WWU selected as top seed and host of NCAA II West Regional

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Head Coach Carmen Dolfo
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Head Coach Carmen Dolfo
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

March 10, 2013

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - For just the second time in school history, the Western Washington University women's basketball team will host the West Regional of the NCAA Division II Championship.

The Vikings, who are making their 14th national tournament appearance in 15 years as a NCAA member, are the No.1 seed in the region and host No.8 seed Academy of Art University in an opening-round contest Saturday, March 16 (7:30 p.m.) at Sam Carver Gymnasium.

WWU, ranked No.6 in this week's USA Today Sports/ESPN NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll, enters the tournament with a 25-3 record and riding an eight-game winning streak, having claimed the Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament championship with a 60-40 victory over Simon Fraser University on Saturday. The Vikings also won the GNAC regular-season title with a 17-1 mark.

"This is only the second time in school history we've been the No.1 seed," said WWU coach Carmen Dolfo, the GNAC Coach of the Year. "Our team has done a great job of staying focused and playing together. They've worked really hard for it. When you do those things, great things follow."

The winner of Saturday's opening-round contest will face the winner of the No.4 Chico State (23-5) versus No.5 Cal State Monterrey Bay (19-8) contest played at 5 p.m. Saturday, in a semifinal at 5 p.m. Monday. The championship game is Tuesday at 6 p.m.

On the other side of the bracket Saturday, No.3 UC San Diego (22-10) faces No.6 Grand Canyon (22-8) at 12 noon, and No.2 Simon Fraser (23-5) meets No.7 Northwest Nazarene (20-8) at 2:30 p.m. Those two winners meet in a semifinal Monday at 12 noon.

Tickets for the regional tournament go on sale Monday at 11 a.m. and can be purchased by calling 360-650-2583. Reserved tickets, which go on sale Wednesday at 2 p.m., are $12. General admission is $8, and students, youth and seniors with ID are $5. Tickets are good all day for each date.

The Vikings are led by a trio of seniors who all earned all-GNAC honors - center Britt Harris (Marysville/Marysville-Pilchuck) and guard Corinn Waltrip (Tigard, OR), who were both first-team selections; and forward Trishi Williams (Mabton), a second-team pick.

Harris is averaging a team-high 14.2 points a game while shooting 59.8 percent (156-of-261) from the field, which ranks No.3 nationally in NCAA II. She also contributes 5.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks while shooting 75.2 percent (85-of-113) on free throws.

Waltrip is averaging 11.5 points and 3.5 assists while shooting 41.7 percent (60-of-144) on 3-pointers, which ranks sixth nationally.

Williams contributes 10.6 points and 5.9 rebounds and leads the Vikings in assists (4.5) and steals (2.9).

Completing the starting lineup are junior forward Sarah Hill (Richmond, VA/Lloyd C. Bird), who averages 6.1 points and a team-best 6.4 rebounds; and sophomore guard Katie Colard (McCleary/Elma), who contributes 7.9 points.

Academy of Art (23-8) reached the tournament by gaining the automatic berth of the Pacific West Conference, defeating Hawaii Pacific, 75-49, in the tournament championship game, its ninth consecutive victory.

Senior guard Jordan Rogers leads the Urban Knights, who are making their first NCAA appearance, in scoring at 13.5 points a game. Senior forward Ariel Dale contributes 12.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and a team-best 3.1 assists.

"We've played a lot of the teams in the region, but Academy of Art is one we haven't played," Dolfo said. "We don't know much about them, we'll starting watching video tonight; but we do know they're very hot right now, so it will be a great challenge."

All regional contests involving WWU can be heard live on KPUG Radio (1170 AM - www.kpug1170.com) with Doug Lange handling play-by-play and Mark Scholten providing (analyst) color commentary. A webcast and live stats are also available at www.wwuvikings.com.

Western previously hosted the West Regional in 2006, reaching the semifinals. The Vikings have reached the regional final twice - in 2000 and 2002 - winning the region in 2000 and eventually advancing to the national semifinals.

In 2012, the Vikings defeated Cal State Monterrey Bay, 65-58, before falling to UC San Diego in the semifinals, 81-66.

The 20-win season is the fourth straight for WWU, the 17th in Dolfo's 21 seasons as head coach, and the 31st in the 42-year history of the program.

2013 NCAA DIVISION II WEST REGIONAL

host WWU, Sam Carver Gymnasium

Bellingham, WA


March 16 (Sat.)

Game #1 - No.3 seed UC San Diego (22-10) vs. No.6 seed Grand Canyon (22-8) - 12 noon

Game #2 - No.2 seed Simon Fraser (23-5) vs. No.7 seed Northwest Nazarene (20-8) - 2:30 p.m.

Game #3 - No.4 seed Chico State (23-5) vs. No.5 seed Cal State Monterey Bay (19-8) - 5 p.m.

Game #4 - No.1 seed WWU (25-3) vs. No.8 seed Academy of Art (23-8) - 7:30 p.m.

March 18 (Mon.)

Game #5 - Winner Game #1 vs. Winner Game #2 - 12 noon

Game #6 - Winner Game #3 vs. Winner Game #4 - 5 p.m.

March 19 (Tue.)

Game #7 - Winner Game #5 vs. Winner Game #6 - 6 p.m.


NCAA II ELITE EIGHT

March 20-21, 23 (Tue., Wed., Fri.)

at San Antonio, Tex. (Bill Greehey Arena)

(host St. Mary's)


1999

West Regional at Davis, Calif. (host UC Davis)

Defeated Seattle Pacific, 77-69 OT, in first round

Lost to Montana State Billings, 70-48, in semifinals


2000

West Regional at Pomona, Calif. (host Cal Poly Pomona)

Defeated Alaska Anchorage, 78-59, in semifinals

Defeated Cal Poly Pomona, 84-66, in final

Elite Eight at Pine Bluff, Ark. (host Arkansas-Pine Bluff)

Defeated Slippery Rock PA, 84-67, in quarterfinals

Lost to Northern Kentucky, 80-74, in semifinals


2001

West Regional at Pomona, Calif. (host Cal Poly Pomona)

Lost to Cal Poly Pomona, 91-85, in semifinals


2002

West Regional at Pomona, Calif. (host Cal Poly Pomona)

Defeated Sonoma State, 71-60, in semifinals

Lost to Cal Poly Pomona, 71-70, in final


2003

West Regional at Seattle, Wash. (host Seattle Pacific)

Lost to Northwest Nazarene, 83-79, in first round


2004

West Regional at Seattle, Wash. (host Seattle Pacific)

Defeated Sonoma State, 85-71, in first round

Lost to Seattle Pacific, 80-66, in semifinals


2005

West Regional at Seattle, Wash. (host Seattle Pacific)

Defeated Cal State Dominguez Hills, 82-74, in first round

Lost to Chico State, 85-75, in semifinals


2006

West Regional at Bellingham, Wash. (host WWU)

Defeated Northwest Nazarene, 66-54, in first round

Lost to Seattle Pacific, 70-50, in semifinals


2007

West Regional at San Diego, Calif. (host UC San Diego)

Lost to UC San Diego, 78-45, in first round


2008 - Did not receive berth


2009

West Regional at Seattle, Wash. (host Seattle Pacific)

Lost to Humboldt State, 74-64, in first round


2010

West Regional at Seattle, Wash. (host Seattle Pacific)

Lost to Chico State, 79-68, in first round


2011

West Regional at Pomona, Calif. (host Cal Poly Pomona)

Lost to Alaska Anchorage, 55-48, in first round


2012

West Regional at San Diego, Calif. (host UC San Diego)

Defeated Cal State Monterey Bay, 65-58, in first round

Lost to UC San Diego, 81-66, in semifinal