UW Roundup: Sailors honored Wed; Pokes host Bison in CBI; Wrestlers place seven on All WWC Team; Cowgirls Golf solid at Fresno; Two headed to NCAA Swimming & Diving;
LARAMIE, Wyo. – The University of Wyoming will honor Kenny Sailors at halftime of Wednesday’s Wyoming versus North Dakota State men’s basketball game in the First Round of the 2012 College Basketball Invitational Presented by Zebra Pen. The Wednesday, March 14 game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. from Wyoming’s Arena-Auditorium.
Sailors, the inventor of the jump shot, the 1943 National Player of the Year at the University of Wyoming and the oldest living Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament is one of 10 individuals who have been selected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Induction Class of 2012.
Sailors led Wyoming to the 1943 NCAA Championship, while being named the National Player of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player in the `43 NCAA Tournament. He is also credited with creating the jump shot.
Sailors, who turned 91 on Jan. 14, 2012, and his former head coach, Everett Shelton, are the only two representatives from the state of Wyoming in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Shelton was inducted in the inaugural class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
(Laramie) — The University of Wyoming men’s basketball team makes their second appearance in the College Basketball Invitational presented by Zebra Pen in the last four years when the Cowboys host North Dakota State at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in the Arena-Auditorium. UW (20-11, 6-8) also played in the CBI in 2009 and is making its 24th all-time appearance in postseason play. The Bison (17-13, 9-9) tied for fourth in the Summit League standings this season and earned their first postseason berth since playing in the 2009 NCAA tournament.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or going online at WyomingAthletics.com. Fans can also follow live stats and live audio of Wyoming’s games, as well as live video of the postgame press conference, through the men’s basketball Gameday Central page on the website. The contest will be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network, but will not be televised.
A Look at the Matchup
The Pokes are coming off two hard-fought losses on the homecourt of nationally-ranked UNLV to sit at 20-11 overall. UW ended the regular season with a 74-63 loss at the No. 17 Rebels on March 3 and followed with a 56-48 defeat by No. 20 UNLV in the quarterfinals of the MW Championships last Thursday in Las Vegas. The Cowboys were within two possessions (six points) of the Rebels late in the second half of both contests, but couldn’t pull the upset. Wyoming returns home to the Arena-Auditorium, where the Pokes are an impressive 15-3 this season and play some of their best defense. The Cowboys continue to keep opponents off the scoreboard, holding 30 of their 31 opponents below their season scoring average. The Pokes were sixth in scoring defense (55.5 ppg) in the latest NCAA rankings and 24th in three-point field goal percentage defense (30.4). Both marks rank in the top three of the Mountain West. Offensively, UW is 32nd in the NCAA in free throw percentage (74.4), 27th in turnover margin (+3.0) and 32nd in turnovers per game (11.6). UW’s bench has averaged 17.2 points over the last five games.
Head coach Saul Phillips and North Dakota State enter the week at 17-13 overall, including a 9-9 record in Summit League play. The Bison finished the conference regular season tied for fourth with Western Illinois and dropped a 58-53 contest to it in the four-five matchup of the Summit League Championship on March 4 in their latest action. NDSU led by one at halftime and held the advantage throughout the second half, until Western Illinois used a four-point play with 39 seconds left to take the lead and momentum for the win. The Bison own one of the best offenses in the Summit League, as they lead the league and rank sixth in the NCAA in field goal percentage at 48.9. NDSU is also third in three-point field goal percentage and 44th in the nation at 37.4. The Bison are third in the Summit in scoring offense (73.1 ppg) and scoring margin (+5.0). Defensively, North Dakota State allows 68.0 points per game for fifth in the conference, while ranking second in field goal percentage defense at 43.1. NDSU is second in the Summit in blocks at 3.6 per game.
Each Team’s Leaders
Redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington continues to play well for the Pokes, with double-doubles in three of the last four contests. The Second Team All-MW honoree ranks in the top 10 of five conference statistical categories to average a team-high 12.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Senior guard Francisco Cruz and redshirt junior guardLuke Martinez are Wyoming’s outside threat at 12.2 points each. Cruz ranks third in the MW at 45.9 percent from the floor, while Martinez leads the league and ranks 47th in the nation at 2.6 threes per game. Cruz averages 2.3 assists and Martinez adds 3.8 rebounds. Senior guard JayDee Luster leads the Pokes on both ends of the floor. He was named the MW Defensive Player of the Year and ranks 35th in the nation in assist-turnover ratio at 2.3. Senior center Adam Waddell also excels on the defensive end, drawing 18 charges during MW play, to go with 9.4 points and 3.5 rebounds. Washington and Martinez both scored 11 against UNLV.
NDSU is paced by sophomore guard Taylor Braun, who was a First Team All-Summit League selection at 15.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. He ranks 10th in the conference in scoring and sixth in rebounding. Freshman guard Lawrence Alexander was named the league’s Newcomer of the Year after finishing fourth in the conference at 4.6 assists and adding 12.9 points. Sophomore forward Marshall Bjorklund is NDSU’s inside presence at 11.5 points and 6.0 rebounds and leads the Summit at 66.5 percent from the field. He is supplemented by fellow sophomore forward TrayVonn Wright at 7.5 points and 4.9 rebounds. Wright is third in the Summit at 1.2 blocks. Sophomore guard Mike Felt ranks 10th in the NCAA at 43.8 percent beyond the arc to go with 9.6 points and 1.5 rebounds. Wright paced NDSU with 14 points against Western Illinois and Alexander and Braun both added 11.
About the Series
The Cowboys lead the all-time series with the Bison 2-0, but both meetings occurred in the early 1960s in UW’s War Memorial Fieldhouse. Wyoming earned a 94-77 win on Dec. 8, 1962 and also a 97-63 victory on Dec. 20, 1965.
A victory on Wednesday would give Wyoming the winner of Washington State or San Francisco on Monday, March 19. Time and location will be announced at a later date.
UW Wrestlers place seven on All WWC Team
Seven University of Wyoming wrestlers were named to the All-Conference squad in the Western Wrestling Conference, announced Monday by the league. All-WWC honors were given for top-three finishes at the 2012 NCAA West Regional/WWC Championships on March 4 in Cedar Falls, Iowa. All seven league schools competed at the West Regional, at which the Cowboys won their third-straight team title.
Two Cowboys defended their West Regional individual championships successfully and earned First Team All-WWC honors, UW’s Shane Onufer (165) and Pat Martinez (174). Onufer also won his fourth consecutive title and his fourth straight first team honor and Martinez won his second crown.
Redshirt freshman Zach Zehner (133) was Second Team for the first time in his young career and redshirt junior Alfonso Hernandez (197) was First Team, his third overall honor. Junior L.J. Helbig (285) was Second Team, his third overall honor.
Team-wise, Wyoming led the way with four first-team honorees.
The Western Wrestling Conference is comprised of seven schools including the Air Force Academy, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, Northern Iowa, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming.
FIRST TEAM ALL-WWC, 2011-12
165 – Shane Onufer (Wyoming), Sr., Auburn, Wash. (Auburn HS)****
174 – Pat Martinez (Wyoming), So., Hemet, Calif. (Temecula Valley HS)**
184 – Joe LeBlanc (Wyoming), Sr., Meeker, Colo. (Meeker HS)****
197 – Alfonso Hernandez (Wyoming), RJr., Blackfoot, Idaho (Blackfoot HS)***
SECOND TEAM ALL-WWC, 2011-12
125 – Michael Martinez (Wyoming), Sr., Pagosa Springs, Colo. (Pagosa Springs HS)****
133 – Zach Zehner (Wyoming), RFr., Tomahawk, Wis. (Tomahawk HS)*
285 – LJ Helbig (Wyoming), Jr., Mason, Mich. (Mason HS)***
Cowgirls solid at Fresno State Classic
Fresno, Calif. (March 12, 2012) – The University of Wyoming women’s golf team carded a 302 (+14) during the second round of the Fresno State Lexus Classic on Monday at the Copper River Country Club for its third-best round of the 2011-12 season and sits sixth in the team standings at 611 (+35). The Cowgirls are seven shots back of third place, while San Jose State leads the 13-team field at 588 (+12).
“We’ve shot lower in all four rounds we’ve played this spring, so we are continuing to take steps in the right direction,” UW head coach Josey Stender said. “We got a couple more puts to drop in the second round today and played with a little more confidence on certain holes.”
Four of the five UW golfers improved their score during Monday’s two rounds, as the Cowgirls were just two shots off their season best in the second round after shooting 309 (+21) in the first round. Freshman Samantha Stancato was the only Cowgirl not to improve her score, but that was because she fired a career-low 74 (+2) in the first round. She posted a 76 (+4) in the second round to sit tied for 11th at 150 (+6) with four birdies and a team-high 23 pars on the day. Stancato ranks fifth in the tournament in par three scoring, averaging 2.8 strokes, and is in line for the first top-25 finish of her career.
“Samantha is obviously a very talented player and has great composure on the course,” Stender said. “She is one of those people that are a real competitor at heart and, in this sport, you can separate yourself on mental toughness and decision making.”
Senior Juanita Rico is the top Cowgirl in the field with a 149 (+5) to tie for eighth. She posted a 76 (+4) in the first round and followed with a 73 (+1), while connecting on a team-high five birdies. Rico could collect her third top-10 finish in the last four tournaments with a solid final round on Tuesday.
“Juanita’s low scores happen when she can get putts to fall and today she was doing that,” Stender said. “She just never gives up and eventually those putts start to drop for her.”
Sophomore Stacey Blunt notched rounds of 80 (+8) and 76 (+4) to sit tied for 38th at 156 (+12), while fellow sophomore Emily Wood shot 79 (+7) in the first round and tied a season low with a 78 (+6) in the second round to sit one stroke back tied for 40th. Junior Dana Zamprelli improved her score by six strokes in the second round for a total of 160 (+16).
The tournament concludes with 18 holes beginning tomorrow at 9 a.m. MT. Fans can follow live results by clicking on the link above.
“During this tournament we’ve been focusing on controlling our emotions and maintaining a good level of intensity,” Stender said. “Not too high and not too low, so they can be relaxed but still focused. To improve tomorrow, we just need to finish our round better. We lost a few shots on the last four holes, so if we can do that we are going to improve our position.”
Fresno State Lexus Classic Day One Standings
1. San Jose State: 294 – 294 = 588 (+12)
2. CSU Fullerton: 289 – 301 = 590 (+14)
3. Fresno State: 302 – 302 = 604 (+28)
4. Nevada: 305 – 300 = 605 (+29)
5. Sacramento State: 305 – 303 = 608 (+32)
6. Wyoming: 309 – 302 = 611 (+35)
Wyoming Day One Individual Results
T8. Juanita Rico: 76 (+4) – 73 (+1) = 149 (+5)
T11. Samantha Stancato: 74 (+2) – 76 (+4) = 150 (+6)
T38. Stacey Blunt: 80 (+8) – 76 (+4) = 156 (+12)
T40. Emily Wood: 79 (+7) – 78 (+6) = 157 (+13)
T56. Dana Zamprelli: 83 (+11) – 77 (+5) = 160 (+16)
Two Swimmers headed to NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships
LARAMIE, Wyo. – Senior swimmers Kelsey Conci and Brandon Fischer will represent Wyoming swimming at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. Conci will compete first Thursday-Saturday, March 15-17 at the women’s championships in Auburn, Ala. Fischer will compete at the men’s championships in Seattle, Wash., Thursday-Saturday, March 22-24. Conci and Fischer become the first-ever Cowgirl and Cowboy swimming duo to compete at the NCAA Championships in the same year. This season is also the first time Wyoming swimming and diving has sent a Cowgirl and Cowboy to each respective meet in back-to-back seasons.
“Our goal for these kids is to go to the championships and have their best times across the board,” Wyoming head coach Tom Johnson said. “If we do that I know we can score and make some noise.”
Info about Conci and the women’s championships:
Conci, a native of Craig, Colo., will compete at the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center in Auburn, Ala. She enters the meet with the 11th-fastest time in the NCAA in the 100-yard backstroke at 52.47. She qualified for the championships with an “A” qualifying time in the 100 back leading off the 400 medley relay. She also went on to win the Mountain West Championship in the 100 backstroke. She will also swim in the 50 and 100 freestyle at the championships. Her 50 freestyle time of 22.56 is 34th in the NCAA, while her 100 free time of 49.85 is 67th.
This will be Conci’s second NCAA Championship appearance in as many seasons. She competed last season at the championships earning Honorable Mention All-America honors in the 100 backstroke placing 10th with a MW and UW school record of 52.36. She became the first Cowgirl to earn Honorable Mention honors in 19 seasons (Norma Hughes, 1992). She joins Hughes (1991-92) and Pam Christensen (1974-75) as the only Cowgirls to make consecutive NCAA Championships. She is also poised to become the first Cowgirl to earn consecutive All-America honors.
“I think Kelsey had a great shot to get in the top eight in the 100 back and even win the whole thing,” Johnson said. “We know the ladies she will be swimming against because she has swam against all of these girls at some point in the last 12 months. After what she did last year she seems really confident and I am confident in her. I know she is excited and we as coaches are excited.”Info about Fischer and the men’s championships:
Fischer, a native of Livermore, Calif., will swim in his first NCAA men’s Championship at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Seattle, Wash. He qualified for the meet with the 16th-fastest time in the nation in the 200 breaststroke of 1:55.75. He will also compete in the 100 breaststroke in which is 32nd in the NCAA of 54.67. Fischer also qualified for the championships in the 200 individual medley with the 58th-fastest time of 1:47.91.
Fischer is the first Cowboy swimmer to compete at the NCAA Championships since Olympian Scott Usher (2003-05). He becomes the 13th Cowboy to qualify for the NCAA Championships and sixth to qualify in the breaststroke events.
“I thought Brandon was easily in but they didn’t go as deep this year as they normally do and he snuck in,” Johnson said. “When I saw the final cut I was relieved that he made it in. I know with Brandon having his conference championships so early in February that he was able to have a great training period. I am very excited for him. This has been long overdue.”