Feb. 10, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

PERFECT SO FAR:  George Fox University clinched at least a share of its third straight Northwest Conference title, and fourth in five years, by downing Puget Sound, 49-38, on Feb. 7. 

The Bruins remained perfect on the year, improving to 21-0 overall, and 12-0 in league play.  They moved up to No. 4 in the latest D3hoops.com Top 25 as one of two unbeaten teams in Division III women’s basketball.  No. 1 Illinois Wesleyan is 20-0.

Freshman Keisha Gordon poured in 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field, earning NWC Player of the Week honors.  For the week, the native of Vancouver, Wash., averaged 17 points and five rebounds. Gordon paces the Bruins with 12.8 points per game.

George Fox travels to Pacific University on Feb. 10 with a chance at the outright NWC title.  Head coach Scott Rueck will be looking for his 250th career win in his 13th season at the helm of the program.

LITTLE STEPS:  Eastern Connecticut State University climbed in the latest D3hoops.com Top 25 once again to No. 15 after extending its winning streak to 10 with a pair of victories last week.  The Warriors have vaulted 10 spots since cracking the poll two weeks ago.

Senior guard Christina Amato provided the necessary spark for the Warriors beginning with 15 points in a non-conference win over Salem State.  The native of Marlboro, Mass., followed it up with a 13-point performance against Southern Maine, scoring the Warriors’ final five points of the contest and grabbing the game’s final rebound to secure the 68-65 victory.

Amato averaged 14 points, six rebounds and 5.5 assists while shooting 69.2 percent from the field for the week.  She was name Little East Conference Player of the Week for her contributions.

The Warriors are currently tied with Western Connecticut for first place in the LEC standings with identical 9-1 records.  The two top teams tangle on Feb. 10 with Western looking to avenge its only loss in the last 17 games – a 62-51 setback to Eastern on Jan. 20.

SPARKLING SPARTANS:  York (Pa.) sophomore guard April Sparkman garnered Capital Athletic Conference Co-Player of the Week after turning in a pair of stellar performances to help push the Spartan’s winning streak to a school-record 20 games.

The native of Walkersville, Md., posted 16 points, including a game-winning three-point basket with 4.5 seconds remaining in the game, to lift the Spartans in a defeat of defending CAC champion Mary Washington to begin the week.  Sparkman then tallied a career-best 24 points along with nine rebounds in YCP’s win against St. Mary’s.

Sparkman leads the CAC with a 43.8 three-point field goal percentage, and ranks third in the league with a 15.7 scoring average for the No. 10 Spartans.

NOTABLE:  Greensboro College broke into the latest D3hoops.com Top 25 at No. 20 for the first time this season after improving its school-record winning streak to 13 consecutive games.  The Pride is unbeaten (12-0) in USA South play, and looks to defend its national ranking against Ferrum in a league match-up on Feb. 10 … Muhlenberg opened its game against Bryn Mawr on a 22-0 run and never looked back, earning a 72-47 victory against its Centennial Conference opponent last weekend.  The Mules are now 14-0 in league play, and have clinched the CC regular season title.  They have also tied the conference mark for best CC start in league history.