May 8, 2000
Pullman, Wash.--- The Washington State women's golf team will make their first post-season appearance since the program began in 1983 when they tee off Thursday at the NCAA West Regional in Tempe, Ariz.
It was supposed to be a long rebuilding process when head coach Walt Williams took over the reins in 1998. Qualifying for the preliminaries to the NCAA Championships is a huge step for the program.
"It is very exciting to know we are heading in the right direction," Williams said. "When I came here, I thought it would take three years to get to postseason. To do it a year in advance is rewarding."
The Cougars were the last team from their district to be selected for the West Regional and will join the other nine Pac-10 squads plus Pepperdine, San Jose State, and Brigham Young to make up the 13 teams representing the Far West. 11 teams from the West District will also be competing.
Although the Cougars are seeded 13th, WSU has recorded some success this season against other schools in the field.
"We beat Washington, Oregon, Texas Tech and Oklahoma this year, and they are all ranked (in the top 36)," Williams said. "We are seeded 13th out of the Far West out of 13 teams, so we have to be realistic about our chances. I don't want to be bold in predictions, but if we play well, we can finish ahead of several teams."
WSU will stay with the lineup they have used all season of senior Jenny Ballou (Portland, Ore.), junior Jennifer Dodd (Portland, Ore.), sophomore Tasha Browner (Tarzana, Calif.), and freshmen Donna Bell (Prince George, BC), and Shanelle Roberts (Tacoma, Wash.).
The tournament is being played May 11-13 at the par-72, 6,131-yard Karsten Golf Course on the campus of Arizona State University. Last year's event was won by USC, while Arizona's Jenna Daniels will return as the individual medalist from one season ago. 18 holes will be played each day, beginning at 7:30 a.m.
Eleven teams and three individuals will qualify for the NCAA Championships. Two additional berths will be allocated to the region with the most teams ranked in the top 24. The NCAA Championships will be held at the Crosswater Golf Course in Sunriver, Ore., May 24-27 and will be hosted by Oregon State University. ---more---
WSU LINEUP: The NCAA West Regional will mark the 40th career event for senior Jenny Ballou (Portland, Ore.). She heads to Tempe with a 78.5 season scoring average and six top-25 performances... Freshman Donna Bell (Prince George, BC) enters the event with an 82.6 average but has two top-five appearances this spring... Sophomore Tasha Browner (Tarzana, Calif.) has been a model of consistency all season for the Cougars. She had five top-25 showings, including a 15th place finish at the Utah Dixie Classic where she fired a second round 72 and third round 74... Junior Jennifer Dodd (Portland, Ore.) is coming off the two best performances of her career. She beat six players ranked in the top-50 in the nation at the Peg Barnard Collegiate, finishing fourth, and followed that up by placing 10th at the conference championship. The All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention selection leads WSU with a 76.7 average... Freshman Shanelle Roberts has an 81.03 average entering the West Regional. Her best performance of the year came at the Oregon Invitational where she placed ninth and carded a first round 76.
THE FIELD: Twenty-four teams and six individuals from the West and Far West districts have qualified for the 2000 NCAA West Regional. All 24 teams are ranked in the top 50 in the latest MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings. The field includes seven of the top 10 teams in the nation, including number one Arizona.
NCAA WEST REGIONAL FIELD:
(School - National Ranking)
SEASON HIGHLIGHTS: Led by Dodd and Browner, who each fired 74s, and Ballou, who shot a 76, Washington State broke the school record for 18 holes by carding a third round 303 at the Stanford Women's Intercollegiate in October. That record fell again in the second event of the spring when Ballou, Bell, Browner and Dodd combined for a 300 at the Pioneer/Bruin Classic. In the same event, the school record for 54 holes was also bettered by seven strokes as the Cougar's five players combined for a 912. The record had been set in the fall at the Ptarmigan Ram Fall Classic.
DODD FINISHES STRONG: The Peg Barnard Collegiate and Pac-10 Championship were breakthrough performances for Dodd. The Portland native battled the nation's best in back-to-back weeks, placing fourth with a four-over par 148 at the Stanford-hosted tournament and 10th with a 224 at the conference championship. Dodd was rewarded by being named to the All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention team.