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WCC Women's Basketball Opens 2009-10 Season this Weekend

Nov. 11, 2009

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The 2009-10 women's basketball season will get underway this weekend as six of the eight schools will open their season. Santa Clara has already begun its campaign with a 73-43 win over Sonoma State in its opener. San Francisco will tip of its season next week. This week features matchups against two teams from last years NCAA Tournament as the Zags travel to South Dakota State and the Broncos head to Iowa.



Loyola Marymount at Southern Methodist Dallas, TX
3:30 PM
Gonzaga at South Dakota State Brookings, SD
5:00 PM
Northern Arizona at Pepperdine Malibu, CA
5:00 PM
Idaho State at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA
6:00 PM

Santa Clara at Iowa (Hawkeye Challenge) Iowa City, IA
10:00 AM
Eastern Washington at Portland Portland, OR
5:00 PM
San Diego at UC San Diego San Diego, CA
5:00 PM

Santa Clara vs. UCLA/Illinois St. (Hawkeye Challenge) Iowa City, IA
10:00 AM/12:30 PM


Gonzaga Picked as the Favorite in WCC Preseason Coaches Poll
The Gonzaga Bulldogs have been selected as the preseason favorite to win the WCC title this year, receiving seven out of the eight first place votes, for 49 points, as voted on by the league head coaches. The Zags edged out Loyola Marymount, who received the remaining first place vote and totaled 40 points. Coming in a close third to the Lions was Pepperdine with 34 points. In the middle of the pack were Portland, with 31 points for a fourth place finish, and Saint Mary's, who received 29 points for the fifth spot. San Diego finished just behind the Gaels, with 22 points for sixth place. Rounding out the poll are San Francisco and Santa Clara, who tied for seventh with 10 points each.

2009-10 WCC Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Gonzaga - 49 (7)
2. Loyola Marymount - 39 (1)
3. Pepperdine - 34
4. Portland - 31
5. Saint Mary's - 29
6. San Diego - 22
7. San Francisco - 10
Santa Clara - 10

2009-10 WCC Women's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team
Miranda Ayim, PEP
Heather Bowman, GON
Dominique Conners, USD
Alex Cowling, LMU
Laiken Dollente, POR
Vivian Frieson, GON
Lena Gipson, SCU
Jontelle Smith, SMC
Louella Tomlinson, SMC
Courtney Vandersloot, GON
Renahy Young, LMU

Three Conference Games Slated For National TV Broadcasts
This season, three WCC women's basketball games will appear on national TV on the CBS College Network as well as ESPNU. Two of the games will air on the CBS College Network, with the WCC Tournament championship game from Las Vegas airing on ESPNU.

WCC Women's Hoops Television Schedule

Feb. 18Loyola Marymount at Gonzaga - 8:00 pm (PT) CBS College Sports
Feb. 27San Diego at Pepperdine - 7:00 pm (PT) CBS College Sports
Mar. 8WCC Tournament Championship - 12:00 pm (PT) ESPNU

WCC Extends Reach Overseas
Several WCC players and coaches decided not to take the summer off and instead took their games overseas. Gonzaga's Janelle Bekkering took the last spot on Canada's Senior Women's National Team, beating out 15 other players selected to tryout. This gave her a chance to play in the FIBA Americas Championships. Saint Mary's Louella Tomlinson played for Australia in this year's World University Games, where she helped her team win a Bronze Medal against the Czech Republic. Dons' Head Coach Tanya Haave took her team on a journey throughout Scandinavia, where it played a five-game tour, going 3-2 against top teams from Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Pepperdine Head Coach Julie Rousseau got her first taste of Team USA as she was an assistant coach for the World University Team, who ended up winning the Gold Medal against Russia at the World University Games. Below is a list of all the international players competing in the WCC.

Multiple WCC Teams In The Postseason For 11th Straight Year
For the 11th straight season, and the 15th time in the past 16 years, the West Coast Conference was represented by multiple teams in the postseason. Gonzaga captured the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament by winning the WCC Tournament, while Portland was selected to play in the WNIT against Portland State. It marked the second appearance for both programs in their respective tournaments. Gonzaga pulled off the upset as the 12th seed, taking down fifth seeded Xavier, 74-59 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to give the program its first ever NCAA Tournament victory. In round two, the Zags went back and forth with No. 4 seed Pittsburgh, as the lead changed 16 times, before losing the lead for good with two minutes to go, losing 65-60. The Pilots had control of their game in the second half, leading by as many as nine, but were unable to hold on for the win.

WCC Basketball Championships Remain in Las Vegas Through 2012
The West Coast Conference and Orleans Arena announced a three-year contract extension that will keep the WCC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships in Las Vegas through 2012.

The extension comes after the West Coast Conference sold out the Orleans Arena for the 2009 WCC Basketball Championships. The 2009 championship, which was the WCC's first-ever at a neutral site, set conference records for both total championship attendance (33,320) and single session championship attendance (7,845).

The agreement will bring the WCC Basketball Championships to the Orleans Arena on March 5-8 of 2010, March 4-7 of 2011, and March 2-5 of 2012.

The 2010 WCC Championships will feature the same format as the 2009 event, with a combined total of 14 men's and women's games over four days. Tickets for the 2010 championship will go on sale to the general public on Friday, November 13.

Saint Mary's Louella Tomlinson Re-Breaks WCC Blocks Record
Junior Louella Tomlinson followed up her record-setting freshman campaign, in which she set an NCAA and WCC single-season blocks (152) record, by setting a new WCC record with 161 in her sophomore season. The NCAA record for career blocks is 480, and if Tomlinson keeps up her pace, she will shatter that mark with 626 career blocks. Her single season total for one season was so high, that it also ranks No. 1 on the Gaels' all-time career list.

Gonzaga's Heather Bowman and Courtney Vandersloot Named to Preseason Wooden Award Watch List
Gonzaga University women's basketball teammates Heather Bowman and Courtney Vandersloot were named to the preseason Women's Wooden Award All-American Team and Player of the Year trophy announced by Richard "Duke" Llewellyn, Wooden Award Chairman. Bowman, a senior, becomes the first Bulldog to be nominated for the award in back-to-back seasons as she also made the list last season. Vandersloot is the second-ever Zag player to make the list.

Gonzaga is one of only four schools with two preseason candidates. The others are the University of Connecticut (Maya Moore, Tina Charles), Ohio State University (Jantel Lavender, Samantha Prahalis) and Stanford University (Jayne Appel, Jeanette Pohlen).

This list is composed of 31 student-athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are the early frontrunners for college basketball's most prestigious honor.

In late December, the Wooden Award Committee will release the Midseason Top 20 list, followed in March by the National Ballot, consisting of approximately 15 top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. The Women's Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" round during the NCAA Tournament. The presentation of the Wooden Award All-American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award will take place the weekend of April 9-11, 2010.

WCC Returning Record Setters
The WCC returns seven players who are already in the the league's all-time season and career record books.

Record         Player                 Place   TotalPoints (S) Heather Bowman, GON  (4)     641Points (C)Heather Bowman, GON  (9)  1,666Assists (S) Courtney Vandersloot, GON (3)     239Rebounds (S) Lena Gipson, SCU  (5)     307Blocks (S)  Louella Tomlinson, SMC  (1)     161FG Pct. (S) Ashlee Smith, SMC  (10)    56.93FG Pct. (S) Morgan Henderson, USD     (9)     44.9Blocks (C)  Louella Tomlinson, SMC  (2)     317FT Pct. (C) Laiken Dollente, POR  (3)     87.0FT Pct. (S)Laiken Dollente, POR  (3)  91.4

S= Season, C= Career

All-WCC Performers Highlight Squads
Seven All-WCC performers return to their respective squads this year, along with five players that earned honorable mention honors last season. Gonzaga returns three all-WCC players in Courtney Vandersloot, who won Player of the Year, Heather Bowman, and Vivian Frieson. Pepperdine returns Miranda Ayim, while Saint Mary's brings back Louella Tomlinson, who won Defensive Player of the Year. LMU's Renahy Young and Portland's Laiken Dollente round out the returning all-conference players.

Player                    YRPPGMiranda Ayim, PEP    SR11.5Heather Bowman, GON    SR19.4Laiken Dollente, POR    SR15.3Vivian Frieson, GON    SR10.0Louella Tomlinson, SMC    JR15.2Courtney Vandersloot, GON   JR16.4Renahy Young, LMU    JR14.7



Overall Record: 0-0
WCC Record: 0-0
  • Gonzaga was chosen as the favorite to claim the conference title in the WCC Preseason Coaches Poll. The Bulldogs received votes in the ESPN/USA Today's Coaches' Preseason Poll.

  • Headlining the Gonzaga returners are 2009 WCC Player of the Year JR Courtney Vandersloot and 2009 All-WCC first team selections, SR Heather Bowman and SR Vivian Frieson.

  • Both Bowman and Vandersloot were named to the Wooden Award Watch List, making Gonzaga one of just four schools (UConn, Ohio St., Stanford) with two players on the list.

  • Vandersloot led the way in the exhibition game against Warner Pacific with 18 points and 11 assists.

  • Gonzaga opens the regular season at South Dakota St. (11/13) in its sole game this week.
  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record:0-0
  • Loyola Marymount was selected to finish second in the WCC Preseason Coaches Poll.

  • The Lions return an experienced team with four starters returning, including the top two scorers, as well as 11 letterwinners.

  • The Lions' returning group will be led by the team's two guards, leading scorer and 2009 All-WCC first team selection JR Renahy Young, leading three-point shooter SR Lisa Helmers, and 2009 Newcomer of the Year, SO Alex Cowling.

  • In the exhibition win over The Master's College, Cowling posted a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds.

  • The Lions open the season at Southern Methodist (11/13) this week.
  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • After finishing third in the conference last season, the Waves were picked third in the WCC Preseason Coaches Poll.

  • Pepperdine will feature a young squad with one returning starter and seven incoming freshmen.

  • Among the top letterwinners returning for the Waves are 2009 All-WCC first team selection, SR Miranda Ayim, and SO Jazmine Jackson. Ayim returns as the team's leader in scoring (11.5) and rebounding (5.4). Jackson was second on the team in scoring in her freshman year (9.6).

  • In the exhibition win over Cal State L.A., SO Katie Menton made an impressive six three-pointers, while SO Lauren Bell nabbed seven steals and dished out eight assists.

  • Pepperdine opens the regular season at home against Northern Arizona (11/13) this week.
  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • Portland was chosen to finish fourth in the WCC Preseason Coaches Poll, after a runner-up finish in the league last year.

  • The Pilots bring back three starters and seven letterwinners, including their top three scorers from last season.

  • The Pilots will be led by 2009 All-WCC first team selection SR Laiken Dollente, as well as JR Tara Cronin and JR Lauren Angel. Dollente is third on UP's all-time three-pointers list (152).

  • Dollente totaled 15 points and five assists in the exhibition win over Concordia, while Cronin grabbed 13 boards.

  • Portland opens the season by hosting Eastern Washington (11/14) this week.
  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • Saint Mary's was picked to finish fifth in the West Coast Conference this season in the WCC Preseason Poll.

  • Saint Mary's will return one of the most experienced squads in the league with four returning starters as well as 12 letterwinners.

  • The Gaels bring back their all-time leader in three-pointers (190) in SR Jontelle Smith, who sat out last year due to injury, and 2009 All-WCC selection JR Louella Tomlinson. Also returning will be SO Ashlee Smith, who led the league in field goal percentage (.569) last season.

  • In the exhibition win over Chico St., Tomlinson and Smith led the team with 14 and 12 points respectively. Tomlinson also added five blocks.

  • Saint Mary's will jump start the regular season hosting Idaho State (11/13) this week.
  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • San Diego, who won three straight games to reach the WCC championship game last season, was picked sixth in this year's Preseason Poll.

  • The Toreros will be returning three starters and eight lettwerwinners from the team that finished tied four fourth last year.

  • Headlining the list of returners will be 2009 WCC All-Tournament selection, SO Dominique Conners, JR Sam Child, and SR Morgan Henderson. Conners led all freshmen in assists (95) and steals (57), while Henderson paced the league, shooting 44.9% from beyond the arc.

  • In the exhibition win over San Diego Christian, Child had a game-high 21 points, while Henderson went 3-of-5 from downtown.

  • San Diego opens the season at UC San Diego (11/14) this week.
  • Overall Record: 0-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • San Francisco was picked tied for seventh in this year's Preseason Coaches Poll.

  • The Dons will feature a young team that brings back three starters, but just six letterwinners and has just one senior on the roster. The four sophomores all return from last year's team and were responsible for 36 percent of the team's total scoring as freshmen.

  • San Francisco will be led by SO Rheina Ale, who totaled 39 three-pointers last season, good for 10th on the program's all-time single season list.

  • FR Mel Khlok had an impressive debut in the exhibition against Vangaurd, totaling a game-high 23 points (8-13) and 11 boards. Ale added 21 points with 11 rebounds and eight assists.

  • The Dons play Sonoma St. (11/11) before opening the regular season at UC Davis (11/17).
  • Overall Record: 1-0
    WCC Record: 0-0
  • Santa Clara was picked tied for seventh in this year's Preseason Coaches Poll and opened the season with a win over Sonoma State.

  • The Broncos return three starters and eight lettwerwinners from the team that made it to the second round of the WCC Tournament last season.

  • Headlining the list of returnees will be 2009 All-WCC first team selection, JR Lena Gipson, and SO Alyssa Shoji. Gipson nearly averaged a double-double last season with 13.6 ppg and 9.9 rpg. Shoji led all freshmen in the conference in three-pointers per game (1.44).

  • In the season opening win, Gipson, Shoji, and SR Maggie Goldenberger paced the team with 12 points each, while Gipson added nine rebounds.

  • Santa Clara is at the Hawkeye Challenge this week to play Iowa (11/14) and UCLA/Illinois St. (11/15).