Former local players reflect on WWU national title run

Few athletes ever get a chance to compete at the college level. Even fewer have played for a national championship.

The 2021-22 Western Washington University women’s basketball team was the most accomplished in program history after reaching their first-ever NCAA Division II national title game. 

Three key members to the team’s success grew up right in Western’s backyard, with two brought up under the same roof. 

Now accomplished teammates in high school and college, Avery and Riley Dykstra were prep stars at Lynden Christian. The sisters — Avery more so than Riley — grew up opponents to former Nooksack Valley standout Katrina Gimmaka. 

Avery and Gimmaka have competed against one another since the third grade. Their rivalry continued into their high school careers.

“I was really excited to play with Katrina,” Avery said. “I feel like it was a pretty easy transition because I didn’t have to play against her anymore.”

Gimmaka echoed Avery’s relief at joining forces with someone who had given her a lot of trouble on the basketball court the previous four years.

“When we found out we were both going to Western I was like, ‘oh my gosh, thank goodness I don’t have to guard Avery Dykstra anymore. She can be on my team for once,’” Gimmaka said laughing. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022 - 10:59am