PORTLAND PILOTS (1-0, 0-0 WCC)
WEEK 1: vs. (RV) Villanova Wildcats
Date: Nov. 10, 2023
Place: Portland, Ore.
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Gym: Chiles Center
Online Video: ESPN+
POR vs. NOVA
Overall: 0-0 • Last 5/10: 0-0/0-0
H: 0-0 • A: 0-0 • N: 0-0
• The Portland Pilots are home for their next contest, hosting the Villanova Wildcats.
• The two teams play at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10.
• Check PortlandPilots.com as well for streaming, stats and radio links. The game will also be broadcast on KRCW.
ABOUT THE PILOTS
• The Pilots got a win in their season opener, defeating the San Diego State Aztecs 72-58 at the Chiles Center.
• Emme Shearer led the way for Portland with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists. She was one of the three Pilots on the day to break the double-digit threshold, with Maisie Burnham adding 13 and McKelle Meek scoring 10.
• The Pilots hit 10 3-pointers in the contest, the most they’ve had in a season opener. It’s also the most made threes of any WCC team in tehir respective season openers.
• Lucy Cochrane had four blocks in the contest, which is the most a Pilot has had in a season opener since 2006.
• Cochrane’s block total is first in the WCC and 12th nationally as of 11/9/23.
• The Pilots are coming off one of their best seasons in recent program history, having finished 23-9 overall and 15-3 in WCC play. It was their best win total since 1996-97 and their highest WCC win total ever.
• On top of that, the Pilots won the WCC Tournament Championship with a gallant 64-60 victory over the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The championship win was their second in four seasons under head coach Mike Meek.
• The Pilots qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the second time in four years and played in their first NCAA Tournament game since 1997 years against the Oklahoma Sooners.
• Head coach Michael Meek has now reached at least 20 wins three of the past four seasons, and the Pilots have earned 20 wins six different times at the NCAA Division I level.
• Their second-place finish in the conference is their best since the 1996-97 season.
• From last year’s squad, the Pilots return seven players, including WCC All-Preseason Team members Maisie Burnham and Emme Shearer.
• Burnham was an All-WCC Second Team selection last season after averaging 11 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest. She, along with Alex Fowler, also made the All-WCC Tournament after scoring 19 points in the championship game against the Zags.
• Burnham is also the top returning scorer for the Pilots, having scored 352 total points. She is at 994 points and is just six away from scoring 1,000 for her career.
• Emme Shearer earned All-WCC Honorable Mention after averaging 10 points a game and scoring 321 total points. She was one of two Pilots to record a double-double last season, doing so with 12 points and 10 boards against LMU.
• After having never scored more than 20 in a game for her career, Shearer scored at least 20 three times, including a career-high 21 points twice against San Francisco.
• The Pilots led the WCC in assists per game (16.9), field-goal percentage (45.7), steals per game (9.6) and turnovers forced per game (17.31). Their assist average and field goal percentage ranked 16th and 19th respectively in the nation.
• The Pilots return four of five starters from last year, with Burnham and Shearer returning as well as Lucy Cochrane and McKelle Meek.
• Cochrane was the best shot blocker in the conference, averaging just over 2.6 blocks per contest and totaling 56 on the year. Her block total officially led the WCC and was 18 more than the next closest player despite having played seven games fewer
• Although she didn’t qualify due to games played, her block average would’ve ranked first in the WCC and ninth nationally.
• Cochrane’s block numbers in just two seasons are among the best in Pilot history. Her 174 blocks is fourth all time and third among Pilots who only played Division I.
• Her 114 blocks in 2021-22 were the most by any Pilot in a single season.
• Meek started the final 13 games of the season for the Pilots and averaged 5.3 points and three assists on the year. She led Portland in assists in 11 games last year, the most times on the team.
• Meek’s 91 assists were the second most on the team and also ranked sixth in the WCC. She also ranked third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.8) and ninth in assists per game.
• Along with the returners, the Pilots add eight newcomers, with five transfers and three freshmen.
• Kennedy Dickie joins Portland from fellow WCC conference mate San Francisco. She was a two-time All-WCC Second Team selection who averaged 9.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per contest.
• Dickie’s 251 rebounds ranked third in the conference and her rebounding average was good for fourth. She helped lead the Dons to a 19-13 record.
• Kianna Hamilton joins the Pilots from Long Beach State, having helped lead the Beach to a 23-10 record. She earned All-Big West Honorable Mention.
• Hamilton was a disruptive force defensively, averaging 2.21 steals per contest with 73 total steals. Those totals ranked third and first in the Big West respectively.
• Hamilton also has a chance to eclipse 1,000 points for her career, currently sitting at 850.
• Natalie Fraley joins Portland after playing her freshman year at Utah State. She was a Mountain West All-Academic honoree in her first season.
• Anna Eddy makes her return to Portalnd after spending the last three seasons at Seattle Pacific, redshirting her freshman year.
• Eddy averaged 7.8 points and 3.1 rebounds over two years at Seattle Pacific and scored a career-high 26 points last year against Stanislaus State. She is a local product having gone to Saint Mary’s Academy, and is the grandaughter of legendary NBA coach Rick Adleman.
• Piath Gabriel is the final transfer joining the Pilots coming from UMass. Gabriel, however, is ineligible this year due to being a two-time transfer.
• Gabriel was originally recruited to UConn and was the 23rd ranked center in the class of 2020.
• Three freshmen join the Pilots this year: Lainey Spear, Dyani Ananiev and Rhyan Mogel.
• Spear is a legnthy 6-2 forward hailing from Beaverton. She was a first team All-Metro League selection each of the last three years and the Metro League Player of the Year in 2021-22. She led the Beavers to their first ever state championship in 2022 and won the Metro League Championship three times.
• Spear’s mother, Kristin Spear (formerly Hepton) is a former Pilot herself. A 1,000-point scorer for her career, Spear’s 39.4% career three-point percentage is third among Pilots who only played Division I, and she was also a three-time All-WCC First Team selection.
• Mogel was the Mt. Hood Conference Player of the Year for Clackamas High School in 2022 and a multi-time all-first team selection. She was also named the Mt. Hood Conference Defensive Player of the Year her senior season.
• Last year, Mogel led Clackamas High School to a 26-4 record and a 6A State Championship.
• The final freshman joining Portland is Australian Dyani Ananiev, a versatile wing who was named the rookie of the year in 2021-22 with her club team, Wyndham, as well as the league’s leading scorer.
• In 2023, Ananiev averaged 19.2 points per game on 59.6% shooting and 38.6% shooting from deep. She averaged 7.7 rebounds a contest.
•The final three returners for the Pilots are Emma Strelein, Florence Dallow and Melike Samia.
• Strelein saw her first action of her college career last year, playing in 17 games last year. She scored a career-high four points against Willamette.
• Dallow, a redshirt freshman, is a 6-foot guard our of New Zealand who played for the U14 and U16 New Zealand youth national teams that placed first and second respectively at the FIBA Oceania Championships. She played for Nortfh Harbour Representative Basketball Team from 2015-21 as well, with her team taking third at nationals in 2019 and 2020 and fourth in 2021.
• Samia has played for several New Zealand national teams, including taking part with the U16 select team in 2017 and 2018 and the Waikato U19 team in 2021. That U19 team won a national championship in 2021. She was also a part of the NBA Global Academy.
• The Pilots are under the guidance of fifth-year head coach Michael Meek.
• Meek ranks 6th in career winning percentage (309-79, .796) among active NCAA coaches with 10-plus years of experience (not all at DI level).
• Tom Batsell has been an assistant coach with Meek for dating back to 2005, back when Meek was the head coach for Southridge High School. From 2005-10, the Skyhawks won six state championships.
• Fifth-year assistant coach Sharon Rissmiller (’01) is a Portland alum who starred on the court for the Pilots from 1997 to 2001; she still ranks 10th all-time with a .770 career free throw percentage, and she compiled 1,069 career points.
• Assistant Coach Jerod Gibson joins the staff after serving as head coach for Linn-Benton Community College the last five years, posting a 72-49 record as their coach.
• Haylee Andrews (’23) joins the staff as the director of operations immediately after graduating this past season. Andrews is one of the most accomplished players in program history, a four-time All-WCC team selection and the second most assists by any Pilot at the Division I level.
ABOUT THE OPPONENT
• The Villanova Wildcats are coming off a season where they finished 30-7 overall and 17-3 in Big East.
• They advanced all the way to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
• This is the first time the Pilots and Wildcats have ever played. This is the fourth time the Pilots have played a Big East team, as they are 0-4 all-time against the conference.
• Denise Dillon is in her fourth season as head coach of the Wildcats.
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