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WCC Women's Basketball Recaps

Nov. 14, 2006

Portland - 83
Idaho - 56

PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland freshman guard Kendra Morris scores a career-high 19 points as the Pilots defeat the Idaho Vandals 83-56 in a non-conference women's basketball game Tuesday night at the Chiles Center. Morris becomes the second freshman to lead Portland in scoring this season after guard Laiken Dollente tallied 22 in the season-opener on Sunday.

The Pilots open the season at 2-0, their first 2-0 start since 2001. Idaho drops to 0-1.

Morris was seven of 12 from the field and hit three of five from behind the arc. She also dished out three assists.

"It feels good to start the season strong," Morris said. "Everyone is playing as a team and it's good to see that our freshmen are making an impact."

Every available Portland player scored during the game. The Pilots featured a balanced attack as four players scored in double figures. Freshman forward Laura Thomas scored 12 and sophomore center Carly Koebel and Dollente each had 10. It's a career-high for Koebel.

"It's nice to get everyone involved," head coach Jim Sollars said. "Everyone played hard and it was a good team effort. Kendra (Morris) really stepped up and shot the ball well."

After trailing 4-2 early in the game, the Pilots went on a monster run and never looked back. Up 14-5, Morris scored eight straight points for Portland on two three-pointers and a fast-break lay up. On the break away, Morris made a steal at halfcourt and easily finished on the other end.

Koebel then gave Portland a 20-point lead with a strong inside move to make it 26-6 with 8:45 left in the first half.

Morris had ten points at the half as Portland held a commanding 40-18 lead.

The second half was all Portland as the Vandals never got closer than 20 points. The Pilots' biggest lead came at 83-54 with 1:00 left when freshman Mackenzie Larson converted a lay-up on a nice feed from sophomore forward Andrea Wujek.

Portland was dominant in the paint, outscoring the Vandals 44-24 in the key. The Pilots also held a 38-34 advantage in rebounds. Junior center Rachel Warren and sophomore guard Karlie Burris each had six rebounds to lead the Pilots. Senior forward Anne Graner grabbed five boards, while scoring seven points.

Burris also scored seven points and handed out five assists.

Liz Witte led the Vandals with 19 points, while Katie Madison scored 12.

The Pilots shot 50 percent (31 for 62) on the night, while holding the Vandals to 34 percent (18 for 53). UP was five for nine from behind the arc (56 percent) and hit 16 free throws out of 19 attempts. Idaho turned the ball over 27 times, while the Pilots had 20.

The Portland bench outscored that of Idaho 50-18.

Portland next travels to Boise, Idaho for a non-conference game against the Boise State Broncos on Friday night. The Pilots and Broncos are slated to play at Taco Bell Arena at 6:00 p.m. (PST).

San Diego - 68
UC Riverside - 53

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Paced by sophomore forward Amber Sprague's 22 points, the University of San Diego women's basketball team (2-0) downed UC Riverside (0-2) 68-53 Tuesday evening in a non-conference game at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

The Toreros up-tempo offense and pressure defense had the Highlanders struggling at the beginning, as the Toreros led by as many as 19 in the first half and by 17 at halftime. UCR rallied in the second half, getting within four but ultimately fell short as USD closed the game with a 15-4 run sparked by a huge Morgan Henderson three-point basket with 8:14 remaining.

"I thought this was a great team effort tonight. I thought that everyone that came in gave us great minutes," said head coach Cindy Fisher. "I thought that Amber (Sprague) set the tone and Amanda Rego's 11 assists was big as she was distributing the ball to the open person and getting us those open looks we needed. I also think Morgan Henderson was probably the difference in the second half. I thought her effort, offensive rebounds and giving us those second opportunities when we really needed it was big."

For the second consecutive game, Sprague led all scores with 22 points and she also pulled down eight boards, recorded two steals and had five blocks on the evening. Senior center Sabine Loewe was the second of four Toreros in double figures as she scored 12 points. Henderson added 11 points and Kelly Winther was the final USD player in double figures as the sophomore guard scored 10 points. Junior guard Amanda Rego had a solid night directing the San Diego offense to a 49 percent shooting performance as she dished out a game-high 11 assists.

For the Highlanders, sophomore guard Seyram Gbewonyo led UCR with 16 points and five rebounds. Junior forward/center Kemie Nkele added 15 points and five rebounds while sophomore forward Ronéy Friend had nine points, five rebounds, and four assists.

Coming off an 18-point victory at Cal State Northridge on Friday, USD started strong, hitting seven of its first nine shots to take a 15-4 lead into the first media timeout. UCR worked to find its rhythm, with sophomore guard Chanel Foster gaining two quick baskets and a three-pointer by Gbewonyo cutting the Torero lead to 10 at 23-13 with 9:50 left in the first.

However, the torrid Toreros stayed hot, shooting 56.0 percent (14-for-25) for the first period and controlling the boards, 21-10, for a commanding 36-19 halftime lead. Sprague keyed the Toreros' first half offensive outburst, hitting seven of her 11 attempts for 16 points before the break. The Highlanders, on the other hand, were 9-for-28 from the floor (32.1%) in the first half.

Nkele hit back-to-back three-pointers to bring UCR back within 10 at 40-30 with 15:29 remaining. Sprague picked up her fourth foul at the 11:12 mark with USD leading 48-36. From that point on, UCR went on a 9-2 run, with another three-pointer by Gbewonyo cutting it to five at 50-45 with 9:14 left. The Highlanders got within four, 55-51, before a lay-up by Sabine Loewe pushed the Torero advantage back to six with 3:29 to go. UCR got open looks on its next possessions but couldn't convert as they made just one basket in the final 6:40.

USD halted the Highlander comeback with 1:20 left and when USD's Kiva Herman missed the front end of a bonus foul shot, the ball fell to Sprague, who layed the ball in to give the Toreros a 61-51 lead that they would not look back on.

The Toreros will return to action on Sunday as they host cross-town rival San Diego State University on a 2 p.m. non-conference game inside the Jenny Craig Pavilion.