WWU looks to secure first-round bye at GNAC Tournament

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Erika Ramstead and Trishi Williams
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Erika Ramstead and Trishi Williams
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

Feb. 21, 2012

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Needing a strong finish to gain a berth in the NCAA Division II West Regional, the Western Washington University women's basketball team ends its regular season on the road this week, traveling to Seattle Pacific University on Thursday (7 p.m.), Feb. 23, and to Montana State University Billings on Saturday (7 p.m.), Feb. 25, for a pair of Great Northwest Athletic Conference counters.

The Seattle Pacific contest will be broadcast live on KBAI Radio (930 AM - www.930kbai.com) with Doug Lange handling play-by-play and Mark Scholten providing color commentary. Both games can be viewed on the internet at http://wwu.nmtvsports.com and live stats are available at http://www.gnacsports.com/livestats.htm

The Vikings, who were sixth in the first West Region rating released last Wednesday, are 18-6 overall and second in the GNAC standings at 12-4. They have won six of their last seven games, clinching at least a tie for the runner-up spot in the conference last week after posting home court wins over Northwest Nazarene, 75-68, and Central Washington, 75-64.

WWU already has earned a berth in the second annual GNAC Tournament, which will be held on March 1-3 at Lacey (host Saint Martin's) and its magic number to clinch the No.2 seed and a first-round bye is one. The winner of the tournament earns an automatic berth in the West Regional.

Seattle Pacific and Montana State Billings are both tied for third place in the conference at 10-6 with Simon Fraser. The Vikings defeated MSUB, 80-72 in their first meeting on Dec. 1, but lost their first confrontation with SPU, 82-66, on Dec. 3.

Last year, WWU was the GNAC regular-season champion and reached the championship game of the inaugural conference post-season tournament. Defending league titlist Alaska Anchorage already has clinched the regular-season crown at 15-2.

WWU ranks eighth nationally among NCAA II schools in three-point shooting at 36.9 percent (171-of-463), 10th in field-goal accuracy at 45.5 percent (657-of-1443), 13th in assists (17.0), and 19th in rebound margin (7.5). The Vikings lead the league in three-point shooting and blocked shots (4.5) and are second in field-goal shooting and field-goal percentage defense (37.1).

Junior point guard Corinn Waltrip leads the Vikings in scoring, averaging 12.5 points per game. She is among the GNAC top 10 in five categories, leading in free-throw percentage at 88.0 (44-of-50). Waltrip is fourth in both assists (3.8) and minutes played (32.2), sixth in three-point makes (1.8) and eighth in three-point percentage (38.4, 43-of-112).

Waltrip earned GNAC Player of the Week honors as she scored 33 points in the two home wins last week, making 7-of-12 attempts (58.3 percent) from three-point range and 11-of-22 overall.

Forward Kristin Schramm, WWU's lone senior, also is averaging 12.5 points, but trails Waltrip by two in total points. Schramm is second on the team in rebounds at 4.8.

Schramm ranks fifth in the GNAC in both three-point percentage at 40.4 (46-of-114) and three-point makes (1.9), and is ninth in steals (1.7).

During her four-year career, Schramm has totals of 733 points, 330 rebounds, 110 steals and 102 assists.

Junior guard Trishi Williams is averaging 9.5 points and 4.3 rebounds. She is seventh among GNAC leaders in both field-goal percentage (54.3, 88-of-162) and assists (3.4), and is 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.2).

Junior center Britt Harris paces the Vikings in rebounds with a 6.4 average, while scoring at an 8.8 clip. She is fourth among league leaders in field-goal shooting (55.6 percent, 84-of-151) and eighth in offensive rebounds (2.6).

Last week, Harris had 28 points on 14-of-26 (53.8) floor accuracy and 17 rebounds in the two victories.

Junior Erika Ramstead, who is averaging 4.0 points and 4.2 rebounds, completes the first five.

Freshman center Kayla Bernsen is averaging 5.8 points and 4.5 rebounds off the bench. Another freshman, forward Sydney Donaldson, is averaging 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds. She is shooting 55.0 percent (71-of-129) from the field, which is sixth in the league. Donaldson has 29 blocked shots and Bernsen 27, those totals ranking third (1.2) and fourth (1.1), respectively, among GNAC leaders.

Redshirt freshman guard Katie Colard is seventh in the conference in three-point makes (1.7). She is averaging 6.3 points.

Sophomore forward Sarah Hill is averaging 3.4 points and 4.1 rebounds, and redshirt freshman guard Erin Feeney has a 3.3 scoring average, hitting 37.7 percent (23-fo-61) from three-point range.

SEATTLE PACIFIC: The Falcons, who have lost two of their last three games, are 16-8 overall (11-2 at home) and 10-6 in conference play. Leading the Falcons are 6-1 sophomore center Katie Benson (14.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg), who was the GNAC co-Freshman of the Year, and 5-9 junior guard Rachel Murray (10.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg). Last week, coach Julie Heisey (7th year, 159-42; overall 321-161, 16 years) dismissed 5-8 senior guard Nyesha Sims (12.4 ppg, 9.7 rpg) from the squad. Sims was one of two returning starters, the other being 5-7 senior guard Jordan Harazin (6.7 ppg, 3.2 apg). SPU leads the GNAC in free throw percentage (78.8), and is second in scoring offense (73.8), scoring margin (9.6), rebounding margin (9.6) and assists (17.4). WWU has a 52-27 series advantage, losing 82-66 to the Falcons at Bellingham on Dec. 3.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS: The Yellowjackets are 18-9 overall (Feb. 23 host Simon Fraser), 9-5 at home, and 10-6 in league action, winning six of their last eight games. MSUB is led by 5-8 sophomore guard Bobbi Knutsen (17.3 ppg-2nd in GNAC, 4.3 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.9 spg), who scored 32 points in a 69-60 win at Northwest Nazarene. Two other solid veterans for coach Kevin Woodin (4th year, 133-90) are 5-7 junior guard Brooke Tolman (6.9 ppg) and 5-6 senior guard Kalli Stanhope (6.5 ppg). Three standout freshmen are 6-1 center Kayleen Goggins (7.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg), 5-10 forward Janiel Olson (6.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg) and 5-11 forward Quinn Peoples (10.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg). MSUB leads the GNAC in three-point percentage defense (26.3), and is second in scoring defense (58.6), assist-to-turnover ration (1.0) and three-point makes (7.7). WWU holds a 15-9 series advantage, winning the last four meetings, the last an 80-72 decision at Bellingham on Dec. 1.

WWU NOTES: WWU has held opponents under 40 percent field-goal shooting in 17 of its 18 wins and has been outrebounded in just two of its victories ... The Vikings have shot under 40 percent in four of their six losses and have had 18 or more turnovers in five of their setbacks ... WWU has made eight or more treys in 12 games with a season-high 13 against Alaska Fairbanks on Jan. 12 ... Schramm has been named to three all-tournament teams this season, earning MVP honors at both the Great Western Shootout and WWU Lynda Goodrich Classic. Waltrip also was named to three all-tourney teams and Williams was picked to two ... Schramm was named GNAC Player of the Week for her MVP performance at the Great Western Shootout ... Williams is a transfer from Columbia Basin CC where she earned NWAACC East Region MVP honors ... The Vikings' 108 points against Simpson marked just the third time that they had reached triple digits in the last eight years and it was the first time they had gotten 100 points at home since a 100-48 victory over Northwest during the 2006-07 season.

TOURNEY SUCCESS: The Vikings have competed in four tournaments this season, winning their own Great Western Shootout on Dec. 15-16 and tying for first at the WWU Lynda Goodrich Classic held Thanksgiving weekend. They also split a pair of games at both the CCAA/GNAC Crossover Classic to begin the season in early November and at the GNAC/CCAA Challenge Classic held during the second week of December.

VIKINGS FOURTH IN GNAC COACHES POLL: WWU was voted fourth in the GNAC coaches' preseason poll. Alaska Anchorage, looking for its third title in four seasons, received nine of 10 first-place votes in being selected No.1. Seattle Pacific, which has won eight league crowns, was picked second, followed by Northwest Nazarene.

POST-SEASON: This year, the GNAC championship will be decided with a six-team tournament at Saint Martin's University (Marcus Pavilion) beginning Thursday, March 1. The No.1 and No.2 regular-season finishers will earn first round byes and play Thursday's winners in semifinal action Friday, March 2. The championship game will be Saturday, March 3. Alaska Anchorage won the first GNAC tourney last year, when it consisted of eight teams and games were played at the highest seed.

SISTER ACT II: Three members of this year's WWU squad have sisters who were former Viking standouts. They are Katie Colard (Kelly), Sarah Hill (Celeste) and Kristin Schramm (Sarah). Celeste Hill was a first-team NCAA II All-American in 2000 and a WWU Athletics Hall of Fame inductee in 2012. Kelly (Colard) Dykstra was a second-team GNAC all-star as a senior in 2005-06, averaging 12.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists. Sarah Schramm averaged 5.5 points and 3.9 rebounds for WWU in 2007-08, and 4.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 2006-07 after transferring from NCAA I Gonzaga.

HOME COURT DOMINANCE: The Vikings are 422-72 (85.4 percent) in 40 seasons at Carver Gym. Their longest home court win streak was 29 from 1983 to 1986.

COACH DOLFO: Carmen Dolfo is in her 21st year as head coach at WWU. She has a 442-167 (72.6 percent) record and prior to the season ranked No.12 among active NCAA II coaches in winning percentage and No.18 in victories. Dolfo's teams have reached post-season play 20 times and have won 20 or more games 15 times. She has been named GNAC Coach of the Year in 2004, 2006 and 2011; 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 WWU.

TRADITION OF SUCCESS: With 874 victories (302 losses, 74.3 percent) in its 40-year history, WWU is one of just 15 colleges in all divisions of the NCAA to reach the 850-plateau... The Vikings have made 39 post-season appearances, including one stretch of 28 straight, with one national semifinal and three quarterfinal finishes ... They have made 12 West Regional appearances in their 13 seasons as a NCAA II member, and also have had 29 20-win seasons ... WWU has had 21 winning streaks of 10 or more games with its longest being 21 ... Former WWU coach Lynda Goodrich, now the Vikings' director of athletics, 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.

CARVER GYM CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY: Dedicated on March 30, 1962, WWU's Sam Carver Gymnasium is celebrating its 50th anniversary this season. It is named for Sanford E. Carver, a NAIA Hall of Famer who was WWU's first director of athletics and the chairman of the physical education department from 1914-55. Carver Gym was an addition to the existing physical education facility. It added 54,233 square feet of floor space at a cost of $1.04 million. The most significant addition was the present main gymnasium. The facility opened in time for the 1961-62 basketball season, although it wasn't named for Carver until the dedication ceremony the following spring. Dr. James L. Jarrett, then Western's president, and Dr. E.V. Pullias, a professor at the University of Southern California, were the main speakers at the gathering. Basketball has been one of the primary activities at Carver Gym. The Seattle Pacific men were Western's opponent in the first game played on the new floor on Dec. 6, 1961. The Viking women have racked up an impressive record during their time in the building, going 422-72 (85.4 percent) in 40 years.

COLLEGIATE FIRST FOR WWU: Last season, WWU became the first college in the country to boast two 400-win women's basketball coaches. Lynda Goodrich, now in her 25th year as the Vikings' director of athletics, posted 411 victories from 1971 to 1990, and current coach Carmen Dolfo is in her 21st season with 442.

ON THE WEB: All Viking home games are being video streamed live and are available free at http://wwu.nmtvsports.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) 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.

PROBABLE WESTERN STARTERS & TOP RESERVES:

F Erika Ramstead, 6-0, **Jr., Everson, WA/Nooksack Valley
F Trishi Williams, 5-9, JC-Jr., Mabton, WA/Mabton/Columbia Basin CC
C Britt Harris, 6-2, **Jr., Marysville, WA/Marysville-Pilchuck
G Corinn Waltrip, 5-6, **Jr., Tigard, OR/Tigard
G Kristin Schramm, 5-9, ***Sr., Chelan, WA/Chelan

F Sydney Donaldson, 6-0, Fr., Edmonds, WA/Edmonds-Woodway C Sarah Hill, 6-3, So., TR, Richmond, VA/Lloyd C. Bird/ Maryland-Baltimore County G Katie Colard, 5-9, R-Fr., McCleary, WA/Elma C Kayla Bernsen, 6-3, Fr., Moses Lake, WA/Moses Lake G Jenni White, 5-5, R-Fr., Spokane, WA/East Valley G Erin Feeney, 5-8, R-Fr., Bothell, WA/Jackson *letters won

RECENT GAME SUMMARIES:

Feb. 16 - WWU 75, Northwest Nazarene 68 at Bellingham

Corinn Waltrip scored a game-high 18 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 2:50 to play, lifting WWU to a 75-68 triumph over Northwest Nazarene in a GNAC contest at Carver Gym. NNU fell to 14-9 overall and 8-7 in the GNAC. Megan Hingtson led the Crusaders with 16 points and Briaunna King grabbed a game-high 18 rebounds for the Crusaders, who had a 42-34 advantage on the boards. The game was tightly fought throughout, with WWU never leading by more than five points until the final 42 seconds and NNU never being up by more than four. The Crusaders took a 63-62 lead on a layup by King with 4:17 to play, but WWU went ahead to stay on Waltrip's three-pointer. A pair of baskets by Britt Harris helped the Vikings grab a 67-65 advantage with a minute remaining, and then WWU went 6-of-6 on free throws, four of them by Waltrip, to maintain the advantage in the dying seconds. Harris finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Kristin Schramm and Trishi Williams each had 13 points for the Vikings. Chelsie Luke came off the bench to score 16 points for NNU, Heather Adams had 11 and King 10. The lead changed hands 13 ties and WWU held a 37-34 lead at halftime.

Feb. 18 - WWU 75, Central Washington 64 at Bellingham

Corinn Waltrip led a balanced attack with 15 points and handed out six assists as WWU defeated Central Washington, 75-64, in a GNAC contest at Carver Gym. Central fell to 8-16 overall and 4-12 in the GNAC. Jessica VanDyke had game-highs 25 points, 18 of them in the first half, and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats; and Sophie Russell added 21 points, 14 of them in the second half. A VanDyke three-pointer gave Central a 32-27 lead with three minutes left in the first half, but WWU closed the period with a 10-2 run to take a 37-34 lead at halftime, then opened the second half with back-to-back three-pointers by Kristin Schramm to extend the margin to eight, 42-34. WWU later used a 14-2 charge to take a 69-53 lead with 7:29 to play. Central battled back with a 10-2 run that included two Russell three-pointers, narrowing the margin to 71-63 with just under five minutes left. But that was as close as the Wildcats got, as they didn't get another field goal the rest of the way and didn't score again until a free throw by Olivia Rethwill with 31 seconds left. WWU shot 44.8 percent (30-of-67) from the field, and held Central to just 33.3 percent (20-of-60). Eleven of Central's 20 field goals were three-pointers, with VanDyke and Russell each hitting four. Schramm, playing her final collegiate home game, had 14 points, and Britt Harris added 14 points and seven rebounds.