WWU selected as top seed and host of NCAA II West Regional
March 14, 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 on the WWU campus.
WWU, ranked No.5 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 nationally No. 10-ranked Simon Fraser University last 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 faces 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 can be purchased by calling 360-650-2583. Reserved tickets are $12. General admission is $8, and students, youth and seniors with ID are $5. Tickets are good all day on each date.
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. Webcasts and live stats for all regional games are available at www.wwuvikings.com.
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 12.3 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 seen," Dolfo said. "We don't know much about them, but we do know they're very hot right now, so it will be a great challenge."
WWU 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.
Senior center Britt Harris, who was named Daktronics West Region Player of the Year and a first-team GNAC all-star, tops the team in scoring with a 14.2 points per game average, and is third in rebounding at 5.6. She is shooting 59.8 percent (156-of-261) from the field, which ranks third nationally and second in the GNAC.
Harris, who is eighth among league leaders in both blocked shots (1.1. 30) and points, has scored double-figure points a team-best 23 times this season.
Harris posted her second double-double of the season in last 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 on Jan.12.
Senior point guard Corinn Waltrip, also a first-team all-region and all-conference pick, is averaging 11.5 points, shooting 41.7 percent (60-of-144) from 3-point range, which ranks 11th nationally. She leads the GNAC in 3-point accuracy and is third in 3-point makes (2.1).
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 982 and ranks 15th among WWU leaders in assists with 310. She is on school-record pace for career free-throw shooting at 82.2 percent (143-of-174).
Senior forward Trishi Williams, a second-team GNAC all-star, is averaging 10.6 points and 5.9 rebounds. She is second on the squad in rebounds and third in points, while leading in assists (4.5) and steals (2.9). She tops the conference leaders in steals, while being fourth in floor accuracy at 48.9 percent (116-of-237) 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 6.4 average and is scoring points at a 6.1 clip. Completing the starting lineup is sophomore guard Katie Colard, who is averaging 7.9 points.
Top players off the bench have been sophomore forward Sydney Donaldson, who is averaging 6.4 points on 51.0 percent (78-of-153) floor accuracy and 4.3 rebounds, and sophomore center Kayla Bernsen, who is averaging 6.0 points and 1.3 blocks, fifth 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.
NATIONAL AND GNAC STAT RANKINGS: WWU ranks No.4 nationally in assists (17.9), No.7 in both field-goal percentage (44.9) and No.11 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.11). The Vikings lead the GNAC in scoring offense (71.5), field-goal percentage defense, assists (17.9).
TOP 25 RANKING: WWU has been ranked among the Top 25 in every national poll this season. The Vikings are currently No.5 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 returned rom 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 went on to win the Western Athletic Conference regular-season title this season.
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 471-172 (73.3 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 903 victories (307 losses, 74.6 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 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, 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 471.
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) 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.
March 9 - WWU 60, Simon Fraser 40 at Lacey (GNAC Tourney)
WWU held Simon Fraser to just six points in the first 14 minutes and never looked back, claiming a 60-40 victory in the championship game of the GNAC Tournament between two nationally top 10 ranked teams at Marcus Pavilion in a contest televised by ROOT Sports. Williams, who was named the tournament MVP, had game-highs of 16 points, tourney record six steals and five assists for the Vikings, ranked No.6 nationally and No.1 in the West Region rating, and improved to 25-3 with their eighth straight victory. It was the first GNAC tournament crown for the Vikings, who earned the top seed and the regular-season title with a 17-1 conference record. WWU fell to Alaska Anchorage in the championship game the last two seasons. No.2-seed Simon Fraser, which is ranked 10th nationally and No.2 in the West Region, fell to 23-5. GNAC Player of the Year Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe had 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds for the Clan, but Raincock-Ekunwe, who entered the game leading NCAA II nationally in field-goal percentage at 65.9 percent, was just 2-of-8 from the floor. The Vikings held a 7-4 lead seven minutes into the game, then outscored SFU 12-2 over the next 7:30, with Donaldson scoring the first six points, to take a 19-6 lead with 5:40 remaining in the first half. WWU held a 27-16 lead at halftime, holding the Clan to just 28 percent field-goal shooting (7-of-25). SFU scored the first five points of the second half to narrow the margin to six, 27-21, on a Kristina Collins' 3-pointer a minute into the period. But the Vikings, using 60.9 percent field-goal shooting (14-of-23) in the second half, eventually pulled away, and the gap remained in double digits throughout the last 15 minutes. It was the 19th victory in the last 20 games for the Vikings, with the only loss in that span being a 74-59 defeat at Simon Fraser on Feb. 9.
2013 NCAA DIVISION II WEST REGIONAL host WWU, Sam Carver Gymnasium Bellingham, WA
March 16 (Sat.) Game #1 - No.3 UC San Diego (22-10) vs. No.6 Grand Canyon (22-8) - 12 noon Game #2 - No.2 Simon Fraser (23-5) vs. No.7 Northwest Nazarene (20-8) - 2:30 p.m. Game #3 - No.4 Chico State (23-5) vs. No.5 Cal State Monterey Bay (19-8) - 5 p.m. Game #4 - No.1 WWU (25-3) vs. No.8 Academy of Art (23-8) - 7:30 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
GNAC TOURNAMENT 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
USA TODAY Sports DIVISION II TOP 25 COACHES' POLL FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 12, 2013
USA TODAY Sports Division II Top 25 women's basketball poll, with first-place votes to the right, total points based on 25 points for first place through one point for 25th.
Rank Institution - First Place Votes Previous Rank Record Total Points 1 Clayton State University (Ga.) - 29 1 29-0 725 2 Ashland University (Ohio) 2 31-1 690 3 Bentley University (Mass.) 3 28-1 667 4 Colorado Mesa University 4 28-1 642 5 Western Washington University 6 25-3 566 6 Holy Family University (Pa.) 5 27-2 532 7 Gannon University (Pa.) 7 28-4 528 8 Washburn University (Kan.) 9 23-5 488 9 Limestone College (S.C.) 8 25-3 458 10 Dowling College (N.Y.) 11 25-3 444 11 Simon Fraser University (BC) 10 23-5 425 12 Stonehill College (Mass.) 12 23-4 394 13 University of Central Missouri 13 24-5 346 14 Shaw University (N.C.) 15 25-4 331 15 Glenville State College (W.Va.) 15 26-3 308 16 California State University - Chico 14 23-5 253 17 Minnesota State University - Mankato 17 25-5 242 18 University of Findlay (Ohio) 19 24-5 219 19 Edinboro University (Pa.) 18 22-6 212 20 Lewis University (Ill.) 21 24-5 187 21 Concordia University (Minn.) 20 23-6 157 22 Fayetteville State University (N.C.) 22 24-5 110 23 Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania NR 24-5 92 24 Augustana College (S.D.) NR 24-6 72 25 Midwestern State University (Texas) NR 24-5 57
Dropped Out: University of South Carolina - Aiken ; New York Institute of Technology; Augusta State University (Ga.).
Others Receiving Votes: University of South Carolina - Aiken 41; New York Institute of Technology 33; Anderson University (S.C.) 19; Arkansas Tech University (Ark.) 19; Emporia State University (Kan.) 18; Nova Southeastern University (Fla.) 18; Fairmont State University (W.Va.) 17; Abilene Christian University (Texas) 16; Assumption College (Mass.) 16; Lenoir-Rhyne University (N.C.) 15; Augusta State University (Ga.) 14; Saint Mary's University (Texas) 10; Grand Canyon University (Ariz.) 9; University of California - San Diego (Calif.) 9; Southwestern Oklahoma State University 7; Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Pa.) 6; Elizabeth City State University (N.C.) 4; Metropolitan State College of Denver (Colo.) 2; University of Texas of the Permian Basin 2; University of Wisconsin - Parkside 2; California State University - Monterey Bay 1.
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