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WCC Women's Basketball Recaps

Nov. 10, 2006

Gonzaga - 57
Utah - 45

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Gonzaga University women's basketball team started off the 2007 season with a bang by defeating the University of Utah, a 2006 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight team, by the score of 57-45 tonight at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs, who are now 5-0 in home openers, were led by senior forward Stephanie Hawk who finished with a game-high 18 points and eight rebounds.

"We created opportunities, we got intense, got out and ran and that's what got things started for us," said Hawk. "You can't force things; you have to wait for you open shot. As coach Graves always say, if you're on balance and open, just shoot it."

The Bulldogs were strong both offensively and defensively in the first half. Gonzaga held Utah to only 14 points on 6-of-25 shooting. The Zags also forced the Utes to turn the ball over 14 times in the first half, including 10 give a ways in the first 10 minutes.

With the Bulldogs leading 7-5 early in the first half, Gonzaga and Hawk went on a tear with a 12-2 run. Hawk scored six-straight points, junior Michelle Elliot nailed a three-pointer and senior Katy Ridenour made a layup to give GU the 19-7 lead. Utah stopped the run with back-to-back layups by Camie Oakey and Heidi Carlsen, but a three-pointer by Zag sophomore Jami Bjorklund pushed Gonzaga's advantage to 22-11 with 6:01 remaining in the first stanza.

The Bulldogs closed out the half with back-to-back three-pointers by Elliott and Bjorklund to go into the locker room with an impressive 28-14 lead.

Gonzaga continued to roll in the second half pushing its advantage to 18 points, 47-29, after three-straight buckets by the Bulldogs. Hawk and Bjorklund hit back-to-back three-pointers, while by Bjorklund also made a layup.

Utah could not dent the Gonzaga armor and the Zags earned the 12-point victory.

Seventh-year head coach Kelly Graves was happy with his team's opening performance. "Utah is a good team, they have a lot of new kids but you can tell they are going to be a good team," said head coach Kelly Graves. "I loved our defense tonight. We're getting turnovers. I was extremely pleased with how we played and with this season-opening win."

Besides Hawk, Gonzaga was led by Elliott and Bjorklund who both scored 11 points a piece. Elliott also added six rebounds and four assists, while Bjorklund chipped in four rebounds, two steals and one assist. The Bulldogs closed out the game shooting 39.7% (23-58) from the field, including 47.1% (8-17) from behind the three-point arc.

Utah was led by Morgan Warburton and Joh-Teena Filipe who scored 11 and nine points, respectively. Warburton also had seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block, while Filipe added four rebounds. The Utes finished the game shooting 30.5 % (18-59) from the field, including 17.6% (3-17) on three-pointers.

Gonzaga will be back in action this Sunday when it welcomes UC Davis to the McCarthey Center. Game time is slated to begin at 2:00 p.m.

San Diego - 95
Cal State Northridge - 77

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Six Toreros recorded double-digits to pace the University of San Diego women's basketball team (1-0) to a 95-77 season-opening win over the Cal State Northridge Matadors (0-1) Friday evening in a non-conference game inside the Matadome.

Amber Sprague was tied for a game-high 19 points and she also pulled down nine boards and recorded a game-high five steals to help lead USD to victory. Both freshman Morgan Henderson and sophomore Kelly Winther notched up 14 points a piece, while Amanda Rego recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists. The final two San Diego players in double-digits were Kiva Herman and Sabine Loewe, who both had 11 points. As a team, the Toreros shot 53 percent from the floor and 45 percent from behind the arc and out rebounded Northridge 40-28.

"I think the pace took us by surprise tonight, but I thought after we settled down, we were able to put people in the right place on defense and make the adjustments that we had to. I think our defense created good offense for us tonight," said head coach Cindy Fisher.

For the Matadors, Ofa Tulikihifo led the way with her 19 points and seven boards. CSUN had three others in double-digits as Jazelle Burries recorded 14 points, Krisztina Fuleki had 11 points and Jamie McCaa had 10 points. As a team, the Matadors shot 48 percent from the floor.

In the first half, the early going was very even keel with neither team taking a lead bigger then three. Then with the score at 15-12 in favor of the Matadors, San Diego opened up their offense and played pressure defense forcing 10 first half turnovers as they began to adjust to the up-tempo pace of the game and went on a 10-4 run sparked by a pair of Henderson free throws to take a nine point lead at 25-19.

Northridge then pulled to within two at 27-25, but the Toreros would not allow them to come any closer as Sara VanderHorst sparked a 13-6 Torero run with a three pointer to give USD a 12 point lead. The Toreros increased their lead to 16 on a pair of Rego free-throws going into the break.

In the second half the Toreros kept their foot on the gas and pulled away from the get go quickly building a 21 point lead on a Rego jumper. USD would build their lead to as many as 26 at 68-42 and never looked back as they held on the 20 point lead until the final minute of the game when the Matadors were able to finally get the deficit to fewer than 20 at 18 on a pair of Tulikihifo free throws.

The Toreros will return to action on Tuesday as they begin the home portion of their schedule against the Highlanders of UC Riverside in a 7 p.m. non-conference game inside the friendly confines of the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

Texas A&M - 72
Pepperdine - 48

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Morenike Atunrase had 18 points and seven steals to lead No. 14 Texas A&M to a 72-48 win over Pepperdine on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.

Atunrase was 8-of-8 from the line and had three assists and four blocked shots.

The game was tied at 33 early in the second half, before Texas A&M used a 13-1 run to pull away.

Patrice Reado added 16 points and Takia Starks had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Aggies. Daphanie Kennedy was Pepperdine's only double-digit scorer, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds.

The Aggies shot just 28 percent in the first half, but made 13-of-14 free throws for a 29-29 halftime tie. They scored six straight points in the final minutes of the first half to overcome a 29-23 deficit.

Texas A&M was much sharper in the second half, shooting 60 percent, while Pepperdine was 6-of-23.

Colorado - 62
San Francisco - 56

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) - Kara Richards scored 22 points to lead Colorado to a 62-56 season-opening win over San Francisco on Friday night.

Colorado forward Jackie McFarland added 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

The Dons (0-1) were led in scoring by Dominique Carter, who scored 22 points. Nickie Warren had 11 points.

The Buffs (1-0) trailed 30-26 at intermission but rallied to break a 26-game losing streak when trailing at the break and their first such win since beating Missouri 56-51 on Jan. 18, 2005. The Buffs trailed the Tigers 28-20 in that game.

Leading 51-49 with 5:10 minutes remaining, the Buffs went on a 9-0 run to pull away for the victory.

Colorado hosts No. 16 Vanderbilt on Sunday.