Transfer from arch-rival CWU proves windfall for Western
Feb. 21, 2010
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -
By Brynn Regan, WWU Sports Information Office
When point guard Ashley Fenimore fell into the lap of the Western Washington University women's basketball program two years ago, it could not have come at a more opportune time.
With two veteran point guards graduating after the 2008-09 campaign, the Vikings did not have an experienced returnee at that position for the following season. That is until Fenimore's decision to transfer from arch-rival Central Washington.
An elementary education major, Fenimore opted for the move to Western because Central's School of Education was in danger of losing its accreditation. She had started the previous three seasons for the Wildcats, and ranked fifth among the school's career assist leaders.
"I think a lot of people look to take the safe way, and she didn't," said long-time Western coach Carmen Dolfo, who jumped at the opportunity to add Fenimore to her roster. "She took a risk, and I think that says a lot about her personality."
Because of NCAA transfer rules, Fenimore had to sit out a year. But that turned out to be a plus as she made the adjustment to Western's style of play, Dolfo's coaching philosophy and adapting to her teammates.
"There is no way I could have walked into this program and played right away and made an impact," Fenimore said. "Sitting out that year really helped me in being able to help the team this season."
Fenimore has been a key figure on a Western squad that is currently 20-4 overall, rated No.21 nationally and No.2 regionally, and second in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings at 11-2. She is the league leader in assists at 4.0 per game, and is scoring 6.7 points, shooting 49.1 percent (56-of-114) from the field, including 42.0 percent (29-of-69) from 3-point range, and 86.4 percent (19-of-22) at the free-throw line.
"She understands the game, she makes people better on the floor, she works hard, and she is competitive," Dolfo said.
Fenimore's primary responsibility offensively is to bring the ball up court and then distribute it to the Vikings' top scorers.
If there is anything that Dolfo would like Fenimore to do differently, it is to shoot a little more, a problem coaches rarely have to address.
"As a point guard it is my job to get our scorers the ball," Fenimore said. "But when they take the different options away, I really need to step up and score more."
Fenimore did that in Western's 78-58 win over then nationally eighth-ranked Alaska Anchorage on Jan. 9.
The Seawolves were packing it in on defense, almost daring Fenimore to shoot from outside. She responded with a then season-best 17 points, hitting 5-of-9 from the field, including 3-of-6 from three-point range.
One of Fenimore's toughest games came when the Vikings traveled to Ellensburg on Jan. 21 to play Central.
"It was hard going over there," said Fenimore, "because I had shared three years of my college career with some of those players."
She had six points and four assists in helping Western to an 80-46 victory over the Wildcats.
Just two years ago, Fenimore had led Central to an 86-69 win over the Vikings, having nine points, seven assists and four steals.
Dolfo much prefers seeing her in blue and white rather than red and black.
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