Jan 31, 2012

Clackamas women lead injury-ridden NWAACC

NWAACC Women's Basketball
The story of the last few weeks has been injuries. Big Bend's Alli Neilson went down for three games and most of a fourth, and they've lost four straight pending her return on February 1st. Clackamas has lost their starting forward Lindsay Kanalz to a broken hand and sixth-man Alex Howe to knee injury. Columbia Basin lost second leading scorer Andrea Bland to a knee injury during practice. What remains to be seen is which teams will rise to the challenge and which teams will fall away.  Here's how the league looks after one month of region play: Coaches rankings are in italics under each team's record, and will be updated when the rankings come out on February 1st.
1. Clackamas (17-2, 6-1 South)
 #2 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 1, No. 2 Coaches

The last few weeks have been rough for Clackamas. They've lost two key players in  starting forward Lindsay Kanalz (broken hand) and sixth-man Alex Howe (knee), but have only lost one game, a 71-68 heart-breaker (box) on the road to a very sharp Lane team. If Clackamas shoots even decent, that game is a W, but as it is, Clackamas has stepped up to the plate and won all but two games this season, something that is true for only two squads. As always, Clackamas leads in points, assists, and steals. What they lack in is depth: they have only eight remaining players with which to finish the season.


2. Skagit Valley (13-5, 8-0 North)
#7 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 8, UR Coaches

Skagit Valley has reeled off an impressive 10 consecutive wins, including eight conference wins in a row. They haven't lost since falling to Lane on December 18th. Given, the north isn't particularly strong, but Skagit Valley does have a good looking 75-67 win at Bellevue, and hasn't stumbled against any of the weaker teams in their division. The battle for the crown just may take place on February 8th when a well rested Bellevue team travels to Skagit Valley, who has improved their scoring average considerably and now sit at 4th in the league with just over 74.5 points per game.


3. Yakima Valley(15-4, 5-1 East)
#4 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 5, No. 5 Coaches

After the loss of their leading scorer, it was difficult to believe that Yakima Valley was still a team to be feared. Now that fear has been abolished. Yakima Valley finally gave the mighty Columbia Basin a loss in their region, and a 20 point loss on their home floor at that. While the 81-61 victory may not prove that YVCC is back for good, it definitely serves as a wake up call that they aren't to be taken lightly.


4. Columbia Basin (17-2, 5-1 East)
#1 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 1, No. 1 Coaches

Everything seemed peachy for Columbia Basin, a team that had been embarrassing opponents since November, winning their first 12 and 15 of their first 16 games. Then guard  Andrea Bland  went down with an injury to her knee on January 12th. Since then, Columbia Basin has stumbled through their four games, squeezing past a marginal Blue Mountain team before being crushed by Yakima Valley at home. For the time being, the Hawks will have to learn to play without Bland, who hasn't played since the injury she picked up during practice.


5. Walla Walla (14-4, 5-1 East)
#3 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 4, No. 4 Coaches

Seeing as their only two losses since late November are Clark (14-3, 7-0 North) and Columbia Basin, it's a bit misleading that they moved down in this week's rankings. The only reason is that there's not much room at the top. Walla Walla needs a statement game, a win that nobody expected them to get. So far this season,  they've only beaten the teams that they were supposed to and fallen to the teams that were better than them. Perhaps two chances at such a statement game are fast approaching with games at home against Yakima Valley and on the road at Columbia Basin. Walla Walla has continued their torrid, league-leading 3 point shooting at 40%.


6. Bellevue (15-4 7-1 North)
#9 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. UR, No. 8 Coaches

Bellevue has won six games in a row following their January 11th 75-67 loss at home to Skagit Valley. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Bellevue statistically is that they shoot a very decent 42% from the field despite a dismal 3 point percentage. Adding their weak division and their average stats, Bellevue should do well until the competition picks up in the NWAACC tournament. A lot of minds could be changed if Bellevue can knock off Skagit Valley on February 8th, a game that may or may not decide the region champion.


7. Lane (15-4, 5-1 South)
#5 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 7, UR Coaches

If you throw out Lane's 67-57 loss at home to Chemeketa, Lane's regular season and late preseason have been very impressive. They are the only team since Yakima Valley to defeat Clackamas, winning a 71-68 thriller (box) at home on January 21st. Lane is one of the three Southern teams that lead the NWAACC in scoring with 75 points per game, Lane is also one of the league's top rebounding teams. Lane also continues lead the league in blocks with 4.58 per game, up from 4.25 two weeks ago.


8. Clark (14-3, 7-0 West)
#6 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. UR, No. UR Coaches

It's amazing how long it takes team that is undefeated in their region to get noticed. That says something about the proficiency of the western region, which is displayed when their best team has been beaten badly in meetings with Columbia Basin, Walla Walla and Lane early in the season. However, those must have been on the team's "down" nights, as they also have impressive victories over Walla Walla and Yakima Valley as well as their smooth sailing through the western region opposition.


Teams moving up: Skagit Valley, Yakima Valley
Teams added: Bellevue, Clark
Teams moving down: Columbia Basin, Walla Walla
Teams dropped: Big Bend, Chemeketa


  1. I'm sorry... this poll is so bogus! You WORK in Clackamas and give extra credence to Clackamas.

  2. The coaches put Clackamas at #2. Had Columbia Basin not lost at home by 20, they would have been #1, which would have lined up perfectly with the coaches. One of them works in Clackamas, does that make the coaches poll bogus?

  3. John, You don't owe anyone an explanation. For many years I've wished there was some commentary on NWAACC basketball, and now you're filling that void. Thanks for what you do.

  4. You're welcome! And thanks for your support.