The Bruin basketball teams rocked the conference in 2004-05, earning the league’s highest individual awards
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL The Bruins, picked for fifth in the preseason Northwest Conference coaches’ poll, wound up going further than any Bruin team in history. After a 1-1 start, George Fox went 13-1 during the rest of the conference schedule to win the conference title and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III national tournament.
After a first-round bye, George Fox defeated Chapman 86-55. That sent the Bruins to a sectional tournament in Ashland, Va., where they defeated St. Benedict 74-69 before falling to host Randolph-Macon 63-51 in the “Elite 8.” No Bruin team had ever advanced that far in the national tournament. George Fox finished 22-6, one victory short of the record for wins in a season, and posted its 12th winning season in a row. The Scott Rueck-coached team was ranked 10th nationally by the Women’s Basketball Coaches of America.
The Bruins led the conference in attendance (668 per game) and in a number of statistical categories: scoring (67.2), defense (52.2), scoring margin (+15.0), three-point field goals (9.0), and steals (14.1). Kim Leith (Jr., Sherwood, Ore.) averaged 18.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. She also set a George Fox single-season record with 485 points and moved into eighth place on the university’s all-time career scoring list with 1,004 points.
Senior forward Liz Clark was a First Team All-Northwest Conference selection after leading the conference in steals and ranking fourth in rebounding, seventh in assists, and 16th in scoring.
Bruin coaches and players swept the highest individual awards in the Northwest Conference in 2004-05 (clockwise from top left): Senior forward Mark Gayman was named NWC Player of the Year and to the All-West Region’s second team; after an “Elite 8” national finish, Scott Rueck won his third NWC Coach of the Year award; junior guard Kim Leith was Northwest Conference Player of the Year and an All-West Region second-team choice; fifth-year coach Mark Sundquist earned NWC Coach of the Year honors.
MEN’S BASKETBALL Picked to finish sixth in the preseason Northwest Conference coaches’ poll, George Fox stunned the league by enjoying its best season in more than a decade, finishing 18-7 overall and 13-3 in the conference to earn second place behind nationally ranked Puget Sound.
The Bruins’ 18 wins were the most in a season since the 1991-92 team went 24-11, and their .720 winning percentage was the highest since the 1990-91 team finished 24-6 (.800). Their .813 conference winning percentage was their best in 10 years as an NWC member.
That success fueled excitement at the Wheeler Sports Center, as the Bruins led the conference in attendance, averaging 1,145 fans per game. The homecoming crowd of 2,400 on Feb. 5 was among the largest home crowds in Bruin history.
Leading the Bruins were a pair of high scorers from Hillsboro, Ore.: senior forward Mark Gayman and junior guard Aaron Schmick. Gayman led the league in rebounding (8.3) and finished second in scoring (18.0).
Schmick was a First Team All-NWC honoree after scoring 15.8 points per game. Sophomore guard Philip Heu-Weller (Olympia, Wash.) was honorable mention.
For more sports information, go to http://www.georgefox.edu/athletics