March 1, 2006
Game No. 30 - SAN FRANCISCOWEST COAST CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUNDThursday, Mar. 2 - 30 minutes after conclusion of 6 p.m. gameMcCarthey Athletic Center (6,000) - Spokane, WARadio - KGA 1510 AM (pre-game aprox. 8 p.m.)
GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (16-13, 11-3 West Coast) F - 30 Ashley Anderson, 6-1, Sr., Enterprise, OR (10.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.1 apg)F - 42 Stephanie Hawk, 6-3, Jr., Ontario, OR (12.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.4 apg)G - 11 Juliann Laney, 6-0, Sr., Sprague, WA (2.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.2 apg)G - 21 Katy Ridenour, 5-11, Jr., Post Falls, ID (6.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.7 apg)G - 32 Jami Bjorklund, 5-11, Fr., Spokane, WA (7.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.3 apg)HEAD COACH: Kelly Graves (University of New Mexico, 1988)GONZAGA RECORD: 96-82 (6th year); CAREER RECORD: 162-108 (9th year)
UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO DONS (8-19, 4-10 West Coast) F - 12 Dominique Carter, 5-10, So., Tracy, CA (13.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.5 apg)C - 5 Leeane Jensen, 6-3, Sr., Morro Bay, CA (5.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.1 apg)G - 11 Shay Rollins, 5-4, Fr., Encinal, CA (6.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.5 apg)G - 14 LaShaunte Stephens, 5-10, So., Fresno, CA (7.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 0.8 apg)G - 21 Nykia Peace, 5-7, So., Los Angles, CA (4.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.1 apg)HEAD COACH: Mary Hile-Nepfel (University of San Francisco, 1981USF RECORD: 269-265 (19th year); CAREER RECORD: SameSERIES RECORD: USF leads 24-15
WCC TOURNAMENT INFORMATION: The West Coast Conference Women's Tournament will kick off on Thursday afternoon at Gonzaga's McCarthey Athletic Center marking the first time the event has been played in Spokane. This year mark's the 15th year the WCC has hosted a women's tournament. Gonzaga has advanced to the WCC Tournament championship game each of the last two seasons losing in 2004 to Loyola Marymount University and last season to Santa Clara University. All eight teams will take the court on Thursday with two games in the morning session and two games in the night session. Semifinal action will start Saturday afternoon at Noon with the championship game slated for a 1 p.m. tip on Sunday. Following Thursday's action, teams will be reseeded so that the top remaining seed will play the lowest remaining seed in Saturday's semi-finals.
TWO PLAYERS NAMED ALL-WCC: Gonzaga University had two players earn first-team All-West Coast Conference as senior Ashley Anderson and junior Stephanie Hawk were first-team honorees. Anderson was an honorable mention All-WCC selection in 2004 but missed most of last season with an ACL injury. This is the first All-WCC nod for Hawk. Anderson was named the WCC Player of the Month for January and has collected six double-doubles in league play this season. She ranked fourth in scoring in WCC games with 14.6 points a game and second in rebounding in WCC games with 8.7 rebounds per game. Hawk was sixth in the WCC in conference scoring with 12.9 points per game and fourth in rebounding with 8.1 rebounds per game in WCC action. This marks the third straight year that GU has placed two players on the All-WCC first-team and seventh time overall.
BJORKLUND NAMED TO ALL-FRESHMEN TEAM: Freshman Jami Bjorklund became the first Gonzaga player in 13 years to earn All-Freshmen team recognition as she was named to the All-WCC Freshmen team. Gonzaga's last All-Freshmen honoree was Benibel Carrion in 1993. Bjorklund averaged 8.3 points a game during WCC play to rank third among conference freshmen for WCC scoring. Jontelle Smith of Saint Mary's was the league's top scoring freshman at 11.6 points per game. Bjorklund finished the regular-season as the Bulldogs top 3-point shooter at 46 percent hitting 23-of-50. She did not make enough 3-pointers during the season to qualify for the WCC leaders.
HEAD COACH Kelly Graves: Kelly Graves is in his sixth season as the head coach at Gonzaga University having built the Bulldogs into an annual West Coast Conference contender. After winning just 5 games his first season, Graves guided the Bulldogs to their first regular-season title since 1988 last year 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. 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 96-82 record. He has twice been named the WCC Coach of the Year at Gonzaga (2003 & 2005) and boasts a 162-108 career record including 76-50 in WCC action.
SCOUTING THE SAN FRANCISCO DONS: Gonzaga faces the University of San Francisco for the second time in less than a week when the two teams meet in the opening round of the West Coast Conference Tournament on Thursday. Gonzaga handed the Dons a 71-53 loss on Saturday afternoon as the Bulldogs clinched a share of their second straight WCC regular-season crown. With the win Gonzaga swept the season series against USF for the second straight year. USF finished the year winning two of its last four games picking up wins over Portland and San Diego to close out the year 8-19, 4-10 in the WCC. Dominique Carter is the Dons best offensive weapon averaging 13.3 points a game. Danae Wellander has had the most success against GU this season with 10 points a game.
QUICK HITS ON THE REST OF THE WCC TOURNEY FIELD: Gonzaga will play the last game of the day on Thursday's opening round and should the Bulldogs win, they will already know their second round opponent. Gonzaga's three losses this season have all come on the road losing games at Santa Clara, Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine, the other three top seeds in the WCC Tournament. Teams will be re-seeded following Thursday's action with the highest remaining seed playing the lowest remaining seed. Gonzaga has not lost to a WCC opponent in the McCarthey Athletic Center in the two year existence of the building with the closest game a seven point win over Portland earlier this year.
BULLDOGS AND THE WCC TOURNAMENT: This will be Gonzaga's 13th appearance in the West Coast Conference Tournament and their fourth appearance as a No. 2 seed. The Bulldogs have advanced to the WCC Tournament Championship game each of the last two seasons losing in 2004 to Loyola Marymount and last year to Santa Clara. Gonzaga also fell in the 1994 championship game to Portland. The Bulldogs have earned bids to the WNIT following all three championship game losses. Gonzaga is 4-12 all-time at the WCC Tournament and San Diego remains the only team GU has not faced in the tournament.
BACK-T0-BACK TITLES: Gonzaga University became the seventh team to win back-to-back WCC regular-season titles since the league adopted women's basketball in 1986. Pepperdine and Santa Clara have both accomplished 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 1991-1994 seasons.
HOSTS AS TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS: The host of the West Coast Conference women's tournament has won the championship three times in the previous 14 years of the events existence. Each time the champion has been Santa Clara including last year's 77-66 win over the Bulldogs. Gonzaga has won 24 of 25 games in the McCarthey Athletic Center including a 14-0 record against WCC opponents.
BULLDOGS HOME COURT ADVANTAGE: Gonzaga University has developed one of the best home court advantages in the country since moving into the McCarthey Athletic Center for the 2005 season. The Gonzaga women are 24-1 in the building including a 10-1 record this season. Gonzaga has won 9 straight homes game to unofficially rank 12th in longest active home court winning streaks. The NCAA does not list teams with less then 10 straight home wins and Stanford University and Stephen F. Austin University are currently tied for 10th with 10 straight home wins. LSU has the nation's longest active home court win streak at 30 games. Gonzaga's last home conference loss was the final game of the 2004 season as San Francisco defeated GU in the final game in the Martin Centre.
BULLDOGS ENTER ON A ROLL: While not the 21-game win streak the Bulldogs entered last year's WCC Tournament on, Gonzaga does have a six game win streak rolling into the WCC Tournament this year. The Bulldogs six game streak is the longest active streak in the WCC as all other teams had at least one loss over the weekend. San Diego, Saint Mary's and Santa Clara all picked up wins on Saturday to enter with a minor win streak. The Bulldogs six game win streak is their longest of the season with their two other win streaks this season both three game win streaks. Gonzaga has also been playing well over the past month winning nine of their last 10 games to finish the season 11-3 in the WCC.
CO-CHAMPS: This year marks the fifth time that the WCC has had co-champions of its regular-season after Gonzaga and Santa Clara each finished with 11-3 WCC record. The last time it happened was in 2001 when Saint Mary's and Santa Clara each had 11-3 records to split the title. One of those five shared championships was a three-way tie during the 1992 season when Santa Clara, San Francisco and Portland all split the title. This year's race was also almost a three-way tie as three teams entered the final day tied for the conference lead, LMU was defeated by Saint Mary's to hand Gonzaga and Santa Clara the co-title.
BAILEY NEEDS FOUR FOR 600: Senior Anne Bailey needs four more rebounds to become the 10th player in Gonzaga school history to crack the 600 rebound mark for her career. Bailey is averaging 5.6 rebounds per game but missed the first nine games of the WCC season with `mono', which has effected her chase for 600. Bailey was also chasing the 1,000 career point mark and enters the WCC Tournament with 912 career points.
HAWK ALSO STARS IN THE CLASSROOM: Junior Stephanie Hawk has also excelled in the classroom as she was named to the All-WCC Academic team. Hawk holds a 3.59 in business administration and was named to the ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA All-District VIII Academic Third Team earlier this year.
DOUBLE-DOUBLES IN THE POST: The low post tandem of Ashley Anderson and Stephanie Hawk combined for 10 double-doubles during the West Coast Conference season as Gonzaga won its second straight WCC regular-season title. Anderson had six in league play including five in her first seven games. Hawk had four in WCC action including a three-in-a-row over the Bulldogs final four games. Twice during the year Anderson and Hawk each finished with a double-double in the same game, during the WCC opener against Santa Clara and a recent home win over Pepperdine. Anderson narrowly missed three more double-doubles finishing with double figure scoring or rebounding and only 9 points/rebounds on three occasions. Hawk also missed two more double-doubles with double figures in one category and 9 in the other.
ZAGS GETTING HEALTHY FOR WCC TOURNEY: After fighting through a spree of injuries during the regular-season, Gonzaga appears to be nearly healthy as they Bulldogs host this year's WCC Women's Tournament. Gonzaga played its first nine WCC games without senior Anne Bailey who was averaging 10.7 points prior to suffering a case of `mono'. Bailey has returned to score in double figures in the Bulldogs final two regular-season games. GU also lost the services of freshman point guard Sasha Polishchuck for seven league games due to a stress fracture. Polishchuck played one minute during Saturday's win at USF hitting a pair of free throws. Gonzaga has also lost the services of Dominique Harris, Juliann Laney and Simone Santos for several games over the course of the season due to injury. The Bulldogs started the season with the injury bug hitting junior point guard Rachel Kane with a season-ending knee injury. Only Stephanie Hawk, Ashley Anderson, Jami Bjorklund and Katy Ridenour have played in all 29 games this season for Gonzaga.
BULLDOGS SIGN SIX NEW PLAYERS: Gonzaga head coach Kelly Graves announced the signing of six new players that will join the Bulldogs team for the 2006-07 season. Signing national letters of intent with the Bulldogs were Janelle Bekkering, Heather Bowman, Michelle Elliott, Vivian Frieson, Simone Jordan and Tatriana Lorenzo. Bekkering is a 6-0 guard/forward at W.R. Myers High in Taber, Alberta, Canada. Bowman is a 6-2 forward from Spokane's Lewis and Clark High. Elliott is 5-11 guard from Pasco, Wash., who played two seasons at San Diego State University before attending Columbia Basin College for classes this season. Frieson is a 6-0 forward from Seattle's Garfield High. Jordan is a 5-10 guard from Franklin High in Portland. Lorenzo is a 5-7 point guard from Kamahameha High in Honolulu.
BULLDOGS AND THE 3-POINTER: In the Bulldogs final home game in the Martin Centre, Gonzaga witnessed its consecutive game streak with a 3-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 3-pointers in each of its next two games and has extended its current streak to 66 games. The Bulldogs record for 3-pointers made in a game is 14 against UC Riverside on Dec. 31, 2001. Gonzaga has recorded 17 games with 10 or more 3-pointers made since the 3-point basket was incorporated into the college game including a 13 3-point performance against Santa Clara last season to open West Coast Conference play.
LANEY MAKES A POINT: Senior Juliann Laney has been a jack of all trades during her five years at Gonzaga. As a freshman she was part of head coach Kelly Graves first big recruiting class averaging 5.7 points a game with 6 starts. After battling through injuries her next two seasons, Laney emerged last season as a pivotal role player when she stepped in as the team's defensive stopper replacing the injured Ashley Anderson. This season she has once again assumed another key role for the Zags stepping in at the point guard position the last five games. She closed out the year with a career-high 7 assists at San Francisco.
RIDENOUR CHASES RECORD BOOK: Junior Katy Ridenour has a chance to crack into the Bulldogs career 3-point Top 10 this weekend as she needs just 3 long balls to tie Erin Bergman for 10th place. Ridenour led GU with 31 3-pointers this year and was sixth in the WCC in 3-point shooting percentage.
HARRIS PROVIDES A WCC SPARK: Sophomore Dominique Harris helped provide a spark in several WCC contests this year as her athletic play has been a welcome addition to the Bulldogs defense. Harris has increased her productivity in WCC contests averaging 5.4 points per game in league contests. She had her break out performance in the WCC opener against Santa Clara with 13 points and 7 rebounds.
BULLDOGS SLAP ON THE `D': While the offense has not always been pretty this season, the defense definitely has been solid. The Bulldogs led the WCC in defense allowing conference opponents to only score 54.4 points per game. Gonzaga only allowed three league opponents to score more than 60 points this season. In five games Gonzaga allowed less than 45 points including a season-low 38 by Pepperdine on Feb. 18. Gonzaga held league opponents to shooting only 35.9 percent from the floor. The Bulldogs held opponents to 60.3 points per game and 36.9 percent shooting for all games. Gonzaga also ranked second in rebound margin behind Loyola Marymount. The Bulldogs averaged a plus 2.6 rebound margin in WCC games and a plus 3.2 margin in all games combined for the season.