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Winter 2004 | Volume 26, Number 5 | Athletics
For the Second Year in a Row, Women Are Loss-Free in Regular Season Play

women’s basketball team, ranked third in the nation at press time, continues its meteoric rise. Sports columnist John Levesque said it best in a recent Seattle Post-Intelligencer piece on the Falcons’ phenomenal season: “As has become their custom, they’re flying in the stratosphere … If the run continues through the NCAA Division II tournament this year, there should be no question about who the Sports Stars of the Year are for 2004.”

At the beginning of Valentine’s week, SPU received one first-place vote in the USA Today/ESPN Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Division II Top 25 Coaches’ Poll. At 20-0, the Falcons were one of only two remaining undefeated teams in the nation. They had run their win streak to 53 regular season games.

After the first 11 games in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, Seattle Pacific led the field in 14 of 19 statistical categories, including scoring margin (+18.8), three-point field goal percentage (.404) and rebounding (43.4).

Opponents find it particularly difficult to stop the Falcons’ inside trio of senior Valerie Gustafson and sophomores Brittney Kroon and Carli Smith. Gustafson leads her team in scoring, shooting and steals; Smith leads in rebounding; and Kroon leads the nation in blocked shots.

Team leadership also accounts for SPU’s winning ways. Head Coach Gordy Presnell hasn’t registered a losing season in 16 years at the helm. He took a team that had not had a winning record in nine seasons, or earned a trip to the postseason, and transformed it into a Division II powerhouse. Presnell told the Post-Intelligencer he doesn’t have a high-maintenance player on the team. “It’s a privilege to work with the kind of kids I work with,” he said.

The NCAA West Regional playoffs are March 12–15. The Falcon men have been battling to register a winning season and must win all of their remaining regular season games to be considered for postseason play.

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From the President
With years of experience in business and higher education, President Philip Eaton brings a unique perspective to the subject of good business. “For me,” he says, “business is all about investing in a worthy vision.”

Circle of Influence Grows
Nearly 4,000 new donors have supported The Campaign for SPU, including those with no previous connection to Seattle Pacific. [Campaign]

Planning for Casey's Future
SPU faces challenges in its efforts to retain and maintain Camp Casey while working to preserve its historic and environmental resources. [Campus]

Talk About Imagination
Professors of physics and art probe the “brilliant bridge” between their two disciplines. [Faculty]

You Can Go Home Again! Hundreds of SPU alumni and families returned to campus for Homecoming. See photos of “Discover More in ‘04.” [alumni]

My Response
Professor Rick Steele writes a letter to SPU community members about the “divine grace” he and his daughter, Sarah, experienced at “The Sacred Sounds of Christmas.”