WWU hosts West Region Crossover Classic
Nov. 13, 2012
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Coming off three tough exhibition games, the Western Washington University women's basketball team opens its season this weekend, playing host to the West Region Crossover Classic at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.
The Vikings, ranked No.14 in the USA Today Sports/ESPN Division II Preseason Top 25, take on Azusa Pacific of the Pacific West Conference on Friday (7:30 p.m.), Nov. 16, and UC San Diego of the California Collegiate Athletic Association on Saturday (7:30 p.m.), Nov. 17. Fellow Great Northwest Athletic Conference member Seattle Pacific meets UC San Diego on Friday (5 p.m.) and Azusa Pacific on Saturday (5 p.m.).
Harris had 14 points and nine rebounds versus Oregon State. Waltrip contributed 13 points and reserve forward Sydney Donaldson (So., Edmonds/Edmonds-Woodway) had 12 on 6-of-7 field-goal shooting.
Against Seattle U., WWU got 22 points from guard Katie Colard (So., McCleary/Elma), who made five 3-pointers, and 21 from Waltrip. The Chieftains needed two buzzer beaters to send the game into both extra periods.
Harris scored a game-high 18 points in the win over British Columbia and reserve forward Sarah Hill (Jr., Richmond, VA) added 11.
Harris and Waltrip are among three Vikings named to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference preseason all-conference team. The other is guard/forward Trishi Williams (Sr., Mabton).
WWU, which was rated No.12 in the Division II Bulletin preseason poll, received seven of 10 first-place votes in being picked to win the GNAC title in the coaches preseason poll
Last year, the Vikings finished 22-8 and reached the semifinal round at regionals. Four starters and 10 letter winners return from that squad for head coach Carmen Dolfo (22nd year, 446-169), who needs four more wins to reach No.450.
Dolfo ranks No.12 nationally among active Division II coaches in winning percentage (.725) and No.13 in victories. Her winning percentage all-time is No.24 and her victory total No.31.
Waltrip tied the school record for consecutive free throws by making her last 27 during the 2011-12 season and takes the string into this season.
Azusa Pacific, which opens its season at Cal State L.A. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, is in its first year as a PacWest member and was picked fourth in the preseason coaches' poll.
The Cougars return two starters from last year's team that reached the NAIA Division I National Tournament quarterfinals last year, finishing 26-8. They are 5-10 senior guard Amanda Sims (9.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and 5-9 sophomore forward Mandy Barrett (5.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg).
A top transfer for coach T.J. Hardeman (6th year, 135-39, 9th overall 173-97) is 5-6 sophomore point guard Sullivan Ziegler. At NCAA II Metro State, she played as a freshman, helping the Roadrunners to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship and the Elite Eight.
Azusa Pacific, which won the NAIA national title in 2011, has made nine straight national tournament appearances.
UC San Diego, which lost all three of its games at the Disney Tipoff Classic last weekend, has three starters back from last year's 30-3 team that won the CCAA regular-season title (21-1), ranked No.1 nationally for seven straight weeks, and advanced to the NCAA II West Regional title game.
The trio includes two all-region and first-team CCAA senior guards, 5-7 Daisy Feder (9.2 ppg) and 5-8 Emily Osga (11.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.5 spg), and 5-9 junior forward Erin Davenport (8.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg).
In her first year as coach at UCSD is Heidi VanDerveer. She was at Occidental the last four seasons, leading the Tigers to an 84-25 record, four league titles and two NCAA tournament appearances. VanDerveer also assisted under Pat Summitt at Tennessee when the Lady Volunteers won a national title in 1987 and reached the Final Four in 1988, coached 12 years in the WNBA, assisted for six seasons at South Carolina and was head coach for three years at Eastern Washington.
Seattle Pacific returns three starters and nine letter winners from last year's 17-10 team. Leading the Falcons, who opened the season by winning both of their games at the SPU Tip-Off Classic last week, are 6-1 junior forward Katie Benson (14.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg), a second-team GNAC all-star , and 5-9 senior guard Rachel Murray (10.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg), who was named MVP of the Falcons' tourney for the second straight year. Both were picked to the GNAC preseason all-star team and the Falcons were picked to place third.
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