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WCC Women's Basketball Recaps

Dec. 30, 2006

Gonzaga - 81
Montana State - 53

SPOKANE, Wash. - Coming off an nine day break between games, the Gonzaga University women's basketball team played with renewed energy this afternoon and defeated Montana State University 81-53 in the Bulldogs last non-conference game of the season. With the win, GU broke a three-game losing skid and now holds an 8-8 overall record going into to West Coast Conference play, while Montana State dropped to 5-7 on the year with the loss.

Gonzaga was able to build a 20-point lead 12 minutes into the first stanza with some steady defense and sharp shooting. The Bulldogs, who held a 26-6 lead with 7:30 remaining in the half, held the Bobcats to only 2-of-15 (13.3%) shooting from the field over that period and forced MSU to turn the ball over 10 times. Montana State did not score a field goal until the 13:11 mark when Rebecca Mercer hit a three-pointer.

Gonzaga was 10-of-21 (47.6%) from the floor during its first half explosion, including 2-of-4 (50.0%) on three-pointers. Freshman Heather Bowman scored seven points while senior Stephanie Hawk tallied six in helping the Bulldogs gain their 20-point advantage.

Montana State came to life over the final seven minutes of the half cutting Gonzaga's halftime lead to 12, 39-27.

Gonzaga continued to keep Montana State at bay early in the second half on the tandem play of junior Rachel Kane and sophomore Jami Bjorklund. Bjorklund hit three jumpers while Kane nailed two jumpers over the first five minutes to help GU hold the 49-33 lead.

An 8-1 run by Montana State cut Gonzaga's advantage to only 10 with 11 minutes to play in the contest, but that is as close as the Bobcats could get. The Bulldogs exploded for 30 points, while holding Montana State to just 12 points over the final 11 minutes to earn the lopsided victory. Senior Simone Santos scored ten points off the bench during this time, while freshman Vivian Frieson added four points.

Gonzaga, who had each player score at least four points in the victory, was led by Bowman who finished with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds; both game-highs. Hawk added 10 points, six rebounds, three blocks, one assist and one steal, while Kane finished with seven points, six assists, one steal and one rebound.

Montana State was led by Garcia and Alyssa Nelson who finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

The Bulldogs will be back in action Friday, Jan. 5 when they play at Loyola Marymount. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Saint Mary's - 95
Toledo - 73

Moraga, CA - Saint Mary's sophomore guard Jontelle Smith and junior guard Mattiana Thalley both had career nights to lead the Gaels to a 95-73 rout over the visiting Rockets Saturday night from McKeon Pavilion. Saint Mary's has now strung together four straight victories to close out non-conference play and improve to 6-7 overall.

Smith recorded a career-high 26 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including four threes to lead the Gaels. Thalley also set a career-high with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting with four threes as well.

The Gaels torched McKeon Pavilion for 95 points and shot an alarming 56 percent (9-of-16) from beyond the arc. SMC shot 47 percent (26-for-55) from the floor and connected on 34-of-44 free throw attempts. The 44 free throw attempts tied a school record set in 2001.

Both teams battled back and forth early in the first 10 minutes of the contest but the Gaels then went on a 20-10 run to close out the half and take a 39-29 lead into the locker room.

SMC kept the intensity up and ran its lead to 20 with a 61-41 lead with 12 minutes to play. The largest lead by the Gaels was 26 with 2:52 to go.

Junior guard Lauren Shaughnessy continued to play well for the Gaels, scoring 13 points and handing out five assists. Junior forward Maija Lahde tallied nine points and five rebounds.

Olivia Terry led Toledo with 11 points off the bench. Diana Reindl and Lisa Johnson followed with 10 a piece.

The Rockets shot 43 percent (27-for-63) from the floor, 33 percent (3-of-9) from three and 16-of-28 from the charity stripe.

The Gaels caused 30 turnovers and made 13 blocks with Sheridan Arredondo leading the way with five. Arredondo finished the night with eight points and six rebounds in 13 minutes of play.

Saint Mary's will open West Coast Conference play on Sunday, January 7 against rival Santa Clara. Tipoff is slated for 2:05 p.m. from McKeon Pavilion.

San Francisco - 63
Columbia - 51

Honolulu - USF women's basketball played its final contest of 2006, taking a 63-51 victory against Columbia in the consolation game of the Hawaii Invitational Saturday afternoon at the Stan Sherriff Center. The Dons (5-9) salvage a split in the Islands and defeat the Lions (3-9) for the third straight time.

Sophomore guard Shay Rollins matched a career-high with 18 points, while junior guard Dominique Carter also tallied 18 for the Dons. Senior forward Nickie Warren scored nine points and pulled down six rebounds.

"I am encouraged by the way we bounced back after a disappointing loss against Hawaii last night," USF head coach Tanya Haave said. "I thought we showed some character in battling against a Columbia team that fought extremely hard for the entire game. Shay had a good tournament for us and Dominique also turned in some quality minutes as well."

San Francisco took control early, shooting at a .400 (14-35) pace in the first half, building a 34-20 advantage at the intermission. Carter led the way with 10 points, while Peace added nine and Rollins chipped in eight. USF committed just five turnovers in the opening period, and the Dons defense held Columbia to just .281 (9-32) from the field.

USF built its lead to as many as 15 in the second half and withstood a late Columbia rally to secure a third place tournament finish in the Islands. Rollins led the way with 10 points in the period for the Dons who have won two out of their last three games.

For the game, the Dons connected at a .397 (25-63) clip, while the Lions hit at a .333 (19-57) pace. San Francisco owned a dominating 43-32 rebound edge, 16-10 on the offensive glass.

USF plays its final non-conference game when it hosts Nevada Tuesday, January 2. Tip-off against the Wolf Pack is set for 7:00 PM at War Memorial Gym. The Dons open West Coast Conference play when it travels to San Diego Sunday, January 7. Game time against the Toreros is set for 2:00 PM at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

Santa Clara - 71
San Jose State - 59

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's basketball team capped off its non-conference season on a high note Saturday night, defeating the San Jose State Spartans 71-59 at the San Jose State Event Center. With the victory, the Broncos also gave Santa Clara an all-important three points in the Rivalry Series battle between the two schools, upping SCU's lead in the annual battle to 15.5-3.5.

Santa Clara (8-7) will begin West Coast Conference play when the team returns to action on Sunday, Jan. 7, traveling to Moraga to face the Saint Mary's Gaels in a 2 p.m. battle.

Chandice Cronk and Ashley Graham teamed up once again to lead the Bronco scoring effort, posting 15 points apiece. For the second straight game, all of Graham's points came from beyond the arc, as she hit five of her eight attempts, and also passed out eight assists. The Broncos, who led the nation with 139 three-pointers coming into Saturday night's game, made 13 on the night, eight of those coming from Graham and Cronk.

"Ashley and Chandice are a great duo and I would put them up with anyone in the country when it comes to shooting," said head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. "They give us a lot of stability and it boosts the team's confidence when they are shooting well."

"Ashley played a phenomenal game on both ends of the floor tonight," Bento-Jackson continued. "She had a tough defensive assignment tonight and she did a great job."

Kasey Monteith and Anna Martin each scored 10 points to round out the four Broncos scoring in double figures.

The Spartans, coming off of a win of their own against Pacific, their first of the season, took an early lead over the Broncos, as Alisha Hicks and Myosha Barnes carried SJSU to an early 15-11 lead.

Santa Clara would recover soon enough, as five points from Cronk made it a one-possession game, and a three-point play from Monteith with 12:01 to play in the first half pulled SCU even. The Broncos then took their first lead of the game, and subsequently would never trail again, with 11:38 left in the half following a Graham three.

Things stayed close for the rest of the half, as the Broncos, behind five more points from Cronk, stretched their lead to 30-23 at one point, but then allowed the Spartans to close the gap near the break. Two Jaime Hall free throws got the Spartans to within one at 32-31 just before halftime, but Jen Gottschalk's free throws in the final minute gave SCU a 34-31 lead heading into halftime.

Gottschalk scored nine points and grabbed seven rebounds in 25 minutes Saturday, showing that she is fully recovered from a back injury that forced her to miss all or parts of Santa Clara's last four games.

"It's no question that having Jen back has helped us," Bento-Jackson said of Gottschalk's presence. "Every single night she can give us consistency, both on the boards and from a scoring standpoint. She did a great job for us tonight."

Santa Clara re-asserted its power at the start of the second half, as Cronk's jumper and Gottschalk's three to begin play gave SCU an eight-point lead at 39-31. Although San Jose State recouped three of those points to get within five, Graham responded with a three and Ashley Gonnerman added a jumper to extend the lead to 10 at 44-34.

From that point, the Broncos built their lead up again, as another three from Graham put the Broncos up 51-38 with 12:57 to play. But a game Spartans squad made one more effort, as Alisha Hicks' three-point play with 8:59 left whittled the SCU lead down to five at 54-49, but that was as close as the Spartans would get. Santa Clara, behind a pair of threes from Martin, immediately ran off 11 straight points in the next two minutes to put the game out of reach.

Iowa State - 71
Loyola Marymount - 55

Ames, IOWA - The Lions held an early lead but Iowa State pulled away late in the first half and held off LMU for a 71-55 victory in the final game of the Cyclone Classic this evening at the Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. Amanda DeCoud led the Lions with 13 points, and Jennifer Hall recorded a double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Lions will open WCC action on Friday, January 5th, hosting Gonzaga at Gersten Pavilion at 7:00pm.

The Lions (8-6) played well in the opening minutes, taking a 12-9 lead early on a three-pointer by DeCoud. The Cyclones (12-1) tied it on a three-pointer by Lyndsey Medders, but Hall scored LMU's next three points to give the Lions a 15-12 lead at 11:56. LMU continued to play strong defense, and pulled out to a 21-17 lead on a putback layup by DeCoud. Kavita Goss hit a three-pointer from NBA range to make it a 25-21 Lion lead, but Iowa State scored 17 straight points to pull ahead 38-25. DeCoud hit a pair of free throws in the final minute to stop the Cyclone run and make it a 38-27 game at halftime.

DeCoud led the Lions with seven first half points, while Medders and Toccara Ross led all players with 10 first half points. The Cyclones improved to 46.9% shooting in the first half. After a strong start, the Lions fell to 38.5% from the field in the opening period. Valerie Ogoke blocked three Cyclone shots and pulled down five rebounds while scoring four points.

ISU continued to play well in the opening minutes of the second half. After Cassady Moore hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to 38-30, Medders scored the next six points to give the Cyclones a 44-30 lead. DeCoud hit a jumper to stop the run, but Nicky Wieben scored four straight points to make it a 48-32 game.

Following the media timeout, LMU scored nine straight points to cut the Cyclone lead to 48-41. Hall scored back to back baskets to start the run, and Amanda Patton finished the run with a three-point play after stealing the ball, driving down the length of the court and getting fouled on the shot. She hit the free throw to cut the lead to seven. However, ISU broke its scoring drought with a free throw by Heather Ezell and then went on to score the next five points to extend its lead back to 54-41.

The Lion offense struggled, scoring just four points in the next six minute span, while the Cyclones continued to hit shots inside. Wieben hit four shots in the paint in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

LMU cut the Cyclone lead to 11 with a pair of free throws by Hall at 5:28 to make it a 60-49 game, but ISU scored the next nine points to take a 20 point lead. Patton hit a three-pointer at 1:30 to stop the ISU run, and Helmers converted on two free throws to cut the lead to 69-55. Rachel Pierson scored a basket in the final minute for the final 71-55 margin of victory.

Medders led all players with 21 points and was named the MVP of the Cyclone Classic. Early in the second half, she broke the Iowa State career assists record and finished with nine in the game. Ross and Wieben finished with 16 points for ISU.

DeCoud led LMU with 13 points. She also added five assists and three steals. Hall was named to the All-Tournament team after scoring 10 points with 10 rebounds. Ogoke was also named to the All-Tournament team, finishing with eight points, eight rebounds, five blocks and two steals.

The Lions wrap up non-conference play with an 8-6 record, and will open WCC action on Friday, January 5th by hosting Gonzaga at Gersten Pavilion at 7:00pm. The game will be broadcast live on Lions All-Access, and live video will be available on WCCsports.com as part of the conference's All-Access package.

Fresno State - 68
Pepperdine - 59

MALIBU, Calif. - Pepperdine's struggles continued Saturday afternoon as the Waves fell to the Fresno State Bulldogs 68-59 at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, Calif. The loss was the team's fourth straight. After opening the season 6-2, Pepperdine is now 7-8.

The injury-plagued Waves have struggled to find consistent rebounding since the loss of the team's top two rebounders in Teena Wickett and Teiosha George. Pepperdine also played its second straight game without leading scorer Daphanie Kenney who had started 63 consecutive games leading into this week's games.

Miranda Ayim had 15 points, all in the first half, before fouling out mid-way through the second period and Taylor Smith added 12, for the Waves, who are below .500 for the first time since the season opener.

Tierre Wilson had 18 points and seven rebounds, Paige Diggs scored 15 and Brittani Green added 12 for the Bulldogs (7-5).

Pepperdine was held without a point for the first five minutes of the game but only trailed by five. Fresno State would lead by as many as nine with 12 minutes to play. Pepperdine outscored the Bulldogs 20-9 from that point as a Smith Jumper in the final minute gave the Waves their first lead of the game 24-22.

Pepperdine maintained its lead over the first eight minutes of the second half but a Wilson layup at the 11:17 mark put Fresno State up by one 33-32 and started a 15-2 run over a five minute span as the Bulldogs went up by 12.

The lead would reach as many as 16 and Fresno State converted on 20-of-23 free throws in the second half to seal the victory.

Pepperdine will open West Coast Conference play next week when it hosts Portland and Gonzaga on Friday and Sunday, respectively.

Texas - 73
San Diego - 45

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The University of San Diego women's basketball team saw their four-game winning streak come to an end Saturday evening in a 73-45 loss to the University of Texas in the championship game of the Surf N Slam Classic at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

With the loss, the Toreros fall to 10-3 overall, but are still off to the best start in program history. With the win, the Longhorns improve to 10-3 overall and claim the championship of the Surf N Slam Classic.

Amanda Rego recorded 10 points, a team-best six assists and team-leading eight rebounds en route to earning a spot on the All-Tournament team. Kelly Winther was the leading scorer for USD with 11 points, including going 3-for-4 from the three-point line. Amber Sprague notched in eight points on way to being the second Torero named to the All-Tournament team and she recorded a game-high three blocks. As a team, USD shot 33 percent from the floor and were out rebounded 51-31.

For the Longhorns, Tiffany Jackson led the team with her game-high 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting en route to being selected as the Tournament MVP. Earnesia Williams was the only other Texas player in double figures with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Texas shot 46 percent from the floor in the win.

USD held the lead in the early part of the game at 3-2, thanks to a three-point play by Amanda Rego, but that lead was short lived, as Texas would go on a 13-2 run to take a 10-point lead at 15-5. Texas would then push their lead up to 20 going into the break at 41-21.

In the second-half, Texas would continue to increase their lead as they built their lead up to as many as 25 at 48-23, but the Toreros wouldn't go down without a fight as the USD then launched a comeback with 16:21 remaining.

Sprague got things going for the Toreros with back-to-back jumpers, then Rego followed that with a lay-up to give USD a 6-0 run. San Diego then continued their defensive pressure and with the crowd on its feet would score seven more points to conclude a 13-0 run pulling to within 12 of the Longhorns, who seemed to go ice cold from the field.

But a free-throw by Carla Cortijo ended the USD run and Texas would use an 8-0 run to regain momentum and not look back.

The Toreros will return to action on Tuesday as they hit the road for their final West Coast Conference tune-up against Southern Utah University in a 6:05 p.m. game.

SURF N SLAM ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Tiffany Jackson - Texas (MVP)
Earnesia Williams - Texas
Casey Nash - Oregon State
Cedes Fox-Griffin
Amber Sprague - San Diego
Amanda Rego - San Diego