Will Walla Walla Be Where The Women Win?
Women’s basketball will appear in the Northwest Conference Championship tournament for the fourth year in a row. The Boxers start tournament playing against second-seeded Puget Sound; once again, the Boxers are the third seed.
This winning trend started when Head Coach Alica Parker and Associate Head Coach Kyle Erickson took over in the 2019 season. That 2019 season was the first season since 2009 that the team appeared in the conference championships. The coaching duo has a 62-41 overall and 36-32 record in the NWC.
The 2019-20 season also brought in Rilee Price, Sydney Gray, Alexis Intong, and Brilie Kovaloff. Now seniors, these four players have been instrumental in turning around the Boxer basketball program. Midway through the current season, Kovaloff scored her 1,000 points, and Price leads the NWC in assists, averaging 3.8 a game, with a total of 95 on the season. Gray is ranked second in the conference for three-point field goal percentage and fourth in free throw percentage. Intong was fifth in field goal percentage,14 in rebounds, and ninth in blocked shots.
This year, the Northwest Conference tournament takes place in Walla Walla, Washington, home to top-ranked Whitman College. (Whitman starts the tournament against Willamette.)
The Boxers have one win and one loss against nationally-ranked Puget Sound, and the match-up is highly anticipated—and speaks highly of the success of the Boxers program. Before the 2019-20 season, the women Boxers had not been ranked higher than fifth (2012-13) in the NWC in the past ten years.
The game can be watched at 3 pm on Friday, February 24, or attended live in Walla Walla. The winner will play against the winner of the Whitman/Willamette to compete for the tournament title and a national bid. — Avari Schumacher