Here’s the Northwest 11 weekly power ranking. The qualifying regional Division I schools are Washington, Washington State, Seattle U, Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, Portland, Portland State, Idaho and Boise State. Idaho State will not be included due to Pocatello’s more eastern location. NORTHWEST 11 WEEK 4 (Rank/Last Week/ School/Record: Comment) 1. (1) Gonzaga (20-3, 10-1…More
Topic: Joan Bonvicini
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Here’s the Northwest’s 11 weekly power ranking. The qualifying regional Division I schools are Washington, Washington State, Seattle U, Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, Portland, Portland State, Idaho and Boise State. Idaho State will not be included due to Pocatello’s more eastern location. NORTHWEST 11 WEEK 3 (Rank/Last Week/ School/Record: Comment) 1. (2) WSU (11-7, 5-1…More
Storm All-Star Tina Thompson and Seattle U coach Joan Bonvicini are among the city’s six women nominated for Female Sports Star of the Year by the Seattle Sports Commission. Winners will be announced Jan. 22, 2014 during the 79th annual Sports Star of the Year banquet at Benaroya Hall downtown.
Created by Royal Brougham and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 1936, the event celebrates achievements of those in the local sports community and industry. Anyone can vote once every 24 hours for the winners on the commission’s website.
Voting began earlier in December and runs through Jan. 15, 2014. The total vote is based 50 percent by the public and 50 percent by the Sports Star Committee.
Storm All-Stars Sue Bird (2002), Lauren Jackson (2003) and former coach Anne Donovan, who led the franchise to its first WNBA championship in 2004, were past winners from the pro basketball team. Former Stanford All-American, Kate Starbird, won in 1997.
Thompson, who won the inaugural four WNBA championships with the defunct Houston Comets, retired after a 17-year career in the league. Playing her final two seasons for the Storm, she finished as the all-time leading WNBA scorer with 7,488 points and is second on the all-time rebounding list with 3,070.More
Since Day 1, Seattle U knew it was going to rely heavily on its underclassmen this season, particularly five freshman — three as primary ball-handlers. The group has quickly shown its potential.
Down 23 points nine minutes into a shootout against Oregon, instead of getting overwhelmed at the fast pace and seemingly endless three-pointers, four newcomers made good contributions to help SU get an unexpected lead and put the team in position to possibly win. Freshman G Claire Metoyer returned from injury and only played three minutes in the first half of the eventual 105-100 loss at KeyArena.
“We’ve been waiting for that moment to happen,” said senior F Kacie Sowell, the reigning Western Athletic Conference player of the year. “We have three seniors who’ve been here together for four years, but we can’t do it by ourselves. We need younger players, especially them running the point. It’s taken time but I think we’re to a place where everyone gets it.”
SU coach Joan Bonvicini pulled senior G Sylvia Shephard from the starting lineup due to an undisclosed reason, starting freshmen Alexis Montgomery and Kaylee Best in the backcourt. That decision quickly changed with the Redhawks down 7-0 . Bonvicini substituted Shephard for Best, which turned into a merry-go-round of rotations until the team found its defensive confidence to at least slow the Ducks’ offense.
Montgomery was able to run SU’s offensive sets, getting the ball inside to improved sophomore F Taelor Ross and Sowell. Later, Best made solid assists and collected a steal to help freshmen F Wilma Afunugo score five points in a 12-3 run to pull SU within 47-42 with 1:17 remaining in the opening half.More
A full slate of basketball tips Friday with 123 games on the NCAA docket. Some matchups have already concluded, the ESPN networks debuting its broadcast season lineup of games at 2pm (PT) with UNC-Greensboro at Florida State on ESPN3.com. Seminoles coach Sue Semaru (Shorecrest HS) is entering her 17th season and only has three returning players on her roster.
Locally, No. 25 Gonzaga’s 6pm tip against Idaho at the McCarthey Athletic Center is the headliner. It’s the opener of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament and will be aired online. The Vandals, led by senior F Alyssa Charlston (Eastlake HS), finished last season at 17-16, winning the Western Athletic Conference tournament championship.
Gonzaga’s preseason ranking is a first in program history. The Zags are eager to see how a veteran lineup with a talented transfer in F Lindsay Sherbert (Cal) helps the team rebound from a disappointing ending to the 2012-13 season. Gonzaga couldn’t get a signature win and lost at home in the opening round of the NCAA tournament to Iowa State.
“Our strengths are going to be our defense and our speed this year,” said senior G Jazmine Redmon, who won the West Coast Conference defensive player of the year award.More
Seattle U. headed to Costa Rica to gain some international experience this week. The defending WAC regular-season champions, SU defeated the Costa Rican National Team, 59-50, in the first of three games while on its foreign tour. The Redhawks led through the majority of the game, which consisted of four 10-minute quarters….More
UPDATE: The Zags cliched a fifth consecutive NCAA tournament bid. Read all about the win here.
Top seeded Gonzaga (26-5) faces No. 2 seed San Diego (21-8) in the West Coast Conference tournament championship game in Las Vegas on Monday. The game will air at 1 p.m. on ESPNU.
The Zags are vying for a fifth consecutive NCAA tournament berth. The team was awarded an at-large bid last year, losing the WCC tourney title to BYU.
Gonzaga could play USD without PG Taelor Karr, the WCC Player of the Year. She fell hard on her back during Saturday’s tournament semifinal win over BYU. She took it easy at practice Sunday and is “really questionable” for the game, according to GU coach Kelly Graves.
“She’s a tough kid,” Graves told reporters of Karr. She hasn’t missed a start this season and is the team’s second-leading scorer at 10.7 points on 43.2 percent shooting.
“I know she’ll do the best she can to try to play,” Graves continued. “But the reality is she’s not in good shape right now.”
FINAL PAC-12 ATTENDANCE NUMBERS
The four-day total attendance for the inaugural Pac-12 conference tournament at KeyArena was announced at 26,465 spectators. There were 3,927 for the championship game alone on Sunday. The figure averages to 2,405 for the 11 games, which is still better than numbers reported in Los Angeles in 2012.
Seattle’s total is the event’s second-highest mark since the conference tournament’s debut in 2002 when it totaled 27,415 at McArthur Court in Eugene, Ore.More
Seattle U (15-9, 12-3 Western Athletic Conference) has three games remaining to conclude its regular-season. SU holds a half-game lead against Utah State (14-11, 11-3) for the regular-season conference title and top-seed in the upcoming WAC tournament in Las Vegas from March 12-16.
The Redhawks host Texas State (9-16, 3-11) on Thursday and Texas-San Antonio (14-11, 8-6) on Saturday. The three-game home stand at Connolly Center concludes with a rematch against Idaho (12-14, 9-6) on March 9. If SU finishes strong and wins the conference tournament, they are pegged as a No. 16 seed in the NCAA tournament, playing nationally ranked No. 4 Stanford.
Seattle U is rejuvenated. It had a week between games, completing a two-game sweep on the road Valentine’s Day weekend. The Redhawks are on a four-game win streak overall.
SU coach Joan Bonvicini used the time to give the players some rest and perfect game plans.
“I think it was good rest and we had good practiced today (Monday),” Bonvicini said. “Our team is focused and it’s just about staying fresh. Everyone picks up the intensity, takes it up another notch at this point in the season. But we’re in position. We control our own destiny.”More
Seattle University became one of 46 teams in the NCAA to remaining undefeated in its respective conference after Thursday’s round of games. The Redhawks defeated Texas Arlington 69-53 at Connolly Center. SU improved to 9-6 overall and 6-0 in the Western Athletic Conference. But it’ll host a competitive opponent in Louisiana Tech (8-8, 3-2) on Saturday at 7pm.
Here’s the daily story about the game. Junior F Kacie Sowell scored 11 of her final 18 points in the second half while junior F Ashley Ward finished with 17 points to pace the offense throughout the game. Junior G Sylvia Shephard, who improved to seventh in the nation in steals (3.7), switched from being a defensive menace and scorer in transition to a keen passer, totaling a career-high 11 assists.
Shephard, coach Joan Bonvicini and Daidra Brown spoke about the game afterward. Bonvicini is wearing a lei in the video because it was Hawaiian Night at the game.
ZAGS TOPS…FOR NOW: Gonzaga proved it can still be a force in the Western Athletic Conference. The Zags (14-5, 4-1) soundly defeated new rival BYU 74-59 at sold-out McCarthey Athletic Center. The Cougar’s (12-5, 3-1) loss coupled with Saint Mary’s (11-5, 3-1) taking a tumble at San Diego to lose 73-70 moved GU a half-game ahead of BYU, SMC and Santa Clara (11-6, 3-1) atop of the conference. San Diego (11-6, 3-2) follows.More
Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves loves statistics. The flip side of one has been tough to compensate.
In the midst of an eight-year West Coast Conference championship reign, GU had four players draft by the WNBA and one signed as a training-camp invitee. The biggest star is PG Courtney Vandersloot, who was named to the 2011 WNBA All-Star game as a rookie. Her leadership coupled with the absence of past standouts like Katelan Redmon and Heather Bowman meant Graves would be starting over this season. Particularly since only two of the current Zags played a lot of minutes in the past, returning starters Taelor Karr and Haiden Palmer being the only to average more than five points. And both of them are transfers.
Games the Zags may normally have won are now defeats, like home loses to Washington State and late breakdowns against then-No. 20 Ohio State. In GU’s eight-year WCC dominance, it only lost nine conference games, three were undefeated WCC seasons. But last year the Zags split games with conference newbie BYU. As the Cougars prepare for a return trip to McCarthey Athletic Center on Thursday, it’s not taboo to think of the Zags having trouble against their new rival, again.
In fact, following the Zags’ 10-4 nonconference finish, the players even pipped up about the challenge in upholding the tradition established at Gonzaga.
“They’ve voiced it to me that they feel pressure keeping the legacy going,” said Graves of the roster that has six underclassmen. “I said not to worry about that. We don’t need that kind of added pressure. Courtney’s last year was just two years ago. We only have three players who played with her on our entire roster. That’s a big turnaround in that short amount of time.”More