-it-should-have-been playoff road. … One more look back to the 49er loss and that’s it. We promise. … Wait, we also have Pete Carroll’s comments on the end of the game. …There is one bad injury.


• Saw a (second) doctor. Had blood taken (again). Waiting on (more) tests. Just tell me what’s wrong. Please. See you tomorrow. Until then …

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