Feb 17, 2012

Columbia Basin women lead February Madness

NWAACC Women's Basketball
As the NWAACC Tournament looms ever closer, the focus starts to switch from which teams have the best record to which teams are playing the best right now. Eleven of the sixteen tournament seeds have already been claimed, but teams are still jostling for positioning, which leads to several huge match ups in the next several weeks. Lane will travel to Clackamas, likely to decide the Southern Region champions. Clark will travel to Centrailia in a similar game. Skagit Valley and Bellevue, who are tied at the top of the Northern Region standings, have split their two meetings and are both looking to win out. In this part of the country, we know it as February Madness. Coaches rankings are in italics under each team's record.

1. Columbia Basin (22-2, 10-1 East)
 #1 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 4, No. 1 Coaches

The Hawks have won seven in a row since losing to Yakima Valley, including a 65-60 (box) victory over the very same YVCC Yaks that hammered them only a few weeks earlier. Guard Andrea Bland  is still on the bench, but Columbia Basin has made do without her and many others for that matter, playing only seven players in their last two consecutive games. Columbia Basin might be playing good now, but they'll have trouble competing in the tournament unless they get some of their players back in action.


2. Lane (20-4, 10-1 South)
#2 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 7, No. 5 Coaches

Like Columbia Basin, Lane hasn't lost in quite a while. Their streak goes back eight games, dating back to their loss at home to Chemeketa on January 14th. Since then they've had quite the run. They've had three games where they scored 98 points or more, and on all three occasions, they won by more than 45 points. Lane's biggest win by far was their 71-68 defeat of Clackamas (box) at home. Lane will travel to Oregon City to face Clackamas on February 18th in a game that will feature the two top scoring teams in the NWAACC, and a game in which the winner will most likely win the southern region's #1 seed in the league.

3. Clackamas (20-3, 9-2 South)
#3 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 1, No. 2 Coaches

Clackamas being a team that has a particular disdain for jump shots, they live and die on their ability to shoot the three pointer and get layups. If the threes aren't falling, Clackamas has a tendency to play horribly overall. They've been bit by their mistakes only a few times this season, one being a heartbreaker on the road against Lane (box), one being a 28 point embarrassment on the road to Chemeketa (box), and the other being a 20 point loss to Yakima Valley during the preseason. Guard Ashleigh Anderson has continued to look good for Clackamas, who leads the league in scoring with just over 79 points per game.


4. Bellevue (19-4, 11-1 North)
#7 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 6, No. 8 Coaches

At ten games, Bellevue sports the longest active winning streak in the NWAACC. The Bulldogs avenged their only loss in their region on February 8th when they marched in to Skagit Valley and came away with an 82-69 victory (box), tying the northern region standings. Not much remains on the schedule for Bellevue, who will play three of the bottom four teams in the north before the season is up, including 0-20 Edmonds, who averages only 44 points per game.


5. Yakima Valley (17-6, 7-3 East)
#6 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 3, No. 4 Coaches

As up and down as teams come, Yakima Valley has their hands in some of the most impressive victories that the NWAACC has seen all season. They knocked off host Clackamas at the Clackamas Crossover Tournament in the preseason, and dealt Columbia Basin a crushing defeat on January 21st. Yakima Valley has been fairly consistent as of late, putting together a streak of six wins before falling 69-47 to Walla Walla on February 8th (box) and  pushing Columbia Basin to the brink (box) on February 12th. Yakima Valley has done a decent job of bouncing back from the loss of their leading scorer, but doubts still linger as the tournament looms.


6. Skagit Valley (16-6, 11-1 North)
#9 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 2, No. 7 Coaches

Skagit Valley had won 12 games in a row before dropping a game at home 82-69 to Bellevue (box). While that win streak included some of the NWAACC's bottom feeders, they are still one of only three teams to accomplish such a feat. Statistically, Skagit Valley hasn't looked quite so good lately, a run of slower offensive nights has bumped their points per game down to just over 73.


7. Walla Walla (17-6, 8-3 East)
#4 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 5, 4 Coaches

Along with some their eastern region companions, Walla Walla has been up and down. They had an impressive win over the aforementioned Yakima Valley (box) on February 8th but turned around three days later and lost to 8-14 Wenatchee Valley 67-59 (box). The loss at Columbia Basin was expected, and the win over Yakima Valley could and should have been used as a springboard to finish out the season. However, it seems that the Warriors, who continue to lead the league in 3 pt shooting, have fumbled the opportunity away.


8. Clark (19-4, 12-1 West)
#5 Coaches
Previous Ranking: No. 7, No. 6 Coaches

Clark may have moved up in the rankings had things continued the way that they were. They were riding a 16 game winning streak, were undefeated in league, and were running away in every game that they played. That all came to a halt when Clark dropped a game at home 71-61 to Peirce (box), breaking the NWAACC's longest streak so far this season for both the men and the women. All their hard work aside, Clark could lose the #1 Western seed if they don't win against Centrailia on February 22nd. Even with that win, Clark will have to work hard to keep ahead.


Teams moving up: Lane, Bellevue, Skagit Valley
Teams moving down: Clackamas, Yakima Valley, Walla Walla


  1. Walla Walla's game vs. Yakima was at Walla Walla.