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It's called the Paradise Jam. It takes place on the Virgin Islands in the tropical Carribean Sea. Tennessee, Michigan State and Maryland will bring their ladies teams to this big event. And so will Gonzaga.
That's why Coach Kelly Graves is adamant about improving his Zags from the 25 point win over a feisty, talented Seattle Pacific squad. Even though Stephanie Hawk played great and Anne Bailey shined, and freshmen Maria Hassett and Sarah Schramm continued their strong play, the Zags will need to do much better against the national powers in the tropics.
Against Seattle Pacific, Gonzaga could not separate themselves from the Falcons until the second-half. Next for the Bulldogs is San Jose State in San Jose, CA, before flying south to Paradise. Making matters more difficult, and providing more than enough drama, is the status of point guard Rachel Kane, who reinjured her knee. Without Kane, the team will rely on true freshman Sasha Polishchuck and perhaps a combination of Katy Ridenour and Katie Prichard at the point.
It's called the Maui Invitational Tournament and it's loaded with powerhouse teams like no other year in its history. UConn, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan State, Gonzaga, Arkansas, Maryland and host Chaminade. But if the Zags plan on showing well, vast improvement will be needed based on their 45 point win over D-II UC-San Diego.
As Mark Few admits, the team has a ways to go in a short period of time, and Idaho will provide the only tune-up for the big Hawaiian event.
Similar to their women counterparts, the men didn't gain separation from UC-San Diego until late in the first-half. Stuck on 25 points for fifteen minutes, the Tritons watched Gonzaga disappear over the horizon to win going away.
But the status of injured players, all key to the Zags' success, will make Idaho and Maui adventurous affairs.