Dec. 2, 2007
TEMPE, Ariz. - Gonzaga University women's basketball was outscored 19-9 by UC Riverside in overtime to drop a 75-65 decision to the Highlanders in the consolation contest of the Arizona State University Verizon Wireless Classic Sunday in Tempe, Ariz. The loss drops the Bulldogs to 4-3 overall while the win was the first for UC Riverside who are now 1-5 on the year.
Gonzaga scored the first bucket of overtime but seven-straight points by UC Riverside knocked the Bulldogs off their game. Two free throws by Bowman with 2:10 remaining in the overtime sliced the Highlanders lead to three, but UCR responded with a 7-0 run again to give them a 70-60 advantage. Gonzaga could not recover as Kemie Nkele sank four free throws over the final thirty seconds to seal the 75-65 victory.
Gonzaga had a chance to win the game in regulation as it had the ball with 10.1 second remaining and the score tied at 56-56. Freshman Courtney Vandersloot drove the lane and missed the shot but the rebound fell in junior Jami Bjorklund's hand. A little jumper nearly went in but rolled off the rim to send the game into overtime.
It was senior Michelle Elliott and sophomore Tiffanie Shives who were clutch down the stretch. With UC Riverside leading 56-51 with 3:52 left in regulation, Shives drove the lane and made a layup to cut the Zags deficit to three. Elliott, who had entered the game a minute early, then drained a three-pointer at the 3:09 mark to tie the game at 56-56.
UC Riverside came from behind late in the first half to lead at halftime 32-30. With Gonzaga leading 29-26 with 3:21 remaining before intermission, the Highlanders Tainois Lott hit one of two free throws; Seyram Gbewonyo then drained a three-pointer followed by a layup by Vanessa Campillo with 55 ticks left on the clock to give UC Riverside the late 32-29 lead. Zag sophomore forward Bowman hit one of two free throw shots after being fouled with 18 seconds left to cut Gonzaga disadvantage to two at halftime.
The Bulldogs did lead by seven early in the first period; the largest lead of the half by either team. With the score knotted at 9-9 at the 15:08 mark, the Zags went on a 7-0 run to pull ahead 16-9 with a little over ten minutes left. Bjorklund converted an old fashion three-point play to close out the run for Gonzaga.
Gonzaga was led by Shives, Bowman and Vandersloot. Shives, who sank two three-pointers in the contest, finished the game with a team-high 16 points. Bowman collected her second-straight double-double as she posted 15 points and 14 rebounds. Vandersloot chipped in 13 points.
UC Riveside's Nkele and Gbewonyo led the Highlanders with 23 and 15 points, respectively. Nkele also added 10 rebounbds.
Gonzaga returns to action Thursday, Dec. 6 when it plays at UC Davis. The game is set for 7 p.m.