2010-11 Preview: Historic season in store for Vikings
Nov. 1, 2010
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - It could be a season of milestones for the Western Washington University women's basketball team in 2010-11.
The Vikings are coming off a campaign in which they were 23-5, finished second in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference at 14-2, and reached the NCAA Division II National Tournament for the 11th time in 12 years. Three starters return, all of them seniors, led by guard Amanda Dunbar (Marysville/Marysville-Pilchuck), who led the GNAC in scoring at 17.9 points a game.
Carmen Dolfo enters her 20th season as a head coach ranked 19th among active NCAA Division II coaches in victories with a 398-157 record. Her winning percentage of 71.7 ranks 12th among active coaches in NCAA II.
With the second victory of the season, Dolfo will reach the 400-victory plateau, and Western will become one of the few institutions to have had two 400-win coaches, as Lynda Goodrich (1971-90) posted 411 victories.
"It's hard to believe," said Dolfo, who has directed the Vikings to 18 post-season appearances and 14 20-win seasons. She also was a Viking assistant for four years and played two seasons at Western.
"Western is a great place to be and a wonderful place to raise a family. I feel lucky to be a part of what's going on here."
Dolfo isn't the only person in the program on the verge of reaching historic marks. Dunbar, who has a chance to be the first player in 30 years to lead the Vikings in scoring four straight seasons, is also likely to leave a mark on both the Western and GNAC record books.
The 5-foot-9 senior, averaged 17.9 points, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals in 2009-10 while hitting 46.7 percent (91-of-195) on 3-pointers, earning first-team all-region and all-conference honors. She enters the season with 1,261 career points, which already ranks 10th in school history, and is likely to end up somewhere in the top three. Dunbar is almost certain to become the top scoring guard in school history, needing just 148 points to do so, and she also needs just 15 3-point makes to become Western's all-time leader in that category.
At the GNAC level, Dunbar is only 491 points short of becoming the all-time leading scorer in the conference, and needs only 39 treys to become the 3-point mark holder. In addition to leading the conference in scoring last year, she was also the leader in 3-point percentage, and was second in assists and fourth in steals.
The other returning regulars are guard Megan Pinske (Coquitlam, BC/Port Moody) and center Lauren Hefflin (Ridgefield). Pinske, who has been a part-time starter the last two years, averaged 7.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 2009-10 while shooting 52.7 percent from the field. A member of the Canadian National Team who played in the 2009 FIBA World Championships, she ranked fourth in the GNAC in assists and led the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.9).
Hefflin made 19 starts last year, averaging 4.7 points and 4.6 rebounds and shooting 51.2 percent from the floor.
Another experienced senior is forward Gabby Wade (Lacey/River Ridge), who redshirted last season. Wade averaged 6.0 points and 4.9 rebounds as a junior in 2008-09, and made 20 starts as a sophomore, contributing 4.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and a team-high 1.4 steals.
"Our seniors are going to carry our team," Dolfo said. "They've been through a lot of different things over the last few years, and the experience they bring will be huge for us."
Four other letter winners return, three of whom are sophomores. The lone junior in that quartet is forward Kristin Schramm, who averaged 2.5 points and 2.2 rebounds.
The sophomores are guard Corinn Waltrip (Tigard, OR), forward Erika Ramstead (Everson/Nooksack Valley) and center Britt Harris (Marysville/Marysville-Pilchuck). Waltrip averaged 2.1 points in 27 games, Ramstead contributed 2.8 points and 2.3 rebounds in 25 contests, and Harris averaged 1.7 points and 1.5 rebounds in 15 contests.
Completing the roster are five freshmen - forward Heather Restrepo (Auburn); and guards Katie Colard (McCleary/Elma), Erin Feeney (Bothell/Jackson), Marcel Pounds (Bonney Lake) and Jenni White (Spokane/East Valley). Colard and Feeney will redshirt.
Pounds was co-Player of the Year in the South Puget Sound League, averaging 20.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.0 steals. She also led the SPSL in scoring as a junior at 18.7 points a contest.
Restrepo averaged 15.0 points and 10.0 rebounds as a high school senior. White was a Class 3A all-state tournament pick.
"This team has great chemistry and the players are all hard workers," said Dolfo.
The Vikings open regular-season play Nov. 19, facing UC San Diego in Seattle as part of the GNAC/CCAA Crossover Classic hosted by Seattle Pacific.
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