Women’s NCAA Tournament First Round Preview: #11 Gonzaga vs. #6 George Washington


Gonzaga  (24-7) vs. George Washington (29-3)

When: Friday, March 20th at 4:30pm Pacific


Radio: The Key 1050 AM (Spokane, WA)

Meet the Teams


After sweating out whether or not they would be an at-large selection to the NCAA tournament, the Gonzaga ladies are indeed heading to the Big Dance as a #11 seed despite getting knocked out of the WCC Tounrament in the semifinals after an upset loss to eventual tournament champion BYU.

Mar 23, 2014; College Station, TX, USA; J Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Sunny Greinacher (14) dribbles the ball as James Madison Dukes forward Tola Giggetts (3) defends during the second half of a women

No doubt, having made the NCAA Tournament will motivate the Bulldogs to play harder than ever to demonstrate that they belong in the tournament this year as much as any other year. The team has 7 straight NCAA tournament appearances.

Playing in Corvallis, Oregon will be as close to a home court advantage as Gonzaga can get without playing in Spokane. The Lady Zags will be bolstered by their friends and family, most notably Wayne Tinkle, father of guard Elle Tinkle who also happens to be the Head Coach of the Men’s Basketball team at Oregon State University. Tinkle famously replaced Craig Robinson as head of the Beavers. Robinson is Barack Obama’s brother-in-law. Yes, that Barack Obama.

This is the first tournament appearance for Lisa Fortier in her first season as the Head Coach of the Gonzaga program. She is no stranger to the NCAA tournament having been an assistant under former Head Coach Kelly Graves. Fortier has been with the Gonzaga program for a total of 10 years.

Former Coach Graves may even wander over to Corvallis from Eugene to catch this game since he is currently the head coach for the University of Oregon women. Surely Tinkle and Graves can leave any Oregon civil war disputes outside the arena when the Gonzaga ladies take the floor.

Gonzaga players to keep an eye on are guard Keani Albanez who is averaging 12.8 points per game along with 1.5 steals per game, senior forward and All-WCC First Team selection Sunny Greinacher, who at 6’5” brings an intimidating inside presence along with 13.7 points per game, center Shelby Cheslek, another member of the All-WCC First Team and a block specialist with 49 blocks for the year, and junior guard Georgia Stirton who excels in assists.

George Washington

Ranked 19th in the AP Top 25 poll, the George Washington ladies are anchored by junior Jonquel Jones, the Atlantic-10 Conference Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Most Outstanding Player in the A-10 Tournament. Jones averaged 17.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in the tournament games.

More from 2015 NCAA Tournament

She will be joined on the court by sophomores Caira Washington and Hannah Schaible.  Both players were named to the A-10 All Tournament Team. Washington averaged 14.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game in the tournament, while Schaible averaged 12.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists after reaching a season-high 11 rebounds in the final against the Dayton Flyers. Kelli Prange, a member of the All-Freshman Team averages 7.9 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game and is also worth watching.

George Washington is the No. 6 seed in the NCAA tournament, and they are 13-2 in first round games.

A-10 Coach of the Year Jonathan Tsipis is in his third year coaching at George Washington. This is his first trip to the NCAA tournament.

The Lady Colonels are playing especially well and will be a fierce competitor. With two quality frontcourts, this will be an elite level game that should be very exciting. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30pm Pacific on Friday on ESPN2.