April 29, 2002
PULLMAN, Wash. --- For the second time in three years, the Washington State women's golf team has been selected to compete in the NCAA West Regional May 9-11 at Stanford University.
WSU sealed the berth by defeating Oregon and Oregon State at the Pac-10 Championships in Walla Walla last week. Spurred by a pair of freshmen, the Cougars peaked at the right time of the season, finishing in the top seven in four of the last five events.
"I felt like we were a bubble team with a really good chance at getting selected," Head Coach Walt Williams said. "It's kind of a surprise, but we have played really well this spring. After the first event, we played well and beat a lot of the teams ranked ahead of us."
Senior Tasha Browner and junior Donna Bell are the only holdovers from the team that competed in the NCAA West Regional two seasons ago. Freshmen Kim Welch and Jay-Lee Longbottom have solidified the Cougar lineup and are a big part of the reason the Cougars will play at least one more event.
"We shuffled the personnel this spring," Williams said. "Bringing in Jay-Lee Longbottom, and bringing Donna and Jackie along made a huge difference. Our chemistry really improved and we were able to make a huge turnaround."
Welch and Australia native Longbottom are the No. 6 ranked freshmen class in the nation, according to Golfstat. Welch has won two events this season and became the first freshman in school history, men's or women's, to be named to the all-conference team.
Browner will be making her third consecutive trip to the postseason after being selected to play as an individual in 2001.
The event will feature 21 schools and three individuals, and will be played on the par 72 Stanford Golf Course. Of the 324 regional participants nationally, 126 will advance to the NCAA Championships in Auburn, Wash., May 21-24.
Participating Schools: Washington State, Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Washington, California, Southern California, Pepperdine, Stanford, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Idaho, San Francisco, San Jose State, UC-Irvine, Denver, Brigham Young, Colorado State, Campbell, Oral Roberts, Northern Arizona.
Participating Individuals: Erin Kerr, Colorado; Sarah Walter, Portland; Kathy Cho, Oregon
2001 NCAA West Regional Winner: University of Arizona
2001 NCAA West Regional Individual Winner: Natalie Gulbis, Arizona