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WCC Women's Basketball Recaps

Jan. 26, 2008

Gonzaga - 76
Portland - 50

SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University women's basketball head coach Kelly Graves earned his 200th career victory as the Bulldogs defeated the University of Portland 76-50 Saturday afternoon in the McCarthey Athletic Center. Graves, who was coaching against his former mentor Jim Sollars head coach of the Pilots, now has a 200-125 Division I career record over 11 years.

The Zags have won six-straight and hold a 14-6 overall record and a perfect 5-0 mark in the West Coast Conference. The Pilots fell to 12-8 overall with the loss and 2-3 in conference.

Gonzaga played some of its best basketball during the first 10 minutes of the contest building a 21-5 lead at the 11:51 mark. The Zags hit 8-of-14 (57.1%) during this stretch, while the Pilots only hit 2 of its first 12 shots.

The Bulldogs started to stumble after senior guard Rachel Kane went down with a knee injury at the 13:30 mark and after sophomore Heather Bowman picked up her second foul of the afternoon at 10:44. The Pilots rattled off 10-straight points with both Bowman and Kane out of the game to slice the Zags lead to only six at 25-19 with 4:25 left in the first half.

Gonzaga finally broke its nine-minute dry spell with a layup by sophomore Vivian Frieson at 3:00. Two free throws by Frieson at the 2:12 mark pushed the Bulldogs lead back to 10. A free throw by Portland's Laura Thomas put the Zags halftime advantage at 29-20.

The Bulldogs came out flying in the second stanza outscoring the Pilots 24-13 during the first 12 minutes of the half to take a commanding 55-33 lead with 8:54 remaining in the contest. Michelle Elliott drained two three-pointers during this run, while Bowman had nine points during the stretch.

Portland was able to pull within 11 after a three-pointer by Karlie Burris at 11:33 but nine unanswered points by Gonzaga gave the Bulldogs a 20-point advantage.

The Bulldogs continued to hold its lead above 20 points for the majority of the final eight minutes of the contest. Gonzaga largest lead of the game came at the 1:32 mark when freshman Claire Raap sank one-of-two free throws to put the GU lead at 74-48.

Gonzaga closed out the contest shooting a superb 48.3% (29-60) from the floor, including 50.0% (4-8) on three points, but was a dismal 63.6% (14-22) at the charity stripe. The Bulldogs outrebounded the Pilots 45-37, forced 17 UP turnovers, made 11 steals and blocked three shots.

All five starters for Gonzaga finished the game in double-figure points, including Bowman who tallied a game-high 18 points, along with eight rebounds, three steals and one assist. Frieson chipped in 14 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, while senior Michelle Elliott, junior Jami Bjorklund and freshman Courtney Vandersloot all posted 11 points apiece.

For the second-straight game Bjorklund held the leading scorer of the opposing team well below their scoring average. Last week, Bjorklund limited the University of San Francisco's Dominique Harris to just seven points, when she was averaging 19.0 points coming into the contest. Against Portland she held the Pilots' Laiken Dollente to just three points. Dollente, who scored her only points on a three-pointer at the 5:27 mark of the second stanza, was averaging a team-best 15.9 points per game.

The Pilots were led by Burris who scored a team-high 10 points. Portland shot 31.8% (21-66) from the floor, including 37.5% (6-16) on three-pointers and was 28.6% (2-7) at the free throw line. Gonzaga will be back in action Thursday, Jan. 31 when it welcomes Saint Mary's College to the McCarthey Athletic Center. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

LMU - 70
Pepperdine - 57

Malibu, CA - LMU opened a three-game road swing with a 70-57 victory at Pepperdine in a West Coast Conference game Saturday afternoon at Firestone Fieldhouse. Four Lions scored in double figures as LMU (11-9, 3-2 WCC) gained its fifth straight win over the Waves (6-12, 1-4 WCC) in Malibu.

In a physical contest, the Lions showed great poise to maintain their composure. LMU recovered from a slow start to take a double-digit halftime lead, stretching their advantage to as many as 25 before holding off a late Wave surge. In addition to the balanced scoring on offense, LMU's defense also performed well, forcing Pepperdine to turn the ball over 22 times and outscoring the Waves 25-9 off those turnovers.

LMU's backcourt of freshman Renahy Young and senior Amanda DeCoud led the way with 14 points apiece. DeCoud also grabbed a career-high eight rebounds despite leaving the game in the first half after receiving a blow to the face that opened up a cut on her lip. Inside, senior Valerie Ogoke carried the load with 13 points and nine rebounds (five offensive) and redshirt freshman Aleyse Evans tied her career-high with eight points. Sophomore Kavita Goss came off the bench to spur the Lions' initial run, finishing with 13 points

The Lions shot 41.4% (29-for-70) overall and 38.1% (8-for-21) from three-point range while holding the Waves to 35.1% (20-for-57) from the floor and 26.1% (6-for-23) from distance. LMU also held a 41-38 rebounding edge, including 18 offensive boards that they converted into an 18-7 advantage in second-chance points.

Daphanie Kennedy led all scorers with 22 points but committed nine turnovers. Katie Menton added 14 points and Teena Wickett had 13 points and eight rebounds.

Despite a week off, the Lions' recent habit of slow starts followed them up the coast as they made just one of their first ten shots and fell behind 10-2. Kennedy was hot for the Waves, knocking down a three on the game's opening possession and connecting on a pair of drives for seven of Pepperdine's first 10 points.

Three-point shooting brought the Lions back as they rattled off four straight triples to take a 16-14 lead. Goss opened the run and Young followed from the top of the key. After LMU forced a turnover, sophomore Lisa Helmers hit from the corner and then Young completed the 12-0 string with her second three, also from the corner.

While Pepperdine was relying heavily on the play of Kennedy, who scored 13 of the team's 23 points in the first half, LMU was getting solid efforts from its guards. Six different Lions had scored in the opening half, led by Young's nine points, eight from Goss, and DeCoud with six. LMU's defense was strong, holding the Waves scoreless over the final 3:46 but it was seven straight points from Ogoke that staked the Lions to a 12-point lead, 35-23, that they took into the half.

Ogoke and Evans hit the glass to get the Lions going in the second half. The two combined for LMU's first six points to open up a 14-point lead, 41-27, and Young followed with a steal and layup to increase the advantage.

The Lion defense kept working to expand the lead. Three straight steals led to fastbreak points and the Lions hit the defensive boards to limit Pepperdine's opportunities. That lead grew to as many as 19, 54-35, on a three-pointer by Goss with 11:37 to go, and up to 25 at the eight-minute mark.

Pepperdine chipped away, mounting a 17-5 run via three-pointers and free throws to pull within 13, 67-54, on a layup by Kennedy with 2:27 left. But DeCoud put the game away on the next possession with a three of her own.

The Lions continue their road trip Thursday at San Diego at 8:00 p.m. in a game that will be televised live on ESPNU. The trip ends Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at San Francisco.

Saint Mary's - 71
San Diego - 63

Moraga, CA - The Gaels' second West Coast Conference game of the week proved to be a close one; as Saint Mary's pulled away with a minute and a half remaining to defeat San Diego, 71-63. The Saturday afternoon barn-burner consisted of 14 lead changes, eight ties, and no lead larger than eight points. Saint Mary's triple-threat could not be stopped, as Jontelle Smith, Lauren Shaughnessy, and Louella Tomlinson each posted in the double-digit range.

Smith was on fire throughout the game, recording 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the floor. The junior also picked up three rebounds and three steals in the game. Shaughnessy showed remarkable leadership throughout the contest, recording 18 points, six rebounds, two assists, and one steal in the game. Shaughnessy was 7-of-9 from the charity stripe, hitting four crucial free-throws down the stretch. Rounding out the major scorers was Tomlinson, chipping in 18 points, eight rebounds, and six blocks.

The Gaels started the game off cold from the floor, but back-to-back three-pointers by Tomlinson and Smith broke the Saint Mary's offensive game open, as they took a 7-2 lead at the 16:14 mark. San Diego responded by making three-point plays the old fashion way, as Emily Hatch and Brianna Estell helped the Toreros cut the lead to 10-9.

San Diego recaptured the lead on a lay-up by Amanda Rego, 15-12, and continued to push ahead of the Gaels off a Torero three-pointer, taking the largest advantage of the first half, 18-12. At the 8:20 mark the Gaels picked up their energy offensively, tying the score at 20 apiece. Saint Mary's maintained continuous pressure on defense to keep San Diego scoreless for five straight possessions, allowing the Gaels to go on an 8-2 run.

Chambers took back the lead at the charity stripe, knocking down two free throws to give the Gaels a 22-20 lead with 7:36 remaining. Both teams would trade the lead back and forth, until the Gaels inched ahead to take a 29-25 lead with 4:25 remaining in the half. San Diego surged back into the game as they went on a 4-0 run, tying the game at 29 apiece with 2:43 left to play in the first half. But the Gaels did not let their offensive rhythm slip, as they held the lead at halftime, 35-33.

Tomlinson and Smith led the Gaels at the half with 13 and 10 points respectively. Almost half of Tomlinson's points came from the charity stripe, as she went 6-of-7 from the free throw line in the first half. Smith converted on a pair of high flying lay-ups and two three-pointers, as she went 4-of-10 from the field in the first half.

Saint Mary's would start the second half off slow, as San Diego took a 48-40 lead over the Gaels with 15:06 reaming. The Gaels would then go on a 13-0 run behind the triple-threat. Tomlinson scored on back-to-back possession for the Gaels, 48-48, and then Shaughnessy caught fire for two back-to-back of her own. With the game tied at 48 apiece Jontelle Smith hit on back-to-back possessions giving the Gaels a 53-48 advantage with 11:18 left in the game.

The remainder of the game would be a battle, with both teams exchanging the lead. Down three points at the 2:10 mark, Smith would knock down the 160th three-pointer of her career, tying the game at 63-63. With 1:06 remaining the gym exploded with excitement, as Kira Kojola recorded her first field goal of the ball game to give Saint Mary's a three point lead.

With 44.4 seconds remaining Shaughnessy would make the Toreros pay, as she knocked down two crucial free throws to extend the Gaels lead to five. Again Shaughnessy would prove to be clutch at the free throw line, sealing the game with two more free throws, 71-63.

San Diego was led by Sam Child in the game, recording 18 points and six rebounds.

The Gaels return to WCC action next week as they travel to the Pacific Northwest to face undefeated Gonzaga on January 31, at 7:00 PM and Portland on Saturday, February 2 at 1:00 PM.

Santa Clara - 57
San Francisco - 50

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Led by Jen Gottschalk's eighth double-double of the season the Santa Clara women's basketball team defeated the Dons of San Francisco, 57-50, Saturday night at the Leavey Center. Gottschalk registered a team-best 16 points and 12 rebounds as the Broncos improved to 15-4 on the season and 4-1 in West Coast Conference action. The Dons are know 12-8 overall and 3-2 in league play.

"I was very pleased with our efforts in the beginning of the first half," said head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. "Our whole focus is defense and we set the tone defensively right from the tip. Of all the numbers, outside of having more points than them, I am most proud that we held USF to a low field goal percentage. Our goal is to keep our opponents below 36 percent. We did a pretty good job tonight of forcing them to make tough shots."

Chandice Cronk added 15 points for SCU while being the only player with a perfect in-game free throw percentage (4-for-4). Tracey Walker was also a huge help for the Broncos off the boards as she pulled down 10 rebounds.

Despite a scoreless first three minutes, the Broncos climbed to a 10-0 lead on a jumper from Maggie Goldenberger. It wasn't until the 11:38 mark that the Dons scored on a deuce from Dominique Cater to make the score 10-2. USF began to chip away at Santa Clara's lead but the Broncos remained on top. They created an 11-point game with 4:34 led on a three-point goal from Nicole Gall. SCU then claimed its largest lead of the first half on a layup from Gottschalk, 26-13. The Broncos closed out the first half on a trey from Cronk, 26-13, with five seconds left. Both Gottschalk (4-for-4) and Goldenberger (3-for-3) were perfect from the field in the first half.

Elizabeth Doran opened the second half for the Broncos with a three-pointer, 32-16. The 16-point lead was the largest of the game. However, the Dons' newfound energy from the break helped them bring the score within two-points, 36-34, on a jumper from Necolia Simmons. Yet, USF could not knot the score. With 7:58 remaining, Cronk dropped a three to give Santa Clara a six-point edge, 42-36. The Broncos continued to control the scoreboard with a series of layups and free throws from Cronk and Gottschalk. Two made free throws from Cronk with 15 seconds left were the last scoring efforts of the game and gave Santa Clara their fourth straight conference win.

For the Dons, Carter registered a game-high 21 points and four steals, while Heidi Heintz had 11 points.

The Broncos return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 30 against the Pilots of Portland. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Chiles Center in Portland, Ore. Santa Clara then travels to Gonzaga for a 2 p.m. contest on Saturday, Feb. 2.