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WCC Women's Basketball Recaps

Jan. 12, 2008

Gonzaga - 81
Loyola Marymount - 65

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Gonzaga University women's basketball team improved to 2-0 in the West Coast Conference with an impressive 81-65 victory over Loyola Marymount University in a rematch of the 2007 WCC Tournament Championship game Saturday afternoon at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Wash.

The Bulldogs, who have won three-straight contests, are now 11-6 overall this season, while the Lions dropped to 9-8 overall and 1-1 in WCC action with the loss.

Senior guard Michelle Elliott continued her spectacular play in WCC action finishing with a game-high 17 points, 14 of which were scored in the second half. Elliott, who had 22 points for the Bulldogs in their WCC opening win over Pepperdine University, was only 3-of-11 from the floor, including 2-of-5 from behind the three-point arc, but was 9-for-11 at the charity stripe.

Freshman point guard Courtney Vandersloot also posted double-figure points for Gonzaga for the second-straight contest, registering 14, along with five rebounds, three assists and one steal. Freshman forward Janelle Bekkering added 12 points for GU.

The Bulldogs finished the game shooting 41.8 percent (28-67) from the field, including 43.8 percent (7-of-16) on three-pointers, and was 75.0 percent (18-24) at the free throw line. Gonzaga dominated the boards again, holding the huge 54-35 advantage, including the 13-5 edge on the offensive end and outscored the Lions 27-2 on fast-break buckets and 34-24 in the paint.

Loyola Marymount's Renahy Young, a freshman who scored a career-high 20 points against the University of Portland in LMU's opening WCC contest, had a team-high 14 points for the Lions. Amanda DeCoud added 11 points and Kavita Goss chipped in 10. LMU finished the contest shooting 35.3 percent (24-68) from the floor and 42.9 percent (6-of-14) from three-point range to go along with 73.3 percent (11-for-15) at the free throw line.

Gonzaga jumped out ahead early, building an 11-4 lead at the 14:29 mark after a free throw by senior guard Michelle Elliott. The Bulldogs then used a 13-4 run over the next seven minutes to gain its largest lead of the half at 16. The run was capped off with an old fashion three-point play by Maria Hassett which put the score at 24-8 with 7:46 remaining in the opening half.

Loyola Marymount seemed to find their rhythm from distance, getting three-pointers from Goss and Lisa Helmers which sparked a run. An offensive rebound and put back by LMU's Aleyse Evans cut the score to 28-20 but GU got six-straight points from Bekkering to push its advantage back to 14. The Bulldogs stayed strong over the final five minutes and were able to go into the intermission ahead 40-31.

Elliott drained a three-pointer to open the second half and it was all Gonzaga after that. The Zags, who built their lead to 67-45 at 10:35 after a three-pointer by senior Rachel Kane, kept their lead above 20 for the final 10 minutes of the contest.

Gonzaga was sizzling in the second stanza, hitting 6-of-9 three-point attempts after only hitting one in the opening half.

The Bulldogs hit the road for the next two WCC contests. Gonzaga begins the week with a game at the University of San Diego, picked to finish first in the conference, on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. The Zags then play at the University of San Francisco on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 2 p.m.

Portland - 60
Pepperdine - 56

PORTLAND, Ore. --- The Portland Pilots withstood a 15-0 second-half run by Pepperdine and defeated the Waves 60-56 in a West Coast Conference women's basketball game Saturday afternoon at the Chiles Center. Junior center Carly Koebel scored nine points with seven rebounds and four blocked shots for Portland, which was without the services of an ill Rachel Warren.

In her first start of the season, Koebel matched a career high in rebounds, while setting season highs in both points and rebounds. Freshman Lauren Angel also helped fill the void left by Warren with eight points in 15 minutes.

"We knew Rachel (Warren) was questionable, so we came out hard in the first half," said Koebel. "We knew that everyone on the team was going to have to step up and we responded."

"I'm really proud of the way that both Carly and Lauren stepped up today," Sollars added.

Portland evens its conference mark at 1-1, while moving to 11-6 on the season. It's the eighth straight loss for Pepperdine, which drops to 5-10 overall and 0-2 in the WCC.

"Pepperdine is a talented team and we just kept our composure down the stretch," UP head coach Jim Sollars said. "We did good things and really executed well late in the game. In the conference, every game is going to be like this."

After leading 32-25 at the break, the Pilots opened the second half on a 10-2 burst to establish their biggest lead of the game. Junior Karlie Burris and sophomore Laiken Dollente each scored four points during the run to help push Portland's lead to 42-27 three minutes into the half.

The lead was 11 at 44-33 moments later when Pepperdine responded with a run of its own. The Waves scored 15 unanswered points to take their first lead since seven minutes into the game. Daphne Kennedy netted six of the 15 points as Pepperdine took a 48-44 lead with less than ten minutes to play.

Portland regrouped and took the lead back when junior Allyson Sievers converted down low to make it 49-48 in UP's favor. The Pilots lead would grow to eight before Pepperdine closed the gap down the stretch. A three-point play by the Waves' Miranda Ayim pulled Pepperdine within 56-54 with 1:55 showing on the clock.

Burris and Koebel then hit a pair of clutch free throws during the final 90 seconds to seal the win.

"Every single night is going to be a battle during conference play," said Koebel. "We played the entire 40 minutes today and played extremely hard on defense. When we execute what we've been practicing, we're successful, and that showed today.

"In the WCC, if you give up for even a second, the other team is going to hurt you. We knew coming into the league schedule that we'd have to be focused and precise in order to win."

Burris and Dollente both finished with a team-high 14 points for the Pilots. Sophomore Kendra Morris dished out five assists, while freshman Tara Cronin added five points and five assists off the bench.

Sievers also made her presence known in the paint, finishing with a season-high 12 rebounds. She just missed a double-double with nine points.

Ayim scored a game-high 17 points for the Waves. Kennedy added 14, but shot just 4-for-18 from the field. Teiosha George corralled a game-high 13 boards, with only one coming in the second half.

Pepperdine won the battle of the boards 40-32, while Portland held a 34-32 advantage in points in the paint.

Portland, which is currently the 16th-best free throw shooting team in the nation, had another solid showing at the line, going 14-for-16. The Pilots shot 40.7 percent (22-for-54) from the floor and hit two three-pointers.

The Pilots forced 23 Pepperdine turnovers, which led to 19 UP points. The Pilots also held the Waves to 35.7 percent (20-for-56) shooting for the game and 1-for-7 on three-pointers. Pepperdine was 15-for-24 from the line.

Pepperdine scored 18 points off 16 Portland turnovers.

The Pilots next hit the road for three straight conference games away from the Chiles Center, beginning with a game at San Francisco on Thursday. The Pilots and Dons are set to go at 7:00 p.m. in San Francisco, Calif.

Saint Mary's - 74
Santa Clara - 71

Santa Clara, CA - A well balanced offense and aggressive defensive effort was what led the Gaels over the Broncos Satruday night, with three players recording double figures, in Saint Mary's 74-71 win over the Broncos. Freshman Forward Louella Tomlinson came away with a double-double in the contest, posting a team-high 21 points and 11 rebounds. In her first game back off a four game rest junior Jontelle Smith finished with 18 points, knocking down 5-of-9 from the floor. Rounding out the double-digit figures was senior Lauren Shaughnessy with 15 points and seven rebounds.

The Gaels were ready to start the West Coast Conference out with a bang, as Saint Mary's took a 6-2 lead over the Broncos three minutes into play. Ball movement proved to be the key for the Gaels, as Tomlinson made a quick move down low, and kicked it out to a wide open Chambers at the free throw line. Chambers knocked down the open look, and the next time down the floor found Smith beyond the arc for three. With the back-to-back scores by Chambers and Smith the Gaels went up 12-9.

Once again Chambers would drive and kick, this time to Benavente on the wing. Benavente capitalized to give the Gaels a seven point lead, their largest lead of the half thus far. Santa Clara would continue to keep the game close, but they Gaels would never relinquish the lead, as they continued to find the bottom of the net throughout the first half.

Senior guard Lauren Shaughnessy would catch fire as she split three defenders to put the Gaels up 20-13, and would then hit a quick pull-up jumper to continue the Gaels' hot streak.

At the half the Gaels remained on top, 36-29, with Tomlinson and Smith leading the way with 10 and eight points respectively. Tomlinson also pulled down a team-high six rebounds in the first half, while tabbing five blocks.

Saint Mary's team defense held the Broncos to 25 percent shooting from the floor, as they were 10-of-40 in the first half. Santa Clara shot a mere 13 percent (2-of-15) from beyond the arc, while the Gaels shot perfectly, as they were 3-of-3 from long range.

Once again the Gaels started off with a spark; as they took a 40-31 lead to start the second half. Unfortunately for Saint Mary's the Broncos began to find their rhythm on the offensive end, as senior forward Jen Gottschalk dominated the Gaels both from the inside and outside. Joining Gottschalk was fellow senior, Chandice Cronk, Cronk awoke in the second half, knocking down a 15 footer on the baseline to give Santa Clara their first lead of the second half, 62-60, with 8:00 minutes to play.

Chambers then found Smith in transition beyond the arc with 6:08 to play, with Smith knocking down the three, to take back the lead 63-62. From that point on both teams battled for the lead, exchanging the advantage back and forth.

Benavente knocked down a big shot with three minutes remaining, as the Gaels would take a 69-66 lead over the Broncos. Saint Mary's would get a stop on the defensive end, as Smith was fouled on the block out and once again Benavente would make an important play for the Gaels, as she picked off a Bronco pass in the backcourt and found a streaking Smith for an easy bucket. The fast break lay-up came with 1:55 left to play, and put the Gaels up four points.

With the four point lead in hand and one minute to play, Smith would draw a foul on Cronk on a shot fake, hitting two free throws to give the Gaels a six point lead. The Broncos would respond with a three pointer, to cut the lead to three, and with 14.4 seconds left on the clock the Broncos would call a timeout.

Santa Clara had two opportunities to tie the game from beyond the arc, but came up short as the Gaels edged the Broncos 74-71 in the WCC opener. Jen Gottschalk led all players with 30 points in the game, as she scored 18 of her points in the second half.

The Gaels return to WCC action next weekend, as they head down south to face Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. The game against the Waves will take place on Thursday, January 17 at 7:00 PM, and then the Gaels will face the Lions on Saturday, January 19 at 2:00 PM.

San Francisco - 80
San Diego - 62

SAN FRANCISCO - Junior Necolia Simmons scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds as USF routed San Diego 80-62 in the Dons' West Coast Conference opener Saturday. San Francisco shot 50-percent from the field and led by as many as 24 points over USD, the preseason favorite to take the regular season crown.

The win was the second straight over the Toreros as seven-seeded USF upset second-seeded San Diego in the first round of the WCC Tournament last March. USF is now 10-6 on the year, while USD holds a 9-6 record.

Besides being down 4-0 two minutes into action, USF led the entirety of regulation. The Dons built their lead on the strength of a 26-7 run which started with two free throw makes by Simmons at 11:15. The Dons went into halftime leading 48-29 after shooting 57-percent (19-33) from the field, 7-for-13 from three point range.

San Diego mounted a short six-point run starting at the 14:31 mark in the second period to cut the lead to as low as 14. The Toreros would end the night hitting shots at a 38.7-percent clip.

Overall, the Dons were 31-for-61 in their scoring attempts. Junior Shay Rollins and senior Dominique Carter joined Simmons as USF double-figure scorers notching 15 and 18 point, respectively.

Amber Sprague scored 17 points and had 10 rebounds for San Diego. Morgan Henderson and Kiva Herman added 11 apiece. Amanda Rego had eight points and 11 rebounds.

USF continues conference play against Portland next Thursday from War Memorial Gym. Tip off versus the Pilots is set for 7 p.m. PT.