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Northwest Notes: Aug. 3, 2022

| August 3, 2022 1:11 AM

Gonzaga men to open

conference play at home

The West Coast Conference announced its 2022-23 men’s basketball conference schedule Tuesday. The race for the WCC regular season crown will stretch over a nine-week span, featuring 16 conference games. Conference play is slated to begin on Dec. 31 and will conclude on Feb. 25.

Gonzaga has shared or outright won the WCC regular season title the past 10 seasons. The Bulldogs will look for the program’s 26th conference title in 2022-23. GU has shared or won 21 conference championships in the last 22 years, and 23 out of the last 25 years.

The Zags open West Coast Conference play against Pepperdine on Dec. 31. The Bulldogs then begin a three-game road swing starting at San Francisco and Santa Clara on Jan. 5 and 7. GU visits BYU on Jan. 12. Gonzaga hosts Portland (Jan. 14) and Loyola Marymount (Jan. 19), before traveling to Pacific (Jan. 21) and Portland (Jan. 28).

Gonzaga opens the second half of conference play and the month of February versus Santa Clara in Spokane on Feb. 2. The Bulldogs head to Saint Mary’s on Feb. 4, before hosting San Francisco and BYU on Feb. 9 and 11.

The Zags are in the Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine on Feb. 16 and 18. GU closes league play at home against San Diego (Feb. 23) and Saint Mary’s (Feb. 25).

The West Coast Conference Championships will follow March 2-7 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

Gonzaga’s non-conference schedule, along with game times and television information will be released in the near future.

Gonzaga women to open

with BYU at home

The West Coast Conference announced its 2022-23 women’s basketball conference schedule Tuesday. The race for the WCC regular season crown will stretch over a 10-week span, featuring 18 conference games. Conference play is slated to begin on Dec. 17 and will conclude on Feb. 25.

The Bulldogs have won 16 of the last 18 regular-season WCC titles, along with nine of the last 14 tournament championships, including back-to-back titles in 2021 and 2022.

The Zags open WCC play with two home games as they host BYU on Dec. 17 and San Francisco on Dec. 19. The Bulldogs then go on the road to Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount on Dec. 29 and 31. GU returns home to play San Francisco on Jan. 5 and Santa Clara on Jan. 7. Gonzaga then has a three-game road swing starting at Portland on Jan 14, followed by a trip to the Pacific on Jan. 19 and Saint Mary’s on Jan. 21.

The Bulldogs close out January with two-straight home games against LMU on Jan. 26 and Pepperdine on Jan. 28.

Gonzaga opens the second half of conference play and the month of February at Santa Clara on Feb. 2 and at USF on Feb. 4. The Bulldogs close out their home schedule with three-straight contests in Spokane with Portland (Feb. 11), Pacific (Feb. 16) and Saint Mary’s on Feb. 18 for Senior Day.

The Zags wrap up league play on the road at San Diego (Feb. 23) and at BYU (Feb. 25).

The West Coast Conference Championships will follow on March 2-7 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

Cougar football set to

begin fall practice today

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State football will begin its fall practice schedule today with a morning practice at Rogers Practice Field, WSU coach Jake Dickert announced Tuesday.

The first of 25 fall camp practices will lead into WSU’s season-opener Saturday, Sept. 3 vs. Idaho at Gesa Field.

The Cougars begin with helmets-only practices the first two days of fall camp, and will add shoulder pads day three. The first practice in full pads is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 9.

The Cougars’ season-opener against Idaho is set for a 6:30 p.m. start on the Pac-12 Network.

Former Cardinal join

NAIA College of Idaho volleyball

The College of Idaho volleyball team announced the signing of seven newcomers to Cascade Collegiate Conference to letters of intent – five will come with college volleyball experience and two more with accolade-filled backgrounds from their high school days.

Among the newcomers are three outside hitters — Janae Rayborn (Coeur d’Alene, North Idaho College), Gabriella Rios (Moses Lake, Wash. / Big Bend Community College) and Katie Black (Boise, Boise High, Boise State).

Rayborn, last fall, was a NWAC East Region All-Star, where she posted 4.58 kills and 3.58 digs per set at North Idaho College. Rios, in 2021, was also a NWAC East Region All-Star selection where she compiled 4.13 kills and 3.46 digs per set at Big Bend Community College. Black, the third outside hitter was a standout at Boise High, who initially decided not to play volleyball in college. As a senior at Boise High School, in 2020, she was first team all state and led her team to a runner up finish at the 5A State Tournament.

The fourth newcomer is Callie Muniz, who hails from Arbuckle, Calif., and spent the last two years at Feather River Community College, where they were state champions as a freshman and third as a sophomore. Her efforts as a sophomore garnered her 2021 CCCAA All-Tournament State Team honors.

“Janae, Gabi, and Katie provide depth for us at the pin positions. All three are 6 rotation players who can pass and play defense well. Gabi and Janae have two years of college experience where they carried big offensive loads with great success. Katie had an exceptional high school career and was the go-to players on Boise High’s state runner-up team. Callie comes from Feather River, which is one of the top junior college programs in the state of California. She was part of a state championship and a 3rd place finish, so she knows what it takes to be a champion. These athletes bring high-level experience and winning mindsets that fit perfectly in our program,” said coach Liz Mendiola.

The Coyotes have also added to the roster a pair of setters, Analise Hitchcock from Meridian and Chanlar O’Neil from Fruitland. Hitchcock spent her freshman season at NCAA Division II Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington, where she averaged 7.26 assists per set. O’Neil comes to Caldwell after a standout high school career at Fruitland High where she was first team all state and the Snake River Valley Conference Player of the Year as a senior.

“Analise is a smooth and smart setter with two years of college experience. She competes hard and knows how to get hitters what they need. Chanlar is a talented competitor who comes from a strong winning tradition, both at her high school and within her family,” said Mendiola.

The final member of the recruiting class is Clair Hodge, who is the lone libero in the group. Hodge played at North Idaho College along with fellow newcomer and outside hitter Janae Rayborn. She is the third member of the recruiting class that has earned NWC East Region All-Star honors. As a libero, Hodge averaged 5.65 digs per set.

“Clair is another transfer who brings college experience and had an outstanding sophomore season. She is someone with a contagious attitude who makes the players around her better,” Mendiola said.

Stone Jr. named to

Lombardi Award

Watch List

Washington State EDGE Ron Stone Jr. was named to the 2022 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List, the Rotary Club of Houston announced.

The Rotary Lombardi Award is presented annually to the college football offensive or defensive lineman, who in the addition to outstanding performance and ability, best exemplifies the character and discipline of the NFL Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi. Stone Jr. is the first Cougar to be named to the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List since Hercules Mata’afa prior to the 2016 season and was among the nominees in 2017.

Stone Jr. earned his first career All-Pac-12 Conference honor last season after making 11.5 tackles-for-loss, tied for fourth in the conference, and tied for eighth in the league with five sacks.

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