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Bulldogs At Montana State Friday

Dec. 20, 2007

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Game No. 12 - MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY
Friday, December 21 - 7 p.m.
Worthington Arena (7,250) - Bozeman, MT


GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (6-5, 0-0 West Coast)
F - 32 Jami Bjorklund, 5-11, Jr., Spokane, WA
     (10.5ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.5 apg)
F - 44 Vivian Frieson, 6-0, So., Seattle, WA
     (6.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
G - 21 Courtney Vandersloot, 5-8, Fr., Kent, WA
     (8.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.0 apg)
G - 31 Michelle Elliott, 5-11, Sr., Pasco, WA
     (9.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.0 apg)
G - 34 Tiffanie Shives, 5-10, So., Lansing, MI
     (9.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.9 apg)
HEAD COACH: Kelly Graves (University of New Mexico, 1988)
GONZAGA RECORD: 126-98 (8th year); CAREER RECORD: 192-124 (11th year)

MONTANA STATE UNIVERSITY BOBCATS (5-4, 0-0 Big Sky)
F - 20 Sarah Strand, 6-1, Fr., Seattle, WA
     (11.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg)
F - 22 Krislyn Wallace, 6-1, Sr., Hooper, UT
     (11.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg)
G - 1 Erica Perry, 5-4, So., Lynwood, CA
     (7.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.1 apg)
G - 3 Anne Phippard, 5-10, Jr., Kirkland, WA
     (2.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.4 spg)
G - 4 Rebecca Mercer, 5-9, Sr., Perth, Australia
     (16.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.1 apg)
HEAD COACH: Tricia Binford (Boise State University, 1995)
MONTANA STATE RECORD: 20-42 (3rd year); CAREER RECORD: Same


UP NEXT: Gonzaga University women's basketball will play its last game prior to Christmas break when it plays at Montana State University. The Bulldog-Bobcat matchup is set for Friday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. The Zags are looking to break a two-game losing skid, while the Bobcats are looking to win their fourth-straight.

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 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.

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 DROP HEARTBREAKER TO PURDUE: Gonzaga University women's basketball dropped a heartbreaking 64-61 decision to Big Ten Conference member Purdue University Wednesday night. Junior guard Jami Bjorklund finished with a game-high 20 points along with seven rebounds but it wasn't enough as the Bulldogs dropped to 6-5 on the season. The Bulldogs had multiple chances to tie or even take the lead late in the final moments but where hindered by their free throw shooting. With Purdue leading 60-59 with 34 seconds left Bjorklund was fouled and sent to the line for the one-and-one but missed the front end which would have knotted the game. Two free throws by FahKara Malone pushed the Boilermakers lead to three with 31 ticks left on clock, but freshman guard Courtney Vandersloot drove the lane and scored a layup to again cut the Zags disadvantage to one with 22 seconds left. A Purdue turnover gave Gonzaga back the ball and a little hope, but a missed jumper by Bjorklund at nine seconds looked to have sealed the Bulldogs fate. The Zags wouldn't give up though as senior Rachel Kane forced a Purdue offensive foul on its inbound and she was sent to the free throw line with five ticks left. Normally one of the strongest free throw shooters on the squad, having hit 86% of her career free throws, she missed the front end of the bonus and the Boilermakers grabbed the defensive rebound. Lakisha Freeman, of Purdue, was quickly fouled and hit both free throws to give the Boilermakers a three-point advantage with three seconds left in the contest. One last effort by Gonzaga, a three-pointer by Vandersloot which banked in, was waved off as the ball left her hands a millisecond after the buzzer blew.

SCOUTING THE BOBCATS: Montana State University currently holds a 5-4 overall record and have won three-straight. The Bobcats have three players averaging double-figure points including Rebecca Mercer who leads the team with 16.1 points per game. Spokane native and Lewis and Clark High graduate Lyndi Seidensticker has played in all nine games for Montana State, averaging 5.1 points and 2.4 rebounds a game. The Bobcats are coached by Tricia Binford in her third year. She currently holds a 20-42 overall record at MSU. 

ALL-TIME AGAINST MONTANA STATE: Montana State University holds the 10-6 advantage in the all-time series with Gonzaga University. The Bulldogs did break a five-game losing streak to the Bobcats last season with they earned a 81-53 victory in Spokane. The last time Gonzaga earned a victory in Bozeman was 1981 when it defeated MSU 76-56. GU is 1-6 all-time at Montana State. 

GONZAGA FALLS TO #1 TENNESSEE: Angie Bjorklund scored 23 points and Candace Parker 18 to help the top-ranked Tennessee Lady Volunteers defeat Gonzaga 96-73. Nicky Anosike added 14 points and 11 rebounds for Tennessee (9-0). Jami Bjorklund scored 19 points for the Bulldogs (6-4), who fell to 1-4 on the road.

BOWMAN OUT WITH INJURY: Gonzaga University women's basketball sophomore Heather Bowman will be out for a minimum of three weeks with a spiral fracture of the third metatarsal of her left hand. Bowman, who leads the squad in both points (21.2) and rebounds (10.1) per game, hurt her non-shooting hand during practice last week. In other women's basketball news, junior Sasha Polishchuk has left the team but will stay enrolled at the university. Polishchuk has played sparingly this season, seeing seven minutes over two contests.  

FRIESON SHINES AGAINST TENNESSEE: Sophomore forward Vivian Frieson, of the Gonzaga University women's basketball team, scored a career-high 21 points on 9-for-11 (.886) shooting, and grabbed a team-best seven rebounds in her first career start against #1 University of Tennessee. Frieson, playing in only her third game this season after missing the first seven with a broken finger, also had two assists and one steal in a career-high 33 minutes of action. 

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. Sophomore Heather Bowman chipped in 28 points. 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.

CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Gonzaga University women's basketball player Michelle Elliott was named the Co-West Coast Conference Player of the Week as announced by the conference office Monday, Dec. 10. Elliott shared the honor with the University of San Francisco's Dominique Carter. Elliott earned the honor after setting a career-high in points and breaking a single-game shooting record last week. The senior guard averaged 25.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, while shooting a blistering 63.0% (17-for-27) from the field and 63.6% (14-22) from behind the three-point arc as the Bulldogs topped both UC Davis and Sacramento State University on the road. Elliott began the week scoring 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the floor, including 5-of-10 on three-pointers in Gonzaga's 71-58 victory over the Aggies. She followed that performance up by scoring a career-high 31 points in the Zags 75-63 win over Sacramento State. Elliott drained nine three-pointers in the victory to set a Gonzaga single-game school record.

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.  

NATIONAL STATISTICS: Gonzaga University women's basketball players Heather Bowman, Courtney Vandersloot and Michelle Elliott are all ranked in the top of the nation in multiple statistical categories as of Dec. 16. Bowman is tied for 11th in NCAA Division I in points per game (21.2) and tied for 20th in rebounds per game (10.1). Angel McCoughty, of Louisville, is the leading scorer in the nation averaging 24.9 points, while Courtney Paris, of Oklahoma, is the top rebounder in the nation averaging 15.8 per game. Vandersloot is tied for 31st in the nation is assists per game averaging 5.2, while Elliott is 24th in three-point field goal percentage (45.5). Claire Faucher, of Portland State University, is leading the nation in assists with 9.1 per contest and Wendy Ausedomore of Iowa is the leading three-point shooter at 58.1. Gonzaga University as a team is also eighth in the nation in assists per contest, averaging 18.8. The University of Connecticut leads the nation in team assists with 23.3 per game. 

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 126-98 record. He has been named the WCC Coach of the Year at Gonzaga three times (2003 & 2005 & 2007) and boasts a 192-124 career record including 89-51 in WCC action.

LOOKING FOR 200: Gonzaga University head basketball coach Kelly Graves is eight wins shy of earning his 200th career victory. Graves, in his eighth year as the Bulldogs head coach, currently boasts a 192-1232 career-record over his 11 seasons.   

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.

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.

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 all nine Gonzaga University contests she has played in and has also been the overall leading scorer in seven of the nine games. Of her nine double-figure performances, six have been 20+ point 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 ten games, getting the starting nod three times, is leading the team in assists, averaging 5.0 per game. She has dished out four or more assists in eight Zag games, including a career-high 10 against the University of Washington on Nov. 12. Vandersloot is also averaging 8.6 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.

FINDING HER GROOVE: Maybe head coach Kelly Graves' move to bring senior Michelle Elliott of the bench was a smart one. Elliott, who struggled from behind the three-point arc in the first seven games, hitting only 5-of-21 (23.8%), had a spectacular game at UC Davis on Dec. 6; her first game as a non-starter. Elliott, who played 26 minutes, hit five three-pointers in the contest, equaling her season total. She finished with 19 points. Elliott also had six rebounds, two assists and one steal in the 13-point victory. In her second-straight game as a spark off the bench, Elliott exploded. She drained a Bulldog single-game record nine three-pointers and finished with a career-high 31 points.

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 second on the team in rebounds per game, averaging 5.9. 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 106 points this season to up her career point total to 1,010. 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 9.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and  1.9 assists per game. 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.

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.