March 1, 2007
PORTLAND, Ore. - A strong second half was the key to LMU's 65-49 win over Santa Clara in the first round of the WCC Tournament this evening at the Chiles Center in Portland, Ore. LMU outscored Santa Clara 27-6 over the final 14:21 of the game, including a 17-0 run, to pull ahead for the win. Four players scored in double digits, led by Jennifer Hall who finished with 14 points. The Lions will play the winner of the Pepperdine-Saint Mary's game in the first semifinal game on Saturday at noon.
LMU improves to 18-11 on the season, while the Broncos wrap up the season with a 13-17 record.
It was a slow start for both teams as they combined to miss the first nine shots of the game. A layup by Ashley Graham at 16:51 broke the scoreless tie. The media timeout helped both offenses as they finally got things going. Valerie Ogoke scored three baskets in a row, and the Broncos got into foul trouble early. They had three players with two fouls by the second media timeout of the half.
A layup by Jessica Vargas gave LMU a 15-10 lead at 10:55, but the Broncos scored nine straight points to take a 19-15 lead at 7:13. A layup by Hall at 5:30 gave the Lions the lead back, 24-23, but the game stayed close for the next few minutes. The Broncos took a 34-28 lead, but the Lions scored the final four points of the half to make it a 34-32 game at halftime.
LMU shot just 29% from the field in the first half, while the Broncos made 51.6% of their shots. The difference came at the free throw line, as LMU made 12-of-14 shots and the Broncos did not attempt a shot from the charity stripe. Ogoke led LMU with 10 points, while Anna Martin had nine points for SCU.
The Lions struggled from the field to begin the second half, but a burst of energy allowed the Lions to battle back and take a 46-43 lead. Back to back steals by Vargas and layups gave LMU its first lead of the second half at 12:36. The Lion defense was able to stop the Broncos, as LMU went on a 17-0 run over six minutes to pull out to a double digit lead. SCU finally broke its scoreless streak with a layup by Ashley Gonnerman at 6:42 to make it a 55-45 LMU lead. Over the final 14:21 of the game, LMU outscored Santa Clara 27-6. Santa Clara never threatened in the final minutes, and the Lions secured the 65-49 victory.
Hall led all players with 14 points, while Amanda Patton added 11. Ogoke and Ashlee Dunlap each finished with 10 points. Dunlap led all players with 10 rebounds, recording her fourth double double in five games.
Kasey Monteith led Santa Clara with 10 points. Martin contributed nine points. Santa Clara shot 25% from the field in the second half, while the Lions shot 40.6%.
The Lions outrebounded Santa Clara 46-33, including a 28-16 margin in the second half. LMU finished with 22 offensive rebounds, while the Broncos grabbed just nine. Hall pulled down eight rebounds, and Sara Majors led SCU with eight rebounds.
LMU advances to the WCC Tournament semifinals for the fourth straight year and will face the winner of the Pepperdine-Saint Mary's game on Saturday at noon.
- GO LIONS! -