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WCC Women's Basketball Recaps

Dec. 29, 2007

Gonzaga - 97
Eastern Washington - 61

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Gonzaga University women's basketball came out of its seven-day Christmas break with renewed energy and easily defeated visiting in-state rival Eastern Washington University 97-61 at the McCarthey Athletic Center Saturday. The Bulldogs, who improved to 8-5 overall, had two players finish with 20+ points, including junior Jami Bjorklund who registered a game-high 25 points to tie her career-high. Senior Michelle Elliott added 24 points and a team and career-high nine rebounds in the Zags victory.

Bjorklund finished the game hitting 11-of-16 from the floor, including nailing 3-of-5 from behind the three-point arc to tie her career-high of 25 points. The Spokane native also posted four rebounds and two assists in a team-high 30 minutes of action. Elliott closed out the contest hitting 8-of-15 from the floor, including 6-of-10 on three-pointers and hit both of her free throw opportunities. Elliott has now hit a team-high 28 three-pointers.

Freshman Vivian Frieson and redshirt freshman Janelle Bekkering both added 11 points for the Zags.

The Bulldogs were sizzling from the field hitting 48.0% (36-of-75) of its shots, including 48.0% (12-of-25) from beyond the three-point arc, but hit only 65% (13-of-20) of their free throws. Gonzaga took care of the ball against Eastern Washington only turning it over a season-low nine times. The Zags forced 23 Eagle turnovers and finished with nine steals. Gonzaga broke the game open early, quickly building a 26-6 at the 10:12 mark of the first half and went into the locker room with the 47-28 advantage. Bjorklund scored 19 of her 25 in the first half, while Elliott added 10.

Eastern Washington (3-10) was able to slice Gonzaga's lead to 14 early in the second stanza after a three-pointer by Kyla Evans put the score at 51-37, but the Zags went on a 10-2 run to again open the game back up at 61-39.

Gonzaga's largest lead of the game was 38, attained twice; the last time coming with 57 seconds left in the contest after sophomore Tiffanie Shives hit two free throws.

The Eagles' Sydney Bensen finished the game with a team-high 14 points while Amy Bratvold added 10.

The Bulldogs will be back in action on Dec. 31 when they play at Utah Valley. Game time is set to tip at 2 p.m.

Saint Mary's - 71
Cal State Fullerton - 70

Moraga, CA - The Gaels defeated the CS Fullerton Titans 71-70, as sophomore Sierra Chambers came up with a big basket with four seconds remaining in the game to give the Gaels the one point advantage. Chambers tabbed a career-high 19 points against the Titans, improving the Gaels record to 7-8 on the season while the Titans fall to 1-9. To go along with her 19 points Chambers totaled three assists, two rebounds, and one steal.

CS Fullerton started the game strong, as they took an 11-6 lead four minutes into play. Saint Mary's stole back the momentum behind Tomlinson and Chambers, as Tomlinson knocked down back-to-back jumpers to put the Gaels down 16-12, and Chambers converted on two jumpers and a three-pointer. With the run Saint Mary's took their first lead of the game 22-18.

The Titans pushed the Gaels at the end of the first half, going on a 12-3 run, and taking a 38-35 lead. Offensively the Gaels had many players contribute throughout the first half, with eight different players posting two or more points. Freshman forward Louella Tomlinson led the way for Saint Mary's, recording eight points on 4-of-7 shooting from the floor. Joining Tomlinson was Chambers, tabbing seven points and dishing out two assists.

The Titans would again extend their lead at the start of the second half, taking a 42-52 lead over the Gaels with 15:20 left to play in the second half. Saint Mary's had no choice but to chip away at the Titan's lead. Lauren Shaughnessy responded recording back-to-back lay-ups for the Gaels, and Chambers would once again come-up big as she converted on a three-point play. Down seven points with eight minutes remaining Saint Mary's made a surge, posting a 12-3 run and tying the game, 65-65 with 2:27 remaining in the game.

From that point on both teams battled back-and-forth for the lead. Senior guard Serena Benavente knocked down two crucial free throws to give the Gaels a two point lead, but a Titan lay up would tie the game at 67 apiece. With 48 seconds remaining freshman Lauren Chow of CS Fullerton knocked down a huge three pointer for the Titans, taking a 70-69 lead. But that would not be the end of the game for the Gaels, as Chambers drove to the hoop and knocked down a lay up, giving Saint Mary's the 71-70 win over the Titans.

Chambers finished the game with a career-high 19 points, while shooting an impressive 72.7 percent from the floor (8-of-11). Two other Gaels recorded double-digits in points, as Tomlinson and Benavente totaled 15 and 11 points respectively. Tomlinson pulled down eight rebounds for the Gaels, while also picking up eight blocks, one assists, and one steal. Benavente also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out for assists for the Gaels.

Saint Mary's returns to action Sunday, December 30 at 2:05 PM, as they take on the Northern Colorado Bears in their final game before West Coast Conference action.

Santa Clara - 76
Northern Arizona - 66

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's basketball team pushed its winning streak to five games Saturday afternoon as the Broncos posted a 76-66 victory over Northern Arizona in non-conference action. With the win, SCU improved to 9-3 on the season, while the Lumberjacks dropped to 4-9 overall.

"We did exactly what we wanted to do in the beginning of the first half and that was to set to tone on the defensive end," said head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. "We got a lot of big stops and we played with a lot of intensity. In the second half, Northern Arizona got a few easy buckets and we gave up careless turnovers. However, midway through, Liz Doran had a huge charge and we earned big defensive rebounds that helped us remain on top."

Leading the way for the Broncos was senior Jen Gottschalk, who produced her third double-double of the season with a game-high 27 points and a team-best 12 rebounds. She also tied the game-high four steals. Senior guard Chandice Cronk chipped in with 17 points, while senior guard Tracey Walker added 12 points.

Santa Clara opened the first half with a 12-2 run on points from Cronk, Gottschalk, Sara Majors and Elizabeth Doran. However, Northern Arizona responded in the 14th minute of the game with a jumper from Ashley Ingle, which began a 9-2 rally and brought the Lumberjacks within two-points, 17-15. Yet, the Broncos continued to hold the advantage and pulled away to a six-point edge, 26-20, on a three-pointer from Walker. Gottschalk added another three points for the Broncos less than a minute later to make the score, 29-22.

With 1:31 left in the first half, the Gottschalk nailed a layup to give SCU its largest lead of the game, 45-32, before NAU posted a 6-0 run to end the first half, 45-38, on a jumper from Levyna Ben.

A six point run based solely on the efforts of Ingle brought Northern Arizona within one-point of Santa Clara, 45-44, and with a made jumper from Lauran Dinkins, the Lumberjacks grabbed their only lead of the game, 46-45. However, Doran answered for the Broncos with a trey with 17:23 on the clock. The Broncos compiled an 11-2 run on free throws from Gottschalk along with a pair of free throws and a three-pointer from Walker to put the Broncos up by eight-points, 56-48.

NAU did not give up easily and brought the score within two-points, 58-56, on a jumper from Dinkins with 11:42 remaining in regulation. That was the closest the Lumberjacks would get to the Broncos for the remainder of the contest. SCU ended their fifth consecutive win of the season on a triplet of free throws from Cronk and a final free throw from Majors with 40 seconds left.

For the Lumberjacks, Ingle and Dinkins registered 19 points each, while Dinkins recorded a game-high 13 rebounds, seven of which were offensive boards. Meanwhile, Sade Cunningham dished out a game-high six rebounds and was 6-for-6 from the charity stripe.

The Broncos return to action on Monday, Dec. 31 against the Titans of CS Fullerton. Tip off is slated for 5 p.m. at the Leavey Center.

Kansas State - 70
LMU - 47

Los Angeles, CA - Kansas State was crowned champions of the 2007 Hilton LAX Holiday Tournament with a 70-47 victory over LMU Saturday afternoon at Gersten Pavilion. The Lions (8-7) were denied a title in their second home tournament of the season by the Wildcats (7-5), who snap LMU's home winning streak at seven.

Senior Amanda DeCoud had 10 points and six assists to lead the Lions, who were held to 28.6% shooting from both the floor (18-for-63) and three-point range (4-for-14). The Lions sank 53.8% (7-for-13) from the line.

Sophomore Lisa Helmers and freshman Renahy Young each had seven points for the Lions. Senior Valerie Ogoke added her second straight double-digit rebounding game with a team-high 11 boards. Helmers and junior Jenna Sybesma (six points) were named to the All-Tournament team.

Tournament Most Valuable Player Marlies Gipson had her second straight double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds while Shalee Lehning added 13 points, eight rebounds, and six assists to earn All-Tournament honors. Jackie Stanley chipped in 11 points off the bench while Kimberly Dietz and Kari Kincaid each had nine points.

Kansas State shot 43.9% (29-for-66) overall after being above 50% for most of the first 30 minutes. They made 23.8% (5-for-21) from three-point range and 87.5% (7-for-8) at the line. The inside game was what propelled the Wildcats, who out-rebounded LMU 49-37 and scored 42 points in the paint to LMU's 24.

Less than 20 hours after completing an epic 95-90 double-overtime victory over Cal State Bakersfield, LMU found itself trailing 18-5 early. Kansas State took advantage of the sluggish Lions, using penetration off the dribble to make eight of its first nine shots. All five Wildcat starters scored during the fast start, with Kincaid's three-point play extending the lead to 21-5 before LMU Helmers hit a three-pointer that halted a mini 9-0 run.

The Wildcats used a combination of outside shooting and interior passing to exploit openings in the Lion defense. KSU repeatedly made the extra pass, posting nine assists on its first 14 baskets, including four by Dietz, who also added five points. Meanwhile, the Lion guards were doing their best to keep LMU close. Helmers knocked down two three-pointers early and Young converted a pair of three-point plays, the latter of which brought LMU back to 33-20 with 5:23 to go in the half.

Lehning and Gipson were the main beneficiaries of the Wildcats' hot shooting, scoring 10 points each in the first half on a combined 10-for-14 to take KSU into the break leading 41-23. KSU shot 54.8% (17-for-31) in the opening 20 minutes, compared to 25.8% (8-for-31) for the Lions.

The inside-outside combination of Gipson and Lehning was difficult for the Lions to stop as KSU increased its lead to as many as 31, 63-32, with 8:25 left. The Lions kept getting good looks but it would not be their day as they could not repeat the feat of winning their home tournament.

Earlier on Saturday in the Consolation Game, Arkansas-Little Rock defeated Cal State Bakersfield 69-54 to finish third.

LMU has 10 days off before it starts West Coast Conference play. The Lions travel to Portland on January 10 and Gonzaga on January 12.

All-Tournament Team
Marlies Gipson, Kansas State (MVP)
Shalee Kehning, Kansas State
Jenna Sybesma, LMU
Lisa Helmers, LMU
Kim Sitzmann, Arkansas-Little Rock
Christine Kepenekian, Cal State Bakersfield