Sports

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Bloomsday results book available now throughout the Inland Northwest

Posted By on Thu, May 11, 2017 at 12:46 PM


Sure, the T-shirt is cool and a nice keepsake, but you'll want to pick up the Bloomsday results book produced by the Inlander to see your named saved for posterity, along with the time it took you to navigate the 2017 course alongside nearly 40,000 of your friends.

The Bloomsday results book is available now, throughout the area or right here at the Inlander office, located at 1227 W. Summit Parkway in Spokane's Kendall Yards.

Just look for this when you're out and about:

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Seahawks have plenty of holes to fill in the NFL draft that starts Thursday

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 4:57 PM


The Seattle Seahawks' run from 2013-15 was built on the wealth of talent they secured through late-round drafting. Russell Wilson, Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman were top-tier players the Seahawks landed in the third and fifth rounds.
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During their run to back-to-back Super Bowls, they benefited from All-Pro talent signed to rookie contracts, which gave them the opportunity to secure free-agent talents like Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett.

After two playoff seasons with divisional-round losses, the Hawks need to restructure their roster with young talent and retool before there is a need for a massive overhaul.

Just watching one game from the 2016 season reveals that a draft priority is trying to fix the offensive line. Last year was the first time that Wilson suffered major injuries. A pectoral injury, ankle and knee sprain could easily be ascribed to running for his life when his blocking broke down routinely.

But the Hawks' loss of depth and potential trades via in-house drama could result in plenty of other high-priority positions to be filled in the draft. Sherman is unhappy with his relationship with the franchise, and GM John Schneider was actively taking phone calls from other teams about him for weeks. Backup QB Trevone Boykin was arrested in Dallas last month for misdemeanor possession of marijuana and public intoxication. He was subsequently arrested for breaking his probation from an incident in 2015, his senior year at TCU. Here are some priorities for the Seahawks throughout Thursday and the weekend.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Help people find Gonzaga and Spokane with this T-shirt

Posted By on Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 1:51 PM


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Perhaps you're like me and it's taken a week or so for it to really sink in that the little Jesuit school in little ol' (but still not desolate and crumbling) Spokane, Washington, played in the NCAA championship game. Further putting the school and city on the map — and hopefully to rest how to pronounce either name — Gonzaga achieved something monumental in being one of the final two of 68 out of 351.

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In recognition of this historical moment, online T-shirt design company Breaking T is selling two Gonzaga-oriented shirts: one literally putting the city and school on a map, and the other reclassifying the Zags' label from "Mid-Major" to "Major." Breaking T is producing these shirts along with SB Nation's Gonzaga-focused blog The Slipper Still Fits as a fun way to cap off a historic season.

The shirts retail for $24 each, and are offered in unisex size "vintage heather" navy-blue tees.
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Thursday, April 6, 2017

New-look Mariners offering same old lack of production so far

Anemic offense, pitching injuries have team off in a mode familiar to long-suffering fans

Posted By on Thu, Apr 6, 2017 at 1:40 PM


April signals the start of the major league baseball season, a welcome addition for sports fans who need to fill the void left by the end of March Madness and the bland weeks leading up to the NBA playoffs. Expectations cannot be higher for the Seattle Mariners, who look to play October baseball for the first time in 16 years.

The Mariners traded away what many thought would be their long-term in Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte for the immediate offensive injection of short stop and speedy on-base machine Jean Segura and promising prospect outfielder Mitch Haniger. With power and hitting coming from the untraditional middle of the infield, the Mariners hitched their wagon to speed and glove prowess in the outfield, with Leonys Martin joined by Jarrod "What Speed Do" Dyson for one of the rangiest defensive outfields in major league baseball.

As general manager Jerry Dipoto tried to restructure his roster’s depth and strengths, his wheeling and dealings landed him in a precarious situation with his rotation. Dipoto traded his way into Drew Smyly and Yovani Gallardo; the latter was seen as a low-risk, back-of-the-rotation option who would be replaceable in the worst-case scenario. Smyly was looked at as an innings-eater and a reliable backup for the often injured front/middle options of James Paxton and Hisashi Iwakuma.

Smyly looked phenomenal in the World Baseball Classic, to the point that he seemed like the center of the rotation, rather than a reinvigorated Felix Hernandez. But Smyly suffered a flexor strain in his pitching arm at the end of March and is now on the disabled list for the next eight weeks — and possibly shelved until as late as July.

With much baseball to be played, the M’s are staring down an 1-3 start, all four games against their biggest division opponent, the Houston Astros. The bats have been ice-cold: newcomer Segura is the only hitter with an average (.300) above the Mendoza line; he and Haniger have hit the only home runs. Centerpieces Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz have yet to tally an RBI or run, and the team is 3 for 36 with runners in scoring position through the first four games.

Paxton looked great in his start on Wednesday night, giving up two hits in six innings of shutout baseball. Hernandez looked back in form early in the season opener, before being pulled with groin tightness. The fear is that the Mariners will have a solid front of the rotation that will have nothing to play for by the time Smyly returns. Dipoto has been trying his best with minor league options to try and patch the glaring holes that this team faces so early in the season.

Even when the bats in the middle of the lineup get right, and the rotation rounds into shape as a known quality, that still doesn’t answer the bullpen concerns looming in the innings before manager Scott Servais can hand the ball off to Edwin Diaz, the M's closer and arguably their most exciting player to watch. The Mariners will be relying on unknown qualities and a rehabilitated Steve Cishek as a bridge to Diaz for the foreseeable future.

Mariners bats will need to step up to not only survive the next couple of months, but all season, with low expectations for the back of rotation and stretch innings. Much of the excitement for this season was due to the additions that Dipoto and company made, with the expectation that Cruz, Cano and Kyle Seager would continue their All-Star-caliber performances. If the heart of the lineup doesn't meet expectations, the additions of Segura, Dyson and Haniger won’t mean a whole lot, and neither will games in August and September.

But if the Mariners can right their rotation and survive the early loss of Smyly, they could be a wild-card sleeper, and maybe even keep their fans interested into the fall.
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Saturday, April 1, 2017

5 Gonzaga students, 20 hours, no sleep and one Grand Canyon: An Inlander intern's tales of the drive to the Final Four

Posted By on Sat, Apr 1, 2017 at 1:43 PM

Brothers Tommy (left) and Andrew Walters at the Grand Canyon. - TUCK CLARRY
  • Tuck Clarry
  • Brothers Tommy (left) and Andrew Walters at the Grand Canyon.

[Editor's note: The Inlander's editorial intern Tuck Clarry left for a Final Four roadtrip on Thursday. We didn't know if we'd ever hear from him again. Thankfully, we did. He recounts his experiences of the day-long journey:]


At roughly 5 pm Thursday, five guys crammed into a mid-2000s Audi Quattro to go to the biggest game they or their university had ever seen. The timing was important because there was plenty of maneuvering to even leave that early. Freshman “Montana” Rob had a huge calc test Friday morning that he had to plead to take early. Freshman Tommy Walters had to orchestrate a series of deals with his engineering professors for the labs he’d miss at the beginning of next week.

But the others, seniors Adam Bosworth, Tommy’s older brother Andrew Walters and myself, had nothing in the way between us and and Phoenix. Andrew, whose car we took, created an itinerary to drive straight through. If we left at five we’d get there 1 pm Friday a mere 21 hours.

The 1,350-mile route had other plans.

Andrew informed the group text that he had gone through all of the necessary road trip preparations. After discovering his aux cord kit wouldn’t fit in his car’s console, he burned 38 CDs over 8 hours. He planned on getting his oil changed, but decided it wasn’t worth the asking price or the time requirement. We stopped at the first Montana gas station over the border to fill up an empty oil pan.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

ZAGS: Gonzaga's men and women both win WCC tourney titles, await their March Madness destinations

Posted By on Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 9:40 AM

Nigel Williams-Goss and the Gonzaga Bulldogs won the WCC tournament and will head to the NCAA tourney once again, possibly as a No. 1 seed. - GONZAGA ATHLETICS
  • Gonzaga Athletics
  • Nigel Williams-Goss and the Gonzaga Bulldogs won the WCC tournament and will head to the NCAA tourney once again, possibly as a No. 1 seed.

Tuesday night’s victory over Saint Mary’s assured the inevitable. Gonzaga is heading back to the NCAA Tournament for the 19th consecutive season.

All that’s left for the Zags to sweat about between now and Selection Sunday this weekend is their seeding. At 32-1 on the season, No. 4-ranked Gonzaga is completely deserving of a one seed in the NCAA tournament. Until the brackets are announced, though, there will be naysayers saying the Zags haven’t earned a top seed.

“I have nothing to say to them,” Coach Mark Few said. “I think our results speak for themselves.”

The most recent result, a 74-56 win over No. 19 Saint Mary’s in the WCC Tournament Championship, speaks quite loudly on its own. Gonzaga held Saint Mary’s, one of the nation’s best shooting teams, to 36.8% from the field. The Gaels’ veteran, dual-point guard backcourt normally runs a tight ship. But Tuesday night the team committed 10 first half turnovers en route to a 21-point halftime deficit.

“We were so poor I can't even tell you,” Saint Mary’s Coach Randy Bennett said. “In the first half there wasn't a phase of the game we were good at.”

Gonzaga completely dominated a team that has spent every week this year, from the preseason to postseason, ranked in the AP Top 25. In one night the Zags debunked two of the most common criticisms leveled against them: that they don’t play anybody, and that they’re never tested.

“We talked at halftime about how Saint Mary’s is an excellent basketball team,” Few said.

Sure enough, the Gaels fought back. With just over 10 minutes left in the game they had clawed their way to within five points of the Zags. In front of Dick Vitale and a primetime ESPN television audience, the Zags found themselves in challenged in March.

Their response was quick and emphatic.

In just over one minute, three quick plays blew the game wide open. With 5:55 to play Przemek Karnowski (15 points, 10 rebounds) scored and was fouled. He missed his free throw, but Zach Collins was there to put back the miss. Nigel Williams-Goss, who was named tournament Most Outstanding Player after recording 22 points along with six assists, steals and rebounds, followed suit with a basket and foul shot of his own. On the next possession, Silas Melson (10 points) did the same.

Gonzaga’s lead went from single digits to 17 and the sold-out, overwhelmingly pro-Gonzaga room at Orleans Arena went from stressed to screaming. Saint Mary’s had no answer.

“It was a heck of a championship game,” Few said.


GONZAGA WOMEN TAKE THE TITLE, TOO
Gonzaga's women's team took the WCC tourney title on Tuesday, and they'll head to the NCAA tournament as a result. - GONZAGA ATHLETICS
  • Gonzaga Athletics
  • Gonzaga's women's team took the WCC tourney title on Tuesday, and they'll head to the NCAA tournament as a result.

Gonzaga's women's team might not get the hype of the highly ranked men's squad, but they equaled the men in every way that counts, winning the WCC regular-season title and following it up with a WCC tournament championship.

In fact, the women arguably had a more significant win Tuesday with their 86-75 win over Saint Mary's since the Zags weren't assured a trip to the NCAA tournament without it. Jill Barta set a championship game record by dropping in 37 points, and as a result coach Lisa Fortier and the Zags get to watch Selection Monday next week and find out who they'll play in March Madness. (DAN NAILEN)
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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Zags face familiar foe for WCC tourney championship in St. Mary's; everything you need to know about tonight's matchup

Posted By on Tue, Mar 7, 2017 at 9:36 AM

The Mark Few-led Zags are in the WCC tournament championship for the 20th straight season.
  • The Mark Few-led Zags are in the WCC tournament championship for the 20th straight season.

Gonzaga is in the West Coast Conference Tournament Championship Game once again. The Zags have played in this game for 20 consecutive seasons, a streak dating back to 1998.

Nigel Williams-Goss, who led the Zags in points (25), rebounds (8) and assists (5) Monday night against Santa Clara, was 3 years old. Zach Collins, who drained a three-pointer with 47 seconds left to ice the game, was not yet four months old. And current high school seniors heading to Gonzaga this fall weren’t even alive when this streak began.

“That streak is amazing,” head coach Mark Few said. “There are tons of people in Spokane who come down to this, and they literally circle the dates on the calendar back in July or whenever you guys announce it, and spend a good portion of their hard-earned money to come down here for a whole week. Our guys have done an amazing job of making their trips worthwhile.”

Those trips were made worthwhile two-fold Monday night. Gonzaga advanced to the tournament final, and Gonzaga played an entertaining game against four-seed Santa Clara.

Jared Brownridge poured in 32 points for the Broncos, who were just five points back of the Zags with under two minutes to play. But back-to-back threes from Williams-Goss and Collins, both of whom played high school basketball in Las Vegas, put the Broncos away.

For the eighth time in the past 14 seasons, No. 4 Gonzaga (31-1) and No. 19 Saint Mary’s (28-3) will meet in the WCC Tournament final.

These two teams, both ranked in the AP Top 25 for the entirety of the season, dominated the West Coast Conference in 2017, combining for three losses during league play. Saint Mary’s fell twice to Gonzaga, and Gonzaga fell once to BYU — the same BYU team that Saint Mary’s blew out 81-50 on Monday night to advance to the tournament final.

Saint Mary’s, which has won 28 games for the fifth time in head coach Randy Bennett’s 16 seasons, is a tough defensive team that is surgically precise on the offensive end. Point guard Emmett Naar has dished out 11 assists in each of the Gaels’ two games in Vegas. On Monday the entire BYU team totaled five assists.

Junior center Jock Landale led the Gaels with 22 points and 10 rebounds against the Cougars. Landale was limited with foul trouble in both previous meetings with Gonzaga this season, but when he stays on the court he’s hard to stop.

Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s, featuring Karnowski vs. Landale, is the ideal WCC Tournament final. The league’s two best teams, two teams who are arch-rivals, in a nationally televised primetime showcase. It’s a classic March match-up.

“I've been here for 5 years,” Karnowski said, “and every year we come here with the same mindset. We know there’s no margin for error in March.”

Gonzaga faces off with Saint Mary’s at 6 p.m. Tuesday, on ESPN, at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
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Monday, March 6, 2017

WCC Tourney update: Zags play Santa Clara Monday, here's all you need to know

Posted By on Mon, Mar 6, 2017 at 9:57 AM

Nigel Williams-Goss was one of the three Gonzaga transfers who came up big in their first WCC tournament game. The Zags take on Santa Clara Monday night in the semi-finals.
  • Nigel Williams-Goss was one of the three Gonzaga transfers who came up big in their first WCC tournament game. The Zags take on Santa Clara Monday night in the semi-finals.

It’s March, but there’s yet to be any madness at the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas. Over the weekend the top four seeds advanced into the semifinal round.

Two-seed Saint Mary’s had little trouble and dispatched Portland 81-58. BYU, the three seed, found itself in a fight with the Lions of LMU, but escaped 89-81. Gonzaga’s opponent Monday night, four-seed Santa Clara, survived 76-69 against San Francisco. The top-seeded Zags struggled early against Pacific but ultimately won big, 82-50.

“It was a real March grinder there at the start,” Head Coach Mark Few said after the game.

The Zags, coming off their first loss of the season, did not inspire confidence early in their quarterfinal against the Tigers. Gonzaga made just nine shots in the first half, and only one three-pointer.

Gonzaga hasn’t lost a WCC Tournament opener since 1997. Saturday, three players making their tournament debuts pushed that streak to 20 years. The Zags’ lauded trio of transfers outscored the Tigers on their own, accounting for 53 total points.

Jordan Mathews led the way with a season high 22, 20 of which came in the second half.

Mathews’ dynamic scoring performance helped set up a meeting with another dynamic shooting guard: Santa Clara’s Jared Brownridge (17.7 points per game).

“Brownridge, I don't know, seems like we've played him 30 times,” coach Few said.

This will actually be just the 10th, and the previous nine have all been Gonzaga victories, but Brownridge’s Broncos have put some good scares into the Zags. The senior guard has nearly upset Gonzaga on three occasions, coming up two points short each time.

These teams last met in Vegas back in 2014, when Brownridge was just a freshman. The final two of his 24 points in that game came on an elbow jumper which tied the game with 9.1 seconds left. David Stockton answered with a layup, and the Zags survived 77-75.

Brownridge now gets one final shot at that upset, and he’ll need to come up big once again if he wants to pull it off.

Santa Clara’s second leading scorer, KJ Feagin (14.6 ppg), did not play in the quarterfinal round due to a concussion. Head coach Herb Sendek was unsure whether he would have Feagin back against Gonzaga. Without Feagin, the Zags’ odds of advancing increase, but so too do the odds of Brownridge pouring in a ton of points.

Gonzaga takes on Santa Clara at 6 p.m. Monday on ESPN.
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Thursday, March 2, 2017

All you need to know about Zags' West Coast Conference tourney chances

Posted By on Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 10:30 AM

Gonzaga big man Przemek Karnowski has good reason to smile. The Zags at the No. 1 seed of the West Coast Conference tournament starting Friday in Las Vegas.
  • Gonzaga big man Przemek Karnowski has good reason to smile. The Zags at the No. 1 seed of the West Coast Conference tournament starting Friday in Las Vegas.

Gonzaga’s loss to BYU in the regular season finale is overshadowing a whole season’s worth of work. And that work adds up to the Zags not needing much luck over the next few days in Vegas.

The West Coast Conference Tournament tips off Friday at Orleans Arena. Gonzaga, by virtue of a first place finish in the regular season, is the one seed. That puts the Zags on the easy half of the 10-team bracket and keeps a clash with arch rival Saint Mary’s, or more recent nemesis BYU, on hold until Tuesday’s championship game.

First, though, Gonzaga will have to take down either nine-seed Pacific or eight-seed Pepperdine. That first Zags game, televised on ESPN2, is slated for Saturday at 7 p.m.

In four meetings with those teams this season the Zags won by an average of 29.5 points, and no game was closer than 20. A win Gonzaga will advance them to face either four-seed Santa Clara or five-seed San Francisco on Monday evening.

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Did the Spokesman-Review just jinx the undefeated Zags?

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 9:58 AM

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Want to see into the future? Subscribers to the Spokesman-Review are able to do just that today — reading about Gonzaga's perfect regular season record (30-0!) a day before the Zags play their final game on Saturday against BYU. (Thursday night, the Gonzaga crushed San Diego to take their record to 29-0 on the season.)

You can find the digital version of the four-page section, with tomorrow's date, on the SR's website this morning — with the paper declaring, "After completing a perfect regular season, Gonzaga sets its sights on making an unprecedented postseason run."

Obviously, it's a safe bet that the No.1 team in America will beat BYU on their home court — catch the action on ESPN at 7:15 Saturday — but then again ... talk to old President Dewey about hubris in newspapers.

UPDATED 11:40 AM TODAY: Fearing the wrath of the basketball gods — and Zag fans everywhere — the Spokesman-Review has now taken down the special, end-of-the-season section.
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