Vikings open campaign, host WWU/Lynda Goodrich Classic
Nov. 17, 2003
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -
UPDATE: There's always been a sense of continuity to the Western women's basketball team.
The Vikings have rarely had to rebuild, always seeming to have a new core of experienced players ready when another group departs. It is a formula that has worked for 31 winning records in 32 seasons, and 12 national tournament appearances, including trips in each of the last six years.
And it doesn't just apply to the players, it works for the coaches, too. Sara Nichols becomes the third head coach of a program that begins its 33rd year, stepping in on an interim basis for Carmen Dolfo, who is taking a one-year sabbatical from coaching.
Nichols understands the Viking way as well as anyone. A four-year letter winner as a player, she ranks third in school history in career assists (448), and was one of the captains on a team that reached the NCAA Division II national semifinals in 2000. Since then, she's been Western's top assistant coach. It is a path not unlike the one Dolfo followed to becoming head coach in 1990.
Western was 22-6 last year, reaching the opening round of the West Regional of the NCAA II National Tournament, and finishing second in the 10-team Great Northwest Athletic Conference at 15-3. Six players return from that team, including two of the top five scorers.
The Vikings are led by two seniors who have been regular contributors from the day they stepped on the floor as freshmen. Forward Tessa DeBoer and center Jenn McGillivray each bring a bruising inside presence. Their games are different in other respects, but they are well-prepared to share the mantle of leadership.
DeBoer averaged 9.5 points and a team-high 7.5 rebounds, finishing seventh in the GNAC in the latter category. She has a knack for the quiet contributions, often shutting down the opposition's top scorer.
McGillivray did not make a start last season, but averaged double figures for the third consecutive year, contributing 12.2 points a game and earning honorable mention all-GNAC status. She enters the season with 1,053 career points, the 16th-best mark in school history, and needs just 111 points to move into the Top 10. She shot 57.6 percent (114-of-198) from the field, ranking second in the GNAC, and made 72.1 percent of 140 free throws, her 5.2 attempts per game being the third most in the conference.
Four other players who saw action a year ago also return. Back in the paint are two sophomores, forward Tina Donahue and center Stephanie Dressel. Donahue contributed 4.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals, and has a blend of height and skills that allow her to play either in the post or on the perimeter.
Dressel provided defensive depth in the post last year, averaging 2.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in 24 games. Nichols says Dressel could be one of the most improved players on the team.
Also back at forward is junior Jodi Gerald, who averaged 3.1 points and 2.0 rebounds, including a 13-point effort in a road victory at Humboldt State where her shooting broke open a close game.
The fourth returnee is sophomore Samantha Hubbard, who saw regular action as the backup point guard last season, averaging 2.5 points and 1.6 assists. She hit a buzzer-beating shot against Cal Poly Pomona, sending the contest to overtime, where the Vikings won, 78-69.
The other player who was in the program in 2002-03 is guard Kelly Colard, who redshirted last year after transferring from Whatcom CC. Colard, who can also play small forward, was twice a first-team all-North Region pick for the Orcas, averaging 12.0 points, 6.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds as a sophomore.
Robinson, who played in the state all-star game last summer, averaged 17.0 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.6 blocks as a senior, setting Kentridge High School records in the last two categories and career marks in all three.
Dykstra was a first-team Class 2A all-State pick as a senior, averaging 15.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.2 steals. She started four years as a prep, playing for teams that reached the state tournament each season.
The other freshman is guard Angie Clift, who is expected to redshirt.
Also new to the Vikings are two transfers. Junior forward Piper Nims played the last two years at Whatcom CC after redshirting at Western in 2000-01. She averaged 10.2 points and 7.7 rebounds to earn first-team all-region honors for the Orcas last year.
Sophomore forward Arielle White played in all 27 games at Saint Martin's last year. She will redshirt this year to meet GNAC transfer regulations.
UPCOMING GAMES: Nov. 21 (Fri.) WWU/LYNDA GOODRICH CLASSIC (CARVER GYM) Game#1 - Saint Martin's College vs. San Francisco State University, 5 p.m. Game#2 - WESTERN vs. New Mexico Highlands University, 7 p.m. Nov. 22 (Sat.) WWU/LYNDA GOODRICH CLASSIC (CARVER GYM) Game#3 - Saint Martin's vs. New Mexico Highlands, 5 p.m. Game#4 - WESTERN vs. San Francisco State, 7 p.m.@ Nov. 28 (Fri.) at North Dakota State University Tournament - Fargo, ND Game#1 - WESTERN vs. Bentley College NE, 5:30 p.m. Game#2 - North Dakota State vs. Chadron State College NE, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29 (Sat.) at North Dakota State University Tournament - Fargo, ND Game#3 - Loser Game #1 vs. Loser Game #2, 5:30 p.m. Game#4 - Winner Game #1 vs. Winner Game #2, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4 (Thu.)NORTHWEST NAZARENE UNIVERSITY*(CARVER GYM-7 P.M.) Dec. 6 (Sat.) SAINT MARTIN'S* (CARVER GYM-7 P.M.) @broadcast on KBAI Radio (930 AM-Bellingham) and webcast on wwuvikings.com *Great Northwest Athletic Conference contest
GNAC PRESEASON COACHES POLL: Western is third in the GNAC Preseason Coaches Poll. Defending champion Seattle Pacific is first with nine first-place votes, followed by Central Washington with one first-place vote. Saint Martin's is fourth, followed by Northwest Nazarene, Seattle, Alaska Anchorage, Western Oregon, Humboldt State and Alaska Fairbanks.
WESTERN/GOODRICH CLASSIC: The Vikings host a quality field of teams at the seventh annual WWU/Lynda Goodrich Classic on Nov. 21-22. Joining Western are Saint Martin's, San Francisco State and New Mexico Highlands.
Saint Martin's opens the tourney against San Francisco State on Fri., Nov. 21, at 5 p.m., and Western hosts New Mexico Highlands at 7 p.m. On Sat., Nov. 22, Saint Martin's faces New Mexico Highlands at 5 p.m., and the Vikings entertain San Francisco State at 7 p.m.
THREE-DOT NOTES: The Vikings have won their last eight season openers and 18 of their last 19 ... Western is looking for its seventh straight national tournament appearance and its seventh consecutive 20-win season. Both current strings are school records.
CAREER NUMBERS: McGillivray has career totals of 1,053 points (15th among Western career leaders), 448 rebounds, 177 assists and 75 steals, and DeBoer has 685 points, 429 rebounds, 121 assists and 51 steals. McGillivray is shooting 53.3 percent (362-679) from the floor and 71.9 percent (328-456) at the free throw line, and DeBoer is hitting 51.1 percent (243-476) from the field and 72.4 percent (199-275) at the line.
HOME COURT DOMINANCE: The Vikings are 323-55 (85.4 percent) entering their 32nd year at Carver Gym, winning 50 of their last 54 home games (92.6 percent). They finished 12-2 at home last season, the eighth straight year they have reached double figures. The others were 13-1 in 2001-02, 13-1 in 2000-01, 12-0 in 1999-2000, 14-0 in 1988-89, 13-0 in 1984-85 and 1980-81, and 11-0 in 1995-96.
TOURNEY FACTS: Western has a 14-2 record in regular-season home tournaments after splitting a pair of games at the CCAA/GNAC Challenge Classic on Dec. 27-28, 2003. A loss to North Dakota State on Nov. 23, 2003 at the WWU/Lynda Goodrich Classic snapped a string of 13 home tourney wins for the Vikings. Prior to that, Western had won or tied for first in 12 straight regular-season tournaments, winning 27 straight tourney games during that stretch.
LAST SEASON: The Vikings finished 22-6, winning 20 games and reaching the national tournament, both for a school-record sixth straight time. They placed second in the GNAC at 15-3 and suffered an 83-79 loss to Northwest Nazarene ID in the opening round of the NCAA II West Regional, Western's earliest exit since joining NCAA II for the 1997-87 season.
RADIO BROADCASTS: Twelve Western regular-season games as well as post-season contests are being broadcast this season on KBAI Radio (930 AM) with Doug Lange handling the play-by-play, and Mark Scholten, Jason Stiles or Ervin Kuehbler providing the color commentary. They also can be heard on the internet at www.wwuvikings.com.
ON THE WEB: For up-to-date statistics, box scores of every game, records, stories, etc., see the Western Athletic web page at http://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.
THE TRADITION CONTINUES: With 689 all-time victories (33rd season), Western ranks among the Top 20 nationally on a list that includes all divisions ... The Vikings have made 24 straight post-season appearances and 31 overall, reaching nationals 13 times. They also have had 24 20-win seasons ... Western has had 18 winning streaks of 10 or more games with its longest being 19, and its longest losing streak is just four games ... Former Western coach Lynda Goodrich, now the Vikings' director of athletics, is a member of the NAIA National Hall of Fame. She coached Western for 19 seasons, winning more than 400 games (411-124, 76.7 percent). Carmen Dolfo, who is taking a one-year leave of absence, followed Goodrich and posted a 278-105 (.726) record in 13 seasons ... Another Viking NAIA Hall of Famer is forward Jo Metzger (1977-81), who earned first-team All-American honors in 1980 and 1981 ... Western has had 13 first, second or third-team All-Americans.
COACH NICHOLS: Sara Nichols has spent close to a third of her life as an integral part of Western basketball, and now she takes on the role of interim head coach, replacing Carmen Dolfo, who is on a leave of absence for 2003-04. As a senior, Nichols was one of the captains on a team that reached the 2000 NCAA II semifinals, and led the Vikings in assists at 5.1 a game. Following her playing career, Sara became an assistant coach for the 2000-01 season, then became the top assistant the next year, a position she held the last two seasons. Western had an 89-28 record during Nichols' time as a player, and the Vikings are 67-19 in her three years as part of the coaching staff. The 25-year-old Nichols is a graduate of Bothell High School.
PROBABLE WESTERN STARTERS & TOP RESERVES: F Tessa DeBoer***, 5-11, Sr., Lynden, WA/Lynden Christian F Tina Donahue*, 6-0, So., Stanwood, WA/Stanwood C Jenn McGillivray***, 5-11, Sr., Salem, OR/South Salem G Samantha Hubbard*, 5-6, So., Carbonado, WA/White River G Kelly Colard, 5-10, Jr., Elma, WA/Elma/Whatcom CC) or G Jodi Gerald**, 5-10, Jr., Puyallup, WA/Cascade Christian
NEW MEXICO HIGHLANDS UNIVERSITY: The Cowgirls return three starters from last year's 4-22 team. Leading that trio for coach Lynn Kennedy (2nd year, 4-22; 4th overall, 22-46) are 6-1 junior center Tara Podpah (16.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and 5-8 sophomore guard Terry Salazar (9.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg). Three Washington state players are on the roster - 6-1 junior forward Emily Kellett (Lynden), 6-0 junior guard Paige Leatherman (Stanwood) and 5-10 junior guard Lindsay Smith (Snohomish). First meeting.
SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY: The Gators have four starters back from last year's 11-16 squad, led by 6-0 senior forward Chrissy Ridenour (12.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg). Also back for coach Arden Kragalott (13th year, 125-189; 19th overall, 224-256) are 5-7 senior guard Renee Jimenez, 5-2 senior guard Michelle Morgan (7.5 ppg, 3.1 apg) and 5-3 junior guard DeAnna Butler. Western holds a 3-1 series advantage.
BENTLEY COLLEGE NE: The Falcons, who return three starters from a 33-3 team that reached the semifinals at the NCAA Division II Elite Eight (lost to eventual national champion South Dakota State, 69-62 in overtime), own DII records for most consecutive 20-win seasons (20) and most years in the NCAA II National Tournament (21). Coach Barbara Stevens (18th year, 483-73; 27th overall, 640-164) has averaged 28.4 wins and just 4.3 losses during her tenure at Bentley and her 640 career wins are the most in DII history and sixth in NCAA women's basketball history. Two of the returning starters, 5-8 senior guard Keri Flynn (17.8 ppg, 1,240 career points) and 6-0 senior forward Becky Davison (13.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1,076 career points), were selected as preseason Division II All-Americans by Women's Division II Bulletin. Flynn was named to two All-America teams last year, ECAC Division II Player of the Year and Northeast-10 co-Player of the Year ... First meeting.
NORTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY: The Bison have four starters back from a 26-7 team the reached the semifinals of the North Central Regional. Heading that foursome for coach Amy Ruley (25th year, 581-151) are two first-team North Central Conference all-stars - 5-9 senior guard Angie Froelich (12.3 ppg) and 6-2 senior center Michelle Fricke (12.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg), who was the league's Newcomer of the Year. Also back are 6-0 junior forward Lacey Johnson (9.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg) and 5-8 sophomore guard Katie Lorenz (9.9 ppg, 3.7 apg). Western lost only other meeting, 100-80, last season.
CHADRON STATE UNIVERSITY NE: The Eagles have three starters back from last year's 13-15 team. Leading that trio for coach Tom Andersen (10th year, 123-124; 18th overall, 176-229) are 5-10 junior forward Kim Petty (8.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and 5-10 junior forward Lindsay Erwin (7.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg). A top newcomer is 6-0 junior center Dawn Schreiber from University of Nebraska-Kearney. First meeting.
NORTHWEST NAZARENE UNIVERSITY ID: The Crusaders return three of their top four scorers off a team that finished 20-9 and reached the West Region semifinals after upsetting Western, 83-79, in the first round. Back for coach Kelly Lindley (formerly Kronberger, 4th year, 52-34) are honorable mention GNAC all-star 5-7 senior guard Heidi Buehler (13.8 ppg, 6.2 apg), 5-9 senior guard Jenny Binford (10.9 ppg) and 6-0 junior forward Whitney Van Brocklin (8.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, Mount Baker HS graduate).
SAINT MARTIN'S COLLEGE: The Saints return three starters from last year's 13-14 team that tied for fifth in the GNAC at 9-9, losing five games by five or fewer points. Heading the returnees are honorable mention GNAC all-star 6-0 junior forward Martina Kortikova (14.3 ppg) and 5-9 junior forward Julia Eisentrout (8.3 ppg). Also back is 6-2 senior center Brandi Riel (6.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg). Coach Tim Healey (8th year, 79-110) picked up three standout transfers in 5-8 junior guard Stephanie McKinney from Eastern Washington University, where she averaged 18.0 minutes and 4.4 points; 5-6 sophomore guard Beth Layton from University of Texas-San Antonio where she averaged 3.5 points in 25 games and 6-1 junior forward Heather Kennedy from Big Bend CC where she averaged 14.0 points and was a first-team NWAACC East Region all-star. Western holds a commanding 40-9 series advantage, winning both meetings last year - one 61-59 on a 3-point buzzer beater.
GAME SUMMARIES: None
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