Jan. 5, 2007
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The Gonzaga University women's basketball team opened West Coast Conference play with a 60-56 victory over host Loyola Marymount University this evening. With the win the Bulldogs improved its record to 9-8 overall and 1-0 in WCC, while the Lions dropped to 8-7 overall and 0-1 in conference.
The game came down to the final minute of play as the Bulldogs broke a 56-56 tie when sophomore Jami Bjorklund drove the baseline and made a layup with 44 seconds remaining. On the next possession, Loyola Marymount had two opportunities to tie the game but Amanda Decoud and Jennifer Hall both missed layups before senior Stephanie Hawk grabbed the defensive rebound. Junior Rachel Kane secured the victory for Gonzaga by hitting two free throws with 17 seconds left in the game.
The contest was close throughout as Gonzaga and Loyola Marymount played to a 29-29 halftime tie. The largest lead of the first half was a six-point advantage by the Bulldogs with 9:45 to play. With the Lions leading 9-8, the Zags rattled off seven-straight points; including a three-pointer by junior Michelle Elliott, a layup by Hawk and two free throws by freshman Vivian Frieson, to lead 15-9.
Gonzaga couldn't break the game open as Loyola Marymount tied the contest three times over the final minutes of the half before Amanda Patton drained a three-pointer at the 1:08 mark to give the Lions a 29-26 lead; only its second lead of the half. The Bulldogs responded with a last second three-pointer by senior Katy Ridenour to knot the game going into the locker room.
Gonzaga came out strong in the second half, quickly building a 39-31 lead at the 15:29 mark. Hawk was the strength behind the Zags as she scored six of GU's first 10 points of the half.
The Bulldogs never led by less than three points in the second half until the Lions, trailing by seven at 5:57, used a 9-2 spurt to tie the contest at 54-54 with 2:23 left. Each team scored a basket to put the score at 56-56 and set up the dramatic finish.
Hawk finished the contest with her third double-double of the season; scoring 12 points and grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds. Hawk also had three blocks, two steals and one assist in the victory.
Also leading the way for Gonzaga was Elliott and Bowman who scored 13 and 12 points, respectively. Bowman also added nine rebounds, while Elliott chipped in one assist and one steal.
Loyola Marymount was led by Decoud who scored a game-high 16 points. Hall chipped in 14 points, while Valerie Ogoke grabbed 12 rebounds; eight of which were offensive.
Gonzaga will be back in action on Sunday, Jan. 7 when it continues West Coast Conference action at Pepperdine. Game time is set for 2 p.m.