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Zags Look To Win Sixth-Straight

Jan. 16, 2007

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Game No. 21 - UNIVERSITY oF PORTLANDSaturday, January 20 - 3 p.m.McCarthey Athletic Center (6,000) - Spokane, WATV: KHQ, Radio: KGA 1510 AM

GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (12-8, 4-0 WCC)F - 30 Heather Bowman, 6-2, Fr., Spokane, WA (11.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg)F - 42 Stephanie Hawk, 6-3, Sr., Ontario, OR (14.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.3 bpg)G - 12 Rachel Kane, 5-7, Jr., Kaneohe, HI (3.7 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.5 apg)G - 21 Katy Ridenour, 5-11, Sr., Post Falls, ID (5.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg)G - 32 Jami Bjorklund, 5-11, So., Spokane, WA (9.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg)HEAD COACH: Kelly Graves (University of New Mexico, 1988)GONZAGA RECORD: 108-90 (7th year);CAREER RECORD: 174-116 (10th year)

UNIVERSITY OF PORTLAND PILOTS (8-11, 0-4 WCC)F - 32 Allyson Sievers, 6-2, So., Kent, WA (6.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg)C - 50 Rachel Warren, 6-3, Jr., Brisbane, Australia (10.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg)G - 10 Kendra Morris, 5-6, Fr., Torrance, CA (6.6 ppg, 1.6 rpg)G - 14 Laiken Dollente, 5-8, Fr., Yakima, WA (15.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.0 apg)G - 35 Mackenzie Larson, 5-8, Fr., Pendleton, OR (0.8 ppg, 0.9 rpg)HEAD COACH: Jim Sollars (Seattle Pacific University, 1966)UP RECORD: 283-309 (21st year);CAREER RECORD: 460-391 (31st year)

TOP STORY: The Gonzaga University women's basketball team closes out a three-game West Coast Conference homestand when it welcomes the University of Portland to the McCarthey Athletic Center on Saturday, Jan. 20. The Bulldogs will face off against the Pilots at 3 p.m..The Zags are looking to win its sixth-straight and fifth-straight WCC game.

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 108-90 record. He has twice been named the WCC Coach of the Year at Gonzaga (2003 & 2005) and boasts a 174-116 career record including 809-50 in WCC action.

SCOUTING THE PILOTS: Portland dropped to 0-4 in league play after falling to Saint Mary's and Santa Clara at the Chiles Center over the weekend. Laiken Dollente went 8-for-8 from the free throw line en route to a team-high 16 points in UP's loss to Santa Clara. The freshman, who ranks second in the WCC with 15.9 points per game, leads the conference with an .883 (113-for-128) free throw percentage. Rachel Warren continued her dominance in the post, blocking four shots and pulling down 14 rebounds this past weekend. The junior currently leads the WCC with 2.42 blocks and 7.7 rebounds per game. As a team, Portland leads the conference in blocked shots with an average of 4.95 per game.

BREAKING 1,000: Gonzaga University senior Stephanie Hawk became only the 12th player in women's basketball history to score 1,000 points. Hawk needed just two points going into GU's contest against Santa Clara to eclipse 1,000. She finished with a career and game-high 33 points and now has scored 1,038 points over her career.

LOOKING FOR 600: 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 547 rebounds to her credit and is looking to be only the 11th player to grab over 600 rebounds and only the sixth player to score 1,000 and pull down 600.

HIGH SCORING AFFAIR: Gonzaga University's 85 points scored in its 85-49 lopsided victory over Saint Mary's on Jan. 13 is the highest Bulldog West Coast Conference scoring game in 28 contests. The last time the Zags scored 85 or more points in conference was their WCC season-opener during the 2004-05 season when it defeated Santa Clara 85-50.

TAG TEAM: Senior Stephanie Hawk and freshman Heather Bowman were the strength behind Gonzaga University's 78-73 overtime victory over Santa Clara University on Jan. 11. Hawk and Bowman combined for 42 of GU's 50 points over the second half and overtime session.

TAKING OVER THE GAME: Senior Stephanie Hawk scored 29 of her game and career-high 33 points over the final two periods of Gonzaga University's thrilling 78-73 overtime win against Santa Clara. Her previous career best was 28 scored against Northwestern on Dec. 12, 2005. Hawk's 33 points is the highest individual point total of the season for GU and the fifth-highest point total in Bulldog women's basketball history.

SOLID DEFENSE: Sophomore Jami Bjorklund and senior Katy Ridenour were superb in defending the nation's leading three-point shooter and the WCC's leading scorer Chandice Cronk of Santa Clara University. Cronk, who was averaging 17.8 points per game coming into the contest and 4.0 three-pointers per game, was limited to just one point in Gonzaga University 78-73 overtime victory. Cronk finished 0-6 from the field, including 0-5 from behind the three-point arc. Her only point came when she hit one of two free throws.

FEWEST POINTS ALLOWED: When Gonzaga University earned its win over Pepperdine University on Jan. 7 by limiting the Waves to just 35 points it was the lowest point total the Bulldogs had held a conference opponent to in school history. It also was the second lowest point total allowed by an away team ever in a West Coast Conference game. The lowest point total scored by a home team is 30 scored by Loyola Marymount against San Francisco during the 1988 season.

TWO-STRAIGHT DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Stephanie Hawk helped the Gonzaga University women's basketball team to a great start in West Coast Conference play, as the Zags earned a pair of road wins over preseason WCC favorites Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine. The senior posted double-doubles in each of the Gonzaga wins, and averaged 13.5 points and 11.5 boards on the weekend. Hawk scored 12 points with 13 rebounds in GU's 60-56 win at LMU, and followed up that performance with a 15 point, 10 rebound effort in Sunday's 58-35 victory at Pepperdine. The Ontario, OR native also pitched in with seven blocks and three steals in the two wins. For the season, Hawk has fivedouble-doubles to her credit.

SCORING 20: Heather Bowman dropped in 20 points in both of Gonzaga's wins over Santa Clara University and Saint Mary's College, marking the fifth and sixth straight games in which the freshman has scored in double figures. Bowman, who has scored in double-figures 11 times this season, is averaging 11.3 points per game this season.

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 was 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.

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 20 GU games this season, including 14 starts. She is averaging 9.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 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 12 out of GU's 20 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 11.4 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 she has collected five blocks in game. Hawk, who leads the West Coast Conference with 46 blocks, moved ahead of former Gonzaga standout Juanita Rivera (1991-94) into second place on the GU career blocks chart with 136.

WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Gonzaga University senior forward Stephanie Hawk has been named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week twice this season. Hawk earned her second honor of the season this week after scoring 12 points with grabbing 13 rebounds in GU's 60-56 win at LMU, and chipping in 15 points and 10 rebounds in the Zags 58-35 victory at Pepperdine. Hawk also pitched in with seven blocks and three steals in the two wins. Her first Player of the Week nod came on Nov. 13 after she averaged 21.0 points and 8.5 rebounds over the first weekend of the 2006-07 season. 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.

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.

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 1,521 fans over its nine 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 67 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 87 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 Gonzaga University's win over Saint Mary's College, bringing her team-high assist total to 70 on the season. The junior currently ranks fourth in the West Coast Conference with 3.50 assists per game, and is helping the Bulldogs average 16.45 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.

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.