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Bulldogs Host Eastern Washington Saturday

Dec. 27, 2007

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Saturday, December 29 - 5 p.m.
McCarthey Athletic Center (6,000) - Spokane, WA
TV: KAYU; Radio: 1510 AM; Gametracker:

F - 11 Janelle Bekkering, 6-0, RS-Fr., Alberta, Canada
     (7.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.0 apg)
F - 44 Vivian Frieson, 6-0, So., Seattle, WA
     (7.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
G - 21 Courtney Vandersloot, 5-8, Fr., Kent, WA
     (9.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 5.1 apg)
G - 31 Michelle Elliott, 5-11, Sr., Pasco, WA
     (9.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.2 apg)
G - 32 Jami Bjorklund, 5-11, Jr., Spokane, WA
     (10.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.3 apg)
HEAD COACH: Kelly Graves (University of New Mexico, 1988)
GONZAGA RECORD: 127-98 (8th year); CAREER RECORD: 193-124 (11th year)

F - 23 Amy Bratvold, 6-1, Jr., Twin Falls, ID
     (5.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
F - 42 Julie Piper, 6-0, Fr., Roseburg, OR
     (4.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
C - 33 Syndey Benson, 6-2, Jr., Snohomish, WA
     (8.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg)
G - 13 Kayla Evans, 5-11, Jr., Brewster, WA
     (13.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg)
G - 30 Katy Baker, 5-11, Jr., Spokane, WA
     (12.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
HEAD COACH: Wendy Schuller (Fresno Pacific, 1992)

UP NEXT: Gonzaga University women's basketball returns to action after the Christmas break by welcoming in-state opponent Eastern Washington University to the McCarthey Athletic Center on Saturday, Dec. 29. Game time against the Eagles is set for 5 p.m..

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.

GONZAGA DEFEATS MONTANA STATE: The Gonzaga University women's basketball team broke a two-game losing skid with a decisive 82-68 victory over Montana State University Friday night in Bozeman, Mont. Redshirt freshman Janelle Bekkering had a break-out game for the Bulldogs registering her first double-double of her career posting a team-high 16 points and a game and career-high 11 rebounds. The Zags improved to 7-5 overall in their final contest prior to the Christmas break while the loss broke a three-game winning streak for the Bobcats and dropped them to 5-5 overall. Four other players finished in double-figure points for Gonzaga, including junior Jami Bjorklund and freshman Courtney Vandersloot who both registered 14 points apiece. Sophomore Tiffanie Shives and freshman Claire Raap both came off the bench to post 13 and 10 points, respectively. The 10 points was a career-high for Raap, who also played a career-high 14 minutes and brought down a career-high four rebounds.Gonzaga starved off a late Montana State rally to earn the 14-point victory. Leading by 25 points, the Zags largest lead of the contest, with 11:05 remaining in the game, the Bobcats closed the margin to 65-57 at the 5:56 mark on a jumper by Krislyn Wallace of MSU. Gonzaga would not let Montana State get any closer as a three-pointer by senior Michelle Elliott and a layup by Shives broke the Bobcats momentum. The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 14-7 lead and took a 34-25 advantage into intermission. Gonzaga opened the second stanza with a 7-2 run to take a 14-point margin and break the game open. Gonzaga closed out the game shooting 48.5% (32-66) from the floor, the Zags tenth game shooting 40.0% or better, and hit 30.4% (7-23) of its three-pointers and was 78.6% (11-14) from the charity stripe. It was the Zags best shooting night from the free throw line in 10 games and the first time in five contests the Bulldogs have hit double-digit free throws.

SCOUTING THE EAGLES: Eastern Washington University currently holds a 3-9 overall record and have lost two-straight. The Eagles have three players averaging double-figure points including Kayla Evans who leads the team with 13.0 points per game. Spokane native and Lewis and Clark High graduate Katy Baker has started all 12 games and is averaging 12.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. The Eagles are coached by Wendy Schuller in her eighth year. She currently holds a 83-100 overall record at EWU. 

ALL-TIME AGAINST EASTERN WASHINGTON: Gonzaga University holds the 21-14 advantage in the all-time series with Eastern Washington University and has also won three-straight. Last years meeting between the two schools was probably one of the most exciting non-conference games of the season. The Bulldogs pulled out a 103-102 overtime win in Cheney at EWU.

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 Dec. 12. 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.  

FREE THROWS: Gonzaga University is struggling with its free throws on the road but is nearly opposite at home in the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs are shooting a dismal 63.5% at the charity stripe on the road, hitting only 66 of 104 attempts. The Zags at home at the McCarthey Athletic Center is sinking 78.5%  of their free throws, draining 73 of their 93 attempts.

PICKING UP THE SLACK: With leading scorer and rebounder Heather Bowman out with a broken hand, multiple players have stepped in and picked up where she left off for Gonzaga University. Against the University of Tennessee, the first game Bowman missed, both Vivian Frieson and Jami Bjorklund had explosive games. Frieson finished with a career-high 21 points while Bjorklund posted 19. In the second game without Bowman, a home contest against Purdue University, it was Bjorklund who finished with a season-high 20 points along with a team-high seven boards. In the Bulldogs last contest, at Montana State University, Janelle Bekkering shined finishing with her first career double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. 

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 11th in NCAA Division I in points per game (21.2) and 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 ninth 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 127-98 record. He has been named the WCC Coach of the Year at Gonzaga three times (2003 & 2005 & 2007) and boasts a 193-124 career record including 89-51 in WCC action.

LOOKING FOR 200: Gonzaga University head basketball coach Kelly Graves is seven wins shy of earning his 200th career victory. Graves, in his eighth year as the Bulldogs head coach, currently boasts a 193-124 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 11 games, getting the starting nod the last four games, is leading the team in assists, averaging 5.1 per game. She has dished out four or more assists in nine Zag games, including a career-high 10 against the University of Washington on Nov. 12. Vandersloot is also averaging 9.1 points and 3.6 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 109 points this season to up her career point total to 1,013. 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 9.4 points, 2.8 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.