March 2, 2006
SPOKANE, Wash. - Ashlee Dunlap< scored 19 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead the LMU women's basketball team to a 61-56 victory over San Diego in the first round of the WCC Basketball Championships this afternoon in Spokane. The Lions never trailed in the game, and led by as many as 12 points. LMU advances to Saturday's semifinal and improves to 17-11 on the season.
The Lions started hot, starting out the game on a 12-2 run. After making the first shot, USD (9-19) missed its next 10 shots, and the Lions took control of the first half. The Toreros got to within four points, but the Lions held strong and pulled ahead with a 9-4 run to close the half. San Diego did not score a basket in the final 3:53 of the half.
LMU shot an impressive 54% from the field in the first half, led by Ashlee Dunlap's nine points. Eight different players scored for LMU in the half. San Diego shot 34% from the field and was led by Tiara Harris with eight first half points.
Dunlap led all players with seven first half rebounds, and her seventh rebound of the half was her 278th of the season. That breaks the previous LMU single season record of 277 set by Tricia Gibson in the 1990-91 season.
The Toreros scored the first seven points of the second half to cut the LMU lead to 33-31. Two free throws gave LMU its first points of the second half, but a layup by Sabine Loewe tied the game at 35-35 at 13:49. The Lions responded with a 9-2 run to go up seven points, 44-37 at 10:51. The Lions extended their lead to double digits, 52-42 on a three-point play by Amanda Patton at 4:44. The junior grabbed an offensive rebound, made the putback and was fouled on the play.
San Diego battled back and cut the lead to three points, 57-54 with 46 seconds remaining. An LMU turnover gave the Toreros a chance to tie it, but Harris missed a three-point attempt, and Jenni Smith grabbed the rebound. She was fouled and hit both free throws to make it a 59-54 LMU lead with 31 seconds remaining. A layup by Amanda Rego cut the lead back to three points with 19 seconds remaining, but Rachael Ziemann hit a pair of free throws with 12 seconds remaining for the final margin of victory.
The Lions shot 32.1% from the field in the second half, but Dunlap helped the Lion field goal percentage by going 5-for-6 from the field in the second half. The 2006 WCC Newcomer of the Year grabbed eight rebounds in the second half, and finished with 15 for the game. Nine of her 15 rebounds in the game were offensive, and she helped LMU to a 44-26 rebounding advantage over USD.
Harris led USD and all scorers with 20 points, and Kelly Winther added nine points for San Diego. Dunlap led LMU with 19 points, and Patton finished with 12 points. Amanda DeCoud and Rachael Ziemann added seven points for the Lions. Dunlap recorded her 12th double double of the season, and her third against San Diego this year.
With the victory, LMU advances to Saturday's semifinal. LMU's opponent and game time will be determined later today.