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WCC Women's Basketball Recaps

Dec. 28, 2006

Portland - 79
Utah Valley State - 57

PORTLAND, Ore. - Sophomore guard Jennifer Wassom led four Pilots in double figures with a season-high 18 points as Portland defeated the Utah Valley State Wolverines 79-57 in a non-conference women's basketball game Thursday night at the Chiles Center. Wassom, in her first start of the season, also dished out a career-high five assists.

The Pilots improve to 8-6 overall, while the Wolverines drop to 10-4.

Wassom, who scored 16 points last week at Utah State, was six of nine from the field, shot three for four from behind the three-point arc and hit both free throw attempts.

"Jen had a real nice game" head coach Jim Sollars said. "She really stepped up in her first start."

Freshman guard Laiken Dollente notched 14 points for the Pilots, freshman forward Laura Thomas scored 13 and junior center Rachel Warren just missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. Thomas hit all five of her shots from the field.

Dollente added five assists and Warren blocked three Utah Valley shots.

"It was a good, team effort and I thought we played really well," said Sollars. "We also played great, team defense. Our guards really pressured the ball up top."

Utah Valley's Robyn Fairbanks, who scored 43 points in a win over Montana State last week, scored a game-high 21 points. Fairbanks was also the Wolverines' top rebounder with six.

Senior guard Anne Graner had six boards for the Pilots. Sophomore guard Karlie Burris, senior forward Nicole Rowe and Thomas each grabbed five as Portland outrebounded Utah Valley 35-30. Rowe, who is recovering from an injured thumb, also scored five points in her first action this season.

Portland scored 13 of the game's first 14 points and never trailed the entire game. Wassom gave the Pilots their first double-digit lead when she hit a three from the top of the key to make it 13-1. Moments later, it was Wassom again as she converted on a traditional three-point play to make it 32-21 in UP's favor. The Pilots took a 41-27 advantage into the locker room led by Wassom's 11 first-half points.

It was more of the same in the second half as Utah Valley never came within single digits of the Pilots. With 9:48 remaining, Rowe fed Warren for a lay up that gave Portland its biggest lead at 61-41. The lead grew to 70-44 after Rowe hit a three-pointer and Wassom converted a pair of free throws with 6:52 left. The lead never dropped below 20 the rest of the way.

Utah Valley turned the ball over 26 times, which led to 24 Portland points. The Wolverines turned 19 Portland turnovers into 12 points.

The Pilots shot 49.2 percent (29 for 59) for the game, hit six of 16 three-pointers and made 15 of 19 free throws. The Wolverines hit 37.5 percent (18 for 48) from the floor, were six of 14 from behind the three-point arc and hit just 15 of 26 free throws.

UP outscored Utah Valley 28-20 in the paint.

Portland next closes out the year with a road game against Eastern Washington at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday in Cheney, Wash. The Pilots open West Coast Conference play at Pepperdine on Friday, Jan. 5.

Saint Mary's - 71
Sacramento State - 59

Sacramento, CA - The Saint Mary's women's basketball team may have been slow out of the gate but the Gaels then rallied for 42 points in the second half to run away from Sacramento State 71-59. Senior forward Eghosa Obaiza tallied a double-double with 13 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. After the victory the Gaels now improve to 5-7 overall and have won three in a row.

Saint Mary's improved its winning streak to 16 over Sacramento State with the victory. The Gaels were paced by Jontelle Smith and her 15 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Junior guard Lauren Shaughnessy recorded 12 points and nine rebounds.

The Gaels were down six at the half and trailed by as many as 10 with 16 minutes left. But SMC then erupted for a 26-4 run to take a 61-49 lead with 6:33 left.

Obaiza sparked the Gaels with eight of her 13 points during the run. Smith had 10 of her 15 during the 10 minute span.

Saint Mary's shot 37 percent on the night and shot 14 percent from beyond the arc while connecting on 54 percent of their free throws.

Sacramento State shot 46 percent from the floor and 31 percent from beyond the arc while shooting 56 percent from the charity stripe.

The Hornets were led by Kim Sheehy's 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Sheehy also added 10 assists and four steals. Ashley Storms tallied 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting.

Maija Lahde recorded eight points and nine rebounds in 29 minutes of action. Junior guard Serena Benavente tallied eight points and seven rebounds and added two steals.

Saint Mary's will finish off non-conference action with a home match against Toledo. Tip-off is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 30 at 7:05 p.m. from McKeon Pavilion.

San Diego - 76
Holy Cross - 53

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Junior point guard Amanda Rego fell just one point shy of a triple double, and three rebounds shy of having a quadruple double to help lead the University of San Diego women's basketball team to a exciting 76-53 win over the College of Holy Cross in the opening game of the Surf N Slam Tournament Thursday evening at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

Rego recorded her fourth double-double of the season as the San Diego native did it the unconventional way. She dished out 13 assists to tie herself for second at USD in single-game assists, and set a new program and tournament record for single-game steals with 10. She also had nine points to go along with seven rebounds and only committed two turnovers. Amber Sprague led all scorers with 16 points, while Kelly Winther was the second Torero in double figures with 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Senior center Sabine Loewe was the third Torero in double figures with 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting and freshman forward Morgan Henderson was the final Torero in double-digits with 11 points, just one shy of her career high.

As a team, USD out rebounded the Crusaders 33-26, shot 53 percent from the floor and held HC to 42 percent shooting from the floor.

"I thought our defense was outstanding tonight. If you look through the stat sheet, everyone just contributed on the defensive end," said head coach Cindy Fisher. "I just thought Amber Sprague and Amanda Rego working together at times in the zone did an outstanding job. We also got great production from Morgan Henderson and London Houchin on both sides of the ball."

With the win, San Diego now improves to 10-2 overall for the best start in program history and have surpassed their win total of last season. With the loss, Holy Cross falls to 5-7 overall.

In the opening minutes of the game USD jumped out to a 6-2 lead, but some of the rust from a week off began to show as Holy Cross exploded on a 10-0 run, sparked by a Bethany O'Dell three pointer and capped by a Kaitlin Foley lay-up.

Winther then took back five points for the Toreros as she hit a jumper followed by a three pointer on back-to-back possessions, but the Crusaders continued their torrid shooting, responding with a 6-0 run to take a seven-point lead at 18-11 with 8:12 remaining in the first frame.

San Diego then shook off the rust of a week off as Henderson ended the Crusaders run with a drop-step lay-up off an entry pass from Rego. Then after a Sprague jumper, Sprague showed off her defensive skills recording a steal from Brittany Kiel and USD turned that into two points on a Winther jumper. All of this ignited a 21-6 run to close out the half and give USD a 32-24 lead going into the break.

In the second half, USD quickly increased their lead to 10 at 36-26 on a pair of Sprague free throws, but Holy Cross refused to go away. With the score at 38-38, the Crusaders cut the lead in half with a 5-0 spurt, but USD would respond and push the lead back to double digits after the Holy Cross coach committed a technical foul and Henderson hit four consecutive free throws to push the score to 49-36. USD never looked back as they cruised their way to a 23-point win.

For the Crusaders, Kaitlin Foley was the lone player in double figures as she scored 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting.

USD will now face the University of Texas Longhorns in the championship game of the Surf N Slam Tournament on Saturday at 8 p.m. Texas squeaked out a 65-64 win over Oregon State University in the second game of the Surf N Slam Tournament at the Jenny Craig Pavilion Thursday evening.

Santa Clara - 73
Toledo - 64

SANTA CLARA, Calif.- Despite receiving a legitimate scare in the second half, the Santa Clara women's basketball team persevered and found its touch late in the game in recording a 73-64 win over the visiting Toledo Rockets at the Leavey Center Thursday afternoon, ending a three-game skid.

The Broncos will return to action Saturday night, concluding the non-conference slate with a Rivalry Series battle at the Event Center against the San Jose State Spartans.

Chandice Cronk and Ashley Graham led the way for the Broncos Thursday, each player scoring 18 points. Graham's points all came from three-pointers, as she nailed six of her nine attempts, and Cronk's points came from four three-pointers (in five attempts) and a perfect 6-of-6 showing from the free-throw line.

Tracey Walker came off the bench to provide 12 points and seven assists, while Ashley Gonnerman added nine points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds.

"A win is a win, and the good thing about today is that we did finish the last four minutes of the game pretty strong," said head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. "We did get some strong rebounds and key stops on the defensive end, and now we need to finish our non-conference schedule strong at San Jose State and fix a few things to give ourselves confidence heading into WCC play."

By halftime, it appeared that Thursday's contest would be a rather easy day in the office for the Broncos, as they hit four threes and another jumper to open the game on a 14-0 run. Walker's three-pointer with 6:32 left in the half got the Bronco lead to 22 at 42-20, the team's largest lead of the day. SCU continued to fire away at the Rockets, shooting 63.6% (14-of-22) from the floor, including 76.9% (10-for-13) from behind the arc in the opening half en route to a 47-30 lead at the break.

Yet the game took a turn from the start of the second half, as Toledo opened things up with a 15-4 run to trim the Bronco lead to six at 51-45 with 11:05 left to play. Santa Clara found itself in foul trouble early, as the Rockets found themselves in the bonus with 13 minutes left.

Free throws helped the Rockets trim the lead further, but they squandered a pair of chances to tie the game at the line, coming to within one at 54-53, and again at 61-60 with 4:40 to play.

That was as close as Toledo would get, though, as a Cronk three and a layup from Jen Gottschalk fueled an eight-point run to give SCU a 69-60 lead with just over a minute to play. From there, the Rockets were forced to foul, and Cronk's four free throws in the final minute helped the Broncos seal the win.

Rhode Island - 85
Pepperdine - 66

MALIBU, Calif. - Pepperdine's Jessica Ross scored a career-high 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting beyond the three-point arch, and two other Waves reached double-digits in scoring as Pepperdine suffered its third straight loss 85-66 to Rhode Island Thursday night in Malibu.

Pepperdine (7-7) received 11 points from Nakeya Isabell and 10 from Taylor Smith in the loss.

Rhode Island (2-11) shot 67.4-percent from the floor (31-of-46) and received a game-high 31 from Safi Mojidi. Jessica Magley added 20 to go along with seven rebounds for the Rams who held a 32-21 advantage on the glass.

Pepperdine used a 7-0 run over two and a half minutes at the start of the second half to cut a 20-point deficit to 13 as Miranda Ayim made a layup with 17:05 to play, forcing Rhode Island to call a timeout.

Out of the stoppage, Rhode Island scored 11 of the next 12 points to take its largest lead of the game 60-37.

Pepperdine cut the lead down to 13 on two more occasions but that would be as close as the Waves would get.

Rhode Island scored the first four points of the game before an Isabell jumper gave Pepperdine its first lead of the game 13-12. Mojidi dropped in a trey on the following possession as Rhode Island went back up by two before an Ayim layup tied the game at 15-all. With the Waves down by two Ross' second trey of the night gave the home team its last lead of the night 18-17.

Pepperdine will return to action Saturday when it hosts Fresno State at 2 p.m.