Mar 1, 2012

Columbia Basin wins the east, the top spot

NWAACC Women's Basketball
With the regular season finally finished, we get down to where things really begin to matter: the NWAACC Tournament. The top seeds in the East, South, and North are well represented, but the Western Region's poor inter-region record has finally taken it's toll. Oddly enough, we only have one top eight match up in the first round, and it is the opening game of the tournament, Clackamas vs. Bellevue. That will be the game to watch for a possible upset, as long as people are in the gym to see it.  Coaches rankings are in italics under each team's record.

I will be in attendance, covering the tournament for the NWAACC. Game recaps will be available on

1. Columbia Basin (25-2, 13-1 East)
 #1 Coaches, 1st seed in the East
Previous Ranking: No. 1, No. 1 Coaches

Winning arguably the strongest conference in the NWAACC is what gives Columbia Basin their biggest boost here. That, and they're on a ten game winning streak to enter the tournament. Columbia Basin finished with the best overall record, losing only to Yakima Valley (box) and North Idaho College (box). Those losses, combined with the loss of leading scorer Andrea Bland, were about as low as things got for CBC, who was one of the better defensive teams in the league. Their opponents only scored over 60 points six times. Columbia Basin held seven teams to less than 50 points, three teams to less than 40 points, and absolutely shut down Peninsula, allowing only 26 points in that contest.

Columbia Basin will take on Tacoma Community College in the first round at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 3rd. 


2. Lane (22-4, 13-1 South)
#2 Coaches, 1st seed in the South
Previous Ranking: No. 2, No. 2 Coaches

Lane holds the league's longest current win streak entering the tournament at 11 games. That streak includes an impressive sweep of Clackamas, winning at home on Jan. 21 (box) and on the road on Feb. 18 (box). They climbed strongly into the championship hunt in quick fashion this season, fielding only one sophomore from last year's roster. Nevertheless, Lane is second the the NWAACC in scoring and blocks, and is strong in assists, steals, and rebounding. About the only "weakness" that Lane has is their high level of turnovers, nearly 20 a game. That, however, is remedied by the sheer number of possessions they have and the quickness with which they score.

Lane will face Peninsula College in the first round at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 3rd.


3. Walla Walla (20-6, 11-3 East)
#3 Coaches, 2nd seed in the East
Previous Ranking: No. 7, No. 4 Coaches

As with the previous two teams, Walla Walla seems to be entering the tournament on the right foot. The post season is about who can win the big match ups, which is something that Walla Walla showed in their season finale when they traveled to take on Yakima Valley and came home with a victory in a game that decided 2nd and 3rd place in the NWAACC East (box).Walla Walla's numbers have fallen slightly, but they still continue to lead the league in 3 point percentage. Some questions still linger over which Warrior team will arrive in the Tri-Cities, but if they can get started where they left off, they're in great shape.

Walla Walla will play Pierce College in the first round at noon on Saturday, March 3rd.


4. Skagit Valley (20-6, 15-1 North)
#7 Coaches, 1st seed in the North
Previous Ranking: No. 6, No. UR Coaches

Skagit Valley's Northern Region championship was narrow, beating out No. 8 Bellevue by just one game. SVC split their two games with Bellevue this season, the one loss being the last loss since mid December when they lost to Lane (box), and is among the league's best in scoring. They sit at fifth in average points with 74.12 points per contest, and are tied for third in the NWAACC in field goal percentage. Skagit Valley is also near the top in free throw percentage, which should benefit them in their first round game, as their opponent has committed almost 200 more fouls on the season.

Skagit Valley will match up against Umpqua in the first round at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 3rd.


5. Clackamas (22-4, 11-3 South)
#4 Coaches, 3rd seed in the South
Previous Ranking: No. 3, No. 3 Coaches

Clackamas spent most of the season leading the southern region in dominant fashion, and sat atop the league in points, steals and assists by a fairly wide margin. In the last few weeks, however, things have turned around. Injuries to key players and bad shooting brought Clackamas down a little from their pedestal: they now lead Lane by less than half a point in scoring, and Chemeketa has surpassed them in assists, and they hold a slim lead over Pierce in steals. Clackamas did recently regain a key defensive player, but it remains to be seen whether they can withstand the rigors of the four day tournament.

Clackamas will face Bellevue in the first round at 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 3rd. It is the only match up to feature two ranked teams.


6. Chemeketa (19-6, 11-3 South)
#6 Coaches, 2nd seed in the South
Previous Ranking: No. UR, No. 8 Coaches

Chemeketa's 79-51 (box) dismantling of Clackamas would normally bump them far above their southern region counterparts, but Chemeketa has a questionable loss as well. That loss came to the hands of Linn-Benton, who finished 4-10 in the south, and didn't make the playoffs. Chemeketa managed only 37 points in that contest, which makes it that much more impressive that they finished sixth in scoring in the NWAACC with just over 74 points per game. Chemeketa is led by the southern region's Player of the Year, Janelle Weiss.

Chemeketa will take on Whatcom in the first round at 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 3rd.


7. Yakima Valley (20-7, 10-4 East)
#5 Coaches, 3rd seed in the East
Previous Ranking: No. 5, 6 Coaches

Yakima Valley's big showdown with Walla Walla to end the season didn't go quite the way they'd hoped. Simone Jordan has taken over the role of leading scorer since the Yaks lost Brandi Henton in the preseason, but such a prolific scorer is difficult to replace, and Jordan's 29 points weren't enough to push Yakima Valley past Walla Walla, as they fell 75-68 (box) to surrender second place in the NWAACC East. However, despite YVCC's recent trip up, they're still a team to be reckoned with. The only team that they lost to in region play that wasn't ranked in the top eight at the time of the loss was... oh wait. There isn't one.

Yakima Valley will play Clark in the first round at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 3rd.


8. Bellevue (22-5, 14-2 North)
#8 Coaches, 2nd seed in the North
Previous Ranking: No. 4, No. 7 Coaches

Bellevue had won 11 games in a row. They'd beaten a good Skagit Valley team on the road by 13 points (box). They were ready to take a shot at the Northern Region championship. Then they went and lost an unwarranted game to Everett , who is 7-9 in the regular season but managed to beat Bellevue at home in a close, 59-57 heart breaker (box) for the home team. The loss put them a game behind Skagit Valley, and ultimately cost them the region title. The title that they DO hold, however, is the oddest shooting percentage. They shoot a dismal 27 percent from beyond the three point line, but are tied for the best in the league at 43 percent overall.

Bellevue will face Clackamas in the first round at 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 3rd.


Teams moving up: Skagit Valley, Walla Walla
Teams added: Chemeketa
Teams moving down: Clackamas, Yakima Valley, Bellevue
Teams dropped: Clark


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I think it is totally asinine that Centralia College never got any love on this. They rattled off eight straight wins at the end of the season and took the West Division. They won their division and can't even get a mention? That's poor.

    That being said, appreciate your observations! Thanks for doing them. Without them, there'd be nothing to argue, right :)?

  3. That's very true :)

    My reasons for not mentioning them was that the west is really weak by comparison. The west's No. 1 seed got outplayed by the No. 4 seed from the east in Blue Mountain, and in their first ever NWAACC tournament, even.

  4. Go figure? The East. Pretty dominant this year! Run 1 & 2 for NWACC finals and possibly a 3rd, if not 4th!