May 28, 2011
The Lewis & Clark women’s basketball team thrilled fans with a 21-7 overall record and a trip to the NCAA Division III National Tournament. The Pioneers finished the Northwest Conference season with a 14-2 record, dropping a single game to the George Fox Bruins (2008 national champions) and the Puget Sound Loggers. The record was good enough to earn the Pioneers the NWC Regular Season Co-Championship and the No. 1 seed heading into the conference tournament.
Lewis & Clark hosted Whitman in the first round of the tournament, taking down the Missionaries 60-51. The victory set up a NWC championship game between the Pioneers and the Bruins, who were the other regular-season champions, at Pamplin Sports Center. In front of a crowd of a thousand screaming fans, the two sides battled to a 60-60 tie, sending the game into overtime. With the conference automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on the line, the Bruins dug deep and inched out a 76-68 victory over the Pioneers.
But the Pioneers were still alive—they received an at-large bid that took them to the NCAA tournament in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Lewis & Clark was part of a bracket that included host Coe College, Minnesota- Morris, and Howard Payne. Lewis & Clark faced off with Howard Payne in the first round, falling to the Yellow Jackets 84-66.
In recognition of their outstanding efforts, three players from Lewis & Clark made the All-Conference team. Sophomore Kristina Williams was selected for the NWC All-Conference First Team and was also named NWC Player of the Year. Senior Christina Herring and junior Megan Spence were NWC All- Conference Second Team selections.
In addition, Williams was named to the All-West Region First Team (a regional honor) and the 2011 Women’s Division III News All-American Honorable Mention List (a national honor).
The NWC regular season championship is the first for the women’s basketball program since it transitioned to Division III. The last time the Pioneers earned a regular season conference championship was in 1993–94, when the program was a part of the NAIA.
The women’s basketball and women’s cross country teams became the first women’s programs at Lewis & Clark to win NWC Championships in the same year. The last time a pair of women’s teams earned a conference championship in the same year was in 1979, when the softball, tennis, and swimming programs all earned WCIC Championships. The last time the Pioneers had two teams earn NWC Championships in the same year was 1978, when both the baseball and golf programs finished on top.
Juli Fulks, head coach of the women’s basketball team, was named NWC Coach of the Year. In 2010–11, she enjoyed her first-ever 20-win season. The last time the Pioneers ended the season with 20+ wins was in 1993–94, when they earned the conference championship. Fulks, who took over the program in 2004, has now led Lewis & Clark to back-to-back playoff appearances.
In Head Coach Bob Gaillard’s last season, the Pioneer men’s basketball team earned their fifth consecutive Northwest Conference playoff berth. The Pioneers finished the season with an 18-8 overall record and 11-5 conference standing, which netted them third place in the NWC.
For the NWC Semi-Finals, Lewis & Clark traveled to Walla Walla, Washington, to take on Whitman. The Pioneers and Missionaries battled back and forth for a majority of the game, but the Missionaries squeaked out a hard-fought 79-76 win, which knocked the Pioneers out of the NWC tournament.
Senior Kelly Edwards finished the season with a NWC All-Conference First Team honor, after finishing the regular season ranked fifth in the NWC in scoring. Junior guard PJ Taylor also earned a spot on the NWC All-Conference First Team. Taylor finished the season ranked fifth in the conference in three-point percentage and ninth in scoring. Taylor also ranked 11th in the nation in three-point field goals per game.
Gaillard, who is ending his coaching career after 22 successful years, guided the Pioneers to the NCAA Division III National Tournament in 1999–2000 and 2000–01 and to the tournament’s final eight the next year. Only the fifth men’s basketball coach in Pioneer history, Gaillard finishes with a 366-227 overall record at Lewis & Clark and 526-268 career record (30 years).
The Lewis & Clark men’s and women’s swim teams put together a solid 2010–11 campaign. The season began with the men’s side taking down a 20-year-old school record. The men’s relay squad of junior Steven Carreno, sophomore Shuichi Matsumoto, first-year Chris Moon, and junior Noah Boring turned in a time of 1:39.9, breaking the Lewis & Clark record by an astounding 2.1 seconds.
Sophomore Rachael Cazden broke her own school record in the 50 freestyle during the course of the season, shaving another tenth off her time. Cazden also broke the Lewis & Clark record in the 100 freestyle (53.49) and her own school record in the 100 backstroke. At the Northwest Conference Championships, Cazden was the only Pioneer to win a Conference Championship, earning the gold medal in the 100 free, while firstyear Kayla Ernewein finished third for the bronze medal.
The Pioneer women finished the NWC Championships in third place out of a field of eight teams. The men’s side finished in sixth place. Head coach Chris Fantz earned his second consecutive NWC Women’s Coach of the Year honor.