Women's Basketball Opens Season At Home

Nov. 17, 2004

Gonzaga Women's Basketball Notes - Nov. 17, 2004
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Game No. 1 - Utah Valley State
Saturday, November 20 - 7 p.m.
McCarthey Athletic Center (6,000) - Spokane, WA
Radio: KGA 1510 AM (Spokane)

F - 13 Ashley Burke, 6-1, Sr., North Vancouver, BC
     (14.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.9 apg)
F - 30 Ashley Anderson, 6-0, Jr., Enterprise, OR
     (11.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.2 apg)
F - 44 Anne Bailey, 6-0, Jr., Snohomish, WA
     (6.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.0 apg)
G - 10 Shannon Mathews, 5-6, Sr., Riverside, CA
     (10.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.7 apg)
G - 32 Raeanna Jewell, 5-7, Sr., Veradale, WA
     (9.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.3 apg)
HEAD COACH: Kelly Graves (University of New Mexico, 1988)
GONZAGA RECORD: 52-65 (5th year); CAREER RECORD: 118-94 (8th year)

UTAH VALLEY STATE COLLEGE WOLVERINES (0-0) F - 22 Kelci Naihe, 5-9, So., Kapa'a, HI (4.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.0 apg) F - 43 Kaydee Allred, 6-0, Jr., Trout Creek, UT (8.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 0.8 apg) C - 40 Katie Wilson, 6-0, Sr., Woodinville, WA (9.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 0.9 apg) G - 11 Courtney Lynn, 5-8, Sr., Spokane, WA (3.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.6 apg) G - 24 Miriam Palkki, 6-1, Jr., Provo, UT (10.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.5 apg) HEAD COACH: Cathy Nixon (Brigham Young University, 1989) UVSC RECORD: 201-86 (10th year); CAREER RECORD: Same

SERIES RECORD: First meeting

SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES: Utah Valley State enters its second year of competition as an NCAA Division I member after making the jump from a junior college two years ago. Cathy Nixon has guided the Wolverines for nine seasons helping them make the transition to NCAA Division I. UVSC will have one regular-season game under their belt when then visit Spokane after opening the season on Friday night against the University of Idaho. The team returns four starters from last season including Spokane native Courtney Lynn, a former Ferris High School Saxon. Miriam Pakkli is the Wolverines top returning scorer with 10.4 points per game. Last season during their first season at the NCAA Division I level Utah Valley State posted an 11-14 record with a 1-10 record against NCAA Division I teams.

WCC ATTENDANCE LEADERS: Gonzaga University women's basketball went out with a bang last year during their final season in the Martin Centre. The Bulldogs averaged 1,162 fans per game to lead the West Coast Conference in attendance. The Bulldogs held a large advantage over the next two highest drawing teams with Saint Mary's College averaging 882 fans and the University of San Francisco 816.

HEAD COACH Kelly Graves: Kelly Graves is in his fifth season as the head coach of the Gonzaga University Bulldogs looking to take the team to back-to-back post-season berths for the first time in the Division I history of the program. Graves has compiled a 52-65 record at Gonzaga but has built the Bulldogs into a West Coast Conference title contender with consecutive second place finishes in the league. In 2003 he was named the WCC Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a seven game turnaround. Last season the Bulldogs lost in the WCC title game and advanced to the Women's NIT, the first post-season appearance for Gonzaga in ten seasons. Prior to taking over the Bulldogs program Graves built Saint Mary's College into a WCC power with two post-season appearances. His career record is 118-91 including a 51-47 WCC mark.

PRESEASON FAVORITES: With five starters returning and back-to-back second place finishes in the WCC, the Gonzaga Bulldogs were selected as league favorites in a preseason poll of WCC coaches. Gonzaga received seven of eight first place votes and held a six-vote advantage over predicted runner-up Pepperdine University. The two league favorites will meet on Jan. 15 in Malibu, Calif., in a game that will be televised on Fox Sports Net.

BURKE, MATHEWS AMONG TOP WCC PLAYERS: Seniors Ashley Burke and Shannon Mathews have been selected as two of the top five returning players in the West Coast Conference. Both players were first-team All-WCC selections last season with Burke leading the conference in field goal percentage (.529) and ranking fourth in scoring (14.8 ppg). Mathews was the top point guard in the league last season with her 4.7 assists per game leading the WCC and her 2.17 steals per game ranking third. Joining Burke and Mathews among the top returning WCC players are Jennifer Lacy of Pepperdine, Ashlee Orndorff of Portland and Toni Russell of San Francisco.

NEW HOME FOR BULLDOGS BASKETBALL: Gonzaga basketball will have a new home this season as the Bulldogs open play in the new 6,000 seat McCarthey Athletic Center. The $25 million project was completed in October of 2004 and will serve as the home for men's and women's basketball. While Saturday's game against Utah Valley State College will be the first regular-season game in the McCarthey Athletic Center, the Bulldogs broke in their new digs on Nov. 6 with an exhibition win over Lewis-Clark State College.

BULLDOGS ROLL IN EXHIBITION WIN: Gonzaga rolled over Lewis-Clark State College in the Bulldogs only exhibition contest of the season. Ashley Burke and Stephanie Hawk each poured in 16 points as the Bulldogs shot 56 percent from the field during the 96-36 victory. GU built a commanding 49-18 halftime lead and never looked back. All 13 players in uniform scored with Katy Ridenour also adding 11 points in the win.

Ashley Burke returns as one of the top players in the West Coast Conference.

ALL FIVE STARTERS BACK: Learning the offensive and defensive schemes of the Gonzaga Bulldogs should not be a problem for this year's team as all five starters from last season's WNIT team return. The Bulldogs are led by All-WCC first team selections Ashley Burke and Shannon Mathews and honorable mention honoree Ashley Anderson. Senior Raeanna Jewell and junior Anne Bailey round out the Bulldogs returning starters. The last time Gonzaga returned all five starters from a previous team was the 1993-94 season, Gonzaga advanced to its first WNIT tournament with that line-up.

EARLY SEASON ROAD WARRIORS: The Bulldogs will definitely collect their share of frequent flyer miles to open the season as Gonzaga plays seven of its first eight games on the road. After opening the season at home against Utah Valley State on Nov. 20, Gonzaga will travel for seven straight games before returning home to face Idaho on Dec. 18. Included on that season opening road trip are tournament appearances at New Mexico and Arizona State along with road games at Eastern Washington, Montana and Boise State. When the Bulldogs do finally return home they will play seven straight games in the new McCarthey Athletic Center including the West Coast Conference opener against Santa Clara on Jan. 6.

SEASON TICKETS NOW ON SALE: Fans can now purchase season tickets for women's basketball in the new McCarthey Athletic Center. Season tickets cost $50 and grant fans a reserved seat at all 13 Gonzaga women's home games. Call (509) 323-4202 for more information or to purchase your seats.

BULLDOGS SIGN THREE NEW PLAYERS: Gonzaga head coach Kelly Graves announced the signing of three new players that will join the Bulldogs team for the 2005-06 season. Signing national letters of intent with the Bulldogs were guard Jami Bjorklund, forward Maria Hassett and forward Simone Santos. Bjorklund is 5-11senior off-guard from Spokane's University High. Hassett is a 6-2 forward at Aloha High School in Beaverton, Ore., where she plays for former Gonzaga standout Ivy Safranski. Santos is a 6-2 junior college sophomore from Brazil that currently plays at Western Nebraska Community College.

NEW FACES DON GU JERSEY: Gonzaga will have two new faces in the low post and one new player at the guard position as the Bulldogs welcome three incoming freshman. Rotating in the low post position this season will be 6-4 center Elaina Renius and 6-0 forward Sarah Schramm. Garnering playing time at the off-guard and point guard positions will be Dominique Harris from Los Angeles.

OLD FACES RETURN TO THE LINE-UP: After a two-year absence battling injuries, guard Juliann Laney has returned to the Bulldogs line-up. The all-time leading scorer in Greater Spokane League history at Gonzaga Prep, Laney averaged 5.7 points during 29 games as a freshman in 2002. Laney missed the 2003 season recovering from a torn ACL injury and suffered a stress fracture in her hip to miss the 2004 campaign. This season she has returned playing 14 minutes in the Bulldogs exhibition win over Lewis-Clark State. Laney dumped in nine points shooting 4-for-7 from the field including 1-for-2 from 3-point range.

OLD FACES RETURN TO THE BENCH: A familiar face also has returned to the Bulldogs bench as former All-West Coast Conference performer Triana Allen has joined head coach Kelly Graves coaching staff. Allen finished her GU career ranking seventh with 79 3-pointers made and 10th in assists and steals.

BULLDOGS ANNOUNCE RADIO PACKAGE: The Bulldogs will have a minimum of 11 games broadcast on the radio during the 2005 season. Starting with the Bulldogs opener against Utah Valley State on Nov. 20, Gonzaga will have 10 regular-season games and all post-season games broadcast on the Bulldogs radio network - KGA 1510 AM in the Spokane area.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: In addition to basketball on the radio Gonzaga will also have several games broadcast on television starting with the Bulldogs Dec. 18 game against Northwest foe - the University of Idaho. The game against the Vandals will be broadcast on Spokane station KHQ marking the second time women's basketball has been broadcast on the Bulldogs television network. Gonzaga will also appear on Fox Sports Net as part of the West Coast Conference package. That game for Gonzaga will be on January 15 at Pepperdine. The game will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. on FSN West with a tape delayed broadcast at 9 p.m. on FSN Northwest. The championship game of the West Coast Conference tournament will also be broadcast on FSN with a time still to be determined.

WCC TOURNAMENT RETURNS TO FORM: The 2005 West Coast Conference Women's Basketball Tournament will have a new look this year as the league has returned to its previous format of all eight teams playing on the first day in a seeded bracket. The first day of the tournament will be on Thursday, March 3 with the winners advancing to Saturday's semifinals. The championship game will be played on Sunday afternoon with the winner earning the league's automatic NCAA Tournament bid. The last two seasons the WCC has held a weighted league tournament with the top two regular-season teams receiving byes into the semifinals. Gonzaga has benefitted from the previous format the last two seasons finishing second both years and starting tournament play in the semifinals. Last year the Bulldogs advanced to the WCC title game losing to Loyola Marymount 61-58.

Rachel Kane will miss the Bulldogs season opener against Utah Valley State.

KANE TO MISS THE OPENER: Sophomore guard Rachel Kane will miss the Bulldogs opener against Utah Valley State as she continues to rehab from a torn MCL and ACL suffered last season. Kane was hurt during the Bulldogs game at San Francisco last season after appearing in 16 games including six starts. The point guard from Kaneohe, Haw., averaged 5.9 points and 3.5 assists per game.

BULLDOGS START NEW 3-STREAK: In the Bulldogs final home game in the Martin Centre, Gonzaga witnessed its consecutive game streak with a 3-pointer made come to an end against the University of San Francisco. That 0-for-6 performance against the Lady Dons ended a 222 game streak in which the Bulldogs had made at least one 3-pointer in a game. The streak started after the Bulldogs went 0-for-10 against the University of San Diego on Feb. 17, 1996. Gonzaga rebounded from that performance to knock down seven 3-pointers in each of its next two games to start a new streak which stands at six games. The Bulldogs record for 3-pointers made in a game is 14 against UC Riverside on Dec. 31, 2001. Gonzaga has recorded 16 games with 10 or more 3-pointers made since the 3-point basket was incorporated into the college game.

3-POINT CLIMBERS: Two current members of the Bulldogs team have been a big part of the Bulldogs 3-point success as seniors Shannon Mathews and Raeanna Jewell both rank among the Top 10 for career 3-pointers made and attempted at Gonzaga. Mathews enters the season ranking third on the list with 151 made and 458 attempted. She needs 30 more 3-pointers this season to pass Ivy Safranski on the career list. Jewell ranks sixth on the list with 95 made and fifth with 326 attempted. She needs 21 more 3-pointers to pass current assistant coach Jennifer Mountain for fifth place at 116 3-pointers made. Bulldogs assistant coach Triana Allen also ranks on the Top 10 list with 79 3-pointers during her career.

MATHEWS SET TO CRACK 1,000: Senior Shannon Mathews is on pace to become only the 10th Gonzaga player to crack the 1,000 points scored barrier as the Bulldogs open the season. Mathews currently ranks 11th on the scoring list with 950 points and should pass Lisa Vestal (1983-86) for 10th on the list on Saturday night as she needs four points to move up one spot. When Mathews eclipses the 1,000 point mark she will give the Bulldogs two active 1,000 point scorers on the same team for the third time in school history. Fellow senior Ashley Burke (1,167) passed the 1,000 point mark last season and opens the year ranking 8th on the Bulldogs list. The last time two GU players had over 1,000 points on the same team was the 1995 season when Ivy Safranski and Sarah Christensen both hit the milestone. Safranski was also part of the first duo to accomplish that feat as she joined with Juanita Rivera in the 1,000 point club during the Bulldogs 1994 run to the Women's NIT.

DEFENSIVE STOPPER: Junior Ashley Anderson has once again returned as the Bulldogs defensive stopper after earning honorable mention All-West Coast Conference honors last season. Anderson led the team with 132 defensive rebounds with 29 steals and 21 blocks as she routinely drew the toughest defensive assignment. During the Bulldogs first six games of the 2004 season Anderson was matched up against four All-Americans guarding Chandi Jones of Houston, Cathrine Kraayeveld of Oregon, Giuliana Mendiola of Washington and Kim Smith of Utah. Anderson held three of the four players below their season averages with only Jones scoring two points above her season average. Anderson was also able to keep three of the players below their season shooting percentage with Smith the only player above her season average.



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