Bingham, Seattle U. win WAC title [Basketball]

March 10, 2013
Coach Dorena Bingham

A pair of Alaska women were right in the middle of this year’s Western Athletic Conference women’s basketball title chase, which came down to the wire.

Seattle University and assistant coach Dorena Bingham of Anchorage ended up winning the regular-season title with a 15-3 league record, one game better than Utah State and senior guard Jenna Johnson of Wasilla.

“We’re only in first place because we won and they lost the last league game. It was incredibly close all year,” Bingham told me. “This conference is nothing to sneeze at. Everyone is really good so you have to bring your best every night because anybody can beat anybody on any given night.”

Bingham, of East High fame, is a second-year coach at Seattle University and a 1985 graduate of the school.

“I think we were Division III when I was here, so to climb back to Division I with a special group of girls, special coaches, it’s been really good,” she said.

This is Seattle University’s first season in the WAC and the team was picked to finish fourth in the preseason poll.

“It’s unbelievable actually,” she said. “It’s pretty cool to be back on campus. All my friends come to all the games. We’ve been friends for 30 years.”

After beating Idaho 55-53 to clinch the conference regular-season championship, the team cut down the nets in celebration.

“I got my little piece of net,” Bingham said. “I’m gonna have it framed.”

For Utah State, the second-place finish was its best showing in the WAC in eight seasons.

Jenna Johnson

Jenna Johnson, of Wasilla High fame, pumped in 23 points in an 80-72 loss to Texas-San Antonio.

The senior guard has averaged a career-best 14.5 points and 7.7 rebounds in 29 games this year.

Seattle and Utah State are seeded 1 and 2 in this week’s WAC Championships in Las Vegas.