Leading the pack

JDHS alum Nizich a key player on UAA women's basketball team

Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2002

It was the kind of night a basketball sharpshooter dreads.

University of Alaska Anchorage junior guard Tanya Nizich, a Juneau-Douglas High School graduate, just couldn't find her range during the Seawolves' opener on Monday, Nov. 18, a 53-51 loss to Warner Pacific at the UAA Sports Center.

Nizich - the Seawolves' most-experienced returning player - missed two shots from the left side of the 3-point arc, missed two from the top of the arc and two more from the right side, and that was just in the first half. But UAA coach Brandi Dunigan told Nizich to keep shooting, even though she was 1-for-8 for the half.

Dunigan's confidence seemed to be rewarded late in the game, as Nizich hit a 3-pointer that gave UAA its final lead, 49-48 with 1 minute, 46 seconds to play. But the young Seawolves couldn't hold it as they lost to the Knights, an NAIA school from Portland, Ore.

Nizich finished with six points on a 2-for-14 shooting night, 2-for-12 from the 3-point arc, but she had three assists and a rebound. In their rematch the next night, Nizich shot better, scoring 13 points with three assists and three rebounds as UAA won 75-46.

"When you've got a shooter like Tanya, she's got to keep shooting," Dunigan said after Monday night's game, adding that she thought Nizich had finally found her range with her second-half 3-pointer.

"It was pretty depressing," Nizich said of her season opener.

"You have good games and bad games, and you have to figure out how to play when you're having a bad game."

Nizich wouldn't blame a bad case of the stomach flu that forced Dunigan to send her home from Saturday's practice. Nizich said one teammate told her, "I've never seen you so white before," when she started vomiting during the practice.

Dunigan seemed more depressed by UAA's lack of teamwork during Monday's game than she was about Nizich's off night. The Seawolves, an NCAA Division II team, committed 21 turnovers against a team they should have dominated. While UAA struggled to a 5-21 record last year, the Knights weren't much better at 6-25.

UAA figures to be much better this year, even though the team has just four returners who saw a lot of minutes last season. But with several transfers and no seniors, the Seawolves are still trying to figure each other out. Last year, injuries, suspensions and defections left UAA with only eight or nine healthy players for some games. The Seawolves are a lot deeper this year, with 11 players.

"We don't have our chemistry yet," Dunigan said. "I thought we looked out of synch. I was pleased with our defense, though. You hold most teams to 53 points and you'll win some games."

Since Nizich is UAA's most-experienced returner, with two full seasons on the team, Dunigan said she expects her to be a leader on the team this year. Dunigan figures Nizich will find her range and eventually will have a couple of games like the one she had on Nov. 26, 2001, when Nizich scored a career-high 23 points on 10-for-13 shooting against Lincoln Christian. Nizich had 14 games in double-figures last year.

Nizich, who is on the cover of UAA's team program this year, averaged 9.3 points and 2.4 rebounds a game last season. In her freshman year, Nizich averaged 2.3 points and 0.7 rebounds a game. She entered this season tied for seventh on UAA's career 3-pointers-made list (58), and was 10th in career 3-point shooting percentage (.337). Her .346 3-point shooting percentage last year (46-for-133) was good for ninth in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

"She's a veteran, she'll get after it," Dunigan said. "It's going to sort itself out."

Nizich agrees that the team can be a lot better than it showed during its opening two games.

"We've been practicing well," Nizich said. "I think we can be very good. We have a long road ahead of us, and if we start playing the way we have in practice I know we'll be good. Our bench is deep. Anyone can come in and give us a lift."

As for those occasional bad games, which happen to just about every shooting guard, Nizich said she has to work through them.

"I try to give out a few assists, or make a play," Nizich said.

On Tuesday night, the Seawolves were in action again as they fell 67-49 to NCAA Division I University of Nevada in the opening round of the women's Great Alaska Shootout. Nizich had six points on 2-for-11 shooting (2-for-7 from the 3-point arc), made one steal and grabbed one rebound. UAA (1-2) will play for third place at 2:30 p.m. today against Eastern Kentucky, which lost to Indiana, 61-49, in Tuesday's other first-round game.

"We have the capability if we come out and play like we can," Nizich said after last week's season opener. "We just need to figure it out."


• Oregon Institute of Technology senior center-forward Jaime Stanford (Mount Edgecumbe/Haines) scored 14 of her 21 points in the second half to help the Owls break a 35-35 tie and claim a 77-62 victory over the Colorado School of Mines in the consolation game of the Holy Names Shootout on Saturday. Stanford, who transferred to OIT from the Southern Oregon University women's team last spring, scored 24 points in OIT's 77-70 loss to Notre Dame de Namur in the tournament opener on Friday. Health problems kept Stanford from playing in OIT's season-opening 59-58 loss to Holy Names College. She leads the team with 21.5 points per game and is third with 5.0 rebounds. OIT is based in Klamath Falls, Ore.

• Pacific University junior forward Leslie Jeffries (Ketchikan) had 11 points and 10 rebounds as the Boxers claimed a 69-61 victory over Western Baptist on Friday. On Saturday, she scored two points, grabbed five rebounds and made three steals as the Pacific women lost 73-49 to Cascade College. Playing for the Pacific men's team is freshman guard Colin Kambak (Sitka), who has seen just two minutes of action with no scoring for the Boxers (0-2). Pacific is based in Forest Grove, Ore.

• Southern Oregon University junior guard Travis Dybdahl (Juneau-Douglas) and junior forward Will White (Gustavus) are both playing for the men's team with the Red Raiders, while Will's wife, Becky White (Gustavus resident, attended high school in Nampa, Idaho) is a junior redshirt guard for the women's team. Dybdahl is averaging 1.4 points and 1.2 rebounds a game off the bench for the men's team (both the men and women are 1-4), while neither of the Whites has played yet. SOU is based in Ashland, Ore.

• University of Southern Colorado freshman center Hilary Rehfeld (Juneau-Douglas) is averaging 5.5 points and 2.5 rebounds a game in action off the bench as the Thunderwolves (2-0) opened the season by winning the Al Kaly Shrine Classic. Southern Colorado is an NCAA Division II school located in Pueblo, Colo.

• Whitman College junior center-forward Casey Nelson (Ketchikan) scored four points and grabbed five rebounds as the Missionaries (1-2) lost to Walla Walla College 75-55 on Sunday. On Saturday, Nelson scored eight points and had eight rebounds as Whitman beat Oakwood College 66-62. In Whitman's season-opening 93-82 loss to Union College on Friday, Nelson scored five points and grabbed two rebounds. Playing for the Whitman women's team (1-1), freshman forward Karna Williams (Petersburg) grabbed three rebounds in four minutes as the Missionaries beat Evergreen State College 93-58 on Saturday - the only action Williams has seen this season. Whitman is based in Walla Walla, Wash.

• University of Alaska Fairbanks sophomore guard Adrienne Taalak (Mount Edgecumbe) scored five points, grabbed a rebound, dished out an assist and made a steal in six minutes off the bench as the Nanook women beat Warner Pacific 84-50 on Nov. 16. Taalak scored three points, with one rebound and two assists, in UAF's 76-50 victory over Warner Pacific on Nov. 15. Sophomore guard Courtney Mason (Juneau-Douglas/Skagway) is also on the UAF women's roster (2-0), but has yet to play. Sophomore guard Chris Jones (Sitka) in listed on the UAF men's roster, but has yet to see action for the Nanooks (5-0), who won the Top of the World Classic on Sunday.


• Marquette University freshman Jodi Jakubek (Ketchikan) finished 98th overall and was second on her team Monday as the Golden Eagles finished 18th in the women's team standings at the NCAA Division I Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. Jakubek posted a time of 21 minutes, 15.7 seconds over the 6,000-meter course. Earlier this season, Jakubek was one second away from being the Conference-USA Freshman of the Year as she finished seventh overall in the C-USA championship meet Nov. 2 in Hattiesburg, Miss. On Nov. 16, Jakubek finished 39th overall and fourth on her team as Marquette took seventh in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship in West Lafayette, Ind. Jakubek had a time of 22:21.0 at the regional. Marquette is located in Milwaukee, Wis.

• Northwest College freshman Elisa Bolling (Ketchikan) was one of the top runners for the Eagles this season, but wasn't one of the seven women chosen to run Saturday when the Eagles won the NAIA National Championship in Kenosha, Wis. Bolling did run on Nov. 9, finishing 32nd overall and eighth on the team when the Eagles won the NAIA Region I and Cascade Conference Championships in Medford, Ore. Bolling's time was not available. Northwest College is based in Mercer Island, Wash.

• Pacific Lutheran University junior Breea DeSloover (Juneau-Douglas) finished 25th overall and was the top runner for the Lutes as she posted a time of 23:48.0 (over 6 kilometers) during the NCAA Division III West Region Championships held Nov. 16 in Chino, Calif. DeSloover was eighth overall with a time of 23:32.9 during the Northwest Conference Championships held Nov. 2 in Tacoma, Wash. In October, DeSloover was an honorable mention selection for NWC's Women's Runner of the Week award.

• Whitman College sophomore James Voelckers (Juneau-Douglas) finished 38th overall and was third on the team during the Northwest Conference Championships on Nov. 2 in Tacoma. Voelckers posted a time of 28:25.5 (over 8 kilometers).


• Seattle University senior Sean Seaver (Ketchikan) is a big part of the Redhawks' plans for moving up from NAIA National Champions last year to NCAA Division II contender this season. Seaver is Seattle's top distance swimmer, and took second place in the 1,500-yard freestyle and was third in both the 400 and 200 freestyles at last year's NAIA nationals. He also was a member of Seattle's NAIA champion 800 freestyle relay team. On Nov. 9, Seaver won the 1,650 freestyle (16:20.25) and 500 freestyle (4:42.83) races as Seattle won a tri-meet against Simon Fraser University and Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash.

• Linfield College freshman Annie Fox (Juneau-Douglas) has the Wildcats' top women's 50-yard freestyle time this year at 26.58 seconds. Fox also ranks fifth in the 100 free (1:00.03), with both times posted when Linfield dropped a dual meet to Seattle Pacific on Nov. 16. Linfield is an NCAA Division III school based in McMinnville, Ore.

• University of Northern Colorado sophomore Hannah Robus (Juneau-Douglas) is back swimming breaststroke and individual medley events for the Bears this year, but no results were available for Robus over the last two weeks. Last year, the Bears finished eighth in the NCAA Division II National Championships. Northern Colorado is located in Greeley, Colo.

• Western Illinois University senior Ty Westre (Petersburg) and junior Travis Watson (Sitka) are both ranked among the Mid-Continent Conference's top swimmers this year. Westre is ranked eighth in the 100-yard freestyle. Watson is ranked fourth in the 200 breaststroke, fifth in the 100 breaststroke and seventh in the 200 individual medley. The Leathermen also have ranked relay teams, but the individual swimmer names weren't listed in the Mid-Con's ranking list. WIU is an NCAA Division I school based in Macomb, Ill.

• University of Tampa freshman Teri Jo Hasbrouck (Petersburg) has season-best times of 1:04.03 in the 100-yard backstroke, 2:23.96 in the 200 butterfly, 1:02.34 in the 100 butterfly and 57.31 in the 100 freestyle. The Spartans are an NCAA Division II team based in Tampa, Fla.

• College of Charleston sophomore Derek Carlson (Petersburg) won the 100-yard freestyle (50.27) in a meet at the University of South Carolina on Oct. 18, plus he was fourth in the 50 free (22.62) and fifth in the 100 backstroke (57.86). In a meet against Virginia Military Institute on Oct. 27, Carlson won the 50-meter freestyle (25.30) and took second in the 100 free (56.70). The Cougars are an NCAA Division I team based in Charleston, S.C.

• Auburn University junior Derek Gibb (Petersburg graduate, family now lives in Juneau) competed in the FINA (International Swimming Federation) World Cup meet last Friday and Saturday in West Meadow, N.Y. Gibb, who earned one all-American award as the Tigers took third place in the NCAA Division I Championships last year, competed in four events. More details of his accomplishments were reported in a story in Sunday's Juneau Empire.

• Shasta College sophomore Chad Walter (Juneau-Douglas) is looking to improve on a freshman season that saw him qualify for the California Junior College Championships. The junior college season doesn't start until the spring. Shasta is based in Redding, Calif.


• University of Washington sophomore Michael Kohan (Juneau-Douglas) is rowing in the Huskies' top women's junior varsity eight boat. During the Head of the Lake Regatta on Nov. 10 in Seattle, Kohan was in the bow as UW won the women's junior varsity eight race. Kohan teamed up with Nicole Mazikowski on Nov. 9 to finish 13th in the women's pair race, posting the same time as the 12th-place team from Washington State. The Huskies, who won last year's NCAA Division I varsity title, will resume their season in the spring.

• Pacific Lutheran University junior Erin Jakubek (Ketchikan) is rowing in the Lutes' women's varsity eight boat, which took third in the Lewis & Clark College Collegiate Invitational on Oct. 26. Several other Southeast women are rowing for PLU's novice teams, including freshmen Chrystal Aldrighette (Juneau-Douglas), Blaise Bellows (Sitka), Kristen Kuehl (Ketchikan), Sharon Maloney (Ketchikan) and Sarah Truitt (Ketchikan).


• Mary Washington College junior midfielder/defender Hannah Slotnick (Juneau-Douglas) did not score as Eagles were eliminated from the NCAA Division III women's tournament 2-0 by Messiah College on Nov. 15. The loss came in the regional semifinals, and undefeated Messiah has since advanced to the Final Four. Slotnick finished the season with three goals and three assists for the Eagles (16-5-1), including a goal and an assist during MWC's 14-0 victory on Nov. 2 over Marymount University in the first round of the Capital Athletic Conference tournament. MWC is based in Fredericksburg, Va.

• University of California-Santa Cruz freshman midfielder/forward Erin Flynn (Juneau-Douglas) also saw action in the NCAA Division III women's tournament, but didn't score when the Banana Slugs were eliminated 2-1 by Chapman University in a 4-3 double-overtime shootout on Nov. 16. No season stats were available for the Slugs (12-7-1), but Flynn started just about every game.

• University of Charlotte freshman midfielder Robert Lossett (Juneau-Douglas), a walk-on player for the 49ers, played in 15 of Charlotte's 18 games this season and even made one start. Lossett finished the season with no scoring, taking six shots for the 49ers (9-7-2). Charlotte, formerly known as the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, just missed a spot in the NCAA Division I playoffs.

• St. Olaf College senior forward Carolyn Detjen (Juneau-Douglas) finished her career as the career leader in goals and scoring for the Oles, and was tied for the top career spot in assists. Detjen finished this year with six goals and three assists for St. Olaf (10-4-4), an NCAA Division III school based in Northfield, Minn. Detjen was featured in the Nov. 6 issue of the Juneau Empire.

• Flagler College junior defenseman Jeremy Gleason (Juneau-Douglas) was on the field as the Saints lost 2-1 to Mid-Continent College during the first round of the NAIA National Tournament on Nov. 21. Flagler (17-4-0) was one of 16 teams to qualify for the NAIA National Tournament, which was won Tuesday by the University of Mobile, Ala. No stats were available for Flagler, which is based in St. Augustine, Fla.

• Cascade College freshman forward Krista Heard (Juneau-Douglas) finished the season with two goals and one assist for the Thunderbirds, who posted a 4-11-3 record. Cascade is an NAIA school based in Portland, Ore.

• Pomona-Pitzer junior midfielder Nobu Koch (Juneau-Douglas) and the Sage Hens closed out a tough season with a 2-0 victory over Occidental College on Nov. 6, giving Pomona-Pitzer a 3-15-1 record. No stats were available for the Hens, an NAIA school based in Pomona, Calif.

• Southwestern Oregon Community College has two Southeast residents on the team - sophomore midfielder Richard Harney (Ketchikan) and freshman goalkeeper Zuriel Ebron (Juneau-Douglas). No stats or recent records were available for the Lakers. SWOCC is based in Coos Bay, Ore.


• Western Washington sophomore tight end Rick Carte (Juneau-Douglas) and sophomore defensive tackle Lino Fenumiai (Juneau-Douglas) helped the Vikings post a 6-4-0 record this season. Carte had five catches for 70 yards and one touchdown in 10 games, while Fenumiai had 12 solo tackles and 22 tackle assists, with two sacks and 4.5 tackles for losses. WWU is an NCAA Division II school in Bellingham, Wash.

• Northern Arizona junior left guard Matt Cary (Juneau-Douglas) started every game for the Lumberjacks, who finished the season with a 6-5-0 record. NAU is an NCAA Division I-AA school based in Flagstaff, Ariz. Cary was featured in the Oct. 4 issue of the Juneau Empire.

• Three former Juneau-Douglas players were on the roster at Orange Coast College this year - sophomore tight end Justin Rose, freshman defensive end Emil West and freshman wide receiver Jacob Dutton. The Pirates posted a 4-6-0 record this year. OCC is a community college based in Costa Mesa, Calif.

• Cornell senior defensive lineman Jacob Fama (Ketchikan) completed his career playing sprint football for the Big Red (2-4-0). Sprint football is popular on the East Coast and is for players weighing less than 175 pounds. No season stats were available for Cornell, which is an Ivy League school based in Ithaca, N.Y.

The Juneau Empire's College Corner feature runs about once a month during the school year and is compiled by sports editor Charles Bingham from school Web sites and tips from readers, coaches and parents. If you know of any other college athlete from Southeast Alaska who should be included in the feature, please let us know. You can fax information to 586-3028 (attention Sports), or you can e-mail the information to cbingham@juneauempire.com (please do not send text attachments).

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