WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Whitman College is hosting the first Kim Evanger Raney Memorial Classic, a four-team women's basketball tournament, this Friday and Saturday in Sherwood Center. The tournament honors the late Kim Evanger Raney, a 2002 Whitman graduate and former player who died in March of this year in a bicycling accident near Palm Springs, Calif.
The first of four tournament games pits Walla Walla University against Multnomah Bible College at 2 p.m. Friday. Whitman then battles Cascade College at 6 p.m. Friday.
Saturday games match Whitman against Multnomah at 2 p.m. and Walla Walla against Cascade at 6 p.m. (In a non-tournament Saturday game, the Whitman men’s team hosts Evergreen State College at 4 p.m. in Sherwood Center.)
The per-day admission charge Friday and Saturday is $5 for adults, $3 for senior citizens and $1 for students. Whitman students, faculty and staff are admitted at no charge.
The Whitman women’s team takes a 4-2 early season record into its Friday game against Portland’s Cascade College. The Thunderbirds, an NAIA Div. II team, are 6-3 on the season. Four of Cascade’s victories have come against the other two teams in the tournament, Walla Walla and Multnomah Bible.
Walla Walla saw its season record fall to 2-10 after losing to Whitman Tuesday night in College Place, Wash. Multnomah Bible, in its first season as a women’s varsity basketball team, is off to a 1-11 start.
After a stellar prep basketball career at Issaquah (Wash.) High School, where she was the class valedictorian in 1998, Kim Evanger enjoyed a fine four-year career at Whitman. Despite chronic injuries, she led the Missionaries in rebounding in each of her four seasons. Her career numbers include 593 points, 531 rebounds, 132 steals and 42 blocked shots.
Michelle Ferenz, the women’s basketball coach at Whitman, arrived on campus in time to coach Evanger Raney in her final college season. "Kim had suffered multiple knee injuries, and by the time she was senior she was playing in a lot of pain," Ferenz said. "But she never complained and never wavered in her commitment to the team and her love for the game. She just accepted the situation and had a very good senior season."
"Kim was also an exceptional student," Ferenz added. "It was not uncommon for a professor to stop me on campus knowing that I was her coach and comment on how much they enjoyed having her in class. It is hard to put into words what a wonderful person Kim was and how much she is missed."
"In my first season as a college coach, Kim was a blessing, a true leader who made her teammates better on and off the court," Ferenz continued. "She epitomized the type of player and person I needed to build a winning program at Whitman. In that way, she continues to influence my recruiting and coaching each and every day."
Cathy Crosslin, who played basketball at Whitman (graduating in 1989), coached Evanger Raney in her first two college seasons, and for many years prior to that as coach of a girls select team in the Seattle area. "I had the honor of coaching and mentoring Kim throughout her lifetime – I think she was 12 when we first met," Crosslin said during Evanger Raney’s memorial service, which attracted about 1,500 people to the Crossroads Bible Church in Bellevue, Wash. "I watched her grow into a confident, intelligent and beautiful woman, consumed with a passion for life."
"Kim glowed with passion and faith," Crosslin said. "She was radiant and drew people to her. Many people call her a rock – but she really was more like a magnet. Kim drew all types of people to her, and then truly blessed them with her presence because nothing Kim ever did was about her; it was about God and the person that God wanted her to become. People felt best about themselves when they were around Kim."
|Kim Evanger at her Whitman graduation with brother David, mom Heidi, dad Marc and sister Kaley.|
Crosslin, now a senior vice president with Gordon Graham and Company in Bellevue, also described Kim as "astoundingly beautiful yet amazingly humble. Her beauty flowed from within, and when you looked in her eyes you could see that she was woman filled with love."
As a player, Evanger Raney was both competitive and fun-loving, Crosslin said. "She was one of my most serious players, yet by far the goofiest," Crosslin said. "I cannot tell you how many times I tried to remain serious during practices and games, only to burst out in laughter at one of her antics."
Evanger Raney's serious side showed most often during games. "She was a fierce competitor, the ultimate team player, and an example to all of what it means to be dedicated, committed and loyal," Crosslin said. "Kim played through all kinds of pain and never complained."
High standards were part of Evanger Raney’s approach to basketball and life in general, Crosslin said. "Kim refused to accept anything but the best from herself," Crosslin said. "She came to me on more than one occasion to ask that I yell at her more during practice and games. Unfortunately, though Kim could handle it, it scared the other players. She wanted me to continue to raise my expectations so that she would raise her performance. What Kim doesn’t know, is that by knowing her, I raised my expectations of myself as a woman and as a friend."
A psychology major at Whitman, Evanger Raney was living in North Bend, Wash., and working as a human resources manager for an online media company at the time of her death. She is survived by her husband, Patrick Raney; her parents, Heidi and Marc Evanger; and her younger brother, David, and younger sister, Kaley.