Pringle's absence hurts 'Cats

March 3, 2011 

Sometimes, the most telling statistic about an athlete isn't what they've done.

It’s what their team does without them.

Clearly, without Micha Pringle, a former all-league guard for North Thurston, Linfield’s women’s basketball team wasn’t as good.

Her statistics are solid, despite starting just one game. Pringle was third on the team in scoring at 10 points a game, second in steals with 33 – all while shooting 44.5 percent from the field.

But in the seven games the 5-foot-5 junior guard missed with a strained knee, Linfield went 2-5. The Wildcats missed the playoffs by one game.

“If she had been healthy, we’d have made the tournament,” said Linfield coach Robin Potera-Haskins. “She was a great spark off the bench. We would have probably gone 5-2 with her in that stretch.”

Pringle came off the bench, but she played starter’s minutes. Early in the season, she had a breakout game against Northwest Christian when she scored 37 points on 14-for-25 shooting in a 68-66 win.

“Micha is a great person,” Potera-Haskins said. “She’s fun to coach. Great attitude. Very good team player. If they had a sixth-man award, she’d have won it.”

This is Pringle’s third college and third coach she has played for, but the first that wasn’t a relative. She played for her brother, Derrick Pringle Jr., at Simpson University in Redding, Calif., and her dad, Derrick Sr., at Grays Harbor College.

TOURNEY TWEAK?

After losing their first-round games in the inaugural Great Northwest Athletic Conference basketball tournament, the Saint Martin’s men’s and women’s coaches gave the tourney a partial thumbs-up.

They liked the concept.

“It’s something to shoot for,” Saints women’s coach Tim Healy said.

But they think it needs some tweaking.

“There’s too much traveling,” Saints men’s coach Keith Cooper said.

Both would like to see one central site for next year. On Monday, the SMU men lost at Alaska Anchorage, 80-70, and the women fell at Montana State Billings, 55-53.

If both had won, they would have played Wednesday on the road.

Next year, both coaches are hoping for less driving … and more winning.

THEY’RE BACK

A year ago, Matt Acker was scrambling to fill the rosters of the six teams in the Puget Sound Collegiate League, a first-year local summer baseball league.

“We were at 40 players at this point last year,” said Acker, the league coordinator and assistant baseball coach at Saint Martin’s. “Right now, we’re already at 120.”

Acker said he has room for 12 more players and will include a waiting list in case someone goes down with an injury. He estimated that 30 percent of the rosters are filled by players from the Olympia area.

This year, there are a total of 15 players coming from Minnesota, Oklahoma, Nevada, California, Oregon and Hawaii, and Acker is looking for host families for them.

MULL UPDATE

Ayla Mull, who broke school records for assists and blocked shots at Capital High School, was a passer-scorer coming off the bench for Pacific Lutheran’s women’s basketball team this season.

She played in 22 games for the Lutes, started one and averaged 2.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 13.9 minutes a game. Mull, a junior, transferred to PLU from Chaminade University in Honolulu.

Gail Wood: 360-754-5443 gwood@theolympian.com www.theolympian.com/sports/blog

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