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WCC Women's Basketball Recaps

Feb. 8, 2007

Gonzaga - 78
Saint Mary's - 68

MORAGA, Calif. - The Gonzaga University women's basketball team began a three-game West Coast Conference road swing with a 78-68 victory over Saint Mary's College Thursday evening. The Bulldogs improved their WCC-leading record to 9-1 and are now 17-9 overall. The Gaels fell to 10-12 overall and 4-5 in conference.

Freshman Heather Bowman led Gonzaga with a game-high 25 points and 10 rebounds; her third double-double of the season. Bowman finished the contest shooting 8-for-10 from the field and 9-for-10 from the charity stripe.

Senior Katy Ridenour and sophomore Jami Bjorklund both finished with double-digit points for the Zags. Ridenour poured in 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting, including 1-for-2 accuracy from beyond the three-point arc, and 3-for-4 shooting from the free throw line. Bjorklund chipped in 11 points, along with four rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block.

Gonzaga, who went into halftime with a 43-34 advantage, overcame a slow start that saw Saint Mary's open up at 7-0 lead. Bowman dominated in the first half, scoring 16 points, including back-to-back jumpers with a little over three minutes remaining before halftime to give the Zags a double-digit lead at 39-28.

The largest lead of the game for the Bulldogs was 21. A layup by sophomore Maria Hassett and two made free throws by Bowman put Gonzaga's advantage over 20 at 60-41 with 12:16 remaining in the contest.

The Gaels were able to dwindle down the Zags lead to just nine, 68-59, at the 5:30 mark. Serena Benavente and Maija Lahde both scored six points a piece during Saint Mary's run towards Gonzaga's lead.

The Bulldogs sank 8-of-10 free throws down the stretch to help secure the 10-point victory.

Gonzaga closed out the game shooting 52.7 percent (29-55) from the field, including 50.0 percent (3-6) on three-pointers, and 70.8 percent (17-24) at the charity stripe. The Zags, who held Saint Mary's to 38.5 percent (25-65) shooting on the night, held the slight 39-32 advantage in rebounds.

The Bulldogs will be back in action when they plat at Santa Clara University on Saturday, Feb. 10. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

San Diego - 69
Loyola Marymount - 60

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Paced by Morgan Henderson's career-high 16 points and Amber Sprague's sixth double-double of the season, the University of San Diego women's basketball team held off a late Loyola Marymount University push to claim a 69-60 win in a West Coast Conference game Thursday evening.

With the win, the Toreros improve to 19-4 overall, 8-1 in the WCC and have swept the Lions for the first time since the 1997-98 season. With the loss, the Lions fall to 13-11 overall and 5-5 in the WCC.

Henderson scored her career-high 16, thanks in large part to a 4-for-6 performance from beyond the arc. Sprague scored 10 points, pulled down 11 rebounds, had four blocks and had a career-high six assists. Amanda Rego was the third of four USD players in double figures with 12 points and she added five assists. Ashley Voisinet was the final USD player in double digits with 12 points.

In the first half, the early going was even with both teams taking their turn with the lead. Then with the scored at 9-6 in favor of the Lions, Henderson sparked a 15-4 run with back-to-back-to-back three pointers for nine of her 11 first half points. Voisinet then capped the run with a pair of free-throws to give USD a 21-13 lead.

The Lions then responded with a 6-2 run to pull within two at 23-21, but that only sparked a 10-2 USD run. Sprague jump started the run with a steal, a pass to Winther then completed the play with a lay-up. Voisinet then capped the run with a break-away lay-up to give the Toreros their first double digit lead at 33-23.

LMU would then hit the last bucket of the half to cut the lead to eight at 33-25.

In the second frame, the Toreros grabbed the first bucket, but the Lions then used a 6-0 run to pull within four at 35-31.

Kiva Herman put an end to that run as she hit a pull-up jumper, which ignited an 8-0 USD run, capped by a Henderson three-pointer to give the Toreros a 12-point advantage.

Over the next several minutes, it was a story of runs with each team trading 7-0 run's putting the score at 50-38 in favor of USD.

The Toreros would hold on to that lead until late in the game when the Lions made a surge with just under four minutes to go. The Lions pulled to within three at 61-58 on a pair of Amanda Patton free-throws with 1:02 remaining, but the Toreros then hit key free-throws in the final minute to ice the victory.

The Toreros will return to action on Saturday as they conclude their Southern California WCC road swing with a trip to Malibu for a 2 p.m. showdown with Pepperdine University.

San Francisco - 64
Pepperdine - 60

Malibu, Calif. - USF opened its Southern California West Coast Conference swing Thursday night with an impressive 64-60 victory against Pepperdine at Firestone Fieldhouse. The Dons (8-16, 2-7 WCC) snap a five-game losing streak and complete the season series sweep against the Waves (11-14, 4-6 WCC) for the first time since 2005.

Sophomore guard Shay Rollins a career-high 20 points, including 13 in the second half to lead the Dons attack. Junior center Lisa Olden added 16 points on 6-of-7 from the floor to go along with seven rebounds before fouling out in 27 minutes. Junior guard Dominique Carter added eight points, six coming in the last two minutes of the contest.

"This was a great team win for us," USF head coach Tanya Haave said. "We played really hard as a team and had a great week of practice. It is so nice to see that hard work rewarded win a big win. We executed when we needed to and I am proud of their efforts."

San Francisco shot .440 (24-54) from the field, while the Waves connected at a .420 (24-57) clip. USF got the job done on the boards and out-rebounded Pepperdine 38-29 and held a big edge at the free throw line, converting on .943 (13-14), while the Waves shot just seven at the stripe.

USF shrugged off an 8-0 Pepperdine run to start the opening period by reeling off 14 unanswered points to take an early 14-8 lead on an Olden jumper with 11:56 remaining. From there the Waves stormed back riding a 21-9 run to take a 29-23 lead into the locker room at the intermission. Rollins led the Dons with seven points and four rebounds, while Olden added six points. San Francisco shot at a .393 (11-28) rate, while Pepperdine hit at a .464 (13-28) clip. The Waves showed off its depth with 14 bench points in the opening frame.

San Francisco trailed by as many as eight points in the second half, trailing 37-29, but tied the contest at 45-45 on a Rollins 3-pointer with 8:24 on the clock. The Dons broke open the tie with an 11-6 run to take a 56-51 lead with 4:51 left on a Rollins lay-up. USF answered each late Wave rally with points and took only its second road win of the season and the first WCC game away from War Memorial Gym since winning at Portland January 19 of last year.

USF returns to WCC action Saturday afternoon when it takes on Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. Game time against the Lions is set for 2:00 PM at Gersten Pavilion.

Santa Clara - 90
Portland - 73

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Hot shooting from the Santa Clara women's basketball team Thursday night against the Portland Pilots was just the cure for the two-game slide the Broncos brought into the game. Four players scored in double figures and the Broncos as a team passed out a season-high 27 assists as they defeated the Pilots 90-73 at the Leavey Center.

The Broncos (13-11, 5-4 WCC) remain home to close out the weekend, hosting the first-place Gonzaga Bulldogs Saturday night in a scheduled 7 p.m. tip.

Santa Clara shot 49.2% from the floor Thursday night, and also went 15-of-34 in its three-point attempts to run away from the Pilots right from the start. Chandice Cronk led all players with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting with six assists, while Jen Gottschalk and Anna Martin each scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds, and Ashley Graham added 10 points on top of her game-high eight assists.

"Our offensive effort was tremendous tonight," said head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. "A lot of our assists came off of strong and aggressive penetration and drawing defenders in. I thought Ashley Graham's and Chandice Cronk's decision-making was exceptional tonight. They found the open players, and obviously when you do those things, you will get open looks."

There was no stopping the Broncos after the opening minutes. A 5-4 score in the opening 1:19 was left in the dust as SCU went on a 25-4 run over the next seven-plus minutes to put the Pilots on their heels and take control of the contest. Elizabeth Doran's three got the run started, and Cronk, Gottschalk, Graham, and Martin all subsequently drained threes of their own over the course of the run to give SCU a 33-8 lead only 8:23 into the game.

Santa Clara's lead got to as many as 29 points in the first half, when Ashley Gonnerman's jumper gave the Broncos a 46-17 advantage with 7:19 left in the first half. Portland, though, behind the efforts of Laura Thomas, who led the team with a double-double effort of 15 points and 11 rebounds, recouped some of the deficit by outscoring Santa Clara 18-7 the rest of the half to cut the Bronco lead to 53-35 at the half.

Cronk and Graham then scored the first 11 Bronco points in the second half bring the lead up to 25 at 64-39 in the opening four minutes. Portland got to within 14 twice, taking advantage of Bronco fouls to cash in at the free-throw line, cutting things down to 80-66 and then again at 85-71 with 4:44 left.

The Pilots never got any closer, though, as a three from Tracey Walker put out any smoldering hopes of a Portland comeback, and the Bronco defense locked down and preserved the win.