Evergreen basketball star Swain going pro

mwochnick@theolympian.comFebruary 15, 2013 

Danielle Swain’s three-year basketball career at The Evergreen State College has been full. She has earned all-Cascade Collegiate Conference honors, set school records and is approaching 1,000 career points.

But she has decided to end it whenever the Geoducks’ season ends – whether that is Saturday against Northwest University, or after the playoffs, should Evergreen qualify.

Swain, a 2009 Black Hills High School graduate and a redshirt junior, has decided to forgo her final year of eligibility since she will be graduating in June with a degree in social sciences, making her the first person in her family to graduate from college. She hopes to be a school counselor.

Already on her mind, though, is playing basketball overseas. She’s eyeing tryouts with foreign clubs in Las Vegas in July.

“The journey hasn’t stopped,” Swain said. “I don’t plan on giving up basketball just yet.”

First, she wants to lead Evergreen (6-15 overall, 5-12 CCC) to the playoffs for a second consecutive year. The Geoducks need to beat Northwest (2-22) on Saturday in their regular-season finale and get some help, too.

They are in a three-way tie in the win column with Corban (5-11 CCC) and Concordia (5-11). Those schools, tied for seventh place, have two games remaining. Last season, Evergreen earned the eighth-place spot, entering the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.

“We have to focus on ourselves, really,” Swain said. “If we focus on ourselves and do what we know we can do, I feel like we’re getting a win (Saturday).”

In the Geoducks’ 68-65 upset win Saturday over Southern Oregon, Swain’s game-ending block – her sixth of the game – kept the team’s playoff hopes alive. It was Senior Night, where Swain was honored in her final home game.

“Thank goodness we pulled it off,” Swain said.

Swain has become one of the more dominant low-post players in the conference. She’s averaging 13.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, all statistics that rank in the top 10 in the conference this season. She has scored 978 career points; the school record for career points is 1,182, set by Jenny Olson from 2003-07.

EX-BLAZER HAMLIN NAMED FOURTH TEAM ALL-AMERICA

Ronnie Hamlin, a 2009 Timberline High School graduate who just wrapped up his redshirt junior season on the Eastern Washington football team, earned fourth-team All-America honors from Phil Steele Publications, which annually produces the FCS Preview Magazine.

Hamlin ended 2012 as a first-team all-Big Sky Conference pick after 136 tackles, which ranks fifth in school history.

A 20-game starter for the Eagles, Hamlin has 221 tackles (22nd in school history) in his 24-game career. Hamlin had his 2009 and ’10 seasons wiped out because of knee injuries and plans to apply to the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility.

PINK NIGHT AT SMU

In honor of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, The Saint Martin’s University women’s basketball team will hold an hour-long free clinic for girls in third through eighth grades at 9 a.m. Saturday at Marcus Pavilion. Admission is also free for all girls at the Saint Martin’s-Western Oregon game at 7 p.m.

It’s Think Pink Night to bring awareness to breast cancer. The first 200 fans will receive a free pink sweatband and the first 200 girls will receive a mini-SMU basketball.

SAINTS HEAD TO GNAC CHAMPIONSHIPS

Saint Martin’s track and field teams end their indoor season with the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Indoor Championships, with Northwest Nazarene playing host, today and Saturday at the Jacksons Indoor Complex in Nampa, Idaho.

SMU has two athletes ranked No. 1 in the conference in their events – seniors Laura Tesch (high jump) and Sam Washington (weight throw).

Tesch has a GNAC-best jump of 5 feet, 61/2 inches, which ranks her 13th nationally in NCAA Division II. Washington, the defending conference champion in the weight throw, has a league-best mark of 55-81/2.

Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 mwochnick@theolympian.com theolympian.com/southsoundsports

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