Vikings home for three games this week

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Krystal Robinson
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Krystal Robinson
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

Jan. 22, 2007

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BELLINGHAM, Wash. -

UPDATE: Looking to regroup after one of the most stunning losses in school history, the Western Washington University women's basketball team has three home games this week. Providing the opposition on Haggen Court at Sam Carver Gymnasium are Seattle Pacific on Wednesday, Dixie State on Friday and Saint Martin's on Saturday. The games with Seattle Pacific and Saint Martin's are Great Northwest Athletic Conference counters.

The Vikings, who will play six of their next seven games at home, are 5-0 at Carver Gym this season. They are working on a 23-game regular-season winning streak on Haggen Court.

Western, the defending GNAC champion, is 11-5 overall and tied for second in the league standings with Seattle U. at 4-2. Last week, the Vikings were upset 84-77 at last-place Western Oregon on Jan. 20 after defeating Northwest Nazarene, 56-47, on Jan. 18 at Carver Gym.

Seattle Pacific leads the GNAC with a perfect 5-0 mark and is 11-4 overall. The Falcons, who placed second in the league last season and reached the West Regional final, have won five straight games. Last year, Western snapped a seven-game series losing streak by winning both regular-season meetings with Seattle Pacific, but the Falcons came back from a 15-point second-half deficit to defeat the Vikings, 70-50, in the West Regional semifinals.

Dixie State, 11-7 overall, defeated the Vikings, 77-63, at Saint George, Utah, on Dec. 21. The Rebels, who are making the transition from junior college to NCAA Division II this season, have won their last three games, but have not played since Jan. 9.

Saint Martin's, 5-11 overall and 1-4 in GNAC action, has lost seven of its last eight games after a 4-4 start. Western has won the last 18 series meetings, prevailing 88-78 at Lacey on Jan. 4.

Western has lost two of its last three games, all of them GNAC counters, after winning 22 straight league contests. During that stretch, the Vikings have shot just 34.3 percent (69-of-201) from the field and only 25.0 percent (17-of-68) from 3-point range. Despite the shooting slump, they still lead the GNAC in field-goal percentage at 44.6 percent (424-of-950) and points per game at 74.3.

Junior forward Krystal Robinson has averaged 16.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.4 blocked shots in the last five contests. During that stretch, she has shot 50.0 percent (31-of-62) from the field and 88.0 percent (22-of-25) at the free throw line.

Robinson ranks second nationally and leads the GNAC in blocked shots (51, 3.2 avg.). She has had at least one block in every game this season and her career total of 149 ranks fourth among WWU career leaders. One the season, Robinson is averaging 12.2 points and 5.6 rebounds, shooting 50.7 percent (77-of-152) from the floor, which ranks fifth among league leaders, and 82.0 percent (41-of-50) at the line.

Senior guard Mollie Stelmack continues to pace the Vikings in scoring (15.6 avg.), assists (3.8) and 3-point shooting (38.7 percent, 36-of-93). She is looking to become the first backcourt player to lead Western in scoring since Lori deKubber accomplished the feat for three straight years (1981-84) with a high of 13.8 in 1982-83.

Stelmack is second in the GNAC in 3-point makes (36), and third in points and assists. She has scored 1,123 career points, including 567 in two seasons at Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire.

Junior forward Liz McCarrell is averaging 12.4 points on team-best 51.7 percent (75-of-145) field goal shooting, which ranks fourth in the GNAC.

Four sophomores have been solid contributors. Center Claire Pallansch is averaging a team-leading 6.7 rebounds and scoring at a 7.2 per game clip, guard MacKenzie Flynn is averaging 5.8 points and has made a team-best 24-of-27 free throws (88.9 percent), forward Willow Cabe is averaging 6.7 points and 5.8 rebounds, and guard Indio Soo leads the team and ranks fourth in the GNAC in steals (2.1).

UPCOMING GAMES:

Jan. 24 (Wed.) SEATTLE PACIFIC UNIVERSITY*# (BELLINGHAM), 7 p.m.
Jan. 26 (Fri.) DIXIE STATE COLLEGE (BELLINGHAM), 7 p.m.
Jan. 27 (Sat.) SAINT MARTIN'S UNIVERSITY*# (BELLINGHAM), 7 p.m.
Feb. 1 (Thu.) at Central Washington University*# (Ellensburg, WA), 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 8 (Thu.) UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA ANCHORAGE* (BELLINGHAM), 7 p.m.
Feb. 10 (Sat.) UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS*# (BELLINGHAM), 3 p.m.)
Feb. 15 (Thu.) WESTERN OREGON UNIVERSITY* (BELLINGHAM), 7 p.m.

Home games (all caps) on Haggen Court at Sam Carver Gymnasium #broadcast on KBAI Radio (930 AM) and via the internet at wwuvikings.com *Great Northwest Athletic Conference contest

THREE-DOT NOTES: Western is averaging 5.4 blocks per games, which ranks third nationally and leads the conference ... The Vikings have lost two of their last three GNAC games after winning 22 straight league contests ... Junior guard Elyse Hartman is out indefinitely with an ailing left knee ... Stelmack has shot just 41.3 percent (36-of-87) from the field in the last eight games after hitting 53.6 percent (52-of-97) in the first eight contests ... Robinson has connected on 35 of her last 39 free throws (89.7 percent) over the last eight games after hitting just 56.2 percent (36-of-64) in her career prior to that ... Stelmack has scored double figures in a team-high 14 games. Robinson has had 11 double-figure point contests and McCarrell 10 ... Stelmack could become the first backcourt player to lead the Vikings in scoring since Lori deKubber accomplished the feat three straight years (1981-84) with a high of 13.8 in 1982-83 ... Robinson has 149 career blocks, which ranks fourth among Western leaders. She has had at least one block in every game this season, with a career-high tying seven in one contest (school record is nine) ... Western has won 23 straight regular-season home games. Stelmack and McCarrell have each received GNAC Player of the Week honors this season ... McCarrell was named all-tourney at the Great Western Shootout ... Stelmack was MVP at the CCAA/GNAC Challenge Classic, and McCarrell also earned all-tourney honors. ... Flynn was named MVP at the WWU Lynda Goodrich Classic. Also receiving all-tourney recognition were Robinson and Stelmack. The Vikings are 19-1 at the Goodrich Classic, their only loss coming in the final game of the 2002 tourney ... Western has played in seven states this season. They are Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

The season-opening 77-62 loss to Mesa State CO was just the second debut setback in the last 12 years for the Vikings ... The 100-point effort against Northwest was the first for Western since early in the 2002-03 season (112 games) when it had back-to-back triple-digit contests. It was the 21st time in school history that the Vikings had scored 100 points, with the school record being 126 at Sheldon Jackson AK during the 1987-88 campaign ... Western graduated four starters from last year's 27-2 squad that won the GNAC championship with a perfect 18-0 record and reached the semifinals of the NCAA Division II West Regional ... The Vikings have made nine straight national appearances and are working on a similar string of 20-win seasons.

HOME COURT DOMINANCE: The Vikings are 365-59 (86.1 percent) in this their 35th year at Carver Gym. Western, which is 5-0 on Haggen Court this season, has reached double-digit victories at home in each of the last nine seasons. Western was 14-1 in 2005-06, 12-1 in 2004-05, 11-2 in 2003-04, 12-2 in 2002-03, 13-1 in 2001-02, 13-1 in 2000-01, 12-0 in 1999-2000, 13-2 in 1998-99 and 10-4 in 1997-98.

COACH DOLFO: Carmen Dolfo is in her 16th year as head coach at Western. She has a 340-117 (74.4 percent) record. Entering this season, Dolfo ranked 12th among active NCAA II coaches in winning percentage and 29th in victories. Dolfo's teams have reached post-season play 15 times and have won 20 or more games 13 times. She was named GNAC Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2006, Northwest small college Coach of the Year in 2000 and Pacific Northwest Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1995 and 1996. Dolfo was the top Viking assistant for four seasons (95-28, 77.2) and earned All-America honors as a player at Western.

THE TRADITION CONTINUES: With 772 victories in its 36-year history, Western is one of just four NCAA Division II schools that has reached the 750 milestone and 15 nationally in all NCAA divisions ... The Vikings have made 27 straight post-season appearances and 33 overall, reaching nationals 16 times, including one semifinal and three quarterfinal finishes ... They also have had 27 20-win seasons and are working on a string of nine straight ... Western has had 20 winning streaks of 10 or more games with its longest being 20, and its longest losing streak is just four games ... Former Western coach Lynda Goodrich, now the Vikings' director of athletics, is a member of the NAIA National Hall of Fame. She coached Western for 19 seasons, winning more than 400 games (411-124, 76.7 percent). Another Viking NAIA Hall of Famer is forward Jo Metzger (1977-81), who earned first-team All-American honors in 1980 and 1981 ... Western has had 13 first, second or third-team All-Americans.

RADIO BROADCASTS: Selected Western games are being broadcast this season on KBAI Radio (930 AM) with Doug Lange handling the play-by-play, and either Mark Scholten, Jason Stiles or Ervin Kuehbler providing the color commentary. They also can be heard on the internet at www.wwuvikings.com.

ON THE WEB: For up-to-date statistics, box scores of every game, records, stories, etc., see the Western Athletic web page at www.wwuvikings.com. Up-to-date league standings and statistics can be found on the Great Northwest Athletic Conference web page at www.gnacsports.com.

PROBABLE WESTERN STARTERS & TOP RESERVES:

F Liz McCarrell, 5-11, **Jr., Ferndale, WA/Ferndale
F Krystal Robinson, 6-2, **Jr., Kent, WA/Kentridge
C Claire Pallansch, 6-1, *So., Redmond, WA/Redmond/Oregon State
G Mollie Stelmack, 5-11,*Sr., New Westminster, BC/Franklin Pierce NH
G MacKenzie Flynn, 5-5, So.-TR, Redmond, WA/Redmond/Idaho

G India Soo, 5-6, So.-TR, Kamuela, HI/Kamehameha/Idaho State F Willow Cabe, 6-1, *So., McCleary, WA/Elma F Sarah Schramm, 6-0, So., Chelan, WA/Chelan G Elyse Hartman, 5-8, **Jr., Eagle River, AK/Chugiak *letters

OPPONENT SKETCHES:

SEATTLE PACIFIC UNIVERSITY: The Falcons (11-4 overall, 5-0 GNAC, 8-1 home, 3-3 road), who have won five straight games, placed second in the GNAC last year (24-6, 16-2) and were picked to finish third in the preseason coaches poll. One starter returns from last year's team that lost to Chico State in the West Regional final. That is 5-9 senior forward Autumn Fielding (9.1 ppg). Though graduating their top four scorers, eight players return. Leading that group, besides Fielding, are 6-2 sophomore center Kelsey Hill (10.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg), 5-9 junior guard Jackie Hollands (10.3 ppg), 6-0 senior forward Rachel Strand (9.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg), 5-5 junior guard Beth Christensen (5.0 ppg, 4.6 apg), 5-10 senior guard Jessie Menkens (6.5 ppg) and 6-4 sophomore center Lexi Schaar (7.0 ppg). A top newcomer for coach Juli van Beek (2nd year, 35-10; 11th overall 197-129) is 5-10 junior guard Libby Magnuson (5.3 ppg), a transfer from Bradley. Western leads series, 48-20. Last year, the Vikings won both regular-season meetings, ending a seven-game series losing streak with an 82-71 win at Carver Gym and snapping a string of six losses at Royal Brougham Pavilion with a 78-54 victory. But SPU came back from a 15-point second-half deficit to defeat Western, 70-50, in the semifinal round of the West Regional at Carver Gym. Seattle Pacific's four losses have been to NCAA I Gonzaga, NCAA top 10 ranked North Dakota and Chico State, and Sonoma State.

DIXIE STATE COLLEGE: The Rebels (11-7, 5-1 home, 6-6 road), who are making the transition from junior college to NCAA Division II and are a member of the Pacific West Conference, have won their last three games. They return two starters from last year's 17-15 team for first-year coach Angela Kristensen (5th year overall, 82-70). They are 6-0 sophomore forward Jessica Carver (12.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.6 bpg) and 5-8 sophomore guard Lacey Christensen (6.7 ppg). Another key returnee is 5-6 sophomore guard Liz Lewis (10.2 ppg, 3.0 apg). Three talented newcomers are 5-8 sophomore guard Chelsea Robinson (11.3 ppg), a transfer from Brigham Young University, and 6-0 senior forward Maggie Apt (5.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg), a transfer from Pittsburg State University, and 5-6 freshman guard Tiara Bowman (19.1 ppg). Western dropped the first series meeting, 77-63, at St. George, Utah, on Dec. 21.

SAINT MARTIN'S UNIVERSITY: The Saints (5-11 overall, 1-4 GNAC, 3-4 home, 2-7 road, Jan. 25 at Western Oregon), who have lost seven of their last eight games after a 4-4 start, finished eighth in the GNAC last year (9-18, 5-13), were picked to place eighth in the preseason coaches poll. The lone returning starter for coach Tim Healy (11th year, 129-159) is 6-0 senior forward Whitney Golob (7.9 ppg, 7.6 rpg). Transfers have taken up the slack of the graduation losses. They include 6-2 junior center Kassie Ludeman (7.1 ppg) and 5-9 junior forward Amber Harmon (7.8 ppg), both from Wenatchee Valley CC; 5-5 sophomore guard Necia Jerome (5.1 ppg) and 5-8 junior guard Breanne Lindquist (5.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg), both from Whatcom CC; 5-11 junior forward Sade Smith (6.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg) from Centralia CC where she was a first-team NWAACC all-star and 5-10 junior forward Jessi Reome (9.6 ppg), a transfer from Montana State Northern. A top freshman is 5-6 guard Jamey Gelhar (8.1 ppg, .949 FT Pct., 56-59 - 1st GNAC), who scored 30 points in an 88-78 loss to Western at Lacey on Jan. 4. SMU leads the league in free throw shooting at 77.8 percent (242-of-311). The Vikings hold a 47-9 series advantage, having won the last 18 meetings (last loss was 79-52 during 1997-98 season).

CENTRAL WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: The Wildcats (13-3 overall, 3-2 GNAC, 6-0 home, 7-3 road, Jan. 25 at Seattle U., Jan. 27 at Northwest Nazarene), who have won four straight games and had a nine-game victory string earlier this season, tied for fifth in the GNAC last season (15-11, 9-9) and were picked to place second in the preseason coaches poll. Four starters return for coach Jeff Whitney (10th year, 162-94). Leading that group is 6-3 senior center Laura Wright (12.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg), who received all-GNAC honorable mention after being a second-team pick the previous season. Completing that quartet are 5-9 junior forward Hanna Hull (13.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg), 5-9 senior forward Ashley Blake (4.2 ppg) and 5-8 sophomore guard Ashley Fenimore (5.1 ppg, 3.4 apg). Another top returnee is 5-9 senior guard Elyse Mengarelli (13.4 ppg, 3.0 apg). A talented newcomer is 5-10 senior forward Brandie Bounds (10.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg), who sat out last season after playing three years at NCAA I Eastern Washington University. Western holds a 71-9 series advantage, winning the last seven meetings.

GAME SUMMARIES:

Jan. 18 - WESTERN 56, Northwest Nazarene 47 at Bellingham Stelmack scored a game-high 16 points as Western defeated Northwest Nazarene, 56-47, in a GNAC contest at Carver Gym. Robinson had 14 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots for the Vikings. Northwest Nazarene fell to 9-6 overall and 3-1 in the GNAC. Guards Janee Olds and Lindsay Brady each had 12 points for the Crusaders, who had a four-game winning streak snapped. The Vikings, who entered the game leading the GNAC in scoring (75.4) and field goal percentage (45.7 percent), shot just 34.5 percent (19-of-55) from the field, their third lowest percentage of the season. But Western held Northwest Nazarene to 35.6 percent (16-of-45), and also forced 33 Crusader turnovers. Western scored the last five points of the first half to take a 25-17 lead at the intermission, then held Northwest Nazarene without a field goal for the first seven minutes of the second half, opening up a 38-19 lead with 12:38 to play. The Vikings were still up by 18, 44-26, with eight minutes remaining before Northwest Nazarene used a 13-2 run to close the gap to seven, 46-39, with 4:39 left. But Cabe hit a 3-pointer with 3:27 left to extend the margin to 10, and Northwest Nazarene did not get within seven points again until the final minute. Cabe, making her first start since the season opener, grabbed a game-high eight rebounds and scored five points.

Jan. 20 - Western Oregon 84, WESTERN 77 at Monmouth, OR Forward Leada Berkey scored a game-high 34 points, helping the last-place team in the GNAC defeat the defending champion as Western Oregon stunned Western, 84-77, at the New P.E. Building. The win was just the second for the Wolves in their last 49 games and snapped a 14-game losing streak. Western Oregon, which improved to 2-14 overall and 1-4 in league play, also ended a 27-game stretch without a conference win. The Wolves' last GNAC victory was on Feb. 12, 2005, when they defeated Seattle U., 61-58. Western was led by Robinson, who had 21 points on 10-of-14 floor accuracy, a game-high 12 rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots. Berkey, who entered the game with a 21.1 scoring average, which leads the GNAC and ranks 15th nationally, scored 30 or more points for the fifth time this season, tying the league record. She was 11-of-19 from the field, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range, and 8-of-10 at the free throw line. Berkey also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. Guard Kori Seymour scored 22 points for Western Oregon, 16 in the second half. Western got 18 points from Stelmack, 13 in the first half, and 12 points from McCarrell. There were 19 lead changes and 10 ties in the game. Neither team led by more than five points until Seymour's basket with 6:45 remaining put Western Oregon in front 62-55. Kaila Hawley's 3-pointer put the Wolves on top 72-63 with 3:45 to go, and the Vikings never got closer than seven after that. Western Oregon, which led 35-34 at halftime, snapped an 11-game series losing streak. The Wolves had not beaten the Vikings since an 84-75 win on Jan. 27, 2001, at Monmouth. Western Oregon had a huge advantage at the foul line, hitting 26-of-32 (81.3 percent) to 8-of-12 (66.7 percent) for the Vikings.