March 1, 2007
(Portland, OR) - San Francisco women seized a convincing 80-69 victory against No. 2 seed San Diego Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the 2007 West Coast Conference Tournament at the Chiles Center. The Dons (10-20) pull off their second upset win in as many seasons as the No. 7 seed and shocked the Toreros (21-8) who came into the conference postseason showcase after the best regular season in school history.
Junior guard Dominique Carter scored a game-high 23 points and connected on 11-of-12 from the free throw line, despite picking up three fouls early in the first half which limited her to just nine minutes in the first half. It was the 20th career 20-point game in Carter's career and the Tracy native added 21 points in the Dons 75-67 upset in the 2006 WCC Tournament opener against Gonzaga in Spokane. Sophomore guard Shay Rollins scored a career-high 21 points in perhaps her finest game in the Green and Gold.
Senior forward Nickie Warren scored 12 points and seven rebounds, while junior guard Nykia Peace chipped in 10 points, nine rebounds and dished out six assists. Playing in front of friends and family, junior center Lisa Olden enjoyed a strong game against a sizeable USD frontline, scoring eight points to go along with nine rebounds and a pair of steals.
"I am so proud of this team," USF head coach Tanya Haave said. "This was our best effort of the season and the timing could not have been better for us. Every time USD made a run we answered. This is a fantastic win for this team."
USF enjoyed a magical first half, connecting on 11-of-12 to open the game and made 14-of-17 before missing sevens straight shots, settling for a .607 (17-28) clip in the first half. Rollins led all scorers with 10 first half points, while Peace and Warren added eight apiece. The Dons broke out of a 7-7 tie with a Peace jumper at 16:13 and would not trail again in the contest. Senior center Breann Sitton hit a baseline jumper as time expired in the opening period to give San Francisco a 40-25 halftime lead.
San Francisco took its biggest lead of the game at 17 points, 44-27 with 19:06 left in regulation on a Peace jumper. The Toreros roared back on a 10-2 run to cut the lead to nine, 46-37 with 16:03 left, but the Dons recovered and bumped the lead back to 16 points, 55-39 courtesy of a 9-2 spurt, capped by a Rollins lay-up with 12:50 left.
San Diego would not go away as they cut the lead to six points, twice the last at the 4:50 mark. The Dons responded each time and answered with defensive stops and converted at the free throw line when it counted.
"My focus was to make sure we didn't get down," Rollins said. "So any time San Diego got the game to single digits, I tried as hard as I could to get the team together and tell them not to get down and keep our heads up."
Sophomore center Amber Sprague tallied a team-high 20 points, six rebounds and two blocks for USD, while sophomore guard Kelly Winther added 15 points. Senior center Sabine Loewe added 13 points, nine in the second half, while junior guard Amanda Rego added 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Toreros. San Diego made .446 (29-65) from the field, .514 (18-35) after the intermission.
After shooting at a torrid clip in the first half, USF cooled slightly in the second, finishing the game at .509 (29-57) from the floor. The Dons held a 40-31 rebound advantage, including 29-21 on the defensive end.
USF returns to action when it takes on No. 1 seed Gonzaga - a 68-55 winner against No. 8 seed Portland - Saturday, March 3. Game time is set for approximately 2:00 PM at the Chiles Center.