Women's Basketball Turns Attention To WCC Championship
|GAME 31 - WCC CHAMPIONSHIP SEMIFINAL - vs. BYU/LMU|
DATE: Saturday, March 9, 2013
No. 1 Seed GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (25-5, 15-1 WCC)
No. 4 Seed BYU COUGARS (20-9, 11-5 West Coast):
No. 5 Seed LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY LIONS (13-17, 6-10 West Coast):
WCC CHAMPIONSHIP SEMIFINAL ON TAP FOR BULLDOGS: The Gonzaga University women's basketball team heads to Las Vegas, Nev., for the West Coast Conference Tournament this weekend. The Bulldogs, who secured the No. 1 seed for the seventh year in a row with their 15-1 mark in regular season play, get a bye into the Semifinal Saturday, March 9. The Zags will either play No. 4 seed BYU or No. 5 Loyola Marymount University at noon. Gonzaga has won the title four of the last six years.
ABOUT THE GONZAGA BULLDOGS: Gonzaga University women's basketball ended the regular-season with a 25-5 overall mark and a 15-1 record in the West Coast Conference. The league mark allowed the Bulldogs to secure their ninth-straight WCC regular-season title and their seventh-straight No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. Gonzaga is led by WCC Player of the Year Taelor Karr and All-Conference honoree Haiden Palmer. Palmer leads the squad in points and steals per game at 12.3 points and 2.9 steals, respectively. She has scored in double-figure points in all but five games this season. Karr is averaging 11.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.2 points and 1.5 steals per game. She has hit a team-high 63 3-pointers, 47 of which came in league games.
GONZAGA BULLDOGS RECENT SUCCESS: Coming into the 2012-13 campaign, the Gonzaga University women's basketball team has earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament four-straight years and five of the last six dating back to its first-ever appearance in 2007. The Bulldogs have reached the Sweet Sixteen for three consecutive seasons, including the 2011 campaign where they made their advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in school history. Last year, Gonzaga earned its first at-large bid into the tournament after falling to BYU in the conference championship.
GONZAGA CAPTURES NINTH-STRAIGHT WCC REGULAR SEASON TITLE: The Gonzaga University women's basketball team captured its unprecedented ninth-straight West Coast Conference regular-season title in 2012-13, finishing league with a 15-1 record. In the Bulldogs nearly decade-long reign, they piled up an astonishing 120-10 record against conference foes. That includes three undefeated seasons. This year marked the third time during that span the Zags dropped just one conference game. Gonzaga's championship streak is unmatched in WCC history. The only school to come close to equaling that type of success is Santa Clara University. The Broncos won four straight titles beginning in 1991. But the Bulldogs' run isn't just unprecedented when stacked up against their conference peers. It is equal to or, in some cases, greater than just about anything any other school across the country has done. The list below, littered with some of the game's premier programs, shows where the Zags' streak ranks in the history of women's college basketball.
T1) Louisiana Tech, Sun Belt and WAC, 15 (1993-2007)
BULLDOGS HIT 20-WINS FOR SEVENTH-STRAIGHT SEASON: With its 70-56 win at Loyola Marymount University Feb. 9, the Gonzaga University women's basketball team secured its 20th win on the season. The Bulldogs now stand at 25-5 with their 66-55 win at BYU, Feb. 23. It is the seventh-straight year the Bulldogs have reached 20 wins and the eighth time in the last nine seasons.
COACH GRAVES GETS CAREER WIN NUMBER 350: Gonzaga University women's basketball head coach Kelly Graves hit the 350 career victories mark as a Division I head coach in the Bulldogs 66-55 win at BYU, Feb. 23. Graves now holds a 351-156 record over his 16 years, 13 of which have been with the Bulldogs.
SINCE LOSS TO SMC, ZAGS HAVE WON 13-STRAIGHT: The Gonzaga University's women's basketball team is on a 13-game winning streak after falling to Saint Mary's College Jan. 10. After the Bulldogs three-point loss to the Gaels, they have rattled off double-figure victories over 13 of 14 opponents, seven of which have come on the road. The victories have come by an average of 21.2 points per game with the closest being a 3-point victory (59-56) against the University of Portland to close out the regular season, Feb. 28.
TAELOR KARR TABBED WCC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Gonzaga University women's basketball senior Taelor Karr was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year. Karr led the WCC and ranked in the NCAA's Top 10 with a .447 3-point field goal percentage (30-of-63) during WCC play. She averaged 14.1 points per contest in 16 league games, good for fourth in the WCC. She also registered two games with six or more made 3-pointers, including a league-high eight 3-pointers in the Zags win over the University of San Diego, Jan. 3 - missing only one. Karr becomes the fifth player in Gonzaga's history - and first since Courtney Vandersloot in 2010-11 - to be named WCC Player of the Year.
JAZMINE REDMON NAMED WCC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Gonzaga University women's basketball junior Jazmine Redmon was tabbed West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Redmon, who was assigned the task of defending the Bulldogs opponent's top player, ranked fourth in the West Coast Conference with 2.1 steals per contest during league action. She also grabbed 3.4 rebounds per game and blocked four shots. As a team, the Bulldogs led the conference in scoring defense (53.9 ppg) and steals (12.3 spg) during league. Redmon is only the second Zag to garner Defensive Player of the Year honors, joining Jami Schaefer, who claimed the award during the 2007-08 campaign.
KELLY GRAVES GARNERS COACH OF THE YEAR HONORS: Gonzaga University women's basketball head coach Kelly Graves, in his 13th year at the helm, was named West Coast Conference Player of the Year. Graves, who is the WCC Coach of the Year for the third time in the last four seasons and seventh time overall, led the Bulldogs to a 15-1 conference mark as the Zags wrapped up their ninth consecutive regular season title. GU closed out the regular season with a 25-5 record.
HAIDEN PLAYER ALL-WCC; SUNNY GREINACHER ALL-WCC HONORABLE MENTION: Gonzaga University women's basketball junior guard Haiden Palmer was named to All-West Coast Conference for the first time in her career, while Bulldog sophomore forward Sunny Greinacher garnered WCC honorable mention accolades. Palmer, the 2011-12 Newcomer of the Year and All-WCC honorable mention, earned the spot on this year's All-Conference team after averaging 12.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, a team-best 3.1 steals, and 3.0 assists per game in league. A year after Greinacher was tabbed to the All-Freshman team, she was inserted into the starting lineup as a sophomore and shined. She has started all 29 games for the Bulldogs, including the 16 WCC contests. In league play she averaged 10.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 55.4 percent from the field (72-130), second-highest in the WCC.
SHELBY CHESLEK MAKES WCC ALL-FRESHMAN SQUAD: Gonzaga University women's basketball redshirt freshman Shelby Cheslek earned a spot on the West Coast Conference All-Freshman Team. Cheslek made her way into the starting lineup nine games into the season and has never left it. In the 16 league games, the 6-5 post averaged 6.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. Her rebounding average was in the Top 15 in league and blocks were third-highest.
SHARPSHOOTER WINTERS PLAYING BIG OFF THE BENCH: Gonzaga University women's basketball senior Meghan Winters has played crucial minutes off the bench for the Bulldogs this West Coast Conference season. The 3-point specialist increased her playing time by nearly four minutes in league play; averaging 9.5 per game - because of her shooting production. Winters is currently averaging 3.9 points per game in WCC action, shooting 38.9 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (hitting 15-of-38), and has hit at least two 3-pointers in four of GU's 16 league games. She is tied for second in conference games in 3-pointers made with 15 and is third on the team overall in 3-pointers made with 23.
ZAGS HIT A SEASON-HIGH 12 3-POINTERS AGAINST PEPPERDINE: The Gonzaga University women's basketball team hit a season-high 12 3-pointers in its 81-52 win over Pepperdine University, Feb. 2. The Bulldogs 12 3-pointers were two shy of tying the school record set in 2002. Gonzaga drained eight of their 12 bullets in the opening 20 minutes and ended the contest shooting 50.0 percent from long-range. Five different players hit a 3-ball, including junior Haiden Palmer, senior Taelor Karr and sophomore Keani Albanez who each nailed three. Gonzaga has hit double-figure 3-pointers in two other contests this year; 11 versus the University of San Diego Jan. 3 and 11 at the University of Portland, Jan. 14.
FOUR NON-CONFERENCE LOSSES, THREE COMING AT HOME: The Gonzaga University women's basketball team closed out the regular season non-conference schedule at 10-4. The last time the Zags lost four non-conference games was the 2010-11 campaign when it fell to USC (79-73), Stanford University (84-78), the University of Mississippi (53-52) and the University of Notre Dame (70-61). That season ended in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament and with a 31-5 record. Three of the Bulldogs four non-conference setbacks this season have come at the McCarthey Athletic Center - which is unusual. The last time GU lost three non-conference games was the 2002-03 season when the Zags played in the Martin Centre. GU fell to the University of Oregon (83-72), the University of Hawai'i (71-61) and Weber State University (52-49).
3-POINT SHOOTING A DIFFERENCE THIS YEAR: The Gonzaga University women's basketball squad has hit 22 more 3-pointers at this point in the season (177) than it did overall last year (155) and has drained 42 more 3-pointers in league play (107) then they did total a season ago (65). The 177 total 3-pointers this season is 14 shy of breaking the school record of 190 set in both the 2001-02 season and the 2007-08 campaign. Also the Zags ended the 2011-12 year ranked 182nd in the NCAA in 3-pointers made per game (4.6) and 71st in 3-point percentage (32.5%). This year they are currently ranked 75th in 3-pointers made per game (5.9) and 11th in 3-point percentage (37.0%).
WHAT WE RETURNED: Gonzaga University's women's basketball team returned 51.8 percent of its scoring from the 2011-12 season and 44.0 percent of its rebounding. The Bulldogs top returning scorer coming into this season was junior Haiden Palmer, who was third on the squad last year averaging 12.4. Senior Taelor Karr and junior Jazmine Redmon were the only other two players to average more than 20 minutes a game. Karr, who started all but five games, averaged 28.6 minutes per contests and averaged 7.5 points. Redmon played in all 34 games with seven starts, averaged 20.9 minutes, 4.7 points 3.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
A YOUNG SQUAD: Gonzaga University women's basketball team has a lot of depth, holding 15 players on the squad, but overall is young. The Bulldogs have 10 underclassman on their roster, which includes four freshmen, two returning redshirts and four sophomores. Besides the returning guard trio of Haiden Palmer, Taelor Karr and Jazmine Redmon, the six other returners averaged 7.4 minutes per game in 2011-12.
KARR TIES A CAREER-HIGH IN POINTS IN WIN OVER SANTA CLARA: Gonzaga University women's basketball senior Taelor Karr's hot shooting helped propel the Bulldogs to a 70-55 victory over Santa Clara University Thursday. Karr drained 10-of-19 from the floor, including six 3-pointers, for a career-tying high 27 points. The guard from Paola, Kan., had 13 of her points in the opening 20 minutes to help Gonzaga to a 39-27 advantage and notched her final 14 points in the second to allow GU to starve off any Santa Clara run. The 27-point performance was Karr's third 20-plus point game and 17th double-figure outing of the season.
Gonzaga West Coast Conference Players of the Week
Jan. 21: Haiden Palmer - Averaged 15.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.7 steals, while shooting 44.2 percent from the Field in Gonzaga's 3-0 week.
Feb. 4: Haiden Palmer - Averaged 13.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 4.5 steals per game last week as the Zags improved to 8-1 in the WCC and maintained their one-game lead over BYU and Saint Mary's.
TAELOR KARR HAS HOT HAND AGAINST SAN DIEGO: Gonzaga University was sparked in its victory over the University of San Diego Jan. 3 by senior Taelor Karr who tallied a career-high 27 points. The guard scored 24 of her points from beyond the 3-point arc as she nailed a career-high eight three pointers, one shy of tying the single-game record at Gonzaga, which is held by current director of basketball operations Michelle (Elliott) Clark. Karr's lone miss behind the 3-point arc was the Bulldogs opening shot of the second half at 19:34. Had she drained that 3-pointer she would have tied Clark's record of nine that she set in the Zags 75-63 win at Sacramento State University Dec. 8, 2007. In that game, Clark drained 9-of-12 from 3-point land and had a career-high 31 points. Karr currently has hit a team-best 63 3-pointers; 19 more than she finished with as a junior for Gonzaga. Karr is currently sixth in the nation in 3-point percentage at 44.7.
GOLDEN HAS THREE DOUBLE-DIGIT PERFORMANCES OVER LAST FIVE GAMES: Junior reserve Stephanie Golden has registered double-figure point games in three of the last five contests for Gonzaga. Over the five games - in which she only played in four due to the flu holding her out against Portland Feb. 28 - she is averaging 12.0 points and 5.3 rebounds, while shooting a blistering 55.9 percent from the field. Golden began her impressive 3-game double-digit rampage with a crucial role in the Zags 15-point win over then second-place Saint Mary's. She tallied a game-high 13 points, hitting 4-of-8 from the field and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe. Ten of her 13 points came in the second half which helped stop any comeback attempt by the Gaels. Golden then scored 14 points - one point shy of her career-high - in GU's win over San Francisco. Twelve of her 14 points came in the first half and she ended the game sinking 7-of-10 from the floor. The back-to-back double-digit games were the first of her career. Her final double-digit game came at then second-place BYU, Feb. 23. She tallied a career-high 16 points, sinking 6-of-10 from the floor and 4-of-5 at the free throw line.
ZAGS CURRENTLY RANKED 13TH IN HOME ATTENDANCE: Gonzaga University women's basketball is currently ranked 13th in NCAA Division I home attendance averaging 5,678, behind the likes of Tennessee and Connecticut and ahead of Stanford and Duke. Last season the Bulldogs averaged 5,442 fans for their 17 home games which stood 14th in the NCAA for women's basketball attendance. Gonzaga has had six sellouts this year; a regular-season most for the Zags.
CHESLEK REGISTERS TWO DOUBLE-DOUBLES IN REGULAR SEASON: Gonzaga University women's basketball redshirt freshman Shelby Cheslek registered two double-doubles in the regular-season; the only Zag to do so. Her first career double-double came in the Zags 70-56 win at Loyola Marymount, Feb. 9. The 6-5 center posted 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the victory. Her second double-double was against the University of Portland, Feb. 28. She scored 10 points and grabbed a career-high 13 boards in the 3-point victory. Cheslek has tallied double-digit points two other times this season and had double-figure rebounds two other times.
REDMON HANDS OUT A CAREER-HIGH 11 ASSISTS IN WIN OVER IDAHO: It wasn't junior Jazmine Redmon's scoring output that made her a star in the Gonzaga University's win against the University of Idaho Dec. 20. The guard only scored 10 points in the Bulldogs 97-62 victory over the Vandals, but she had a hand in 11 other baskets. The 11 assists, eight of which came in the first half, was a career-high for Redmon, breaking her previous of seven set on four different occasions. Also impressive is she totaled her career-high in just 23 minutes of action. Overall she had a hand in 33 of the Zags 97 points. Redmon also tied her career-high in steals with five and had four rebounds. The Spokane native leads GU in assists per game and is fourth in the West Coast Conference at 3.8 per contest.
FREE THROW LINE A SORE SPOT: Gonzaga women's basketball is struggling a bit at the free throw line this season. The Bulldogs, who closed out the 2011-12 campaign shooting 72.1 percent, are only sinking 62.3 percent (296-of-475) from the stripe overall and 63.3 percent (157-of-248) in West Coast Conference games. In the game against Ohio State University, the Zags shot a season-low 38.9 percent (7-of-18) from the charity line. In its game against Washington State University, Gonzaga shot 41.2 percent (7-of-17) and missed the front end of three one-and-ones in the final three minutes when it was down four points. Gonzaga's best free throw shooting outing was against Winthrop University when it sank 11-of-13 from the stripe. Sophomore Keani Albanez is GU's best free throw shooter at 81.8 percent, hitting 27-of-33.
ZAGS CREDITED WITH 31 ASSISTS ON 40 BASKETS VERSUS IDAHO: The Gonzaga University women's basketball team was credited with 31 assists on the 40 made baskets in its 97-62 victory over the University of Idaho, Dec. 20. The 31 assists tied the second-highest single-game assist output in school history and were just two shy of tying the record set in 1988. On the year, Gonzaga is averaging 15.9 assists per game; third best in the West Coast Conference and 28th in the nation.
LOW SCORING: The Gonzaga University women's basketball team is currently averaging 70.0 points per game and has scored in the forties twice this season. The Bulldogs, who averaged 75.1 points per game a season ago and led the nation in scoring in 2010-11 at 85.3, have not been held to forty points in a game twice in a season since the 2006-07 campaign. That season Gonzaga lost at Purdue University 69-44 and to Middle Tennessee State University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament - the Bulldogs first-ever NCAA Tournament game - 85-46. In West Coast Conference games, Gonzaga averaged 74.0 points per game and held its opponents to 53.9 points per contest.
TAELOR KARR & HAIDEN PALMER HIT THE 1,000-POINT PLATEAU: Gonzaga University women's basketball senior Taelor Karr was the first Zag this season to surpass the 1,000-point plateau in her career, having now scored 1,204 points. Karr tallied 620 of those points as a two-year member of the Kansas State University women's basketball team. At Gonzaga she has scored 584 points. Junior Haiden Palmer became the second Bulldogs to break 1,000-points, cracking the mark in GU's 12-point win at the University of San Diego, Jan. 19. Palmer has now scored 1,128 points over two and a half years, 335 points tallied as a freshman at Oregon State University.
A NATIONAL LEADER: Senior Taelor Karr entered the 2012-13 campaign as the reigning national champion in assist-to-turnover ratio. Karr paced Gonzaga and the West Coast Conference with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.7. Junior Jazmine Redmon was seventh in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio last year at 2.27. Currently, Redmon is 18th in the nation in assists-to-turnover ratio at 2.21 and Karr is 52nd at 1.8.
STEALING THE BALL: Gonzaga University women's basketball junior Haiden Palmer opened the new campaign making a then career-high six steals at UC Riverside, Nov. 9. She followed that up with five steals at USC, Nov. 9 and had another five against the University of Wisconsin, Nov. 16. She broke her career-high in the Zags opening West Coast Conference contest against the University of San Diego with seven, six coming in the first half. On the season, Palmer, who had a team-leading 78 steals a season ago, has had 16 3-plus steal contests and has accounted for 87 of the Zags 358 picks after 30 games and 49 of GU's 197 steals in league games. Palmer leads the WCC and is 29th in the nation in steals per game at 2.9.
BASKETBALL IN HER GENES: Gonzaga University women's basketball freshman Elle Tinkle comes from a basketball family. Her father Wayne Tinkle played for the University of Montana, played professionally in Europe for 10 years and is currently the head men's basketball coach at the University of Montana. Her mother Lisa Tinkle also played for Montana and was inducted into Montana's Hall of Fame. Her sister Joslyn Tinkle is currently a senior on the Stanford University women's basketball team. The two sisters battled each other on the hardwood Dec. 2 when the Cardinal defeated the Bulldogs 69-41 at McCarthey Athletic Center. Elle Tinkle had two points, three rebounds and two assists, while big sister Joslyn had 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
ALL-AROUND ATHLETIC FAMILY: Gonzaga University women's basketball senior Meghan Winters is one of four Winters siblings to play a collegiate sport in college. Her brother Brendan Winters played collegiate basketball at Davidson College. Her sister was a member of the University of Portland women's soccer team. Her younger brother Ryan Winters is currently a sophomore on the Elon University men's basketball team. And where do they get their athletic talents from? Her father Brian Winters was the 12th pick in the NBA draft in 1974, taken by the L.A. Lakers. After his playing career, he went on to coach for the University of South Carolina, L.A. Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Vancouver Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors and the WNBA's Indiana Fever. He is currently an assistant coach for the Charlotte Bobcats.
COACH GRAVES HELPS USA BASKETBALL WIN GOLD: This past summer, Gonzaga University women's basketball head coach Kelly Graves added USA Basketball to his resume, becoming an assistant coach with the U18 women's basketball squad and helping the team to a gold medal at the 2012 FIBA Americas.
COACH GRAVES AGAIN SELECTED AS ASSISTANT COACH FOR USA BASKETBALL: Gonzaga University women's basketball head coach Kelly Graves will return in 2013 as an assistant coach for USA Basketball and once again help lead the USA U19 World Championship Team in its quest for a fifth-straight gold medal at the U19 Worlds this upcoming summer.
GONZAGA TO HOST 2013 NCAA FIRST AND SECOND ROUNDS: Gonzaga University was one of 16 institutions selected to host the first-and-second rounds of the 2013 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament as announced by the NCAA. The Bulldogs will host the opening weekend action at the McCarthey Athletic Center. If Gonzaga earns a bid to the NCAA Tournament, it automatically will be seeded to play at the McCarthey Athletic Center. This will be third year in a row Gonzaga has been selected to host the first and second rounds.
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