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Women's Basketball Heads To Arizona State Classic

Nov. 28, 2007

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Friday, November 30 - 5 p.m. PT
Wells Fargo Arena (14,141) - Tempe, AZ

F - 11 Janelle Bekkering, 6-0, RS-Fr., Alberta, Canada
     (10.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.2 apg)
F - 30 Heather Bowman, 6-2, So., Spokane, WA
     (21.0 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.0 spg)
G - 12 Rachel Kane, 5-7, Sr., Kaneohe, HI
     (4.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 4.8 apg)
G - 31 Michelle Elliott, 5-11, Sr., Pasco, WA
     (7.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.6 apg)
G - 32 Jami Bjorklund, 5-11, Jr., Spokane, WA
     (10.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.0 spg)
HEAD COACH: Kelly Graves (University of New Mexico, 1988)
GONZAGA RECORD: 124-94 (8th year); CAREER RECORD: 190-120 (11th year)

F - 34 Lauren Lacey, 6-3, Jr., Olympia Fields, AZ
     (8.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg)
C - 23 Kristen Thompson, 6-6, Jr., Monroe, WA
     (6.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg)
G - 2 Regan Pariseau, 5-5, Sr., Spokane, WA
     (2.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.0 apg)
G - 20 Briann January, 5-8, Jr., Spokane, WA
     (11.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 4.2 apg)
G - 22 Jill Noe, 5-10, Sr., Tualatin, OR
     (7.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.6 apg)
HEAD COACH: Charli Turner Thorne (Stanford, 1988)
ARIZONA STATE RECORD: 206-136 (12th year); CAREER RECORD:246-176 (15th Year)

G - 34 Tiffanie Shives, 5-10, So., Lansing, MI
     (10.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.2 apg, 19.2 mpg)
G - 21 Courtney Vandersloot, 5-8, Fr., Kent, WA
     (8.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 5.4 apg, 22.2 mpg)
C - 13 Maria Hassett, 6-2, Jr., Beaverton, OR
     (8.0 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 22.2 mpg)
F - 35 Claire Raap, 5-11, Fr., Prosser, WA
     (2.5 ppg, 0.8 rpg, 5.5 mpg)
G - 10 Tatriana Lorenzo, 5-7, RS-Fr., Wahiawa, HI
     (1.8 ppg, 4.3 mpg)

THIS WEEKEND: Gonzaga University women's basketball hits the road for its lone in-season tournament this weekend. The Bulldogs travel to Arizona to participate in the Arizona State University Classic Friday, Nov. 30 and Sunday, Dec. 2. Gonzaga will open the tournament playing host Arizona State, who is ranked as high as 14th in the latest Top-25 polls, on Friday at 5 p.m. The Bulldogs then play either Auburn University, ranked as high as 18th in the latest polls, or UC Riverside on Sunday at Noon. 

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.

BULLDOGS FALTER ON THE ROAD: Despite having four players score in double-figure points, including Heather Bowman who had a game-high 23, the Gonzaga University women's basketball team dropped a 75-72 decision to Portland State University Sunday, Nov. 25. It was the Bulldogs first loss of the season. The Zags now hold a 4-1 overall record, while the Vikings stayed undefeated on the year at 5-0. Bowman led all scorers for the fifth-straight contest hitting 11-of-22 from the field and 1-of-1 from the free throw line. The Zags finished the contest shooting 43.1% (31-72) from the floor, including 26.3% (5-19) from behind the three-point arc and was 55.6% (5-9) from the charity stripe. Besides Bowman, sophomore Tiffanie Shives finished with 18 points and juniors Maria Hassett and Jami Bjorklund registered 13 and 10 points, respectively.

WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Gonzaga University women's basketball player Heather Bowman has been named West Coast Conference Co-Player of the Week. This is the second-straight week Bowman has garnered this honor. Bowman led the Bulldogs to a 2-1 week. Over three games the sophomore averaged 21.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game and shot 51.9% from the field and was perfect from the free throw line, sinking 11-of-11. She started off the week with her second double-double of the year, scoring 25 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to help the Zags defeat the University of Montana 87-71. The Spokane native then dropped 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Gonzaga's 77-64 victory over visiting Big East Conference member Marquette University. Bowman closed out the week with a 23 point, seven rebound performance at Portland State University. The Bulldogs dropped a heartbreaking 75-72 decision to the Vikings.

SCOUTING THE SUN DEVILS: Arizona State University, ranked as high as #14 in the latest Top-25 polls, enters its contest against Gonzaga University with a 3-2 record. The Sun Devils only losses of the season were to two opponents ranked in the Top-10. ASU dropped its opening contest of the season to #8 North Carolina 75-60 and then fell to #10 Oklahoma University 69-57 in the first game of the Caribbean Challenge. The Sun Devils are led by Spokane native Briann January who is averaging a team-best 11.4 points and 4.2 assists per game, along with 2.2 rebounds per contest. Arizona State is coached by Charli Turner Thorne in her 12th year with the Sun Devils.

ALL-TIME SERIES AGAINST ARIZONA STATE: When Gonzaga University and Arizona State University meet on the hardwood Nov. 30 it will only be the fourth meeting between the two schools. The Sun Devils won all three prior contests, including a 81-66 decision over the Bulldogs in Spokane last season.

SCOUTING THE TIGERS: Auburn University, ranked as high as 18th in the latest Top-25 polls, enters the Arizona State University Classic with a perfect 6-0 record. The Tigers have three players averaging in double-digit points, including DeWanna Bonner who is leading the team with 20.4 points per game. Auburn is coached by Nell Fortner who is in her fourth year with the Tigers.  

ALL-TIME AGAINST AUBURN: If Gonzaga University and Auburn University meet on the second day of the Arizona State University Classic it will be the first meeting ever between the two schools.

SCOUTING THE HIGHLANDERS: UC Riverside enters the Arizona State University Classic with an 0-4 record. The Highlanders did have the reigning Big West Player of the Year return to the lineup in their last contest against Oklahoma State University. Kemie Nkele, who missed the first three games of the year recovering from off-season knee surgery, scored six of UC Riverside's first 12 points en route to a team-high 15 points. The Highlanders are coach by John Margaritis in his fourth season with UC Riverside.

ALL-TIME AGAINST UC RIVERSIDE: If Gonzaga University and UC Riverside meet on the second day of the Arizona State University Classic it will be the fifth all-time meeting between the two schools. The Bulldogs hold the perfect 4-0 record against the Highlanders. The last time the two schools meet was the 2003-2004 season when the Zags earned a 68-54 victory in Spokane.

GETTING NUMBER FOUR: The Gonzaga University women's basketball team earned its fourth victory of the season when it defeated Marquette University 77-64 on Nov. 21. It was the second time in school history the Zags had started the season with four-straight victories. The only other time the Zags opened a season 4-0 was the 1993-94 campaign under head coach Julie Holt. The Bulldogs had their four-game winning streak broken when it lost a heartbreaking 75-72 decision to Portland State University.  

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 124-94 record. He has been named the WCC Coach of the Year at Gonzaga three times (2003 & 2005 & 2007) and boasts a 190-120 career record including 89-51 in WCC action.

LOOKING FOR 200: Gonzaga University head basketball coach Kelly Graves is 10 wins shy of earning his 200th career victory. Graves, in his eighth year as the Bulldogs head coach, currently boasts a 190-120 career-record over his 11 seasons.   

BOWMAN AMONG TOP WCC RETURNERS: Gonzaga University sophomore forward Heather Bowman has been selected as one of the Top 6 returning players in the West Coast Conference for the 2007 season. Bowman was the WCC's Newcomer of the Year last season and the WCC Tournament Most Valuable Player. Bowman led the conference in scoring in WCC contests (16.3 ppg). Joining Bowman on the top returning player list are Dominique Carter from the University of San Francisco, Daphanie Kennedy and Teena Wickett from Pepperdine University and Amanda Rego and Amber Sprague from the University of San Diego.

BEKKERING HITS THE FLOOR: Redshirt freshman Janelle Bekkering waited for over a year to hit the basketball court in a Gonzaga University jersey. The 6-0 forward from Alberta, Canada sat out her first season with the Bulldogs after having surgery to repair a torn ACL the summer prior to her freshman year. Her first game as a Zag was phenomenal. In a 91-72 victory over the University of Washington, Bekkering finished with 20 points, 16 coming in the first half, along with three rebounds and two assists. She currently is fouth on the squad in points (10.0) and also is averaging 5.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.

TRUE FRESHMAN: True freshman Courtney Vandersloot, of the Gonzaga University women's basketball team, had a strong showing in her first-ever collegiate contest. Vandersloot, who came off the bench to play 26 minutes, dished out 10 assists in the Bulldogs 91-72 win over the University of Washington. Vandersloot also scored six points and grabbed four rebounds, two of which were offensive in the win. Over the Zags first fivecontests, Vandersloot is averaging 22.2 minutes, 8.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and a team-best 5.4 assists per game.

DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Gonzaga University sophomore Heather Bowman has registered two double-doubles on the season and now has six 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. Bowman has scored in double-digit points in all five GU contests and has also been the leading scorer in those five games.

FOUR PLAYERS IN DOUBLE-FIGURE POINTS: The Gonzaga University women's basketball squad has four players averaging in double-digit points after the first five contests. Three are starters and the one is a key player off the bench. Sophomore Heather Bowman is leading the charge averaging 21.0 points per game. Sophomore Tiffanie Shives (10.8), junor Jami Bjorklund (10.4) and freshman Janelle Bekkering (10.0) round out the players averaging double-figure points.

DRAINING THE THREE-POINTER: Gonzaga University sophomore gaurd Tiffanie Shives has started to feel it behind the three-point arc. The transfer from Michigan State University drained four three-pointers in the Bulldogs loss at Portland State University and finished with 18 points. Shives currently leads the team with 10 three-pointers.  

DOUBLE-DOUBLE: 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. The 10 rebounds was also a career high for the Spokane native.

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.

BULLDOGS FACE TOUGH SCHEDULE: Gonzaga University, coming off a season that saw it win their first-ever WCC Tournament Championship and make their inaugural appearance in the NCAA Tournament, have put together one of the strongest schedules in school history. Of the 15 non-conference match-ups on the slate this season, 10 opponents either made it to the NCAA Tournament or participated in the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) in 2007. Included in that list is a game against the defending National Champions the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers and Elite Eight members Arizona State University and Purdue University.

ZAGS ON ESPNU: Gonzaga University women's basketball will have one home game nationally televised. The Bulldogs opening West Coast Conference game against Pepperdine University, Jan. 10 will be broadcast on ESPNU.

BULLDOGS 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.

INCHING TOWARDS 1,000 POINTS: Senior Michelle Elliott is closing in on the 1,000-point plateau. The guard came into the season with 904 total points and has scored 38 points this season to up her points total to 942. 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.

FRESH FACES TO GONZAGA: Gonzaga University women's basketball has four new faces on the court and one on the bench this season. Redshirt freshman Janelle Bekkering and sophomore transfer Tiffanie Shives suited up in Bulldog uniforms for the first time this season after both sitting out last year. Also new this season is freshman guard Courtney Vandersloot and freshman forward Claire Raap. Lisa Mispley Fortier returns to the Gonzaga bench as an assistant coach after one season at Northern Colorado University. Fortier was the director of operations for the Zags from 2004-06.

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.

BULLDOGS HAVE HIGH HOPES FOR 2007-08: Despite the loss of two senior starters from last year's NCAA Tournament team, the Gonzaga University Bulldogs have high hopes entering the 2007-08 season. Head coach Kelly Graves thinks this team could be better at the end of the year than last season's team as Gonzaga does return 10 players who played last season including returning starters Heather Bowman, the West Coast Conference Newcomer of the Year last season, Rachel Kane and junior Jami Bjorklund.

GONZAGA PICKED TO FINISH SECOND: Defending West Coast Conference Tournament Champion Gonzaga University has been picked to finish second this year in the WCC in a preseason vote of the league coaches. The Bulldogs garnered three first place votes, and received 55 total points to finish second in the annual coaches poll.

2007-08 West Coast Conference
Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll

1. San Diego - 58 (4)
2. Gonzaga - 55 (3)
3. Pepperdine - 45
4. Loyola Marymount - 44 (1)
5. Saint Mary's - 29
6. San Francisco - 22
7. Santa Clara - 19
8. Portland - 16
(First place votes)