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Lions Fall in WCC Opener

Jan. 5, 2007

Box Score

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The LMU women's basketball team dropped a close contest to the visiting Gonzaga Bulldogs, falling 60-56 in the West Coast Conference opener this evening in Gersten Pavilion. The game was tight the whole way, but Gonzaga was able to take a lead with 44 seconds on the clock and hold off the Lions in their final possession. The Lions look to get back on track when they host Portland in the second game of the weekend on Sunday at 2:00pm.

It was a slow start for both teams, as the teams combined for 15 points in the first eight minutes of the game. The Bulldogs (9-8, 1-0) took an 8-2 lead, but the Lions (8-7, 0-1) answered with seven straight points to go up, 9-8 on a jumper by Valerie Ogoke at 12:01. The Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run over the next 1:15 to go up 15-9, but the Lions stayed close. They tied things up on a steal and a layup by Amanda DeCoud at 6:58.

Neither team would lead by more than three points for the rest of the half. After the Zags took a 26-23 advantage on a Jami Bjorklund layup, Cassady Moore and Amanda Patton hit back to back three-pointers to put LMU up by three, 29-26 with a minute left in the half. The Bulldogs managed to tie it with no time on the clock on a bank shot three-pointer by Katy Ridenour to make it a 29-29 game at halftime.

Neither team shot well from the field in the first half. LMU shot just 29.4%, while Gonzaga shot 37.5%. Three different players had six first half points to lead LMU - Jennifer Hall, DeCoud and Patton. Heather Bowman led Gonzaga with eight points in the first half. LMU was strong on the boards, outrebounding Gonzaga 24-21, including six by Ogoke and Ashlee Dunlap.

Gonzaga acme out strong out of the halftime break, hitting shots and grabbing rebounds in the opening minutes of the half. The Bulldogs outscored LMU 10-2 in the first 4:30 of the half to take a 39-31 lead. LMU stayed close by Gonzaga never trailed in the second half. A layup by DeCoud cut the lead to 44-41 with 9:38 remaining, but Gonzaga extended its lead back to seven points on a three-pointer by Michelle Elliott at 5:57.

LMU did not give up, fighting back to tie the game 54-54 with 3:23 remaining on a driving layup by Moore. A jumper by Elliott at 2:13 gave Gonzaga a 56-54 lead, but another driving layup by Patton tied things at 56-56 with 1:12 remaining in the game.

On their next possession, Gonzaga was able to take the lead for good, 58-56, on a layup by Bjorklund with 44 seconds on the clock. The Lions had several opportunities to tie the game on their next possession, but LMU missed two shots in the paint before Gonzaga was finally able to regain possession with 32 seconds on the clock. LMU was forced to foul, and Rachel Kane converted two free throws for the final 60-56 margin of victory.

Although LMU outrebounded Gonzaga 18-14 in the second half, the Bulldogs shot 52.2% from the field while LMU made just 37.5% of its shots. DeCoud led all players with 16 points. She also added four steals for LMU. Jennifer Hall, the WCC December Player of the Month, chipped in 14 points and nine rebounds. Patton finished with eight points and six rebounds, making two three-pointers for LMU. Ogoke led LMU in rebounding with 12 boards and had three blocks. Eight of those were offensive.

Elliott led Gonzaga with 13 points, while Bowman and Stephanie Hawk each finished with 12 points. Hawk finished with a double double, grabbing 13 rebounds, and also blocked three shots.

The Lions wrap up their first weekend of play on Sunday by hosting Portland at 2:00pm in Gersten Pavilion. Portland dropped its WCC opener to Pepperdine, 59-54.

- GO LIONS! -