Topalovic shoots way into record book at College of Siskiyous

By Kurt Zimmer, Columbian Sports Reporter

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Hudson’s Bay grad hits 10 3-pointers in Eagles’ victory

When Dijana Topalovic was named to the all-tournament team at the Solano Showdown early this season, College of the Siskiyous women’s basketball coach Tom Powers said the sophomore guard put in a lot of time working on her outside shot in the offseason.

“She’s come a long way in a year,” he told the Mount Shasta News of California. “She’s one of our outside weapons.”

Lassen College found out the hard way Jan. 30.

The Hudson’s Bay High School graduate set a school record with 10 3-pointers — eight in the first half — while scoring 35 points as Siskiyous romped 113-86 in the home game in Weed, Calif.

“It’s just more that I like shooting 3’s more than 2’s,” Topalovic said Monday. “It’s not really that it’s my role, but I just like it more. I feel like I’m a better shooter when I shoot 3’s than when I shoot 2’s. We practice shooting a lot of 3’s, so I’m just used to it.”

The team’s roster includes no player taller than 5-foot-10, and the 5-6 Topalovic said the Golden Eagles are “all pretty good shooters.”

And they shoot quite a bit.

Siskiyous (14-7, 4-2 Golden Valley Conference) has scored in triple digits twice this season, and 90-plus in two other games. The Golden Eagles average 76.8 points a game.

Topalovic is averaging 11.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 steals a game. She leads the team with 55 3-pointers, a 39.5 shooting percentage from behind the arc — on 139 attempts.

She also leads the team with an 85.7 free throw shooting percentage (18 of 21).

Topalovic’s 35-point night felt like any other game to her when it started. It soon became something special, sparked by her first shot becoming a four-point play.

“It was really fun,” Topalovic said. “We had a big crowd that night and it was fun that they were having as much fun as me, I guess. It was just like a regular game to me, and then the first shot that I had was an ‘and one’ and I hit my free throw, so that just kind of started me off. From then on, I just felt like I was on a roll.

“I had eight of my 3s in the first half, then the next two were in the second half. At halftime, everyone was talking, telling me, ‘You have eight 3s.’ It didn’t really get into my head, but I felt pressure to beat the record.”

When she entered the game a few minutes into the second half, she missed the first three shots she took from behind the arc. After a few minutes of rest, Powers put her back in for a chance at the record.

She made two more 3s to claim the school record, making almost half of the team’s 21 3-pointers in the game. The previous record of nine was shared by Halley Wells (2004) and Kristi Arness (2008).

Topalovic was 8 of 10 shooting 3-pointers for 24 points in a 117-60 win over Porterville at a January tournament in Fresno.

“My coach pulled me out because he kind of thinks you have to deserve it more to beat the record,” she said. “He gave me a second chance to beat it this game against Lassen.”

Topalovic is not yet sure where basketball might take her next after junior college.

But she is enjoying her final season at Siskiyous.

The Golden Eagles’ next three games are against teams they have already beaten by 18, 38 and 27 points going into the season finale, a home game against Shasta College that could be for the GVC crown.

“I feel like we can do really good,” Topalovic said. “We’ll have to beat Shasta to get back in first place, but I think we can do it. ... I’m hoping we will win those all and then hopefully get first. We’re having a really good season, and I hope it continues that way.”

BYU’s Foreman gets first double-double

Brigham Young University junior guard Jazmine Foreman recorded her first collegiate double-double in the Cougars’ 76-60 home victory over UNLV on Saturday.

The Hudson’s Bay High School graduate had 13 points and 11 assists

“Jazmine had one of her best games,” BYU coach Jeff Judkins told byucougars.com. “She let it come to her. She did really well today at shooting the ball and taking care of it.”

Foreman is averaging 9.9 points, 4.0 assists and 3.3 rebounds a game for the Cougars (15-6, 6-3 Mountain West Conference). BYU plays Saturday at Air Force.

Long sets WOU indoor mile record

Western Oregon senior Jeff Long established a school record in the indoor mile at the University of Washington Invitational meet held Jan. 30 at the Dempsey Indoor facility.

The Skyview High School graduate placed sixth in his section of the event with the second-fastest performance this indoor season in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

Long’s time also met the provisional qualifying standard for the NCAA Division II national championships with his time of 4 minutes, 11.49 seconds. The time is more than two seconds faster than the provisional standard of 4:13.70.

The previous WOU record was 4:13.55, set by Wes Tilgner in 1989.

Long placed third in the mile at last year’s GNAC championships with a time of 4:19.09.

EOU punter Akers named All-America

Eastern Oregon University’s Tom Akers capped his senior season by being named honorable mention All-America for National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics football.

The Prairie High School graduate was previously named All-Frontier Conference first team as a placekicker and second team as a punter. He was also named to the All-Academic Conference team. Akers has a 3.18 grade point average, majoring in physical education and health.

Akers was sixth in NAIA with an average of 41.0 yards a punt. The All-America team was elected by NAIA football coaches and the broadcast team for the College Fanz Football Game of the Week.

Akers is scheduled to attend a private camp this month offered by former NFL special teams coach Gary Zauner for specialists who were not invited to the NFL combine but have shown potential.

Suggestions for College Notebook? Contact Kurt Zimmer at 360-735-4563 or by e-mail at kurt.zimmer@columbian.com