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WCC Women's Basketball Tournament First Round Recaps

March 7, 2009

SANTA CLARA - 82
SAINT MARY'S - 55

LAS VEGAS - Lena Gipson had 19 points and a game-high 10 rebounds to lead the Santa Clara women's basketball team to an 82-55 victory over Saint Mary's Friday afternoon in the first round of the 2009 West Coast Conference Basketball Tournament. The Broncos will face the Lions of Loyola Marymount in the second round on Saturday, March 7 at Noon.

"It was a well deserved victory for our players," said head coach Jennifer Mountain. "They battled so hard all season long and we finally were able to put one together. It showed not just everyone in the stands but it proved to ourselves that we can compete. I'm really proud of our effort today."

The Broncos had five players in double-digits for the first time all season and only had nine turnovers. Sara Majors and Elizabeth Doran added 14 points and a game-high seven assists, while Maggie Goldenberger had 12 points and Alyssa Shoji tallied 11 points.

For the Gaels, Louella Tomlinson posted 21 points and had seven blocks, while Ashlee Smith registered 16 points.

Santa Clara started off with a 4-0 lead on a three-pointer from Doran and a free shot by Majors. The Gaels rallied and came within one point, 6-5, on a trey from Maija Lahde but the Broncos held strong and pulled away with a 16-9 lead with 16:30 to play. With a jumper from Kathy Willinsky, Santa Clara claimed its largest lead of the half, 28-14, with 8:59 remaining.

However, a 7-0 run from Saint Mary's cut the lead in half and another 8-2 rally put the Gaels within four points of the Broncos, 32-29. At 1:35, Ashlee Smith converted a three-point play to give SMC its first lead of the game, 36-34. Yet, Claire Goins fought her way to the basket to knot the score, 36-36, before heading into halftime.SCU grabbed a four-point advantage quickly in the second half to pull away from SMC. The score remained tight but the Broncos held the advantage. Santa Clara compiled a 16-5 run through the first nine minutes of the second half to put 10 points between the Broncos and the Gaels, 58-48. The rally began with back-to-back three-pointers from Doran and Shoji.

The Broncos then claimed a 16-point lead, 68-52, seven straight points from Gipson. Santa Clara continued to push ahead and with 3:23 to play, Doran sank her fourth three-pointer of the game to make it a 21-point game, 73-52. Santa Clara won the game, 82-55, on free throws by Goins.

SAN DIEGO - 73
SAN FRANCISCO - 64

Las Vegas, NV - Senior forward Kiva Herman scored 16 of her game-high 20 points in the second half to lead the USD Toreros to a come-from-behind 73-64 victory over the No. 7 seed USF Dons (7-22) in first round action of the 2009 WCC Tournament being held at the Orleans Arena. The No. 6 seed Toreros improve to 17-12 on the season and will now face No. 3 seed Pepperdine in Saturday's quarterfinal game (approx. 2:20 p.m.). Senior center Amber Sprague notched a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds, and guard Dominique Conners (13 points) and forward Sam Child (11 points) also reached double digits.

"I want to credit USF," said Torero head coach Cindy Fisher. "That was a really hard fought game. I thought they played extremely well. Also, these two next to me (Kiva Herman and Amber Sprague), absolutely decided that this was our game no matter what. Both of these players just put this game on their back and I thought they did an amazing job."

The USF Dons, who the Toreros defeated twice during the regular-season, jumped out to an early 10-2 advantage on the strength of three three-pointers and a free throw. Amber Sprague (11 points-7 rebounds in 1st half) made some key baskets to keep the Toreros within reach throughout the first 20 minutes. USD pulled to within 34-32 in the final minute, but USF's Katy Keating bombed in her third trey of the half just before the buzzer to give the Dons a 37-32 intermission advantage.

In the second half the Toreros found themselves down by as many as 12 points (51-39) with about 13 minutes to go. Coach Fisher called for a full-court press and the pressure got to the Dons and the Toreros rallied. The second half was sparked by the play of Herman who made 6-of-8 shots. Her three-point play the old-fashioned way pulled USD to within 57-56 with 6:30 to go, and Sam Child's three-pointer from the top of the key with 4:29 left gave USD its first lead at 61-59. The Toreros held onto the lead the rest of the way and closed out the game by converting the all-important free throws.

For the game USD shot 44.6% from the floor (25-56), 45.5% from three-point range (5-11) and a solid 78.3% from the free throw line (18-23). Sam Child, who finished with 11 points, was a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe.San Francisco was paced by Vania Singleterry off the bench with 18 points (9-for-16 shooting), Rheina Ale (15 points) and Shay Rollins (14 points).

In Pepperdine, USD's quarterfinal opponent, the two teams split during the regular season. The Toreros won the first meeting in Malibu, 69-57 on January 15th; the Waves got revenge in San Diego on February 14th, 66-56.

Saturday's game will be streamed and the video broadcast can be viewed through the WCC website at www.WCCSports.com.