Bulldog Men, Women Basketball Teams Open Season
Nov. 5, 1999
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University's men's and women's basketball teams both get their first taste of live competition Saturday when the respective teams face the Old Dogs AAU, comprised primarily of Gonzaga University alums.
Action begins at 1 p.m. with the women's tip, followed by the men's contest at 3 p.m.
The Bulldog men, ranked as high as 12th in the pre-season polls, make their first appearance in the Martin Centre since advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight last March where a 28-7 season concluded with a 67-62 loss to eventual NCAA champion University of Connecticut in the West Regional in Phoenix, AZ.
Three starters off that NCAA team return to the fold this season. Matt Santangelo, a pre-season All-America point guard, Richie Frahm, a sharpshooting guard, and Casey Calvary, a powerful force underneath, are the veteran leaders. But guards Mike Nilson and Ryan Floyd, center Axel Dench and forward Mark Spink give the Bulldogs a corps of seven returnees from last year's squad. Nilson is ticketed to start at one guard, while Dench will start in the middle. Floyd and Spink will continue to provide minutes off the bench.
Santangelo, a member of last summers' USA Basketball World University Games Team which won a gold medal in Spain, averaged 12.7 ppg a year ago and is a Playboy Magazine pre-season All-America. He's also one of the 25 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award which goes to the top collegiate player each season.
Frahm paced the Bulldogs with his 14.4 ppg average last season. He became the 21st player in Gonzaga history to reach the 1,000-point plateau and ranks 20th with 1,028 points. His 93 3-pointers last season rank second on the Gonzaga single-season list behind John Rillie's 96.
Dench returns to the starting lineup this season after starting 31 games as a sophomore in 1998. Last season he started three of the first four games, then came off the bench in the final 31 games. He averaged nearly 16 minutes per game, 6.8 ppg and 3.5 rpg.
Several newcomers will see their first action for the Bulldogs. Zach Gourde, who redshirted as a freshman last season, will spell Dench in the middle. Jimmy Tricco, a 6-5 guard from Phoenix, AZ, and Jay Sherrell, a 6-8 forward from Spanaway, WA, were two of the Bulldogs highly-sought recruits a year ago. Sherrell's duty may be limited as he saw his first full-court practice time of the fall this week while nursing a stress fracture. John Gebbers, a walk-on freshman guard from Brewster, WA, is vying with another freshman walk-on, Kenny Williams of Tacoma, WA, for backup minutes behind Santangelo. Gebbers is the son of former Gonzaga baseball standout Mac Gebbers. Matt Kincaid, a redshirt walk-on a year ago, also gives the Bulldogs depth at guard.
The Old Dogs AAU have 16 players on their roster, a good blend of recent and not-so-recent performers. John Nemeth, Geoff Goss, Jamie Dudley and Kyle Dixon are three guards of somewhat recent vintage familiar to Bulldog fans. Scott Finnie and Jeff Condill are pre-1990s performers at guard making a return to The Kennel. Darryl May finished his career in 1990.
Jeff Brown, the 1994 WCC Player of the Year, returns in the middle. He'll be joined by former teammates Scott Spink, Scott Morgan, Scott Snider and Jason Rubright. Morgan, who also played baseball for the Bulldogs, has gone onto a professional baseball career in the Cleveland Indians' organization. He hit 34 home runs and drove in 101 runs this past summer while splitting time between Class AA Akron and Class AAA Buffalo.
Phil Paramore, Bret Holmdahl, Reed Schifferman and Ross Rettenmier also return. Paramore is making the trek from Juneau, AK, for the second straight year.
Gonzaga's women, 8-19 last season, are looking for a veteran squad to get them back into the upper echelons of the West Coast Conference.
Ten veterans return to bolster and brighten the Bulldogs' hopes. Five players with 20 or more starts last season dot the Gonzaga roster. Jessica Malone, last year's surprise freshman for the Bulldogs, led the team with her 12.8 ppg and 53 3-pointers. Holly Bruno, the former Holly Turner who married form Gonzaga soccer player Andy Bruno last June, averaged 11.3 ppg a year ago and connected for 46 3-pointers.
Malone and Kristin Deal each averaged 5.3 rebounds to pace the Bulldogs last season, Sydney Perno averaged 4.0 rpg and Bruno 3.6 boards per outing.
Starting point guard Jessica Waltz is back to quarterback the offense, while Celeste Quitiquit's presence will also give the Bulldogs depth at guard. Quitiquit, considered a solid contender to challenge for the point guard duties a year ago, suffered a season-ending knee injury the first day of practice last year.
Melanie started 22 games a year ago after coming off the bench during the early portion of the season. She averaged 7.3 ppg. Tennille Jeffries played in all 27 games with a pair of starts, averaging 16 minutes/game, 4.0 ppg and 3.3 rpg. Chelsea Clark, who hasn't played a game since the 1998 season opener, is back in uniform and ready for duty. She's been hampered with foot and ankle injuries the past two seasons, undergoing surgery in August, 1998, which sidelined her all of last season.
Three newcomers will make their debut for the Bulldogs. Carmel Lampson, a 5-9 forward who played her first two seasons at the UC-Santa Barbara, gives the Bulldogs size and experience. She attended the Community Colleges of Spokane last season but did not play basketball. Freshmen Nathalie Chevally (6-2 forward) and Anne Bickelhaupt (6-3 forward/center) make the Bulldogs bigger and stronger underneath the basket. Amanda Fahsholtz, a 6-3 freshman center, will redshirt this season after suffering an ankle injury.
Gonzaga will be without the services of 6-2 forward Heather Osberg who is still with the Bulldogs' volleyball team through the end of November.
The returning Bulldogs will face a formidable group of Old Dogs, although depth could become a factor. Only eight players dot the Old Dogs rosters, who "recruited" former Notre Dame and St. George's High performer Kari Hutchinson who joined Gonzaga's coaching staff this season. Kay Koppelman Peterson, Gonzaga's career rebounding leader with 983, and Sarah Christianson, 10th on the all-time rebounding list with 549, will give the Old Dogs a presence under the basket. Jennifer Mountain, third all-time on the scoring charts with 1,422 points, leads the offense.
More recent alums returning to the Martin Centre are Melissa McCullough, Cameron Carroll , Staci Andrews Byars and Sandy Gere Zimmerman. Andrews is among Gonzaga's all-time 3-point field goal shooters.
Both teams will have one more tune-up prior to the start of the regular season Nov. 21. Gonzaga's women will be back in action next Wednesday to face Lokomotiva Bratislavia-Slovakia at 7 p.m. Gonzaga's men will meet Team Concept, an AAU team out of Portland, next Friday in a rare volleyball-basketball double-header. The Gonzaga women's volleyball team will face Pepperdine University in a WCC match at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men's basketball game scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The Gonzaga men open the regular season Nov. 21 at the University of
Montana, while the women travel to San Jose State that same afternoon.
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