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Zags Begin WCC Play This Weekend

Jan. 2, 2007

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Game No. 17 - LOYOLA MARYMOUNTFriday, January 5 - 7 p.m.Gersten Pavilion (4,156) - Los Angeles, CA

GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (8-8, 0-0 West Coast)F - 30 Heather Bowman, 6-2, Fr., Spokane, WA (10.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg)F - 42 Stephanie Hawk, 6-3, Sr., Ontario, OR (13.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.3 bpg)G - 3 Sasha Polishchuk, 5-6, So., Richmond, BC (4.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg)G - 32 Jami Bjorklund, 5-11, So., Spokane, WA (10.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg)G - 31 Michelle Elliott, 5-11, Jr., Pasco, WA (12.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg)HEAD COACH: Kelly Graves (University of New Mexico, 1988)GONZAGA RECORD: 104-90 (7th year);CAREER RECORD: 170-116 (10th year)

LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY LIONS (8-6, 0-0 WCC)F - 32 Jennifer Hall, 6-2, Jr., Folsom, CA (13.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg)F - 34 Valerie Ogoke, 6-2, Jr., Inglewood, CA (6.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg)G - 11 Cassady Moore, 5-7, So., Long Beach, CA (7.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg)G - 13 Amanda DeCoud, 5-7, Jr., Moreno Valley, CA (9.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg)G - 33 Kavita Goss, 5-9, Fr., Newbury Park, CA (2.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg)HEAD COACH: Julie Wilhot (Marian College, 1985)LMU RECORD: 156-171 (13th year);CAREER RECORD: 277-241 (20th year)

Game No. 18 - PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITYSunday, January 7 - 2 p.m.Firestone Fieldhouse (3,104) - Malibu, CA

PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY WAVES (7-8, 0-0 WCC)F - 11 Taylor Smith, 5-11, So., Kailua, HI (5.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg)F - 21 Miranda Ayim, 6-3, Fr., Ontario, Canada (8.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg)C - 24 Jasmane Clarendon, 6-1, Sr., San Bernardino, CA (4.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg)G - 31 Jessica Ross, 5-10, So., Gilroy, CA (8.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg)G - 32 Shannon Johnson, 5-10, Jr., Highland Village, TX (4.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg)HEAD COACH: Julie Rousseau (Cal State Los Angeles, 1991)PEP RECORD: 33-42 (third year); CAREER RECORD: Same

HEAD COACH Kelly Graves: Kelly Graves is in his seventh season as the head coach at Gonzaga University having built the Bulldogs into an annual West Coast Conference contender. After winning just five games his first season, Graves has guided the Bulldogs to back-to-back West Coast Conference regular-season titles. This past season, Gonzaga finished with a 16-14 overall record and an 11-3 record in the WCC to claim a share of the WCC regular-season title. In 2004-05, GU won its first regular-season title since 1988 when GU posted a 28-4 record and 14-0 mark in the WCC. It was only the second time a school has run the table in the league. Graves was an assistant coach at the University of Portland when the Pilots accomplished the feat in 1997. For his efforts in 2004-05, Graves was named the WBCA Region 8 Coach of the Year and WCC Coach of the Year as Gonzaga ran off a nation's-best 23 game win streak and earned the school's first national ranking. Graves is currently the school's career wins leader with a 104-90 record. He has twice been named the WCC Coach of the Year at Gonzaga (2003 & 2005) and boasts a 170-116 career record including 76-50 in WCC action.

TOP STORY: The Gonzaga University women's basketball team opens West Coast Conference action with two road games this weekend. The Bulldogs will open its WCC season with a contest at Loyola Marymount University on Friday, Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. GU will then play at Pepperdine University on Sunday, Jan. 7. Game time is set for 2 p.m.

SCOUTING THE LIONS: Loyola Marymount University, who are 8-6, earned a split at the Iowa State Tournament this past weekend, knocking off Colgate on Friday, 85-57, before falling to the host Cyclones on Saturday, 71-55. Jennifer Hall continued to lead the Lions, scoring a career-high 21 points in the win over Colgate and notching her fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 boards in the loss to Iowa State. Amanda Patton hit five three-pointers on the weekend to move into third place on the LMU career list with 113. The senior needs just 14 more to move ahead of former teammate Rachael Ziemann into first place on the career chart with 127 treys.

SCOUTING THE WAVES: The injury-plagued Pepperdine University Waves, who are 7-8, continued to struggle over the weekend, falling 85-66 to Rhode Island before dropping a 68-59 decision to Fresno State at home. Jessica Ross scored a career-high 24 points in the loss to Rhode Island, and set a WCC single-game high with eight three-pointers in the contest. The sophomore currently ranks third in the conference with an average of 1.62 treys per game. Pepperdine has been forced to play without its top two rebounders (Teena Wickett and Teiosha George), and played its second-straight game without top scorer Daphanie Kennedy on Saturday.

CLOSING IN ON 1,000: Gonzaga University senior Stephanie Hawk needs to score only 30 more points to become the 12th player in women's basketball history to have scored 1,000 points. If Hawk continues to average 13.7 points per game, she will hit the 1,000 point mark in three games, which would be against Santa Clara University on Jan. 11.

GRABBING 500: With her seven rebounds against Davidson College, Gonzaga University women's basketball senior Stephanie Hawk eclipsed the 500 rebound mark for her career. Hawk, who started off the season with 412 career rebounds, now has 509 rebounds to her credit.

CONTROLLING THE GLASS: Despite dropping a 14-point decision to Marquette University on Dec. 17, the Bulldogs earned a moral victory by being only the second team all season to outrebound the Golden Eagles. Marquette entered the contest with a plus-eight margin against opponents on the backboards, but Gonzaga won the battle of the boards, 45-39, including 23-14 on the offensive glass. MU hadn't been out-rebounded since its only loss at Virginia on Nov. 17.

DOUBLED-UP: Freshman Heather Bowman collected her first collegiate double-double against Washington University on Friday, Dec. 15. Bowman, who finished the first half one rebound shy of the double-double, closed out the game scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Bowman then recorded her second double-double of the season against Montana State, setting game-highs with 13 points and 11 rebounds. The freshman, who is one of just two Zags to have started all 16 games this season, is averaging 10.0 points per game so far this year.

BREAKING 30: Freshman Heather Bowman paced the Bulldogs to their victory over Eastern Washington University scoring a career-high 32 points on 10-for-17 shooting from the field and 12-for-16 accuracy at free throw line. Her 32 points is the highest individual point total this season for the Zags and the first 30-plus point game since Ashley Burke scored 31 against Montana during the 2003-04 season.

FOULS AND FREE THROWS: The 103-102 victory over Eastern Washington, only the third 100+ game in Gonzaga University history and the first since the 1993-94 season, saw 61 total fouls called and 91 free throws awarded. The Bulldogs, who sank 12-of-15 at the charity stripe in the overtime to help seal the victory, finished the game hitting 33-of-45 free throws. The Eagles closed out the contest sinking 36-of-46 free shots, including 6-of-8 in the extra period.

100-POINT EXPLOSION: Gonzaga University edged local rival Eastern Washington University in overtime on Saturday, 103-102, marking the second time this season that a WCC team has eclipsed the 100-point plateau. Saint Mary's scored 100 points in a win over Cal State Northridge on November 24, which was the first time a WCC squad had topped the century mark since San Diego scored 104 points against Portland on February 17, 2005. Loyola Marymount holds the all-time single-game WCC record, dropping in 130 points in a victory over Master's College on November 23, 1990.

FIRST DOUBLE-DOUBLES OF THE YEAR: Senior Stephanie Hawk finished with Gonzaga University's first double-double of the season and the eighth of her career when she scored 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the Bulldogs 81-66 setback to No. 13 Arizona State University on Dec. 6. She followed that performance up with her second-straight double-double against Eastern Washington University. Hawk scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the overtime victory.

SINGLE SEASON RECORDS: Gonzaga University's 103-102 victory over Eastern Washington University, Dec. 9 broke a few Bulldog single-game records. The combined score of 205 is the highest combined total in school history, breaking the old record of 177 scored during a 91-86 loss to Portland during the 1991-92 season. The 33 free throws made by the Zags is the third most scored in a game, while the 45 attempted is the second most attempted.

BJORKLUND CONTINUES TO ROLL: Sophomore Jami Bjorklund, who became the first Gonzaga University player in 13 years to earn All-Freshman team recognition as she was named to the All-WCC Freshman Team a season ago, has continued her strong play as a Bulldog this season. Bjorklund has played in all 16 GU games this season, including 10 starts. She is averaging 10.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Bjorklund had a career night against #2 University of North Carolina on Nov. 25. She scored a career-high 21 points on 8-for-15 shooting from the field, including a perfect 3-for-3 on three-pointers.

STRONG PLAY: Gonzaga University junior transfer Michelle Elliott has been a strong addition to the Bulldogs squad this season. Elliott has scored in double-figures in 11 out of GU's 16 games, including two 20+ performances. She scored a season-high 22 points in the Zags victory over Sacramento State and currently is second on the team with 12.8 points per game.

BLOCK SHOT LEADER: Gonzaga University senior Stephanie Hawk tied a career-high with five blocked shots against Davidson, marking the second time this season that the senior has collected five blocks in game. Hawk, who leads the West Coast Conference with 36 blocks, currently ranks second on the Gonzaga career list with 126 blocks.

WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK - TAKE TWO: Gonzaga University women's basketball player Michelle Elliott was named the West Coast Conference player for the week as announced by the conference office Monday, Nov. 28. Elliott continued to lead the Zags, as the junior propelled GU to a 2-2 mark including an upset victory over then-No. 19 ranked UCLA at the Rainbow Wahine Classic. The transfer from San Diego State scored nine points with seven boards in a victory over Portland State on Tuesday before dropping in 20 points with four rebounds and three assists in the win over the Bruins. After a 10 point, five assist effort against No. 2 ranked North Carolina, the junior racked up 19 points with three steals against host Hawai'i on Sunday. For her efforts, Elliott was also named to the all-tournament team.

WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Gonzaga University senior forward Stephanie Hawk was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week on Nov. 13 after she averaged 21.0 points and 8.5 rebounds over the first weekend of play. Hawk started her senior season off strong scoring 18 points and grabbing eight rebounds in Gonzaga's 57-45 upset over the University of Utah; a 2006 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight Team. She then had a monster game in Sunday's 73-70 victory over UC Davis, as she tallied game-highs of 24 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and four blocks. She also added four steals in the win over the Aggies.

HAWK AMONG TOP WCC RETURNERS: Gonzaga University senior forward Stephanie Hawk was selected as one of the Top 6 returning players in the West Coast Conference for the 2007 season. Hawk was an All-WCC First Team pick as a junior averaging 12.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. In league play, Hawk averaged 12.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per contest. Hawk had a superb season hitting double figures in all but five games, including seven double-doubles. Joining Hawk on the top returning player list are Dominique Carter from the University of San Francisco, Jasmane Clarendon from Pepperdine University, Ashlee Dunlap from Loyola Marymount, Daphanie Kennedy from Pepperdine University and Rachel Warren from the University of Portland.

BACK-TO-BACK TITLES: Gonzaga University became the seventh team to win back-to-back West Coast Conference regular-season titles since the league adopted women's basketball in 1986. Pepperdine and Santa Clara have both accomplished this feat twice while Portland and Saint Mary's have pulled it off once. Only Santa Clara has ever won more than two consecutive WCC regular-season titles, winning four from the 1991-94 seasons.

GONZAGA DOMINATES WCC ATTENDANCE: Gonzaga led the West Coast Conference in attendance for the third-straight season as the Bulldogs averaged 1,250 fans a season ago. GU had more than 1,000 fans at all 13 home games last season including a season-high 2,582 when Gonzaga defeated the University of Portland on Jan. 29. Gonzaga is already off to a strong attendance start as the Bulldogs have drawn an average of 1,608 fans over its seven home games, including a season-high 3,418 at their game against Arizona State University.

WCC OWNS NO. 1 STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: A large contributing factor in the WCC's No. 8 RPI ranking is the Conference's schedule strength. According to the Collegiate Basketball News RPI report, the WCC has clearly played the toughest schedule in the country. Gonzaga, well known for playing a demanding non-conference schedule, headlines six WCC schools ranked in the top 70 in the country in schedule strength. The Zags (9), are followed by Loyola Marymount (45), Pepperdine (49), Saint Mary's (52), Santa Clara (67), and San Francisco (70). Portland (129) and San Diego (139) rounding out the rest of the WCC schools, making the league the only Division I conference in the country with all of its member institutions in the top 140 in strength of schedule.

FROM BEHIND THE ARC: Gonzaga University senior Katy Ridenour cracked the Bulldogs career three-point Top 10 when she drained three three-pointers against the University of Utah in GU's opening game of the season. Ridenour has now drained 60 three-pointers during her career to stand in eighth place.

A HUGE WIN: Playing against its first ranked opponent of the season, the Gonzaga University women's basketball team showed what it was made of by defeating the 19th ranked UCLA Bruins 62-57 in the first round of the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Tournament. It was the Zags first victory ever over a Top-25 team. The Bulldogs currently are 1-11 against ranked opponents.

ZAGS FACED NATION'S BEST IN HAWAII: Gonzaga University took the stage with two of the nation's best programs when it played in the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic over Thanksgiving weekend. The Bulldogs defeated 2006 second round participant UCLA in their first contest of the tournament and advanced to the semifinals to play the University of North Carolina; a 2006 Final Four participant.

BULLDOGS AND THE 3-POINTER: In the Bulldogs final home game in the Martin Centre, Gonzaga witnessed its consecutive game streak with a three-pointer made come to an end against the University of San Francisco. That 0-for-6 performance against the Lady Dons ended a 222 game streak in which the Bulldogs had made at least one 3-pointer in a game. The streak started after the Bulldogs went 0-for-10 against the University of San Diego on Feb. 17, 1996. Gonzaga rebounded from that performance to knock down seven three-pointers in each of its next two games and has extended its current streak to 83 games. The Bulldogs record for three-pointers made in a game is 14 against UC Riverside on Dec. 31, 2001. Gonzaga has recorded 17 games with 10 or more three-pointers made since the three-point basket was incorporated into the college game including a 13 three-point performance against Santa Clara to open West Coast Conference play during the 2004-05 season.

SPOTTING THE OPEN PLAYER: Rachel Kane dished out a game-high six assists in the win over Montana State, bringing her team-high assist total to 50 on the season. The junior currently ranks fifth in the West Coast Conference with 3.12 assists per game, and is helping the Bulldogs lead the WCC with an average of 16.0 assists per contest as a team.

A CAREER NIGHT: Sophomore Maria Hassett had a career night against No. 13 Arizona State University. Hassett finished the contest scoring a career-high 11 points. She was 5-of-7 from the field, including a perfect 1-of-1 from behind the three-point arc. Hassett, who played 16 minutes, also grabbed four rebounds, had two steals and blocked one shot.

A TOUGH BLOW: Janelle Bekkering, one of Gonzaga University's highly recruited freshman, will medically redshirt this season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL she suffered this past summer. Before Bekkering suffered her injury, she had been one of 24 players invited to attend the Canada's Senior Women's Basketball National Team's "tryout by invitation." She was the youngest of the 24 players invited to the tryout.

INJURY REPORT: Freshman point guard Tatriana Lorenzo injured her left knee during Gonzaga University's game against UCLA in Hawaii and will be out for the rest of the season.

GONZAGA - THE NEW CLASS: The Gonzaga University women's basketball program is starting the 2007 season off on a strong note as head coach Kelly Graves has announced the signing of two players to national letters of intent. Joining the Bulldogs next fall will be Claire Raap, a 5-11 forward from Prosser High School in Prosser, Wash., and 5-8 guard Courtney Vandersloot from Kentwood High School in Kent, Wash. "The first thing people say when they see Claire compete is WOW," said Graves. "She is an incredible athlete, one with the rare combination of strength, jumping, running and coordination you just don't see very often. Claire is a hard-worker with an amazing future as a college athlete. She will continue to get better and better and the sky's the limit with her. Claire is also a tremendous young woman with great character and love for life. She's a perfect fit for our program.""Courtney is the perfect Zag," said Graves. "She has a high basketball I.Q., loves to compete and is a serious gym rat. A great leader, she is a point guard who can score but also makes others around her better. An amazing three-point shooter, she has an uncanny ability to get into the game and create for herself and others. We are thrilled that someone of Courtney's ability and character is going to be a part of our Gonzaga family."

HOME RADIO AVAILABLE: Gonzaga University will have all regular-season home games broadcast on the radio this season as Steve Myklebust returns for his third year of calling the action. Each game will be broadcast on KGA 1510 AM in Spokane with a pre-game show 20-minutes prior to tip. Games will also be available on the internet with live audio streaming on www.GoZags.com.