WCC Celebrates 25 Years of Women's Athletics Excellence
West Coast Conference highlights major achievements over past half century
Dec. 15, 2009
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - With a tradition that includes national championships, All-Americans and countless NCAA Tournament appearances, the West Coast Conference has established itself as a national force in collegiate women's athletics. The 2009-10 school year marks the 25th anniversary of when the WCC began sponsoring women's athletics. The Conference is celebrating the historic milestone with the WCC 25th Anniversary of Women's Athletics campaign, powered by Zappos.com. The campaign is a season-long celebration of 25 years of WCC women's athletics excellence.
"We are very proud of our rich tradition of success in women's athletics in the West Coast Conference. The foundation of this tradition was built upon the efforts of the outstanding women who, as WCC student-athletes, have competed at the highest level of collegiate athletics for over a quarter century" said WCC Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich. "This campaign allows us to reflect upon the profound impact these women have made on our campuses, and in their chosen sports post-graduation, to help establish the WCC as a nationally recognized conference for women's athletics."
Among the most notable components of the campaign is a WCC 25th Anniversary Team, counting down the top 25 greatest female athletes in WCC history. A voting panel consisting of Senior Woman's Administrators from each WCC campus, conference staff, and select media will decide the top 24 spots of the 25th Anniversary Team. The 25th spot will be selected by fans via an online poll on WCCsports.com from December 1-15, 2009.
The WCC began sponsoring women's athletics in 1985 with volleyball, cross-country, basketball, and tennis entering their first years of conference competition. The WCC added women's soccer as a conference sport in 1992, followed by women's rowing and women's golf in 1997.
In 25 years, the WCC has established itself as one of the premier women's soccer conferences in the country, winning three national titles. In women's volleyball, the WCC is one of the most competitive conferences in the nation, sending the highest percentage of teams from one conference into the NCAA Tournament in 2008. Women's basketball has been equally as impressive sending multiple teams into the postseason for 10 consecutive seasons. In women's tennis, San Diego's Zuzana Lesenarova won the NCAA singles championship in 1999, while in women's golf, Pepperdine has established itself as a perennial national power with four top five finishes in the NCAA Championship. In women's rowing, Gonzaga has won 12 of the previous 13 WCC Championships, while Portland has dominated the WCC Cross Country Championships, winning 19 of the 25 conference titles.
Below is a look at some of the great moments in WCC women's athletics.
2009 - San Francisco's Haley Carroll became the first WCC women's volleyball player and just the 45th in NCAA history to collect 2,000 career digs.
2009 - San Francisco women's cross country team won its first-ever WCC Championship, while Santa Clara's Stephanie Wilson took home the school's first-ever individual championship, tying the championship course record.
2009 - Gonzaga women's basketball upset No. 5 Xavier in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before nearly knocking off No. 4 Pittsburgh in the second round.
2008 - Pepperdine's Lisa McCloskey set an NCAA record and became the first women's golfer to break 200 in a 54-hole tournament at the Las Vegas Collegiate Shootout. McCloskey led the Waves to an NCAA-record team score of 41 under par.
2008 - Saint Mary's freshman Louella Tomlinson set a new NCAA single-season record for blocked shots in a season with 152.
2008 - Santa Clara cross country runner Noelle Lopez became the first WCC female athlete to be named a Rhodes Scholar.
2008 - Five WCC women's volleyball teams advance to the NCAA Tournament marking the highest percentage of teams from one conference.
2006 - Loyola Marymount won its first-ever WCC Rowing Championship, becoming just the second school to win the conference title.
2005 - Santa Clara women's volleyball team defeated Arizona in a five-set thriller in the Elite Eight to become the first WCC women's volleyball team to advance to the Final Four.
2005 - Portland's Christine Sinclair set an NCAA single-season record for goals with 39 goals during the 2005 season. Sinclair also won the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy, becoming only the fourth player and third woman to win it in back-to-back years. As a result of her record-setting season, Sinclair went on to win the Honda-Broderick Cup as the college woman athlete of the year.
2005 - Portland women's soccer team wins its second National Championship.
2005 - The WCC sent five teams into the NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament, marking the most teams the Conference has ever sent into the women's soccer postseason.
2004 - San Diego and Saint Mary's women's volleyball teams advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, marking the first time in conference history that two league teams advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament in the same season.
2003 - Led by All-Americans Katherine Hull and Lindsey Wright, the Pepperdine women's golf team finished as runner-up in the NCAA Championship.
2003 - Pepperdine's Katherine Hull completed a record-breaking season for the Waves, as she was named the Division I Player of the Year by the National Golf Coaches Association. Hull made history when she shot a record low round of 63, breaking her previous mark of 64 set in 2002.
2003 - Six WCC women's volleyball teams advance to the NCAA Tournament marking the most in conference history.
2002 - Portland women's soccer team wins its first National Championship, defeating rival Santa Clara in the first-ever national title game between conference foes.
2001 - Santa Clara women's soccer team wins its first-ever National Championship with a 1-0 win over North Carolina in the College Cup final.
1999 - San Diego's All-American Zuzana Lesenarova became the first tennis player in WCC history to win the NCAA Singles Championship.
1997 - Gonzaga wins the first-ever WCC rowing championship.
1997 - San Francisco wins the first-ever WCC Women's Golf Championship.
1997 - Loyola Marymount's Sarah Noriega set an NCAA record for kills in a four-set match with 47 against conference rival San Diego.
1996 - The San Francisco women's basketball team defeated Florida and Duke to become the first WCC women's basketball team to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
1996 - Gonzaga's Cheska Fairbanks set a new Crystal Springs course record and championship record in the 5K WCC Cross Country Championship en route to becoming the first and only WCC Cross Country female athlete to earn All-American honors.
1992 - Portland wins first-ever WCC women's soccer regular season title and earns the school's first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.
1992 - Santa Clara women's basketball wins the first-ever WCC Women's Basketball Tournament title.
1991 - The Santa Clara women's basketball team defeated Notre Dame, Kansas, and Indiana to win the WNIT title.
1989 - The Santa Clara women's soccer team earns its first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the National Semifinals.
1988 - Saint Mary's women's soccer team becomes the first school from the West Coast Conference to earn a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
1986 - As an affiliate member, US International won the first-ever WCC women's tennis title.
1986 - As an affiliate member, US International won the first-ever WCC women's basketball regular season title.
1985 - Pepperdine wins the first-ever WCC volleyball regular season title with a perfect 12-0 record.
1985 - As an affiliate member, US International won the first-ever WCC Women's Cross Country Championship.
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