Oregon State Star Making her Mark
Oregon State’s Tanja Kostic was the Pac-10′s player of the year last season. If she continues playing the way she has so far this season, recognition could extend well beyond her league.
In leading No. 11 Oregon State to a 10-1 record, Kostic has put up numbers that make her a strong candidate for national player of the year honors.
The 6-foot-2 senior leads the Pac-10 in scoring (25.8) and rebounding (10.9) and also is among the national leaders in both categories, ranking third in scoring and 10th in rebounding.
Kostic’s 43 points against Boise State on Dec. 16 are the most by a Division I player this season.
And her scoring hasn’t come at the expense of team play. A 69-66 victory at Washington on Thursday night _ Kostic had 28 points _ gave Oregon State a nine-game winning streak. The Beavers’ only loss was to No. 3 Connecticut in the Wahine Classic in Hawaii.
Oregon State’s current ranking is the highest ever for the school and the fans are responding. The Beavers drew 7,881 for their 58-57 victory over Oregon on Jan. 5, the largest women’s basketball crowd ever in the state.
TRAVELIN’ RAMS: Road trips are more than just basketball for Colorado State.
Coach Greg Williams believes his players should experience a little of the flavor of the cities they visit. When the Rams went to New York for a tournament in late December, they toured the Empire State Building and Times Square and skated in Central Park.
Later this season, Williams plans to let his players go to the beach in San Diego and to haggle for souvenirs in Juarez, Mexico when they travel to Texas-El Paso.
``It’s a cultural experience for them as well as playing basketball,″ Williams told the Denver Post. ``These kids learn how to separate fun from the time to get down to business. It makes it easier for me to allow them to do these things.″
The extracurricular activities haven’t hurt the Rams. They were 11-2 after beating New Mexico 74-45 on Thursday night and have lost only once on the road.
VERN’S THREESOME: Mississippi coach Vern Chancellor actually is keeping an eye on three teams this season.
Chancellor also is lending his coaching expertise to his son Johnny and daughter Renee, and they appear to be listening.
Johnny, a manager at Ole Miss from 1984-86, is the girls basketball coach at Pascagoula High School in Mississippi. His team began the week with a 13-4 record.
Renee, who played for her dad in the 1987-88 season and from 1990-92, is the girls coach at New Albany, Miss., Junior High. Her team was 9-3.
With Chancellor’s own team at 11-3, the family had an overall record of 33-10 _ a winning percentage of .767.
IMPRESSIVE IRISH: The Big East is proving to be a perfect fit for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame is the only Big East team still unbeaten in league play. The Irish take a 5-0 conference record into a game at Providence on Sunday and are coming off a 91-52 rout of Syracuse, which had beaten Connecticut eight days earlier.
The victory over Syracuse was Notre Dame’s 15th straight at the Joyce Center. Junior forward Beth Morgan set a school record in that game by scoring at least 20 points for the 30th time in her career.
Morgan is the Big East’s No. 2 scorer with a 21.3 average. Notre Dame is 10-3 overall.
PUT ’EM UP: First-year Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly is a firm believer in the 3-point shot and his team reflects that.
Less than halfway through its schedule, Iowa State already has set school records for 3-pointers attempted (299) and made (107) in a season.
Fennelly likes the 3-point shot because it forces the defense to spread out. He also likes it because it makes the game more exciting.
``Even the referees get excited,″ he said. ``They throw their hands up in the air when you shoot it.″
GAELS WARNING: St. Mary’s of California posted its best non-conference record since joining the Division I ranks in 1987.
The Gaels started West Coast Conference play with a 10-2 record, an .833 percentage. The best previously had been 11-3 (.786) in the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.
Among the teams St. Mary’s beat were California and Arizona State of the Pac-10 and Providence of the Big East.
A key for St. Mary’s is getting 70 points. The Gaels are 8-0 when reaching that figure. They were held to less than 70 in both nonconference losses and also in their league opener, an 80-60 loss at Portland on Thursday night.
SNOWED IN: Count national team member and former Connecticut star Rebecca Lobo among those stranded by the East Coast blizzard.
Lobo got snowed in at the home of her boyfriend’s parents in Manassas, Va., and missed a flight to Dallas, where she was to have received two awards from the NCAA. So she spent two days helping her hosts shovel snow.
``We shoveled Sunday night and went out the next morning and it looked like we hadn’t done anything,″ Lobo said.
She finally got out two days later than planned, but not before dragging her luggage to a cab on sleds because the nearest plowed road was a quarter mile away.
``I think it was God’s way of prepping for Siberia,″ Lobo said.
The national team left this weekend to play three games in Siberia and four in the Ukraine.
End ADV For Weekend Editions Jan 13-14