Jan 31, 2013

Clackamas women leapfrog Lane with a victory

NWAACC Women's Basketball

These last two weeks were tough ones for the top eight, as only two teams were perfect in all their games. Top ranked Lane saw their first loss, a 77-64 game to No. 1 Clackamas. Walla Walla lost to Big Bend, who lost to Columbia Basin who lost to Walla Walla. Umpqua, with their 2-2 week finally saw their first installment on the outside looking in, and Columbia Basin, the 2012 NWAACC Champions, have only just crept back into the picture.

Be sure to check back in a week's time for Full Court Press, a bi-weekly roundup of NWAACC basketball action to fill in the gaps. Coaches rankings are in italics under each team's record. If you have a question or a comment feel free to leave it below, respond via twitter or send me an email.

Full Court Press: Dark Horse Week is now live online! Do you have a dark horse prediction? 


1. Clackamas (17-3, 7-0 South)
No. 2 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 3, No. 3 coaches

The Jan. 19 game vs. then top-ranked Lane was exactly what most people expected it to be. From the opening tip,  there was something different in the demeanor of both squads. Lane came in the class of the South, not having lost to Clackamas since the preseason in 2011. Clackamas fell behind at halftime, but stormed back in the second period, outscoring the Titans 50-29 en route to a 77-64 victory. While the coaches stubbornly rank Lane higher than Clackamas, it may only be that way for one more poll. Right now, Clackamas controls their own destiny. They will have to visit No. 3 Lane and make the long trip to Umpqua, but they do get No. 6 Chemeketa at home, along with a few relative cupcakes. 


2. Walla Walla (18-2, 7-1 East)
No. 3 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 2, No. 2 coaches

Walla Walla is somewhat lucky to still be sitting in the No. 2 spot, what with all the turmoil surrounding them. Three of their four last opponents are either ranked, or got considerable votes in the coaches poll. A 3-1 week isn't all that bad, considering that their only loss was by two points then No. 5 Big Bend. They also knocked off a stubbornly advancing Columbia Basin team, now just one game behind Walla Walla for the lead in the East. With the exception of a home game against No. 8 Big Bend and a visit to Spokane, the rest of the Warrior's schedule doesn't seem to be all that bumpy. That rematch with Big Bend, though, will be wild.


3. Lane (20-1, 6-1 South)
No. 1 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 1, No. 1 coaches

Barreling along and looking close to unstoppable throughout the preseason and the first half of region play, it looked as though Lane might go undefeated in 2013. That's when they ran into the buzz saw that Clackamas presents. Either their luck finally ran out, or they finally met their match. Either way, Lane was left in the dust in the final 20 minutes. The Cougars' 50 second half points easily set an opponent season high for Lane, who had prided themselves on their depth and ability to switch players out with regularity. Whatever the reason for the flat second half, it seems that Lane has turned things around since. A 22 point drubbing of then No. 8 Umpqua, and a 72 (yep, you read that right) point embarrassing of Portland. Lane has the better overall record, so they still have a chance at taking back the league title if they can knock off No. 1 Clackamas on Feb. 16 at home.


4. Centralia (15-4, 8-1 West)
No. 4 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 4, No. 4 coaches

Throughout the month of January, it looked as though Centralia was going to, once again, mop up the Western Region without much competition. Then leading scorer and NWAACC Player of the Week Kristen Schoenherr [stats] went down with an injury, and Centralia found themselves being blown out at home by Lower Columbia. There is no telling whether Schoenherr will be back quickly or not, but if she is out for an extended period of time, Centralia is in trouble. She is their only player averaging in double figures for scoring, almost twice the next player behind her, and also leads the team in rebounding and steals.


5. Whatcom (13-6, 6-1 North)
No. 7 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 6, No. 8 coaches

Whatcom is one of those teams that simply defies the odds. They have only six players have have competed in all 19 contests, and only nine players total on their roster. That makes their 6-1  start to Northern Region play all that much more impressive. That one loss came to Bellevue, a team who has started to really find some traction in the regular season, and who used nearly twice as many players but needed a big second half to pull away and beat Whatcom. Their starting five is impressive, and they are the best three point percentage team in the league, but the biggest concern for Whatcom is this: their top players can't play 35+ minutes per game in the tournament and hope to find success. They need to start getting more production from their bench in order to do well.


6. Chemeketa (12-8, 5-2 South)
NR Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 7, NR coaches

It's clear that Chemeketa isn't quite on a level with the top pair from the Southern Region, but the Storm have done well to carve out their niche in one of the tougher regions in the league. Umpqua seems to be in a bit of a funk, and Chemeketa has stepped up to take the third seed. At this point, it's unlikely that the Storm will be able to catch Clackamas or Lane, but they will have another chance to face each opponent on February 6 and 9, a brutal band of games by any stretch of the imagination.


7. Columbia Basin (10-10, 6-2 East)
NR Coaches
Previous ranking: NR, NR coaches

A dark horse pick from last week, Columbia Basin seems to be for real, despite their forgettable start to the season. Before falling 46-39 [box] to No. 2 Walla Walla, the Hawks had won six consecutive Eastern Region games. Looking forward, a major key to CBC's success will be seeing if they can get it done away from home. They don't score a lot, just over 62 points per game, but their defense has been spectacular, allowing an NWAACC program to break 80 points just once. 


8. Big Bend (14-8, 4-4 East)
No. 5 Coaches
Previous ranking: No. 5, No. 5 coaches

3-2 in their last two weeks has Big Bend in a bit of a free fall. Their one saving grace was 50-48 victory over No. 2 Walla Walla, one of the highlights of their otherwise unimpressive 4-4 start to Eastern Region play. Another highlight for Big Bend has been their rebounding. They sit second in the league in average rebounds, and first in offensive boards, making up for their somewhat poor shooting at 36%. The schedule coming up for the Vikings is an odd one. They face three of the four bottom teams in the East, and then play No. 2 Walla Walla and No. 7 Columbia Basin back to back before finishing things off with Wenatchee Valley.



  1. "With the exception of a home game against No. 8 Big Bend and a visit to Spokane, the rest of the Warrior's schedule doesn't seem to be all that bumpy. That rematch with Big Bend, though, will be wild."

    Huh? Ever played at Yakima? And Blue Mountain under Christy Martin? Those are two of the most difficult places to play in the East, along with Spokane, which you correctly mentioned. There are no easy ones left. Wenatchee Valley took to the road a couple of weeks ago and won both games at Blue Mountain and Treasure Valley so don't count out the Knights when they pay a visit to Walla Walla.

    Enjoy your commentary and your rankings, just trying to stir up a little conversation.

    Thanks for all you do.

  2. I read this more for the comedy then the info!

  3. There are as many Eastern teams as Southern.

  4. But the east teams win at the NWAACC tournament

  5. Lane dropped to No. 3 after losing to Clackamas? And I love how it's the coaches who are "stubborn" not somebody who went too and worked for Clackamas. Did you see the free throw differential in the Lane-Clackamas game, especially the second half when Clackamas pulled away? If you're going to talk about the game then list ALL the facts.

    And what the Clackamas excuse for having 3 losses on the season?

    It's poor reporting and try to leave the bias out next time