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 7 (Rank/Last Week/ School/Record: Comment) 1. (1) Oregon State (23-10,…More
Topic: Kacie Sowell
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Seattle U concludes its regular-season with two games this week. SU (13-14, 8-6 WAC) hosts Kansas City on Thursday and Chicago State on Saturday. The latter will mark Senior Day for forwards Kacie Sowell and Ashley Ward and G Sylvia Shephard. A ceremony will be held prior to the 4pm game at Connolly Center. Sowell…More
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 7 (Rank/Last Week/ School/Record: Comment) 1. (1) Washington (15-10, 8-6…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
I’m talking into the abyss, so I’ll make this short. Chicago PG Courtney Vandersloot is my WNBA Most Improved Player. I’m calling it early for my standards, but the Sky clinched early. Vandersloot, the former Gonzaga and Kentwood HS star, finished with 10 points, seven assists and one turnover in Chicago’s 82-64 win on Friday to clinch its first postseason berth since the franchise was established in 2006.
“It feels good. Just thinking about from the first training camp, into the first preseason game just knowing what you have around you,” Sky C Sylvia Fowles told reporters after the win. “All these good players we’re surrounded by just makes it all so much better to be on this team and have this opportunity with this group of young women.”
Since the All-Star break, Vandersloot is averaging 11.4 points and 5.8 assists. I know, she has three All-Stars swarming her in Elena Delle Donne, Fowles and Epiphanny Prince. Delle Donne is my Rookie of the Year (duh!) and Fowles is All-WNBA first team on my ballot. However, Prince was inconsistent/injured this season, shooting 32.6 percent from the field in August. Fowles, while extremely impressive in her first healthy season, can’t handle the ball alone like Delle Donne.
I remember Vandersloot’s wild ball handling and see how its improvement in running the Sky offense plus her improved defense has helped the Sky meet expectations they’ve had since its inception in 2006 because of the incredible talent of Fowles (and Candice Dupree, etc.). Without a steady PG and veteran leadership from F Swin Cash, a three-time WNBA champion, this Sky team doesn’t see this kind of success. And I’m talking about leading the Eastern Conference with a chance to clinch the WNBA’s overall best record.
Chicago plays at Atlanta (14-10) on Saturday at 4pm (PT) on ESPN2 in hopes of retaining its 3.5-game lead on the top spot in the East.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 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