No.6 WWU and No.10 Simon Fraser to battle for GNAC Tournament title
March 8, 2013
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - With a tournament title and perhaps the No.1 seed in the NCAA Division II West Regional on the line, Western Washington University meets Simon Fraser University in a battle of top 10 nationally ranked teams Saturday (5:15 p.m.), March 9, in the championship game of the third annual Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Tournament being held at Lacey and Marcus Pavilion on the campus of host Saint Martin's University.
The contest will be televised by ROOT Sports with Brad Adam handling the play by play and Bill Krueger the color commentary. It can also be heard on KPUG Radio (1170 AM-kpug1170.com) with Doug Lange and Mark Scholten calling the action. Live stats are also available at www.wwuvikings.com.
It is the third straight year that the 24-3 Vikings, who moved up one spot to No.6 in this week's USA Today Sports/ESPN NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll, have reached the title contest, losing to Alaska Anchorage in both 2011 and 2012. They earned the tourney's No.1 seed by winning the regular-season GNAC title with a 17-1 record.
WWU, which has a first-round bye, defeated Northwest Nazarene, 60-49, in Friday's semifinal.
No.2 seed Simon Fraser is 23-4 and ranked No.10 nationally. The Clan advanced with a 66-55 win over No.6 seed Seattle Pacific on Friday.
The two teams have split their two meetings this season, WWU winning 59-57 on Jan. 12 at Bellingham, and Simon Fraser prevailing 74-59 on Feb. 9 at Burnaby, B.C.
The GNAC tourney champion earns an automatic berth in the NCAA II West Regional on March 15-16 and 18 at a site to be determined. Both WWU and Simon Fraser have already solidified at-large berths at regionals.
TheVikings were ranked No.1 in the third and final West Region poll released Wednesday and Simon Fraser was No.2. Also in the mix to host the regional is No.3 Chico State.
Senior center Britt Harris, who was named a first-team GNAC all-star, tops the team in scoring with a 14.4 points per game average, and is third in rebounding at 5.6. She is shooting 59.6 percent (152-of-255) from the field, which ranks third nationally and second in the GNAC.
Harris, who is sixth among league leaders in blocked shots (1.1. 30) and eighth in points, has scored double-figure points a team-best 23 times this season.
Harris posted her second double-double of the season in Friday's win over Northwest Nazarene, finishing with 13 points on 6-of-8 field-goal shooting and 12 rebounds. She scored a buzzer-beating layup in the win over Simon Fraser.
Senior point guard Corinn Waltrip, also a first-team all-conference pick, is averaging 11.7 points, shooting 42.1 percent (59-of-140) from 3-point range, which ranks seventh nationally. She leads the GNAC in 3-point accuracy and is third in 3-point makes (2.2).
Waltrip, who has twice been named GNAC co-Player of the Week this season, scored a career-high 36 points in the overtime win at Seattle Pacific on Feb. 16, connecting on 11-of-19 field goals, 8-of-13 from 3-point range, and all six free throws. That was the fourth-highest point total ever by a Viking.
Waltrip has a four-year career point total of 977 and ranks 15th among WWU leaders in assists with 308. She is on school-record pace for career free-throw shooting at 82.7 percent (143-of-173).
Senior forward Trishi Williams, a second-team GNAC all-star, is averaging 10.4 points and 6.0 rebounds. She is second on the squad in rebounds and third in points, while leading in assists (4.5) and steals (2.8). She ranks second among conference leaders in steals, fourth in floor accuracy at 48.5 percent (110-of-227) and fifth in assists.
Against Alaska Anchorage on Feb. 2, Williams became just the third WWU player in school history to record a triple double, finishing with 11 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. It was the Vikings' first triple double since Addy Johnson accomplished the feat in 1994-95.
Junior forward Sarah Hill leads the team in rebounds with a 6.5 average and is scoring points at a 6.0 clip. Completing the starting lineup is sophomore guard Katie Colard, who is averaging 8.0 points.
Top players off the bench have been sophomore forward Sydney Donaldson, who is averaging 6.3 points on 51.7 percent (74-of-143) floor accuracy and 4.2 rebounds, and sophomore center Kayla Bernsen, who is averaging 6.0 points and 1.3 blocks, tied for fourth in the GNAC. Bernsen scored a career-high 25 points on 10-of-12 floor accuracy against Western Oregon on March 2 as well as grabbing nine rebounds and blocking four shots.
Senior forward Erika Ramstead had her career end midway through the season because of a stress fracture in her right foot that required surgery. She started eight of the11 games she appeared in this year, averaging 2.7 points and 4.6 rebounds. In all, Ramstead played in 95 games for WWU, finishing her four-year career with 353 points, 320 rebounds and 105 assists.
Simon Fraser, ranked No.10 nationally, is 23-4 overall and placed second in the GNAC at 15-3. The Clan have won 14 of its last 16 games, the losses being 59-57 at WWU on Jan. 12 and 60-59 at Northwest Nazarene on Jan .24. All four of its setbacks this season have been on the road.
The Clan leads the GNAC in four team statistical categories. They are scoring defense (55.0), scoring margin (15.7), field-goal percentage (45.7, No.4 nationally), and blocked shots (4.6).
SFU is led by GNAC Player of the Year 6-3 senior center Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe. She is averaging 16.8 points and ranks first nationally in field-goal percentage at 65.9, No.3 in rebounds at 12.6 and No.3 in double-doubles with 19.
Raincock-Ekunwe already is the GNAC career leader in double-doubles for points and rebounds with 62. Her career totals are 1,426 points and 995 rebounds and 119 blocked shots.
All five starters from last year's 17-11 team return for coach Bruce Langford (12th year, 303-68). Among them are 6-1 sophomore forward Erin Chambers (13.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg) and 5-10 senior guard Katrina Collins (10.0 ppg, 5.1 apg). Collins was a second-team GNAC all-star and Chambers earned Defensive Player of the Year honors.
WWU holds a 39-32 series advantage.
Lacey, Wash. (Marcus Pavilion) - host Saint Martin's University
March 6 - Wednesday #6 Seattle Pacific 63 vs. #3 Montana State Billings (17-10) 60 #5 Northwest Nazarene 65 vs. #4 Alaska Anchorage (17-10) 60
WWU GETS TOP RATING IN THIRD WEST REGION POLL: WWU had the top rating for the third and final NCAA II West Regional poll released Wednesday. The poll will eventually help determine which five at-large teams join the GNAC, Pacific West Conference and California Collegiate Athletic Association champions in the West Regional playoffs. The regional begins Friday, March 15, at a site to be determined.
NATIONAL AND GNAC TEAM STAT RANKINGS: WWU ranks No.5 nationally in assists (18.1), No.7 in field-goal percentage (44.8) and No.9 in assist to turnover ratio (1.12). The Vikings lead the GNAC in scoring offense (72.0) and field-goal percentage defense (36.2). They are second in scoring defense (59.3), scoring margin (12.7), field-goal percentage, 3-point field-goal percentage (35.3) and assists.
TOP 25 RANKING: WWU has been ranked among the Top 25 in every national poll this season. The Vikings are currently No.6 and their highest rating has been No.4.
THREE-DOT NOTES: Waltrip has twice received GNAC Player of the Week honors this season, and Harris and Williams once each ... Harris was MVP at both the West Region Crossover Classic and South Point Holiday Hoops Classic. She also was picked to the Lynda Goodrich Classic all-tournament team ... Williams was the Goodrich Classic MVP, Hill being named all-tourney at the CCAA/GNAC Classic, sophomore forward Sydney Donaldson at the West Region Crossover Classic, and Waltrip at South Point ... WWU earned GNAC Team of the Week honors for its performance at South Point, prevailing over both No.6 Washburn KS, 64-62, and No.15 Grand Canyon, 72-68 in overtime.
Last year, WWU finished 22-8 and reached the semifinal round at the West Regional. Four starters and 10 letter winners return from that squad ... WWU was rated No.12 in the Division II Bulletin preseason poll ... Waltrip was a second-team conference all-star last year and was named to three all-tournament teams. She also is a three-time GNAC academic all-star. Williams was named to two all-tournament teams during the 2011-12 campaign.
ER PATCH: The ER patch on the Viking uniforms is in honor of Erik Ramstead, father of WWU player Erika Ramstead. Erik Ramstead, who served for 28 years in the Everson police department, 25 as chief, passed away on Jan. 15 at age 50 from a rare form of cancer that was discovered in October of 2008.
TOUGH EXHIBITION SCHEDULE: WWU prepared for the season with three exhibition games, two against NCAA I opponents. The Vikings began with a 71-51 home win over British Columbia on Oct. 27, before falling at Seattle U., 100-93 in double overtime, on Nov. 3, and 71-59 at Oregon State on Nov. 10 after leading by four at halftime. Seattle is vying for the Western Athletic Conference title this season. Harris averaged 14.7 points and 8.0 rebounds in the three games and Waltrip scored at a 13.7 clip.
PRE-SEASON HONORS: Three Vikings - Harris, Waltrip and Williams - were named to the GNAC preseason all-conference team.
VIKINGS FIRST IN GNAC COACHES POLL: WWU received seven of 10 first-place votes as it was picked to win the GNAC title in the coaches' preseason poll. The Vikings previously won GNAC championships in 2002, 2006 and 2011 (regular season).
HOME COURT DOMINANCE: The Vikings are 435-72 (85.8 percent) in 41 seasons at Carver Gym. Their longest home court win streak was 29 from 1983 to 1986. WWU is 13-0 at home this season and is working on a 17-game victory string over the last two years.
COACH DOLFO: Carmen Dolfo, the GNAC Coach of the Year this season, is in her 22nd year as head coach at WWU. She has a 470-172 (73.2 percent) record and prior to the season ranked No.12 among active NCAA II coaches in winning percentage and No.13 in victories. Her winning percentage in NCAA II all-time ranks No.24 and her victory total No.31. 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 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 902 victories (307 losses, 74.t percent) in its 42-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 one national semifinal and three quarterfinal finishes ... They have made 13 West Regional appearances in their 14 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, 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.
COLLEGIATE FIRST: WWU became the first college in the country to boast two 400-win women's basketball coaches. Lynda Goodrich, now in her 26th year as the Vikings' director of athletics, posted 411 victories from 1971 to 1990, and current coach Carmen Dolfo is in her 22nd season with 470.
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 Radio (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.
PROBABLE WESTERN STARTERS & TOP RESERVES:
F Sarah Hill, 6-3, *Jr., Richmond, VA/Lloyd C. Bird/ Maryland-Baltimore County F Trishi Williams, 5-9, *Sr., Mabton, WA/Mabton/Columbia Basin CC C Britt Harris, 6-2, ***Sr., Marysville, WA/Marysville-Pilchuck G Corinn Waltrip, 5-6, ***Sr., Tigard, OR/Tigard G Katie Colard, 5-9, *So., McCleary, WA/Elma
MOST RECENT GAME SUMMARIES:
March 8 - WWU 60, Northwest Nazarene 49 at Lacey (GNAC Tourney)
Tournament top seed WWU held Northwest Nazarene scoreless for more than eight minutes midway through the first half to overcome an early deficit and advance to the championship game with a 60-49 semifinal win Friday at the GNAC Women's Basketball Tournament on the Saint Martin's campus at Marcus Pavilion. Harris had a team-high 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for the Vikings, ranked No.6 nationally and No.1 in the West Region, and improved to 24-3 with their seventh straight win. WWU has won 18 of its last 19 games. NNU, the No.5 seed, fell to 20-8. Megan Hingston led the Crusaders with a game-high 21 points. NNU jumped to a 15-9 lead just over six minutes into the game, but the Vikings held the Crusaders scoreless for a span of more than eight minutes to take a 22-15 advantage. NNU rallied to tie the score at 22-22, but WWU held a 31-27 lead at halftime. The Vikings opened the second half with an 8-2 charge to take a 38-29 lead with 15:54 to play, and led by 10, 43-33, after a Katie Colard 3-pointer with 12:04 left. The Crusaders briefly pulled within four at 45-41, but WWU then took control, going on an 11-2 run in a 3:18 span to open up a 56-43 advantage with 3:41 to go. The margin was never less nine points after that. Harris, who entered the game third nationally in field-goal percentage at 59.1 percent, was 6-of-8 from the field. Waltrip had 11 points for WWU and Colard added 10. The Vikings held NNU to just 31.5 percent shooting (17-of-54) from the field, and had a 39-30 advantage in rebounding. WWU has now won 10 of the last 11 series meetings with the Crusaders, winning all three encounters this season.
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