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San Diego Advances in WNIT; NCAA Runs End

INDIANAOPILIS, Ind. -- Behind a complete team effort, and a second half surge, the University of San Diego women's basketball team picked up a hard fought 59-48 win over IUPUI Saturday evening in the second round of the WNIT.

With the win, the Toreros improve to 25-7 overall, and will move on to the Sweet 16 of the WNIT to take on the University of Michigan inn a 7 p.m. game on Monday evening. With the loss, the Jaguars finish the season 21-11 overall.

After the two teams found themselves tied at the end of the first and second quarters, USD was able to break through in the third by outscoring the Jaguars 16-11 to grab some breathing room. Then after IUPUI closed the gap down to two, USD would slowly begin to build up its lead, and eventually led by 10 at 57-47 on a Maya Hood lay-up with 53 seconds left. USD never looked back, as they went on to claim the 11-point win.

Sydney Williams led the team in scoring with 16 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field, while pulling down six rebounds. Malina Hood scored 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting from the field, whileMaya Hood added in 10 more points and just missed a double-double with eight rebounds.

As a team, USD shot 40.4% from the field, while the Jaguars shot 43.8% from the field. IUPUI out rebounded USD 36-29, and the Toreros forced 21 turnovers, 12 of them steals, while San Diego only committed 16 turnovers.

For the Jaguars, Danielle Lawrence led the way with a game-high 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field. Mikale Rogers led the team with 12 rebounds, and she had eight points.

Dons Cap Historic Season
STANFORD, Calif. – As seniors Zhane Dikes and Taylor Proctor left the court with a little more than a minute left in San Francisco Dons' first NCAA tournament appearance in almost two decades, the duo stopped to jointly embrace head coach Jennifer Azzi on the sideline at Maples Pavilion.

Although the 85-58 final score in favor of the Stanford Cardinal was hardly the end to a landmark season that any of them wanted, the senior duo ended one of the most successful tenures in program history on the very floor where Azzi made a name for herself as a coach — something that would've sounded surreal to many just four years ago when Dikes and Proctor arrived.

"It was very emotional, just because it's the last time playing with the team," reflected Proctor. "Coach Azzi said she loved us, and I couldn't have a better four years or a better coach. I'm so proud of this team and how far they came and I know they're going to do big things next year."

"Coming off for the last time I think it was just emotional, because this team has been the best team that I've played on out of my four years, and Coach Azzi has been one of the best coaches and mentors I've ever had in my entire life," added Dikes. "Just to give her that one last hug was extremely emotional, but she told us she loved us and she'd always have our backs and I truly believe it."

The break in the action also served as an opportunity for the seniors to salute the large contingent of USF fans that made the 37-mile trip from the Hilltop to the Farm.

USF bids farewell to one of its most prolific senior classes in program history as Proctor and Dikes close out their collegiate careers. Proctor stands in second in career rebounds (923) and third in points (1785) while point guard Dikes leaves in sixth on the all-time scoring list (1466) and as the all-time minutes leader – male or female – as well as the program leader in free throws made (441).

The Dons fought to the very last buzzer against Tara VanDerveer's disciplined and seasoned Cardinal, but were never able to truly establish the type of rhythm that helped them make their milestone run through the 2016 West Coast Conference Tournament and into the fourth NCAA tournament appearance in program history.

Although all eyes were on the seniors, junior Rachel Howard finished with team-highs of 14 points and five rebounds as well as a game-high tying three assists in the Dons' first NCAA Tournament appearance in 19 years. Sophomore forward Michaela Rakova stepped up to score eight of her 12 points in the second half as the Dons sought to lessen an 18-point halftime deficit.

Stanford's disciplined defense holding seniors Dikes and Proctor to a combined 6-for-26 shooting from the field. While leading-scorer Proctor was able to finish with 13 points, Dikes scored just six after going scoreless in the first half. With their senior leaders struggling and a team that often thrived on 3-point shooting going just 2-for-14 from beyond the arc, the Dons simply struggled to keep up.

The game began positively for the Dons, who scored the first basket of the game and heading into the second quarter down by just five, Stanford's defense held steady throughout the first half, and continued to lock down the Dons' offense throughout the game.

The typically high-scoring USF offense was thwarted by one of the nation's top defenses in the Cardinal. USF finished shooting 32.8 percent on the night while Stanford connected on 51.7 percent of its attempts from the field, and finished with an 8-of-19 effort from beyond the arc. The rebounding margin heavily favored the larger and more physical Stanford squad, as the Cardinal grabbed 49 rebounds compared to 22 for the Dons. Stanford finished with four women reaching double-figure scoring, with Lili Thompson's 17 points on 60 percent shooting, and a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double for Erica McCall.

"Stanford is a really good team. I think they're going to go really far, really deep in the tournament," noted Azzi. "Certainly I have the utmost respect for Tara. I think she's one of the best coaches in the country. They're an incredible team.

"It wasn't a great game for us, but Stanford is just really good. I'm so proud of my two seniors, Z and Taylor. They came to USF when USF had won five games, so they took a program from that to the NCAA Tournament and I couldn't be more proud of them and of our team and our program having won our conference and getting this great opportunity to be in the tournament this year."


BYU Women Fall In NCAA First Round
AUSTIN, Texas — Despite double-figure performances from three Cougars, BYU women’s basketball fell to Missouri, 78-69, in the first round of the NCAA tournament, Saturday.

“I am really proud of my team,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkinssaid. “We have had a great year. The seniors have been not just great players, but great leaders. We had a great season and we won a conference championship. We are sad about this loss, but we will learn from it and build off of it.”

With the loss the Cougars finish the 2015-16 season with a 26-7 record, a West Coast Conference regular season title, and a third straight appearance in the NCAA postseason tournament.

Lexi Eaton Rydalch finished the game with a game-high 22 points. She went 5 of 5 from the foul line and tallied one rebound and one assist. Kalani Purcell tied a career-high in scoring with 19 points. She also added nine rebounds and four assists. Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher had 13 points and four rebounds.

Pulsipher opened the fourth period with a 3-point field goal to cut the Missouri lead to eight, 60-52. Kylie Maeda then scored on a backdoor layup to bring the Cougars within six, 60-54. At the 7:50 mark, Purcell cut the lead to four, 60-56, as she finished a layup in the lane.

The Tigers increased their lead back to six, 62-56, on a jumper by Jordan Frericks. On the next BYU (26-7, 16-2) possession, Pulsipher got fouled on a jumper and made two free throws to put the Cougars back within four, 62-58. The Cougars played lock-down defense on the next Missouri possession to force a key turnover.

At the 4:25 mark, Amanda Wayment finished a layup under the basket to put BYU within two, 62-60. On the next Tiger possession, Wayment fouled out of the game putting the Tigers on the line. Frericks sank both free throws to give Missouri the 64-60 lead.

With 2:42 to go, Purcell got fouled in the paint and put the Cougars within two, 64-62, as she went 2 of 2 from the foul line. The Tigers then regained the four-point 66-62 lead. With 2:19 to go in the fourth period, Rydalch made a pull up jumper to put BYU within two again, 66-64.

Missouri scored three straight points and pulled ahead by five, 69-64. With under a minute to go, Missouri’s Robinson sank two more free throws to go up by eight, 72-64.

In the first period, the Tigers struck first on a layup by Lindsey Cunningham, but the Cougars retaliated on the next possession to make the score 2-2. Pulsipher tied the game at 6-all at the seven minute mark as she made a 15-foot baseline jumper. On the next BYU possession, Pulsipher helped the Cougars take their first lead of the game, 7-6, as she went 1 of 2 from the free throw line.

BYU took the five-point lead, 11-6, midway through the first period as Rydalch scored her second basket of the game. With 1:40 to go in the first period, the Tigers tied the game at 13-fueled by a layup Juanita Robinson hit a 3-point field goal.

Purcell put the Cougars back up by two, 17-15, as she took the ball to the hoop and scored. BYU took the 17-15 lead into the second period.

The Tigers hit their second 3-point field goal of the game to open the second period. Missouri then increased its lead to three, 20-17, on a layup by Frericks. At the 5:41 mark, the Tigers pulled ahead by six, 27-21, as Sierra Michaelis made a pair of free throws.

Missouri then went on a 6-0 run after the second period media timeout to take the 33-21 lead, forcing a Cougar timeout.

Rydalch put a stop to the Tiger run as she converted a 3-point play to cut the lead to nine, 33-24. On the next BYU possession, Rydalch got to the free throw line again, cutting the Tiger advantage to seven, 33-26.

Under a minute to go, Pulsipher hit a crucial 3-point field goal to put the Cougars within four, 35-31, going in to the half. Rydalch led all scorers with 15 points at the break, and Purcell had a game-high eight rebounds. Both teams shot 50.0 percent in the first half.

Missouri scored a basket quickly out of the break, but BYU then scored four straight points to make the score 37-35. The Tigers then went on an 8-0 run to take the 45-35 lead.

At the 6:29 mark, Purcell made the basket and got fouled to put a stop to Missouri’s run, cutting the lead to seven, 45-38. After a Tiger lay up, Rydalch converted her first 3-pointer of the game to bring the Cougars within six, 47-41. Missouri then went on a 5-0 run to make the score 52-41.

The Cougars cut the Tiger lead to five, 52-47, as Pulsipher and Rydalch both hit a pair of free throws. Missouri extended its lead to 10, 58-48, as Sophie Cunningham drove to the hoop. BYU went into the fourth period down 11, 60-49.

Missouri finished the game shooting 56.8 percent from the field to BYU’s 47.2. The Tigers outrebounded the Cougars 30 to 20 and had 15 assists to BYU’s six. The Cougars finished the game with 26 points off of turnovers to the Tigers’ 17.