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WCC Women's Basketball Recaps

Feb. 2, 2008

Gonzaga - 88
Santa Clara - 52

SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University women's basketball sophomore's Heather Bowman and Vivian Frieson combined for 45 points to help the Bulldogs roll over Santa Clara University, 88-52, Saturday afternoon at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Zags took a two-game lead in the West Coast Conference standings with the victory, improving to 7-0 in the WCC and 16-6 overall. The Broncos, who came into the contest in second-place, fell to 5-2 in conference and 16-5 overall.

Bowman's game-high 26 points and eight rebounds led Gonzaga, who had the game in hand after the Bulldogs used an early 23-5 run to gain an 18-point advantage at 27-9 with 10:15 remaining in the opening half.

After Bowman and Frieson helped the Zags to a 51-34 halftime advantage, scoring 17 and 12 points, respectively, the Broncos were able to come out of intermission and cut the Bulldogs lead to 16 at 57-41 with 16:34 remaining in the contest. Gonzaga responded though, outscoring Santa Clara 31-7 over the next 11 minutes to gain its largest lead of the contest at 88-48 with 4:59 left.

For the second-straight contest all but one Gonzaga player scored. Besides Bowman and Frieson, who finished the game with 19 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals, the Zags were led by freshman Courtney Vandersloot who posted an all-around game of nine points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Gonzaga, who scored 50 or more points in a half for the fourth time this season, closed out the game shooting 48.4% (31-64) from the floor, which included a blistering 54.3% (19-35) in the opening half. The Zags also hit 37.5% (3-8) from beyond the three-point arc and 74.2% (23-31) at the free throw line.

The Bulldogs held the huge 51-32 advantage in rebounds, including 16-11 in offensive boards. For the second-consecutive game the Zags capitalized on their opponents turnovers, scoring 30 points on the Bronocs miscues.

Santa Clara was led by Jen Gottschalk and Tracey Walker who both scored 14 points apiece. Chandice Cronk, the Broncos leading scorer coming into the game at 17.6, registered only eight points, six of which were from the free throw line, before going down with a knee injury mid-way through the second half.

Gonzaga will begin the second-half of its WCC slate when it hits the road for a game at Loyola Marymount University on Thursday, Feb. 7. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Loyola Marymount - 68
San Francisco - 64

San Francisco, CA - Head Coach Julie Wilhoit gained her 300th career victory as LMU held off a late San Francisco rally for a 68-64 victory Saturday afternoon at War Memorial Gymnasium. The Lions (12-10, 4-3 WCC) complete the first round of conference play in a tie for third place in the standings with the Dons (13-9, 4-3 WCC).

"The most important thing was that we were able to get a road victory," Wilhoit said. "Personally, there is no better place than LMU to get my 300th win. Our great staff and great athletes makes this so special for me."

In her 13th season at LMU, Wilhoit has won her last 179 games at LMU after 33 wins in two years at Pitt-Bradford. She began her coaching career at IUPUI, where she gained 88 wins in five seasons.

LMU got another strong team effort, with eight of the nine players who saw action scoring. Freshman Renahy Young had a team-high 15 points to lead the Lions in scoring for the sixth time in conference play and was joined in double figures by senior Amanda DeCoud and junior Jenna Sybesma, who each had 11 points. Sybesma added six rebounds off the bench. Sophomore Lisa Helmers contributed nine points and junior Cassady Moore gave the Lions eight key points.

LMU shot just under 40% overall, sinking 26-of-66 from the floor (39.4%). After shooting just two free throws in the first half, LMU displayed more aggressiveness in the second, going to the line 17 times, making 11 to finish at 57.9% (11-for-19). The Lions also continued to hold on to the ball, committing just 10 turnovers to the Dons' 17.

Dominique Carter led all scorers with 23 points and Shay Rollins added 11 for the Dons. Heidi Heintz also chipped in eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds. After shooting 46% in the first half, USF was held to 36% in the second by the active Lion defense, going 25-for-61 overall (41.0%). The Dons also held a 44-37 rebounding advantage. Both sides hit five three-pointers.

The Lions shared the wealth early, with a three-pointer by sophomore Kavita Goss giving them a 16-13 lead eight minutes in and seven different scorers on LMU's first seven baskets. Although the Dons made six of their first eight shots, LMU's defense forced 10 turnovers in the game's first nine minutes. The sharing continued as Moore's back-to-back layups resulted in an eighth Lion scorer in the first half.

A free-flowing first half slowed down as the Lions held USF without a basket over the final 5:16 to go into the break leading 33-31.

Back-to-back three-pointers from sophomore Lisa Helmers and Young gave LMU a six-point lead, 41-35, at 16:58, which they held for much of the next seven minutes. Again, the defense was strong, keeping USF to only one basket over a four-minute stretch while four straight points from Moore helped LMU to open up its largest lead at 59-49 under nine minutes.

The WCC's leading scorer, Carter took over to bring the Dons back. She scored seven straight points, hitting a three-pointer from the win with 1:40 left to make it a one-point game, 65-64. The Lions answered back, going inside to Sybesma for a short jump-hook to restore the three-point lead. After both teams registered stops, the Dons got the ball back with 30 seconds left but Nikya Peace's long three-pointer was offline and USF fouled DeCoud. The senior missed the front end of the double bonus but sank the second to make it a two-possession game. After another Don timeout, they went back to Peace but again she was well short on the three-point attempt and DeCoud came away with the rebound and the milestone victory.

LMU starts the second half of conference play at home with a pair of games next week. On Thursday, the Lions host league leaders Gonzaga at 7 p.m. The game will be LMU's "Think Pink" night, where fans who where pink will be admitted for $2 and the first 500 fans will receive free t-shirts. The home stand ends Saturday at 2 p.m. with a visit by Portland.

Portland - 80
Saint Mary's - 78

PORTLAND, Ore. --- Portland head coach Jim Sollars picked up his 130th career West Coast Conference win in dramatic fashion on Saturday as the Pilots edged the Saint Mary's Gaels 80-78 at the Chiles Center. Sollars now has more WCC wins than any coach in the 20-year history of the league.

The win also leaves Sollars just two shy of 300 as head coach at UP.

"If you live long enough, you're going to pick up some records," said Sollars, who is in his 22nd season as head coach on The Bluff. "But it's just a number. You want your team to be successful and have a winning season, that is the ultimate goal. This record is nice, but it really is just a number."

Sollars and the Pilots (13-9, 3-4 WCC) nearly had to wait another week to go for win number 130 as the Gaels made a game of it down the stretch. After Saint Mary�s (10-13, 2-5 WCC) had rallied from 17 points down in the second half to take the lead late, Portland was forced to make some clutch plays in the closing minute.

Trailing by three with 36 seconds showing on the clock, UP sophomore forward Laura Thomas hit her first field goal of the game to pull the Pilots within 77-78.

On the other end, Karlie Burris made a huge steal and raced the other way for an apparent break-away lay-up. But Saint Mary's was called for the intentional foul, giving Burris two free throws and possession to the Pilots. Burris hit one of two to tie the game at 78-78 with ten seconds left.

On the ensuing play, Portland again went down low to Thomas, who hit a spinning, left-handed bank shot with a defender draped on her arm and six seconds left.

Saint Mary's then quickly got the ball up court, but Lauren Shaughnessy's lay-up was off the mark and Allyson Sievers corralled the rebound to secure the win for the Pilots.

"That's the third game in Laura�s career that she has won for us on a play like that," Sollars said. "We just gave her the ball down low and let her make a move. She made two tough shots for us down the stretch."

Before Thomas' last-second heroics, Burris put up some eye-popping numbers. The junior wing from Tucson, Ariz., flirted with a triple-double, finishing with career highs of 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. She shot six of 10 from the field and hit all three of her three-point attempts. She also blocked a career-high three shots.

Portland also got a career game from freshman post Lauren Angel, who put up a career-best 12 points on 6-for-10 shooting. Most of her points came on feathery, mid-range jumpers, avoiding SMC's Louella Tomlinson, who entered the game as the nation�s top shot-blocker. Tomlinson blocked four shots, one shy of her season average.

Sophomore guard Kendra Morris, who provided the Pilots with early offense, scored 16 points on the game, with 12 coming in the first half.

Fellow sophomore guard Laiken Dollente also scored in double figures with 11 points. Dollente, who entered the game ranked second in the nation in free throw percentage (.913), hit all eight of her attempts from the line. She hit 43 of her last 44 free throws.

Portland finished with a huge advantage in rebounds (53-35), led by Sievers with nine. Thomas added seven. The Pilots hit 42 percent (28-for-66) of their shots, went 7-for-13 on three-pointers and missed just three free throws out of 20 attempts.

Portland also turned the ball over a season-high 33 times, which led to 34 SMC points. UP was able to convert 19 Gael turnovers into 20 points.

Jontelle Smith led the Gaels with a game-high 25 points. Saint Mary�s shot just 34 percent (23-for-68) from the floor and hit four treys.

With 10:00 left in the game, Portland appeared to have the Gaels on the ropes with a 63-48 lead. But Saint Mary�s embarked on a 22-5 run during the next six minutes to take a three-point lead with less than four minutes to play.

The Pilots then briefly re-claimed the lead after a Dollente three-pointer made it 75-74 with 2:34 showing on the clock. Moments later, a lay-up by SMC�s Sierra Chambers put the Gaels back up three, setting up the late-game drama.

Portland led 37-32 at the half.

The Pilots next hit the road for a game against the Pepperdine Waves in Malibu, Calif., on Thursday.

San Diego - 83
Pepperdine - 72

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Four University of San Diego women's basketball players scored in double figures, paced by Amber Sprague's 15 points and 14 rebounds to help lead the Toreros to their second straight West Coast Conference win over Pepperdine University Saturday afternoon at USD's Jenny Craig Pavilion.

With the win, the Toreros improve to 11-10 overall and 2-5 in the WCC and have now won back-to-back WCC games. With the loss, the Waves fall to 6-14 overall and 1-6 in the WCC.

Sprague paced the Toreros with her team-best 15 points on 6-for-15 shooting from the floor and pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds. Brianna Estell scored a career-high 12 points and recorded five assists. Sam Child continued her hot shooting as she scored 11 points, while tying a career-high nine rebounds. Morgan Henderson was the final USD player to record double-figures as she had 10 points. Amanda Rego recorded a game-high seven assists in the win.

The game began with both teams having trouble shooting. The Toreros took the lead after the Waves initial basket and held on to it until Katie Menton's three-pointer with 5:28 left in the half. San Diego regained the lead shortly after when Sam Child sunk a shot from beyond the arc (29-28). Pepperdine responded with a two-point field goal by Daphanie Kennedy. Child answered with a field goal of her own to take back the lead for San Diego (31-30).

The first half ended with San Diego leading 41-39. Kennedy notched 18 points in 12 minutes to lead the game's scoring. She made 7-of-8 field goals and 2-of-3 three-pointers for the Waves. The Toreros had three players, Sam Child, Brianna Estell and Kaila Mangrum shooting nine points a piece in the half.

San Diego stepped up its offense, scoring 11 points in the first 4:00 of the second half. A free shot by Amber Sprague followed by a field goal, gave the Toreros their widest lead of the game (52-43). The Waves struggled with their shots beyond the arc, while San Diego continued its offensive charge widening the gap by 13 points (61-48). Shannon Johnson's three-pointer reduced the lead by 10 (63-53). Both teams traded baskets with the Waves struggling to reduce their deficit. With 3:58 remaining in the second half, Menton shot a three-pointer to bring Pepperdine within seven points of San Diego (74-67).

San Diego was leading by seven with 1:00 left in the game, Kennedy's three-point shot put the Waves within four points of the Toreros. San Diego called back-to-back time outs with 0:37 left and the Toreros with possession. Amber Sprague sunk two free shots to extend the lead to six with :26 left. Estell picked up another point for San Diego on a free shot with :20 left (79-72). Amanda Rego scored two more points on free shots to give the Toreros a nine point lead with :10 left. Child made the sixth free shot in the final :20 for San Diego.

The Toreros will return to action on Saturday as they host the University of San Francisco in a 2 p.m. game inside the friendly confines of the Jenny Craig Pavilion.