From the West Coast Conference: SAN BRUNO, Calif. – (March 3, 2014 – www.GoZags.com) The West Coast Conference announced its annual basketball awards Monday afternoon and Gonzaga University women’s basketball head coach Kelly Graves was tabbed the West Coast Conference Coach of the Year, senior Haiden Palmer and junior Sunny Greinacher were…More
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Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves’ Twitter account blew up with congratulatory re-tweets for his program winning its 10th consecutive West Coast Conference regular-season title.The No. 22 Zags clinched the honor outright by defeating Saint Mary’s, 75-65, on Thursday at McCarthey Athletic Center. Senior G Haiden Palmer scored 12 of her game-high 19…More
In this new Monday feature, I’ll take a look at the Northwest’s 11 Division I teams and give a weekly power ranking. The regional 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 2
(Rank/Last Week/School/Record: Comment)
1. (1) Gonzaga (14-3, 4-1 WCC): Guess this tweet from GU coach Kelly Graves says it all:
Contrary to earlier reports by some, the Zags are still alive & well in Spokane
Zags swept BYU and then-No. 24 San Diego at home last week. A big reason is the continued improved play of junior F Sunny Greinacher. She was named WCC player of the week after averaging 17 points and 6 rebounds, shooting 65 percent from the field.More
No. 23 Gonzaga (8-1) returned to Spokane early Wednesday morning, so a groggy coach Kelly Graves hadn’t turned his full attention to playing at No. 6 Stanford (7-1) on Saturday. The series between the top programs out West will air at 1 pm (PT) on Pac-12 Networks.
Graves mentioned this morning that two tapes were waiting for him in his home office to view. It’s the beginning of the week’s prep for the Zags’ toughest nonconference game, yet. GU hasn’t defeated Stanford since the annual series began in 2010.
“One of these days we’re going to get them,” Graves quipped. “We’re not going to change too much with the way we play. We’re going to change defenses as often as we can. We’ve done a nice job of pressuring people.
“Obviously (Stanford All-American) Chiney Ogwumike is going attract attention. I haven’t watched enough to see what they’re doing to get her to spots where she’s kicking everyone’s butt. Their point guard, Amber Orrange, is going to be better than the two point guards we played this past week. But we’re really good at guarding in the backcourt. Jazmine Redmond is terrific and so is Hadien (Palmer), so we matchup pretty well there.”
The Zags’ final game prep was a pair of wins on the road against quality Big Ten programs Ohio State (59-58) and Wisconsin (70-55). GU saw big leads dwindle late but was able to secure the win. The Zags also received solid play from its bench. Redshirt sophomore F Shaniqua Nilles nailed a buzzer-beater against OSU on Sunday. GU’s bench outscored UW’s 18-7 on Tuesday, junior G Danielle Walter scoring a season-high 10 points in the win at Wisconsin — eight in the final six minutes.More
SPOKANE, Wash. – (August 30, 2013 – www.GoZags.com) Gonzaga University women’s basketball head coach Kelly Graves announced the hiring of current WNBA player and former Stanford University standout Nicole Powell as an assistant coach with the Bulldogs. Powell replaces Julie Shaw who is now the head women’s basketball coach at the University of La Verne.
“I am excited to have Nicole join the staff,” stated Graves. “She is the whole package; has had some phenomenal experiences, is a tremendous player, has a Stanford pedigree – playing for a great program, and most importantly she has a great personality. She has a deep understanding of the game and the ability to communicate with today’s player. I think she is going to fit well with our team, coaching staff and our university.”
Powell is currently closing out her 10th year in the WNBA and first with the Tulsa Shock. She was the third overall pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft; selected by the Charlotte Sting.
I can’t believe Zags coach Kelly Graves isn’t a fan of “Man vs Food,” but he’s stuck with the English program as the USA U19 team plays in the FIBA U19 World Championships this month in Panevezys, Lithuania. Graves is serving as an assistant coach, the team advancing to the second round as the top seed and facing Netherlands (1-2) on Monday at 10:15am PT.
Incoming freshmen Emma Wolfram (Gonzaga) and Kelsey Plum (Washington) are participating in the tournament, Wolfram for her native Canada. Wolfram’s team faces the Americans on Tuesday at 10:15am PT. FIBA is providing coverage of the event.
Graves has been blogging from the tournament. He gives details of his living quarters and TV viewing in his third installment. Perhaps the programing gets better for the known insomniac, maybe even getting a chance to see Sunday’s premier of “Celebrity Wife Swap,” featuring WNBA legend Lisa Leslie. Then, again, Graves’ probably too busy to have ever heard of that show before, either.
Here’s Grave’s’ latest post:
On The Road With Coach Graves – USA Basketball Blog 3 (July 21, 2013)
I’ve been in Lithuania now for about six days and have really come to like this place. The people are nice, and it is beautiful, even though it’s a flat country. Driving the two hours from the capital Vilnius to where we are playing now, Panevezys, I thought I was driving through Iowa or something with all the beautiful farmland. It has rained pretty much every day we’ve been here though (but we’re not soccer and it’s always dry in the gym so who cares, right?). I was worried coming in about the food but so far so good and they feed us a lot—going to have to get back on the food wagon again when I get home. The players took some time warming up to the food, but just like with your kids at home–they’ll eat it if they’re hungry enough. Me, I’m always hungry! The hotel is interesting. I have three beds in my room, I’m going to call them 1/2 twin size–literally, if I put all three together it would be a queen, but heck, I’m sleeping great. The TV in the room is a 12″, bolted to the ceiling in the far corner. I have to squint to see anything, but again, it doesn’t matter much because there’s only one station that’s in English and as far as I can tell, it shows only a combination of PBS type documentaries and B-list cable channel shows that I’ve never seen. But they must love “Man vs. Food” because that’s on twice a night at midnight. I’ve never heard of it and have a strange feeling that I will never watch it again after I get home. Thank goodness for iTunes–that and game film have saved me.
Once again, Washington coach Kevin McGuff will be watching for the “hangover” with his team. UW lost 60-46 at Utah on Friday, a game it needed to win to keep NCAA tournament hopes alive. Washington continued its poor shooting stretch against Utah. The Huskies shot 30.5 percent from the field overall, 8 for 32 in the second half.
“That was as good as we’ve played defensively in a long time,” Utes coach Anthony Levrets told reporters on Friday. Former Cleveland HS standout Cheyenne Wilson had five points in the game.
Washington didn’t have a “hangover,” sulking its collective head in playing USC the following Sunday after the four-point loss to No. 17 UCLA at Alaska Airlines Arena, however. Aside from McGuff’s concerns, UW beat USC 61-58 the following Sunday. Will that be true this Sunday at No. 20 Colorado?
Sure, the Utah loss is a prick in Washington’s NCAA bubble, but UW (19-7, 11-4) still has plenty it needs to accomplish.
The Huskies are tied for third with the Bruins (19-6, 10-4) in Pac-12 standings. UCLA hosts rival USC (8-17, 5-9) on Sunday. A UW win against CU (21-5, 10-5) would clinch at least fourth-place for the Huskies, which includes a bye in the opening round of the Pac-12 tournament in March at KeyArena. Third place would mean UW could stay out of No. 4 Stanford’s bracket.
And there’s always the National Invitation Tournament, which has its own seeding process. UW needs a strong finish to seal a good seed there if overlooked for the NCAA tourney.More
Gonzaga (21-5, 11-1) is on an eight-game win streak and moving closer to its ninth consecutive West Coast Conference championship. The regular-season title wouldn’t have been as close without a key 69-54 win against Saint Mary’s (16-7, 8-3) in Spokane on Thursday. The game was the Zags’ fifth sell out of the season.
GU lost to SMC 54-51 early in the WCC season, sounding alarms that coach Kelly Graves’ revamped, youthful squad possiblly couldn’t hold up the Zags’ storied reign on the conference. But Gonzaga has since moved to a 2.5-game lead in WCC standings and is primed to be part of the NCAA tournament as a No. 11 seed, according to ESPN’s latest bracketology release.
The Zags are hosting the NCAA first and second rounds in March at McCarthey Athletic Center.
Below is video of Thursday’s postgame interviews. Gonzaga hosts San Francisco (10-15, 3-9) on Saturday at the MAC.More
Washington sophomore PG Jazmine Davis was cleared to practice on Wednesday. The team’s leading scorer (20.4 points), Davis suffered a concussion midway through the second half of a win at Washington State. She missed her team’s home wins against Oregon and Oregon State last week.
UW coach Kevin McGuff said he didn’t foresee any restrictions in returning Davis to the lineup when it plays at Arizona (11-8, 3-5 Pac-12) on Friday. Washington (14-5, 6-2) defeated Arizona 76-55 at Alaska Airlines Arena on January 7.
“We’ll kind of ease her back into practice today (Wednesday) since it’s her first day back,” McGuff said prior to the afternoon session. “Obviously she’s an important part of what we do. Although I thought we fared well without her, I’m happy to have her back. We have a chance to be even be better with her coming back.”
Huskies freshman G Heather Corral moved into the starting lineup to replace Davis, but junior G Mercedes Wetmore played the PG position. Wetmore finished the weekend with a combined 14 assists, one turnover and 12 points, not resting a second of Friday’s 45-minute overtime win against OSU or Sunday’s win in regulation against Oregon.
Corral was a combined 7 of 14 from three-point range for a total of 23 points, 11 rebounds and six steals in the wins.
“I feel like I was out forever,” said Davis of her 10-day absence. “Getting to touch a ball finally, that’s what’s exciting me the most.
“I was proud (of my team). It’s almost like I was glad that I was out and I got to see how they were. They all stepped up and it just showed me that they all have it in them.”
Washington is on a four-day win streak and is tied for third in conference standings.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