WWU closes out four-game home stand, entertains SPU on Saturday

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Sarah Hill
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Sarah Hill
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

Jan. 31, 2014

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Having dropped into a two-way tie for second place in the conference standings, the Western Washington University women's basketball team closes out a four-game home stand against Seattle Pacific University on Saturday (5:15 p.m.) in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference contest at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.

The contest will be broadcast on KBAI Radio (930 AM-Bellingham) with Doug Lange calling the action and Mark Scholten providing the color commentary. Lives stats and video streams can be found at wwuvikings.com.

THE LAST MEETING
Western Washington84
Seattle Pacific77
January 2, 2014
Seattle, WA
WWU opens 2014 with 84-77 upset at nationally No.9-ranked Seattle Pacific
GuardKatie Colard scored a career and game-high 25 points, hitting 5-of-7 3-pointers as Western Washington University upset nationally top 10-ranked Seattle Pacific University, 84-77, in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's basketball game on Thursday at Royal Brougham Pavilion.

Montana State Billings took over sole possession of first place (8-2, 15-5) in the GNAC with a 71-63 victory over the Vikings on Thursday. That snapped WWU's home court winning streak at 26, matching the second longest in school history and falling three short of the WWU record.

WWU, 11-7 overall, is tied for second in the GNAC with Simon Fraser at 7-3. The Clan posted a 77-68 home court win over SPU (13-5, 6-4) on Thursday.

The Vikings' loss to MSUB also ended a six-game winning streak overall. They have won eight of their last 10 contests following a 3-5 start.

WWU is now 6-1 at home this season. The Vikings won 84-77 at Seattle Pacific on Jan. 2.

WWU leads the GNAC in field-goal percentage (45.6) and 3-point percentage (35.8).

The Vikings are the defending GNAC regular-season and tournament champions. They went on to win the 2013 West Regional title and reach the national semifinals.

HILL DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Senior center Sarah Hill has had two double doubles in the last five games, just missing out on having five straight. She had 18 points and 16 rebounds, both career highs, at Western Oregon on Jan. 16 and 11 points and 12 rebounds versus Alaska Fairbanks on Jan. 25.

Hill also had nine points and 14 rebounds at Saint Martin's on Jan. 18, 13 points and nine rebounds against Alaska Anchorage on Jan. 23 and 16 points and nine rebounds versus Montana State Billings on Jan. 31. During that five-game stretch, Hill has averaged 13.4 points and 12.0 rebounds.

Hill, who received GNAC Player of the Week honors for Jan. 12-18, is averaging 10.0 points this season and a team-high 7.9 rebounds. She also leads the Vikings with 31 blocked shots.

COLARD: Junior guard Katie Colard is averaging a team-leading 12.9 points per game on 38.2 percent (47-of-123) accuracy from 3-point range, and tops the GNAC in made threes (2.6, 47). She hit a career-best six treys versus Northwest Nazarene on Jan. 11.

Colard scored a career-high 25 points on 5-of-7 3-point shooting in WWU's win at Seattle Pacific. She leads the team with 13 double-figure scoring games.

DONALDSON: Over the last seven games, junior forward Sydney Donaldson has averaged 14.3 points on 54.8 percent (40-of-73) field-goal shooting and 9.6 rebounds.

Donaldson, who was the GNAC Player of the Week for Jan. 5-11, scored a career-high 22 points versus Alaska Fairbanks on Jan. 25 and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds against Northwest Nazarene on Jan. 11. On the season, she is averaging 8.6 points and 6.3 rebounds.

PEACOCKE: Freshman guard Taylor Peacocke is averaging 11.6 points off the bench this season, scoring double figures 12 times.

WHITE: Junior point guard Jenni White is scoring at a 9.4 clip. She paces the Vikings in assists (4.2, 76) and steals (2.0, 36), and leads the team in 3-point accuracy at 40.0 percent (18-of-45).

UPCOMING GAMES:

Feb. 1 (Sat.) SEATTLE PACIFIC*# (CARVER GYM - 5:15 p.m.)
Feb. 6 (Thu.) at Northwest Nazarene* (Nampa, ID - 7 p.m.)
Feb. 8 (Sat.) at Central Washington* (Ellensburg, WA - 7 p.m.)
Feb. 13 (Thu.) SAINT MARTIN'S*# (CARVER GYM - 7 p.m.)
Feb. 15 (Sat.) WESTERN OREGON *# (CARVER GYM - 7 p.m.)

*Great Northwest Athletic Conference contest #broadcast on KBAI Radio (930 AM) and on internet at wwuvikings.com %broadcast on KPUG Radio (1170 AM) and on internet at wwuvikings.com

SEATTLE PACIFIC: The Falcons are 13-5 overall and tied for fourth in GNAC play at 6-4. They opened the season with seven wins, lost four of their next five and had a five-game victory string prior to Thursday's 77-68 loss at Simon Fraser. SPU is led by 6-2 senior forward Katie Benson (20.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 2nd among GNAC leaders in both categories), a first-team GNAC all-star last season. Two more standouts for Julie Heisey (9th year, 190-59); 18th overall, 352-178) are 5-7 junior guard Suzanna Ohlsen (13.2 ppg, 4.1 apg) and 5-11 junior guard Betsy Kingma (9.5 ppg). SPU leads the GNAC in blocked shots per game at 5.1 (9th nationally), and ranks second in scoring defense at 63.3, field-goal percentage defense at 36.9 and free-throw accuracy at 77.4 (8th nationally). WWU leads 56-27 in the series, winning 84-77 at Seattle on Jan. 2.

THREE-DOT NOTES: Briggs is averaging 9.2 points on 51.5 percent field-goal shooting ... Hill has 482 points and 475 rebounds during her three-year career. Colard has 659 points and Donaldson 536 points and 362 rebounds ... Two Vikings, Donaldson and Hill, were named to the GNAC preseason all-conference team ... Two of WWU's losses have been in overtime and four have been by single digits ... WWU won its own Goodrich Classic title for the 15th time in the 17-year history of the tourney with wins over Pacific Lutheran, 84-46, and Northwest, 83-44. That ran its Goodrich Classic victory string to 12, with wins in 31 of 34 games overall. Three WWU players were all-tournament picks. Briggs was named Most Valuable Player, and was joined by Hill and White.

FAMILY TIES: Two members of this year's team have fathers who played men's basketball at WWU. They are Tia Briggs (Ed) and Kiana Gandy (Joe). Sarah Hill's sister, Celeste, was an All-America hoop player for the Vikings, and Katie Colard, had a sister, Kelly, who played basketball at WWU, and a brother, Kevin, who competed in football for the Vikings.

VIKINGS THIRD IN GNAC COACHES POLL: WWU received three of 10 first-place votes and was picked to place third in the GNAC coaches' preseason poll. The Vikings previously won GNAC championships in 2002, 2006, 2011 (regular season) and 2013 (regular season and tournament). Montana State Billings was No.1 with six first-place votes and Seattle Pacific second with one first-place vote.

HOME COURT DOMINANCE: The Vikings are 444-73 (85.9 percent) in 42 seasons at Carver Gym. Their longest home court win streak was 29 from 1983 to 1986.

COACH DOLFO: Carmen Dolfo, who was the CaptainU Division II National Coach of the Year last season, is in her 23rd year as head coach at WWU. She has a 486-180 (73.0 percent) record and ranks No.9 among active NCAA II coaches in winning percentage and No.12 in victories. Her winning percentage in NCAA II all-time ranks No.21 and her victory total No.26. Dolfo's teams have reached post-season play 21 times and have won 20 or more games 17 times. She was named GNAC Coach of the Year in 2004, 2006, 2011 and 2013; Northwest small college Coach of the Year in 2000 and Pacific Northwest Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1995 and 1996. Dolfo has coached 13 All-Americans (includes honorable mention) and 48 conference all-stars during her tenure. She was the top Viking assistant for four seasons (95-28, 77.2) and earned All-America honors as a player at WWU.

TRADITION OF SUCCESS: With 918 victories (315 losses, 74.5 percent) in its 43-year history, WWU is one of just a handful of colleges in all divisions of the NCAA to reach the 900-plateau... The Vikings have made 40 post-season appearances, including one stretch of 28 straight, with two national semifinal and three quarterfinal finishes ... They have made 14 West Regional appearances in their 15 seasons as a NCAA II member, and also have had 31 20-win seasons ... WWU has had 22 winning streaks of 10 or more games with its longest being 21 ... Former WWU coach Lynda Goodrich is a member of the NAIA National Hall of Fame. She coached WWU for 19 seasons, winning more than 400 games (411-127, 76.4 percent). Another Viking NAIA Hall of Famer is forward Jo Metzger (1977-81), who earned first-team All-America honors in 1980 and 1981 ... WWU has had 13 first, second or third-team All-Americans.

A LOOK BACK AT 2012-13: Last year, WWU finished 29-4 and reached the semifinals at the NCAA II National Championships after winning the West Regional title and both the Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament crowns.

COLLEGIATE FIRST: WWU was the first college in the country to boast two 400-win women's basketball coaches. Lynda Goodrich, who recently retired after 26 years as the school's director of athletics, posted 411 victories from 1971 to 1990, and current coach Carmen Dolfo is in her 23rd season with 486.

ON THE WEB: All Viking home games are being video streamed live and are available at www.stretchinternet.com. For up-to-date statistics, box scores of every game, records, stories, etc., see the WWU Athletics 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

RADIO BROADCASTS: Selected WWU games are being broadcast this season on KBAI Radio (930 AM) or KPUG (1170 AM) with Doug Lange handling the play-by-play and Mark Scholten providing the color commentary. They also can be heard on the internet at www.wwuvikings.com.

ROOT SPORTS: WWU's home game with Simon Fraser on Sat., March 1 will be televised live on ROOT Sports (Comcast Channel 30). Tipoff is 3 p.m. (originally 7 p.m.). ROOT Sports is the home of the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks and Portland Timbers, among numerous other professional and collegiate sports teams in the Pacific Northwest. Its scope covers Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska, and the ROOT SPORTS regional networks combine to reach nine million homes across 18 states.

PROBABLE WESTERN STARTERS & TOP RESERVES:

F Marcel Pounds, 5-8, **Jr.., Bonney Lake, WA/Bonney Lake
F Sydney Donaldson, 6-0, **Jr., Edmonds, WA/Edmonds-Woodway
C Sarah Hill, 6-3, **Sr., Richmond,VA/Lloyd C.Bird/ Maryland-Baltimore County
G Jenni White, 5-5, **Jr., Spokane, WA/East Valley
G Katie Colard, 5-9, **Jr., McCleary, WA/Elma

F Taylor Peacocke, 5-9, Fr., Kenmore, WA/Inglemoor/Sacramento State F Tia Briggs, 6-1, Fr., Tacoma, WA/Wilson F Kiana Gandy,5-10, R-Fr., Des Moines, WA/Mount Rainier F Rachel Albert, 5-10, Fr., Bellingham, WA/Sehome *letters won

MOST RECENT GAME SUMMARY:

Jan. 30 - Montana State Billings 71, WWU 63 at Bellingham, WA

WWU's home winning streak ended at 26 games, as guard Bobbi Knudsen scored a game-high 28 points to lift Montana State Billings to a 71-63 triumph over the Vikings in a GNAC game at Carver Gym. Hill led WWU with 16 points and nine rebounds. The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for the Vikings. MSUB improved to 15-5 overall and took over first place in the GNAC at 8-2 with its fifth consecutive victory. Forward Kayleen Goggins added 12 points for the Yellowjackets. The Vikings trailed by just two, 44-42, with under 15 minutes left, but then had just one field goal in the next eight minutes, and Knudsen scored 11 of MSUB's next 14 points to give the Yellowjackets a 58-50 lead, matching the biggest of the game, with 7:59 to go. WWU rallied with six straight points to pull within two, 60-58, and had a pair of potential go-ahead 3-pointers rim out, the last with 3:40 remaining, but MSUB then took control, as Janiel Olson hit a 3-pointer, and then with the shot clock running down, Knudsen missed a shot off the side of the backboard but converted the putback for a 65-58 advantage with 2:04 to go. The Vikings never got closer than four points after that. Tia Briggs came off the bench to score 14 points for WWU, and Donaldson had 11 points and 12 rebounds. MSUB shot 56.0 percent (14-of-25) from the field in taking a 37-35 halftime lead. The period featured five ties and eight lead changes, with no lead of more than six points. Knudsen, who had 37 points in an 82-69 victory over WWU at Billings on Jan. 4, was 12-of-23 from the field Thursday, adding seven rebounds and four assists. MSUB had a 43-34 rebound advantage with Chelsea Banis grabbing 12 and Olson 11. WWU's last loss at Carver Gym came on Jan. 14, 2012, 75-55 to Alaska Anchorage.