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Gonzaga Blog: GU women end historic run with Sweet 16 loss

by Chris Bach, KREM 2 Sports Anchor


Posted on March 28, 2010 at 3:09 AM

Updated Sunday, Mar 28 at 10:07 AM

UPDATE: Sunday 12:08 a.m.

Whew. That was a tough day. Not just because the Gonzaga women got blown out by Xavier, but the whole TV part of the job made things interesting.

Before the game, Brett and I stopped by a restaurant called Malabar, near ARCO Arena to catch up with some GU fans. We went upstairs into a private room filled with Bulldog fanatics, televisions and food. Everyone was excited enough to see the Zags put up a fight for the first half of the game. Too bad the fight couldn’t last more than 20 minutes.

Witnessing the Zags’ collapse in the second half was pretty disheartening, especially after spending the previous three weeks with them throughout the postseason. When the final buzzer sounded and the scoreboard read 74-56, it was hard to stomach.

Talking with the seniors after the loss was one of the hardest interviews I’ve had to do since getting into the business. Vivian Frieson and Heather Bowman were just devastated, and understandably so. Both wiped away numerous tears before we put the camera on them.

Bowman held back more tears when talking about the moment hitting her that she’d never put on a Gonzaga uniform again. Frieson said she’d miss the locker room camaraderie with the team she’s played with for four years. And Tiffany Shives gushed about this being the best four years of her life, transferring from Michigan State and coming to GU and making “life-long friends”.

Coach Kelly Graves said this Bulldogs team will set the standard in the WCC, going down as the best team to ever compete in that conference. Graves went on to say those three seniors are the reason why the Zags made it as far as they did.
Our job was to get postgame sound as soon as the players and coach was available. The game ended at 10:36 p.m. The GU players had to have their locker room session following the season-ending loss, then I had to talk to them about the worst thing they’ve experienced in their sports careers…the end of college basketball.

Once we had our sound bytes, Brett and I literally sprinted up to our satellite truck, fed the sound bytes back to KREM 2 and went LIVE two minutes later on the 11 o’clock news around 11:07. Brett and I were pretty pleased to get things on the air. That was the entire point of sending us down to Sacramento. To bring Spokane in-depth coverage of what they couldn’t get while watching the game on ESPN2.

Once we hit again in the sports segment of the 11 o’clock newscast, we were clear. In-and-Out Burger (average at best) and back to the hotel to call it a trip.

With that, I will conclude my blog from the NCAA Women’s Sweet 16. I only wish I had more to write about in the Elite 8. But the Bulldogs certainly gave us plenty of material to work with this season. Congratulations to the ladies. It was truly a pleasure to cover their record-breaking success.

Goodnight from Sacramento!

Friday, 4:10p.m.

The practice sessions at ARCO Arena just wrapped up with the Xavier Musketeers and I think a total of six non-media/staff persons combined were present for the workouts.

If this is going to be the case for Sunday's practices for the winners, the NCAA might want to lift the "closed to media" tag for those sessions because no ones going to be there.

We did manage to bump into a couple Gonzaga women fans, way up in the rafters viewing the ladies workout. Ken and Sue Anderson have been fanatics since the team's inception long before it made the jump to D-I back in the early 80's.

It was great hearing about their interpretation of the Zags' journey from worst-to-first. Sue and Ken have stuck it out during the basement years, but say those seasons are what made this success even sweeter.

As far as the practices go...since they are open to the media and public, coaches don't implement anything crazy into their schedules for everyone to see. That's saved for the closed-door sessions. For example, I think the Xavier coach saw me out there shooting some video of his team running inbounds drills. Once he saw my camera, he quickly shouted, "OK everyone, free throws!" The Musketeers then split into two groups and the first one to 100 won. Needless to say, I didn't have time to stick around and shoot such compelling video.

What's done is done. These teams aren't going to get any more ready than they are right now.

Brett and I are going to stay here at ARCO Arena, turning the stories for tonight's 10 and 11p.m. newscasts until they boot us out. Then it's over to KOVR, our CBS affiliate of Sacramento to finish up.

We talked to some GU fans (tough to find) who've been through the trenches with the Zags, and are now enjoying the team's success. We'll also have a nuts-and-bolts look at tomorrow night's game. Check us out, LIVE from Sacto at 10 and 11!

That's it for now, we'll chat soon.


Thursday, 10:41p.m.

We just got back from dinner and cruising around Sacramento, and I thought I should give you a preview of what to expect for tomorrow.

The Bulldogs practice at 2:10p.m. tomorrow, followed by Xavier's practice at 3:15. We'll have video from both practices and hear from both teams tomorrow on KREM2 News at 5p.m. on KSKN.

I'll also have LIVE previews at on the 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts.

It's way past my bedtime. I've got to be up for LIVE shots in KREM2 First Edition tomorrow morning! See you bright and early!

Thursday, 5:18p.m.

The all-important, and ever-interesting travel day blog. But I guess it is essential when documenting a trip to include the first day.

My photographer Brett and I boarded a plane this morning at 11:25 departing for Portland on Southwest. It was pretty uneventful until the approach into the Rose City. I had no idea a plane could fishtail. Motion sickness doesn’t effect me, but I remembered Brett taking a Dramamine before the flight. I guess he needed a stronger dose, because he got really quiet in those final minutes of the flight. Kudos to Brett for keeping his peanuts internal.

After a quick layover and slow, methodical lunch session by Brett, we made the hour-and-a-half flight to Sacto.

Pouring rain in Portland soaked our luggage (video equipment is fine…I hope), but things are dry here. Two miles outside the airport, we hit gridlock traffic. Brett made a good point, saying, “We don’t have to deal with this [stuff] in Spokane.”

We’re staying in the media hotel (Hyatt Regency) which is located right across the street from the Capital building and the Governater (welcome to Col-ee-for-nee-uh).

We’re going to go grab some dinner, and Dramamine for the car ride. Hopefully we run into some Zags fans! I know it’s still two days out, but if you know where some are going to be, let us know!