Elle Tinkle enjoys success on and off court

Elle Tinkle enjoys success on and off court.

MISSOULA, Mont. - Many around western Montana remember Elle Tinkle as a three-sport athlete for Big Sky High School. Now Tinkle is a fifth-year senior playing her final season as a member of the Gonzaga Bulldogs women's basketball team.

The former Big Sky Eagle has started every game this year for the Zags. Last year Tinkle only played in 10 games before a knee injury ended her season.

Her 8 points and 5 rebounds per game helped lead the Bulldogs to a regular season conference title this year.

As her time in college comes to an end, it's what she's been able to do in the classroom that has made a mark on her university. KXLY reports that Tinkle is the first basketball player in Gonzaga's history to major in nursing.

"Elle has really paved the way for young women and men to be nursing majors and do athletics," said Gonzaga University lecturer Jennifer Garrity, MSN, RNC. "I did speak to a young lady today who said she's already signed on to be a Gonzaga women's basketball player here in a couple of years, and she's hoping to be a nursing major."

"It hasn't been easy," said Tinkle, "but I'd like to think that I've gained that hard work from my parents, and it's helped me so far. So hopefully it will continue to do so."

The Gonzaga women's team punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament Tuesday afternoon. The Bulldogs won the West Coast Conference tournament with an 86-75 victory over Saint Mary's in the title game.