Young Bruins win NCAA National Championship
We are the champions ...
On Monday, April 20, more than 1,000 students, fans and parents filled Bauman Auditorium to watch the above video that commemorated the 2008-09 George Fox women’s basketball season. The Bruins, despite returning no starters and bringing in 10 freshmen, went 32-0 and claimed the first NCAA Division III title in program history.
The celebration rally also included appearances by former Portland Trail Blazers Jerome Kersey and Dale Schlueter; a visit by Newberg Mayor Bob Andrews, who proclaimed April 20 as "George Fox Women's Basketball Day" in Newberg; and a presentation by alumnus Eric Lautenbach, director of college basketball sports marketing at Nike, who announced that each team member would receive commemorative windbreakers modeled after those worn by U.S. Olympic gold-medal winners in Beijing.
The day concluded with an evening barbecue, parade through downtown Newberg, and reception at the Lil’ Cooperstown restaurant.
'Hoping for a Winning Season'
George Fox women’s basketball coach Scott Rueck started the year hoping for a winning season. Thirty-two games later, winning is all his young team has done.
After saying farewell to seven seniors from last year’s 25-5 conference championship team, Rueck recruited 10 freshman to join one senior and three juniors. Not surprisingly, the Northwest Conference coaches’ preseason poll picked the Bruins to finish middle of the pack at fifth.
A Winning Chemistry
A veteran 13-year coach, Rueck predicted his team would be good, but he didn’t expect it to happen so fast. He said the players connected at a summer barbecue and became a family. On the court, they found their roles quickly. Freshman guard Keisha Gordon from Vancouver, Wash., led a balanced offense that had four players averaging double figures. When they did struggle, the young Bruins learned they could rely upon 6-foot-4 senior center Kristen Shielee, a national leader in blocked shots and rebounding. Shielee anchored a stingy defense that gave up just 48.8 points a game during the regular season, second best among the 435 teams in NCAA Division III.
A Historic Moment
On Saturday March 21 the surprising Bruins completed a history-making unbeaten 32-0 season with a convincing 60-53 win over Washington University (Mo.). The Bruins become the first team from west of the Rocky Mountains to win the NCAA Division III national title. Game Info Here