Keisha Gordon and the George Fox University women’s basketball team lost one game all season.
Unfortunately for the Bruins, it was the last one.
Gordon had team highs of 17 points eight rebounds and four steals in the NCAA Division III championship game Saturday against Illinois Wesleyan at Holland, Mich., but the Bruins fell 57-48 to finish 32-1.
Less than two hours after Saturday’s game, the Heritage High School graduate made it clear in a Facebook post that she was not dwelling on one final defeat.
“Maybe not the ending that we wanted, but what a year!” she wrote. “Truly blessed to have the best teammates, coaches, and fans! Thank you (to) all the Bruin supporters. You guys are pure gold. God did some amazing things over my past four years, and I have absolutely no regrets. Thank you for the memories, the laughter, and the endless love. How can I complain?”
Previously named the Northwest Conference’s Player of the Year, Gordon last week also garnered that honor for the entire NCAA-III West Region and picked up First Team All-America honors from both d3hoops.com and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
The Bruins and Titans played a physical, pressure game for the title.
“We knew the kind of game to expect from them,” Gordon told athletics.georgefox.edu, “a pressing, physical style, and we wanted to establish that we could also play that type of game and put the pressure on them.”
George Fox was dealt a blow after just five minutes of play when star post player Hannah Munger went down with a knee injury without yet having taken a shot from the floor. After 36 points and 13 rebounds in the team’s semifinal win Friday, she had four rebounds, two points and two blocks.
Gordon scored nine points in a 13-0 run that gave the Bruins a 47-41 lead with 5:05 remaining, but Illinois Wesleyan grabbed the momentum and kept it to win the national title.
“All of us knew we would have to step up our game to make up for Hannah’s absence, and I was just trying to do my part,” Gordon told the GFU website.
Gordon was named to the All-Final Four team.
The Bruins were 117-10 in four seasons, with Gordon starting since she arrived on campus as a freshman, including a 32-0 national championship season in 2008-09 and Elite Eight appearances each of the last two seasons. The Bruins won or shared the NWC title each of her seasons.
Gordon finished her career as the program’s all-time leader in scoring (1,753 points) and steals (297). Her 90 steals as a senior is a school record for a single season.
NU’s Jackson named NAIA All-America
Northwest University senior center Jessalyn Jackson, the Cascade Collegiate Conference women’s basketball Player of the Year, was named to the NAIA Division II All-America Second Team.
The Fort Vancouver High School graduate led the conference in scoring (19.4 points a game), rebounding (11.6) and blocked shots (4.5) in CCC play. Her .482 shooting percentage in conference games (165 of 342) ranked her sixth.
The 6-footer led all of NAIA-II with 11.63 rebounds and 4.33 blocks a game. She was second in the the division with 104 total blocks and third in defensive rebounds (7.92).
Jackson was Honorable Mention All-CCC as a sophomore and a First Team selection as a junior and senior.
“I’m proud of Jezz for all the hard work she put in this year,” Eagles coach Lori Napier told northwestu.edu/athletics. “It is definitely a well-deserved recognition.”
Piette in stroke seat for WWU crew eight
Columbia River High School graduate Jean Piette will be in the stroke seat of the first varsity eight shell for the seven-time defending NCAA Division II Western Washington women’s crew team.
Piette, who rowed in the No. 6 seat last year, is one of six rowers returning from last year’s national championship varsity eight. She is escribed by the school’s webiste as “the motor of that group.”
WWU coach John Fuchs told wwuvikings.com that the position is something that Piette “has been waiting for a shot at.”
The stroke seat is the rower closest to the stern, or rear, of the shell -- immediately in front of the coxswain -- and establishes the rate and rhythm of all the shell’s oars.
“Because of the great responsibilities, the rower in the stroke seat will usually be one of the most technically sound members of the boat,” according to an online glossary of crew terminology.
WWU’s season opens March 24 with the Steward’s Cup Regatta on American Lake near Tacoma. The Vikings will also compete in the Northwest in the Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference Championships, April 21 in Eugene; and the Opening Day Regatta at the Windemere Cup on Seattle’s Montlake Cut on May 5.
Nationals are May 25-27 in Mercer, N.J.
Olbrich claims 50th career singles win
Abby Olbrich of Linfield College claimed her 50th career collegiate singles victory Saturday during a 7-2 home win over defending Northwest Conference regular season champion Whitworth.
The Skyview High School graduate defeated Alli Marshall 6-3, 6-4, for the milestone victory. A week earlier, Olbrich recorded her 50th career collegiate doubles win.
After winning five of six matches, the only loss by an 8-6 score in doubles against Division I Portland State, Olbrich was named Northwest Conference player of the week.
GFU’s Turner leads D-III in 400 hurdles
George Fox University junior Alyssa Turner was named Northwest Conference women’s track and field Athlete of the Week after winning the 400-meter hurdles event at the Pacific University Preview meet Saturday.
The Hudson’s Bay High School graduate’s time of 1 minute, 4.17 seconds, is currently the best in NCAA Division III.
Turner also was third in the 100 hurdles and helped the Bruins to second in the 400 relay.
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