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Katie Ridenour- Gonzaga
Broken noses, IV bags haven't kept Ridenour off court

THE FRONT ROW with Mark Nelke

Posted: Saturday, Mar 10, 2007 - 10:49:04 pm PST

Broken noses, IV bags haven't kept Ridenour off court

No record ever came without a little bit of adversity to overcome.

When former Post Falls High School star Katy Ridenour takes the floor for Gonzaga in the Bulldogs' first-ever NCAA tournament game next weekend, the 5-foot-11 senior guard will become the West Coast Conference women's basketball career leader in games played with 126.

"I was shocked when I heard about it at first," said Ridenour, who helped Post Falls win back-to-back state titles in 2002 and '03. "At least they got use out of me, that's for sure."

Did they ever.

Known for her hard-nosed -- pardon the pun -- play even back in her days at Post Falls, Ridenour has suffered three broken noses -- including one in high school and one this season. She plans to have surgery in April. But she's never missed a game in her Gonzaga career.

"There were definitely times I almost didn't play. I haven't been able to breathe for about six years," Ridenour said with a laugh. "Oh yeah, it's crooked."

In November of her junior year, she came down with the flu and was hospitalized in Spokane on the day of a road game at Idaho.

"I was going on my third bag of IV and I told them, 'I have to leave,'" Ridenour said.

She checked out of the hospital, rode with her parents down to Moscow and made it to the game on time. It was the only game during that season she didn't start.

AS A HARD-NOSED (again, pardon the pun) defender, Ridenour's value to the Bulldogs is going to be measured in floor burns and frustrated looks from opposing guards after she has harassed them all game.

In last Sunday's WCC championship game, Loyola Marymount's leading scorer, Amanda Patton, managed just three points while Ridenour was guarding her.

"Coach (Kelly) Graves said, 'She's going to have nightmares about you,'" Ridenour said.

Still, she's moved into tie for ninth place in career steals at GU with 133, and she's eighth all-time in career 3-pointers with 76. This year, she's averaging 5.7 points and 3.5 rebounds, and leads the team with 46 steals.

After coming off the bench her first two years, Ridenour has started 58 of GU's 63 games the past two years.

Ridenour is on course to graduate in May with a degree in business with a focus on marketing. After graduation, she said she plans to move to Nashville where her brother, Matt, a musician, lives.

TWO YEARS ago, the Bulldog women were surprised to be left out of the NCAAs by the selection committee after losing in the WCC championship game, despite a 27-3 record.

"That was a bad year," Ridenour recalled. "We thought we had it in the bag."

Last year, GU was surprised in a different way, losing to No. 8 seed San Francisco in the first round of the WCC tourney in Spokane.

This year, back in the conference title game, Gonzaga won easily to secure the WCC's automatic bid, and will find out Monday who they'll play and where they're headed.

"It was a huge relief," Ridenour said. "It's something I can tell my kids -- I was on the first-ever team that made it. We didn't want to leave anything up to the committee, and we're glad we did."

Mark Nelke is sports editor of The Press. He can be reached at 664-8176, Ext. 2019, or via e-mail at