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WCC Women's Tournament First Round Recaps

March 2, 2006

WCC Tournament
Saturday Schedule:

No. 3 LMU vs. No. 4 Pepperdine - 12:00 pm
No. 1 Santa Clara vs. No. 7 San Francisco - 2:20
second game will begin 30 minutes following first game.

LMU - 61
San Diego - 56

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. Check back to www.LMULions.com for the latest information on the tournament.

Pepperdine - 70
Saint Mary's - 58

Spokane, Wash. - Sophomore guard Daphanie Kennedy scored a game-high 17 points and junior forward Jasmane Clarendon added 15 to lead No. 4 seed Pepperdine to a 70-58 victory over fifth-seeded Saint Mary's in an opening round game of the West Coast Conference (WCC) Tournament Thursday afternoon at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Washington.

The Waves (12-16), who won a first-round WCC Tournament game for the fifth year in a row, advance to the second round where they will face Loyola Marymount at noon on Saturday.

The Lions were a 61-56 winner over San Diego in the tournament's opening game.

Sophomore forwards Maija Lahde and Monica Mertle each scored 16 points to lead Saint Mary's in scoring. Senior guard Evynn Van Burger added 10 points for the Gaels.

Pepperdine sophomore forward Teiosha George also finished in double figures with 12 points.

"It feels great to get this first victory and advance," head coach Julie Rousseau said. "For a young team it is a great confidence-builder and I was pleased with our performance and it feels great to be moving on."

The Waves led 33-25 at halftime, equaling their largest lead of the game, behind a team-high eight points from Clarendon.

Pepperdine shot 48.4 percent from the field in the opening period as they connected on 15 of 31 field goal attempts. The Waves also took advantage of 15 Saint Mary's turnovers, scoring 14 points off of Gaels miscues.

Pepperdine, which had built an 11-point at 43-32 with 13:47 remaining, withstood a couple of second-half runs as Saint Mary's (12-16) twice cut the deficit to four points, the latest coming at 45-41 with 9:51 to play.

The Waves then went on a 6-0 run to build a 10-point lead built its biggest lead of the game at 60-46 on a three-pointer by Jessica Ross with 5:56 to play.

Lahde Led Saint Mary's with eight first-half points. The Gaels made 40.0 percent (10 of 25) of their shots and out-rebounded Pepperdine, 21-11, in the first half.

Pepperdine finished the game shooting 44.8 percent (28 of 60) from the field while Saint Mary's connected on 39.7 percent (23 of 58) of its field goal attempts.

San Francisco - 75
Gonzaga - 67

Spokane, WA - San Francisco women's basketball broke through for its finest effort of the season and powered its way to a 75-67 victory against Gonzaga in the opening round of the 2006 West Coast Conference Tournament Thursday night in the McCarthey Athletic Center. The No. 7 Dons (9-19) pulled off the improbable upset against the No.2 seeded and tournament host Bulldogs (16-14), who had not lost a home game to a league opponent since USF dispatched them 59-53 in the last game played in the Martin Centre.

Gonzaga beat the Dons 71-53 in their 2006 WCC regular season home finale last Saturday at War Memorial Gym. In the two regular season meetings the Bulldogs outscored USF 125-95 and 71-45 in the second half.

San Francisco shot at a blistering .556 (25-45) pace from the field for the game, including .667 (4-6) from long distance. Sophomore guard LaShaunte Stephens was perfect from the floor (8-8) and converted on 5-of-6 from the free throw line.

Sophomore guards Dominique Carter and Stephens each scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Dons. After combining for just 17 points in two games against Gonzaga, the pair combined for 42 points when it mattered most. Freshman guard Shay Rollins added 10 points, while sophomore guard Nykia Peace chipped in eight points and pulled down a game-high seven rebounds.

USF came out firing and converted on .682 (15-22) from the field and built a 15-5 lead on a jumper by junior forward Nickie Warren with 12:10 remaining. Gonzaga promptly rattled off eight unanswered points to close to within one at 15-14, but the Dons responded by outscoring the Zags 19-10 to close the half taking a 34-25 lead into the intermission. Stephens led the way with 10 points, while Carter added nine as USF's starters converted on 13-of-18 from the floor.

After building a 10 point lead in the early going of the second half, the Dons offense went silent for nearly five minutes as the Bulldogs tied the game at 38-38 with 13:37 left on a pair of free throws by junior guard Katy Ridenour. Unfazed, the Dons slowly rebuilt its lead to 11 points and maintained its advantage and thwarted several Bulldogs offensive flurries.

"I am so proud of this team," USF head coach Mary Hile-Nepfel said who collected her 270th career victory. "A week after losing to this team by 20 points we refocused and turned it around. It was a great team effort at both ends of the floor."

It is the Dons first WCC Tournament win since 2002 when it defeated Loyola Marymount 65-63. The victory marks just the third time in tournament history that the No. 7 seed has upended the No. 2 seed and the first since Portland accomplished the feat in an 86-65 win against Santa Clara in 2001.

"This was such a great team win," Carter said, who was held to just 10 points in the previous two meetings against the Bulldogs. "I played with a lot of emotion tonight and I fed off my teammates. We wanted to show we were a better team than our record and we did that tonight."

Stephens echoed Carter's sentiments.

"We played great defense and played together. We played with intensity and focus and we made plays when we needed them," Stephens said.

San Francisco looks for its second upset Saturday in the semifinals when it squares off against No. 1 seed Santa Clara. Tip-off against the Broncos is set for 2:30 PM at the McCarthey Center.

Santa Clara - 83
Portland - 77

SPOKANE, Wash. - Thursday night's wild WCC Quarterfinal shootout between the Santa Clara Broncos and Portland Pilots would certainly have made Sergio Leone smile as the two teams combined to hit 21 three-pointers. But the final blow was dealt by the Broncos as they advanced to Saturday's semifinal round with an 83-77 victory in Spokane.

"It was definitely an up-and-down game, but I thought we kept our composure and managed the clock pretty well in the final five or six minutes which was critical," said head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson.

Michelle Cozad led the Broncos with 25 points and nine rebounds in the contest. With a three-pointer in the first half, Cozad also became the 15th member of Santa Clara's "1,000-Point Club," an exclusive sorority of Bronco women's basketball stars.

Chandice Cronk scored 21 points and Kasey Monteith added nine points and seven rebounds to the Bronco effort.

The Broncos showed why they are the nation's most prolific long-range shooting team as they drained five threes within the first six minutes of the contest. The fifth of those, from Cozad, gave SCU an 18-9 lead and forced Portland head coach Jim Sollars to burn a quick timeout.

The Santa Clara advantage remained cushy the rest of the half, as Portland closed to within five at 29-24 in the first half, but the Broncos quickly ran off seven-straight points to get the lead up to 12 at 36-24.

During that run Cozad reached the 1,000-career point mark, spotting up on the right wing and draining a three with 4:15 remaining in the first half.

A pair of Cozad free throws on the following two Bronco possessions extended the SCU lead to 40-27 with just under two minutes remaining. With the first-half clock under a minute, Monteith added a pair of buckets inside and came up with a big block on Portland's final possession of the half to keep the SCU lead at 46-30 at the break.

Portland showed some life at the outset of the second half, cutting the Santa Clara lead to 10 behind Rachel Warren's first six points of the game. Warren's 23 points, all scored in the second half, kept Pilot hopes alive throughout the final 20 minutes.

Those final 20 minutes turned into a wildly-entertaining barnburner which saw the two teams let fly with their full long-range shooting arsenals.

Portland's Meagan Bermingham and Santa Clara's Cronk turned the second half into their own personal three-point duel, matching one another blow-for-blow until Bermingham picked up her fifth foul with 2:23 left to play. The pair combined to account for 34 points and shot a combined 8-for-13 from behind the arc in the game.

Cronk's five threes in the game tied a career high while her 21 points were just one shy of her top scoring performance.

"The first time Chandice touched the ball she hit a three, so obviously that helps," Bento-Jackson said about Santa Clara's outside shooting performance. "In the second half she made some key buckets for us, I thought she really balanced her game well, from her outside shots to going right to the basket., She was huge for us off of the bench.

"Our outside shooting is one of the strengths of our team and we're not going to go away from that," Bento-Jackson continued. "But at the same time we need to get a balance between our outside and inside games, we can't solely rely on outside shooting."

The Broncos will now move on to Saturday's semifinals where they will face the Pepperdine Waves, who were 70-58 victors over the Saint Mary's Gaels earlier today. Tip-off from Spokane is set for 2 p.m.