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Women's Basketball Hosts Portland Saturday

Jan. 23, 2008

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Game No. 20 - UNIVERSITY OF PORTLAND
Saturday, January 26 - 2 p.m.
McCarthey Athletic Center - Spokane, Wash.
TV: KAYU, Gametracker:
www.GoZags.com , Radio: 1510 AM

GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (13-6, 4-0 West Coast)
F - 30 Heather Bowman, 6-2, So., Spokane, WA
     (19.4 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.1 spg)
F - 44 Vivian Frieson, 6-0, So., Seattle, WA
     (8.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg)
G - 21 Courtney Vandersloot, 5-8, Fr., Kent, WA
     (9.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 5.5 apg)
G - 31 Michelle Elliott, 5-11, Sr., Pasco, WA
     (10.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.9 apg)
G - 32 Jami Bjorklund, 5-11, Jr., Spokane, WA
     (10.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.0 apg)
HEAD COACH: Kelly Graves (University of New Mexico, 1988)
GONZAGA RECORD: 133-99 (8th year); CAREER RECORD: 199-125 (11th year)

UNIVERSITY OF PORTLAND PILOTS (12-7, 2-2 West Coast)
F - 22 Karlie Burris, 5-11, Jr., Tucson, AZ
     (6.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.1 apg)
F - 32 Allyson Sievers, 6-2, Jr., Kent, WA
     (6.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.1 apg)
C - 50 Rachel Warren, 6-3, Sr., Brisbane, Australia
     (10.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.9 bpg)
G - 3 Kendra Morris, 5-6, So., Torrance, CA
     (9.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.8 apg)
G - 14 Laiken Dollente, 5-8, So., Yakima, WA
     (15.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.9 apg)
HEAD COACH: Jim Sollars (Seattle Pacific University, 1966)
UP RECORD: 297-325 (22nd year); CAREER RECORD: 474-407 (32nd Year)


UP NEXT: The Gonzaga University women's basketball team welcomes the University of Portland to the McCarthey Atheltic Center on Saturday, Jan. 26. The West Coast Conference match-up is set for 2 p.m. and can be seen on KAYU.

LIVE VIDEO COVERAGE: All home Gonzaga University women's basketball contests can be seen live on CSTV's all-access through GoZags.com. Check out the the women's basketball schedule page for the link to the video broadcast. Gametracker is also available for all home games and can be accessed at GoZags.com

ON THE RADIO: Gonzaga University will have all regular-season home games broadcast on the radio this season as Steve Myklebust returns for his fourth 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 at GoZags.com.   

TICKET INFORMATION: Single game tickets to Gonzaga University women's basketball can be purchased through TicketsWest at 325-SEAT (7328), TicketsWest.com, at any TicketsWest outlet, or at the McCarthey Athletic Center Ticket Office, Monday through Friday, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Women's Basketball Ticket Prices are as follows: $7-Reserved $5-General Admission Adult; $3-General Admission Child (12 and under), or Senior (65 and over); Gonzaga Students, Faculty & Staff are free with a valid Gonzaga ID.

ZAGS HOME TV SCHEDULE: The Gonzaga University women's basketball team will have nine home games televised this season. The Bulldogs will have eight broadcasted locally and one nationally. The Zags will appear nationally on ESPNU and locally on KAYU, KHQ and GU TV this season.

BULLDOGS STAY PERFECT IN WEST COAST CONFERENCE PLAY: Sophomore Heather Bowman had 23 points and eight rebounds and junior Jami Bjorklund registered 14 points as the Gonzaga University women's basketball squad defeated the University of San Francisco, 74-70, in a West Coast Conference battle of the undefeated Saturday afternoon. With the win the Bulldogs improved to 13-6 overall and stayed perfect in the WCC at 4-0. The Dons fell to 11-7 on the season and 2-1 in conference. Bowman hit 9-of-12 from the field and hit all five of her free throws. Along with her eight rebounds, four of which were offensive, Bowman added one assist and one steal. Freshman Courtney Vandersloot had 11 points and a game-high seven assists and sophomore Vivian Frieson scored eight points and brought down a game and career-high 16 rebounds for the Bulldogs, who have a five-game win streak. Gonzaga, which never trailed in the contest, held the 13 point lead at halftime and used a 10-5 spurt to open up an 18 point advantage, 52-34, early in the second half. San Francisco, trailing 58-42 with 11:35 left in the contest, held Gonzaga scoreless for the next five minutes to pull within two at 58-56 at the 5:56 mark. The Bulldogs were 0-of-6 from the field over the five minute span, including 0-of-3 on three-pointers, and turned the ball over three times. The Dons were 5-of-9 during their run, including 1-for-1 from behind the three-point arc and sank 3-of-4 free throws. Vandersloot finally ended the Zag dry spell by hitting two free throws at 5:44. Gonzaga extended its lead to seven, 65-58, after a layup by Bowman followed by a three-pointer by Bjorklund at 4:29. The Dons stayed close, cutting the game to a one possession contest four times under the final 3:30. Vandersloot was the key for the Bulldogs down the stretch as she converted an old fashion three-point play and then hit one of two free throws in a 17-second sequence to give Gonzaga a six point lead with 33 ticks left in the contest. San Francisco's Necolia Simmons drained a three-pointer with 20 seconds left to cut USF's deficit to just three, 73-70, but Gonzaga's Michelle Elliott hit one of two free throws to seal the four-point Bulldog victory. The Zags shot over 50.0 percent from the field for the second-consecutive contest, hitting 51.8 percent (29-56) of their shots. GU held a commanding 40-29 advantage on the boards, but was sloppy with the ball as it turned it over 18 times. The Dons were led by Simmons who registered a double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds. Dominique Carter, the WCC's leading scorer at 19.0 points per game, was held to just seven points on 3-of-5 shooting. San Francisco hit 41.8 percent (28-67) of its shots, dished out 15 assists and only turned the ball over eight times. 

SCOUTING THE PILOTS: The University of Portland currently holds a 12-6 overall record and a 2-2 mark in West Coast Conference action. The Pilots are tied for fourth in the WCC. UP is coming off a thrilling 76-75 overtime victory over the University of San Diego. Portland is led by Laiken Dollente who is averaging 15.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists per contest. The Pilots are coach by Jim Sollars who is in his 22nd year.

ALL-TIME AGAINST PORTLAND: Gonzaga University leads the all-time series against the University of Portland 28-26 and has won the last 13 meetings dating back to the 2002 campaign.The last time the Pilots defeated the Bulldogs was Jan. 31, 2002 by the score of 62-59. Gonzaga head coach Kelly Graves, a former Portland assistant, has only lost to the Pilots three times during his tenure; which were the first three meetings after he took over the Bulldog program in 2000-01.

LOOKING FOR NUMBER FOUR: The Gonzaga University women's basketball team is looking to capture its fourth-straight West Coast Conference regular-season championship and second-straight WCC Tournament title. The Bulldogs, who are 38-4 over the past three WCC seasons, are coming off a 13-1 WCC campaign in 2006-07. Of the four losses during the past three seasons, two have been to Pepperdine University and one to both Loyola Marymount University and Santa Clara University. Last year's lone loss was to the Waves showcased on ESPNU. 

STRONG START: The Gonzaga University women's basketball squad closed out the regular-season non-conference portion of its schedule with a 9-6 record. It is the best start to a Bulldog season in three years. Last  season, playing against some tough competition, the Zags finished their non-conference schedule at 8-8. In 2005-06, Gonzaga was 5-10 during non-conference.The 2004-05 season the Bulldogs had their best non-conference record during head coach Kelly Graves tenure, closing out the first part of the year at 11-2. 

BOWMAN RETURNS: Sophomore forward Heather Bowman returned to the Gonzaga University women's basketball lineup Thursday, Jan. 3 and scored a game-tying high 14 points to help the Bulldogs defeat Saint Joseph's University 67-43 at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse in Philadelphia, Penn. Bowman, who missed five games with a broken left hand, was one of four players to finish in double-digit points for the Zags. Bowman jumped back in full force getting the starting nod after a three-week layoff due to a spiral fracture of her left hand. She played 19 minutes for the Bulldogs, hitting 5-of-8 from the floor and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the charity stripe. Bowman also grabbed three rebounds in the victory. Bowman has averaged 16.2 points and 6.0 rebounds per game over the five games since she's been back. She also has hit an impressive 64.7% (33-51) of her shots and 93.8% (15-16) from the charity stripe.

FREE THROWS: Gonzaga University is struggling with its free throws on the road this season but is nearly opposite at home in the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs are shooting a dismal 68.2% at the charity stripe on the road, hitting only 107 of 157 attempts. The Zags at home at the McCarthey Athletic Center are sinking 76.7% of their free throws, draining 115 of their 150 attempts. In West Coast Conference games, Gonzaga is hitting 76.7% (56-73) at the charity stripe.

SHOOTING STARS: The Gonzaga University women's basketball squad has had a strong shooting season so far in 2007-08. The Bulldogs are currently shooting 44.7% (552-1235) from the field over their 19 games, including four 50.0% or higher shooting nights and 16 40.0% or higher shooting games. Gonzaga is hitting 45.5% (245-539) from the field at home contests, 44.1% (307-696) on the road and 45.2% (113-250) in West Coast Conference games. 

ELLIOTT SETS TREY RECORD IN ROAD WIN: Senior Michelle Elliott hit a single-game school record nine 3-pointers and finished with career-high 31 points to lead the Gonzaga University women's basketball team to a 75-63 victory over Sacramento State University Saturday, Dec. 8. Elliott, who hit three 3-pointers in the first half and drained six in the second stanza, broke the 14-year old Bulldog single-game three-pointer record held by Ivy Safranski. Safranski hit eight 3-pointers in a 105-69 victory over Northeast Louisiana on March 26, 1994 during the WNIT. Elliott closed out contest hitting 11-of-16 from the floor, including 9-of-12 three-pointers. Elliott's previous best was 25 scored as a sophomore at San Diego State University during the 2004-05 season. Her Bulldog career-high was 22 scored against Sacramento State last season. Her nine 3-pointers is tied for the second most hit in a single-game this season in NCAA Division I. Heather Ezell, of Iowa State University, hit 10 three-pointers on Nov. 18 against Sacramento State.

NATIONAL STATISTICS: Gonzaga University women's basketball players Courtney Vandersloot and Michelle Elliott are both ranked in the top of the nation in multiple statistical categories as of Jan. 20.  Vandersloot is 23rd in the nation is assists per game averaging 5.5, while Elliott is 50th in three-point field goal percentage (40.4). Claire Faucher, of Portland State University, is leading the nation in assists with 8.6 per contest and Gretchen Gregg of Cornell University is the leading three-point shooter at 51.9. Gonzaga University as a team is also ninth in the nation in assists per contest, averaging 17.6, and 13th in scoring offense at 76.3 points per contest. The University of Connecticut leads the nation in team assists with 22.1 per game, while the University of North Carolina is the top scoring team at 89.4. Sophomore Heather Bowman would be ranked in points per game, but because she missed five games due to an injury, she has not played in 75 percent of Gonzaga's contests.

BOWMAN NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Gonzaga University women's basketball player Heather Bowman has been named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week as announced by the conference office. Bowman helped Gonzaga hold on to its lead atop the WCC standings as the sophomore averaged 24.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in road wins at the University of San Diego and the University of San Francisco over the weekend. Bowman poured in 26 points and pulled down five rebounds in Thursday's victory over the Toreros and followed that performance up with a 23 point, eight rebound output in the Zags win over the Dons. Bowman shot 19-of-25 (76.0%) from the field and was near perfect from the charity stripe, hitting 11-of-12 (91.7%) from the free throw line on the week. This is Bowman's third WCC Player of the Week accolade this season and the Bulldogs fourth overall. Senior Michelle Elliott was also named WCC Player of the Week once this season.

HEAD COACH Kelly Graves: Kelly Graves is in his eighth 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 three-straight West Coast Conference regular-season titles. This past season he added a WCC Tournament championship and the Zags inaugural berth in the NCAA Tournament to his GU highlights. Gonzaga finished the 2006-07 season with a 24-10 overall record and a 13-1 record in the WCC; which helped Graves garner WCC Co-Coach of the Year honors. Graves is currently the school's career wins leader with a 133-99 record. He has been named the WCC Coach of the Year at Gonzaga three times (2003 & 2005 & 2007) and boasts a 199-125 career record including 89-51 in WCC action.

LOOKING FOR 200: Gonzaga University head basketball coach Kelly Graves is one win shy of earning his 200th career victory. Graves, in his eighth year as the Bulldogs head coach, currently boasts a 199-125 career record over his 11 seasons as a Division I head coach.   

DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Gonzaga University sophomore Heather Bowman has registered five double-doubles on the season and now has nine career double-doubles to her credit. Bowman scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in GU's victory over the University of Nevada and then followed that up with a season-high 25 points, along with 11 rebounds in the Zags victory over the University of Montana. In GU's setback at Arizona State University, Bowman scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds; both game-highs. In the second game of the ASU Classic Bowman had 15 points and a game-high 14 boards; one shy of tying her career-high, against UC Riverside. Bowman's latest double-double was a 23 point, 12 rebound effort in a 71-58 victory over UC Davis.

DOUBLE-DIGIT POINTS: Heather Bowman has scored in double-digit points in 13 of 14 Gonzaga University contests she has played in and has also been the overall leading scorer in nine of the 14 games. Of her 12 double-figure performances, eight have been 20+ point games. Bowman has now posted 35 double-figure scoring games over her two seasons with the Zags, including 16 of 18 double-figure contests in West Coast Conference games.   

TRUE FRESHMAN: True freshman Courtney Vandersloot, of the Gonzaga University women's basketball team, has had a strong start to her collegiate career. Vandersloot, who has played in all 19 games, getting the starting nod the last 12 games, is leading the team in assists, averaging 5.5 per game. She has dished out four or more assists in 15 Zag games, including a career-high 10 against the University of Washington on Nov. 12. Vandersloot is also averaging 9.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.

CRASHING THE BOARDS: Gonzaga University sophomore Vivian Frieson grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds in the Bulldogs 74-70 victory at the University of San Francisco. Frieson's previous career-high was eight brought down on two different occasions. The 16 rebounds was also the highest GU single-game rebounding output in six seasons. The last time a Zag had 16 or more rebounds was Feb. 22, 2003 when Anne Bailey finished with 20 against the University of Portland.

WCC PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Gonzaga University women's basketball sophomore Heather Bowman was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Month for November. Bowman led Gonzaga to a 4-2 record during the month of November, averaging 20.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game through the season's first month. The forward shot 53.3% (48-90) from the field, and hit 29 of her 33 attempts (87.9%) from the free throw line. Bowman also posted three double-doubles during the month, beginning with a 25-point, 11-rebound effort in a win over the University of Nevada on Nov. 17 The Spokane native then poured in 20 points and 11 boards against the University of Montana on Nov. 19, and finished off the month with 20 points and 11 rebounds at then-No. 14 ranked Arizona State University Nov. 30. Bowman, who garnered WCC Player of the Week honors twice during the month, was the overall leading scorer in each of the six games during November. 

FIRST TIME: Junior guard Jami Bjorklund posted her first collegiate double-double in Gonzaga University's 91-72 victory over the University of Washington, Nov. 12. Bjorklund finished the game with 17 points and 10 rebounds; six of which were offensive.

CAREER-HIGH: Junior guard Jami Bjorklund is third on the team in rebounds per game, averaging 5.2 per contest. The Spokane native has had double-figure rebounds in two contests this season, including a career-high 13 boards against UC Riverside on Dec. 2. Her previous best was 10 brought down in Gonzaga University's opening contest against the University of Washington, Nov. 12.

BJORKLUND SHOWDOWN: The hype heading into the Gonzaga University and University Tennessee women's basketball game centered around the Bjorklund sisters from Spokane, Wash.. Facing off against each other for the first time in their playing careers, Angie scored a team-high 23 points to help the Lady Vols to a 93-73 victory over unranked Gonzaga. Older sister Jami had 19 points for the Bulldogs.

Elaina Renius SUITS UP: Gonzaga University two-sport athlete Elaina Renius suited up in a women's basketball jersey for the first time this season and for the first time in nearly two years on Nov. 19. Renius, who played basketball her first two seasons at GU (2004-05, 2005-06), has played volleyball for the past two years (2006 & 2007). The Zag volleyball season ended on Saturday, Nov. 17 with a 3-0 loss to WCC rival the University of San Francisco and two days later Renius was suited up and ready to play basketball. Renius' first game action game was against Arizona State University. She played 19 minutes, scored two points, grabbed four rebounds, made three steals, blocked one shot and had one assist. 

SCORING 1,000 POINTS: Senior Michelle Elliott hit the 1,000-point plateau against Sacramento State University Dec. 8. The guard came into the season with 904 total points and has scored 198 points this season to up her career point total to 1,102. Elliott played her first two collegiate seasons at San Diego State University registering 549 points over those two years. Last season, in her first year with Gonzaga University, Elliott posted 315 total points.

MAKING HER MARK: After sitting out a year after transferring to Gonzaga University, sophomore guard Tiffanie Shives is finally settling in. The transfer from Michigan State is averaging 8.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and  1.5 assists per game. She also has hit 34 three-pointers this season; second-best on the squad. Shives earned her first starting nod against UC Davis Dec. 6 and shined in the debut. The guard finished with 15 points, hitting 5-of-9 from the floor, including 3-of-7 from beyond the three-point arc. She also had eight rebounds in the Bulldogs first road victory.

THREE STARTERS RETURN: This year the Gonzaga University Bulldogs return three starters from the 2006-07 squad that made its inaugural appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Returning to the mix is senior guard Rachel Kane, junior guard Jami Bjorklund and sophomore forward Heather Bowman. Kane played in all 34 games, getting the starting nod 22 times. She averaged 4.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and a team-best 3.9 assists per contest. Bjorklund started 28 games for the Bulldogs and averaged 9.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Bowman, the WCC Newcomer of the Year, played and started in all 34 games for the Zags. She averaged 13.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game as a freshman.