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WCC Women's Basketball Weekly Notes

Feb. 9, 2010

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CONFERENCE PLAY CONTINUES THIS WEEK
With just three weeks remaining in conference play, all eight teams will play a couple of games this week. Last week Saint Mary's and San Diego swept both their games, while Gonzaga and Pepperdine won their sole matchups. With their win, the Zags moved up to No. 22 in the AP Poll and are ranked for the first time in the ESPN Coaches poll at No. 23.

This week's slate of games is highlighted by the matchup between Gonzaga and Saint Mary's as the Gaels trail the Zags by just a half game for first place. Another milestone can be achieved this week as well, as Saint Mary's Louella Tomlinson is just three blocks away from breaking the NCAA's all-time career mark.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
Gonzaga at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA
7:00 PM
Santa Clara at Loyola Marymount Los Angeles, CA
7:00 PM
San Francisco at Pepperdine Malibu, CA
7:00 PM
Portland at San Diego San Diego, CA
7:00 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
RECAP
Portland at Saint Mary's Moraga, CA
2:00 PM
San Francisco at Loyola Marymount Los Angeles, CA
2:00 PM
Santa Clara at Pepperdine Malibu, CA
2:00 PM
Gonzaga at San Diego San Diego, CA
2:00 PM

AROUND THE WCC

WCC January Players of the Month: Courtney Vandersloot, GON/Louella Tomlinson, SMC
Vandersloot helped Gonzaga to a perfect 7-0 record in the month of January, winning its games by an average of 33.6 points per contest. She averaged 19.9 points, 9.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 4.1 steals per contest. The point guard, who leads the nation in assists, also shot an impressive 59.1 percent from the field, hitting 52-of-88, and was 47.8 percent from behind the 3-point arc, draining 11-of-23, and was 80.0 percent at the charity strip (24-of-30). She scored double-figures in all seven contests, including four 20-plus points contests. She also registered two double-doubles (pts, a). During the month, Vandersloot became the Gonzaga University all-time assist leader, breaking Shannon Mathews record of 600 (set from 2002-205) at Pepperdine University. She currently has dished out 635 dimes.

In the month of January, Tomlinson averaged 20.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 6.3 blocks, and 3.3 assists. She posted a 51.1 percent field goal percentage, knocking down 48-of-94 from the field. Tomlinson finished the month leading the conference in four major categories: scoring (17.8), rebounding (10.2), blocked shots (149), and defensive rebounds (190) while leading the nation in blocked shots and triple-double's (3) and is second in the nation in double-double's (14) and No. 17 in field goal percentage (45.9) going into February.

In January, the team posted a 6-1 record, the best start to conference since the 1999-2000 season. In each of those six wins, Tomlinson posted double-double's, including a string of four in a row, to bump her season total to 14. Against USF, Tomlinson had a big night from the field and the free throw line, going 8-for-12 from the field and a record-tying 19-for-20 from the charity stripe to finish with a career-high 35 points. The 19 made free throws tied an SMC and WCC single-game record in free throws made. Tomlinson fell two blocks shy of a triple-double in that game as well. Tomlinson scored in double-figures in every game in January as her streak grows to 20 straight games with double-digit points. At San Diego, Tomlinson contributed 17 points and 12 rebounds to help the Gaels clinch the overtime victory.

With Tomlinson's 44 blocks in January, her career total climbs to 466 and her season total stands at 149. Going into the final conference stretch, she is 15 blocks shy of the NCAA D-I career blocks record set in 2002-05 by TCU's Sandora Irvin (480) and 17 blocks shy of the NCAA D-I single-season record, which was set last season by Brittany Pittman (164).

Also nominated: Miranda Ayim , PEP; Dominique Conners, USD

WCC Player of the Week: Louella Tomlinson, SMC
On the weekend, Tomlinson averaged 17.0 points, 19.0 rebounds, and 6.0 blocks Tomlinson posted double-doubles in both games and the double-double versus USF marked her 16th of the season, tying Judie Lomax as the national leader in double-doubles...against USF, Tomlinson recorded a career-high 24 rebounds, tying the West Coast Conference record held by USD's Chris Enger (1990)...Tomlinson's 12 blocks bumped her season total to 161, tying the Saint Mary's and WCC single-season record for blocks that she re-set last season...with the two victories, the Gaels improve to 8-1 in conference, the best conference start in school history since 1989-90.

Also nominated: Miranda Ayim, PEP; Morgan Henderson, USD

Gonzaga Picked as the Favorite in WCC Preseason Coaches Poll
The Gonzaga Bulldogs have been selected as the preseason favorite to win the WCC title this year, receiving seven out of the eight first place votes, for 49 points, as voted on by the league head coaches. The Zags edged out Loyola Marymount, who received the remaining first place vote and totaled 40 points. Coming in a close third to the Lions was Pepperdine with 34 points. In the middle of the pack were Portland, with 31 points for a fourth place finish, and Saint Mary's, who received 29 points for the fifth spot. San Diego finished just behind the Gaels, with 22 points for sixth place. Rounding out the poll are San Francisco and Santa Clara, who tied for seventh with 10 points each.

2009-10 WCC Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Gonzaga - 49 (7)
2. Loyola Marymount - 39 (1)
3. Pepperdine - 34
4. Portland - 31
5. Saint Mary's - 29
6. San Diego - 22
7. San Francisco - 10
Santa Clara - 10

2009-10 WCC Women's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team
Miranda Ayim, PEP
Heather Bowman, GON
Dominique Conners, USD
Alex Cowling, LMU
Laiken Dollente, POR
Vivian Frieson, GON
Lena Gipson, SCU
Jontelle Smith, SMC
Louella Tomlinson, SMC
Courtney Vandersloot, GON
Renahy Young, LMU

Three Conference Games Slated For National TV Broadcasts
This season, three WCC women's basketball games will appear on national TV on the CBS College Network as well as ESPNU. Two of the games will air on the CBS College Network, with the WCC Tournament championship game from Las Vegas airing on ESPNU.

WCC Women's Hoops Television Schedule

Feb. 18Loyola Marymount at Gonzaga - 8:00 pm (PT) CBS College Sports
Feb. 27San Diego at Pepperdine - 7:00 pm (PT) CBS College Sports
Mar. 8WCC Tournament Championship - 12:00 pm (PT) ESPNU

WCC Extends Reach Overseas
Several WCC players and coaches decided not to take the summer off and instead took their games overseas. Gonzaga's Janelle Bekkering took the last spot on Canada's Senior Women's National Team, beating out 15 other players selected to tryout. This gave her a chance to play in the FIBA Americas Championships. Saint Mary's Louella Tomlinson played for Australia in this year's World University Games, where she helped her team win a Bronze Medal against the Czech Republic. Dons' Head Coach Tanya Haave took her team on a journey throughout Scandinavia, where it played a five-game tour, going 3-2 against top teams from Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Pepperdine Head Coach Julie Rousseau got her first taste of Team USA as she was an assistant coach for the World University Team, who ended up winning the Gold Medal against Russia at the World University Games. Below is a list of all the international players competing in the WCC.

Multiple WCC Teams In The Postseason For 11th Straight Year
For the 11th straight season, and the 15th time in the past 16 years, the West Coast Conference was represented by multiple teams in the postseason. Gonzaga captured the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament by winning the WCC Tournament, while Portland was selected to play in the WNIT against Portland State. It marked the second appearance for both programs in their respective tournaments. Gonzaga pulled off the upset as the 12th seed, taking down fifth seeded Xavier, 74-59 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to give the program its first ever NCAA Tournament victory. In round two, the Zags went back and forth with No. 4 seed Pittsburgh, as the lead changed 16 times, before losing the lead for good with two minutes to go, losing 65-60. The Pilots had control of their game in the second half, leading by as many as nine, but were unable to hold on for the win.

WCC Basketball Championships Remain in Las Vegas Through 2012
The West Coast Conference and Orleans Arena announced a three-year contract extension that will keep the WCC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships in Las Vegas through 2012.

The extension comes after the West Coast Conference sold out the Orleans Arena for the 2009 WCC Basketball Championships. The 2009 championship, which was the WCC's first-ever at a neutral site, set conference records for both total championship attendance (33,320) and single session championship attendance (7,845).

The agreement will bring the WCC Basketball Championships to the Orleans Arena on March 5-8 of 2010, March 4-7 of 2011, and March 2-5 of 2012.

The 2010 WCC Championships will feature the same format as the 2009 event, with a combined total of 14 men's and women's games over four days. Tickets for the 2010 championship will go on sale to the general public on Friday, November 13.

Saint Mary's Louella Tomlinson Re-Breaks WCC Blocks Record
Junior Louella Tomlinson followed up her record-setting freshman campaign, in which she set an NCAA and WCC single-season blocks (152) record, by setting a new WCC record with 161 in her sophomore season. The NCAA record for career blocks is 480, and if Tomlinson keeps up her pace, she will shatter that mark with 626 career blocks. Her single season total for one season was so high, that it also ranks No. 1 on the Gaels' all-time career list.

Gonzaga's Heather Bowman and Courtney Vandersloot Named to Preseason Wooden Award Watch List
Gonzaga University women's basketball teammates Heather Bowman and Courtney Vandersloot were named to the preseason Women's Wooden Award All-American Team and Player of the Year trophy announced by Richard "Duke" Llewellyn, Wooden Award Chairman. Bowman, a senior, becomes the first Bulldog to be nominated for the award in back-to-back seasons as she also made the list last season. Vandersloot is the second-ever Zag player to make the list.

Gonzaga is one of only four schools with two preseason candidates. The others are the University of Connecticut (Maya Moore, Tina Charles), Ohio State University (Jantel Lavender, Samantha Prahalis) and Stanford University (Jayne Appel, Jeanette Pohlen).

This list is composed of 31 student-athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are the early frontrunners for college basketball's most prestigious honor.

In late December, the Wooden Award Committee will release the Midseason Top 20 list, followed in March by the National Ballot, consisting of approximately 15 top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. The Women's Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the "Elite Eight" round during the NCAA Tournament. The presentation of the Wooden Award All-American Teams and the Legends of Coaching Award will take place the weekend of April 9-11, 2010.

WCC Returning Record Setters
The WCC returns seven players who are already in the the league's all-time season and career record books.

Record         Player                 Place   TotalPoints (S) Heather Bowman, GON  (4)     641Points (C)Heather Bowman, GON  (9)  1,666Assists (S) Courtney Vandersloot, GON (3)     239Rebounds (S) Lena Gipson, SCU  (5)     307Blocks (S)  Louella Tomlinson, SMC  (1)     161FG Pct. (S) Ashlee Smith, SMC  (10)    56.93FG Pct. (S) Morgan Henderson, USD     (9)     44.9Blocks (C)  Louella Tomlinson, SMC  (2)     317FT Pct. (C) Laiken Dollente, POR  (3)     87.0FT Pct. (S)Laiken Dollente, POR  (3)  91.4

S= Season, C= Career

All-WCC Performers Highlight Squads
Seven All-WCC performers return to their respective squads this year, along with five players that earned honorable mention honors last season. Gonzaga returns three all-WCC players in Courtney Vandersloot, who won Player of the Year, Heather Bowman, and Vivian Frieson. Pepperdine returns Miranda Ayim, while Saint Mary's brings back Louella Tomlinson, who won Defensive Player of the Year. LMU's Renahy Young and Portland's Laiken Dollente round out the returning all-conference players.

Player                    YRPPGMiranda Ayim, PEP    SR11.5Heather Bowman, GON    SR19.4Laiken Dollente, POR    SR15.3Vivian Frieson, GON    SR10.0Louella Tomlinson, SMC    JR15.2Courtney Vandersloot, GON   JR16.4Renahy Young, LMU    JR14.7


WCC TEAM NOTES

SCHOOL TEAM NOTES

Overall Record: 19-4
WCC Record: 8-0
  • Gonzaga extended its winning streak to a season-best 10 straight with a 70-58 win over Portland. The Zags are now ranked No. 22 in the AP Poll.

  • SO Courtney Vandersloot was named a WCC Co-Player of the Month after leading the Zags to a 7-0 record in January. She averaged 19.9 points, 9.3 assists, and 4.1 steals per game, while shooting 59.1 percent from the field and 47.8 from beyond the arc. She also became the Zags' all-time leader in assists (643).

  • SR Heather Bowman led all scorers in the game with 19 points on 9-of-14 shooting and also nabbed a game-high six steals. She is currently shooting 57.6 percent from the field over her last five games. After allowing the Pilots to shoot 50.0 percent in the first half, the Zags held them to 29.2 percent in the second.

  • The Zags will play at Saint Mary's (2/11) for sole possession of first place and San Diego (2/13).
  • Overall Record: 9-13
    WCC Record: 2-6
  • LMU had just one game last week, falling at cross-town rival Pepperdine, 72-62.

  • SO Alex Cowling had her fifth 20 point game in her last seven as she tossed in 22 points on 6-of-12 shooting and was a perfect 10-for-10 from the line.

  • SR Lisa Helmers continued her shot shooting form beyond the arc, going 5-of-6 from downtown. She has hit nine from deep in her last two games and is now just 10 threes away from becoming the schools all-time leader.

  • JR Renahy Young chipped in 10 points, which moved her into seventh place on the school's all-time scoring list. The Lions set a new school record, going 18-for-18 from the line.

  • The Lions host Santa Clara (2/11) and San Francisco (2/13) this week.
  • Overall Record: 14-8
    WCC Record: 5-3
  • Pepperdine had just one game last week, defeating cross-town rival Loyola Marymount, 72-62.

  • SR Miranda Ayim tossed in game-highs of 22 points (11-of-20) and 10 rebounds, while also adding five blocks. It marked her sixth game with at least five blocks and she is now 16 away from tying the school record of 170.

  • SO Jazmine Jackson scored a season-high 20 points and dished out a game-high five assists as she has shot 50 percent in her last two games.

  • SO Katie Menton went 3-of-4 from downtown to continue her hot shooting. Over her last four games, she is shooting 45.2 percent from deep.

  • Pepperdine hosts San Francisco (2/11) and Santa Clara (2/13) this week.
  • Overall Record: 15-8
    WCC Record: 4-4
  • Portland had just one game last week, falling to Northwest rival Gonzaga, 70-58.

  • SO Alexis Gannis posted her third double-double in five games totaling 13 points (5-of-9) and 12 rebounds. Over that span she is shooting 69.8 percent and averaging 11.2 rebounds.

  • SR Laiken Dollente tossed in 13 points, while grabbing six rebounds, and dishing out five assists. She also nabbed two steals and is averaging 2.5 over her last four games.

  • The Pilots shot 50.0 percent in the first half for a six point lead, and were playing with just eight healthy players due to injury, before giving up the lead for good in the second.

  • Portland is on the road at San Diego (2/11) and Saint Mary's (2/13) this week.
  • Overall Record: 17-7
    WCC Record: 8-1
  • Saint Mary's extended its winning streak to six with wins over Santa Clara, 69-62, and San Francisco, 56-46.

  • In addition to being named the WCC Player of the Week, JR Louella Tomlinson was also named the January Co-Player of the Month. She averaged 20.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 6.3 blocks, helping the team to a 6-1 record.

  • In the game against San Francisco, Tomlinson pulled down a career-high 24 rebounds, which tied the WCC single-game record which was set back in 1990. She also scored a game-high 18 points and blocked seven shots. She is now just three blocks shy of breaking the NCAA's all-time career record.

  • The Gaels have a couple of crucial games this week as they host Gonzaga (2/11) for a share of first place, before playing Portland (2/13).
  • Overall Record: 14-9
    WCC Record: 6-3
  • San Diego went undefeated last week, beating San Francisco, 67-52, and Santa Clara, 67-58.

  • SO Dominque Conners averaged 17.5 points in both games, while shooting 54.2 percent. She has been shooting well recently as she is averaging 20.3 points on 58.5 percent shooting over her last four. Conners currently ranks sixth in the league in scoring (15.2) and second in steals (2.7).

  • In the game against Santa Clara, SR Morgan Henderson led the team with 20 points as she went 13-of-14 from the line. Her performance moved her into the 1,000 point club as she is just the 12th player in school history to achieve the milestone. She has scored in double figures in four of her last five, averaging 16.5 points during that span.

  • The Toreros are at home this week to host Portland (2/11) and Gonzaga (2/13).
  • Overall Record: 4-22
    WCC Record: 0-9
  • San Francisco went winless last week, falling to San Diego, 67-52, and Saint Mary's, 56-46.

  • SO Rheina Ale was the only Don in double-figures against the Toreros, finishing with 12 points, while hitting a couple threes. She has now scored in double-digits in 11 straight games.

  • All but one of the players scored in the loss to Saint Mary's, led by Ale's 10 points. She also grabbed six rebounds and handed out four assists.

  • Ale continues to lead the team from downtown as she ranks third in the conference with 53 made threes.

  • San Francisco is on the road this week at Pepperdine (2/11) and Loyola Marymount (2/13).
  • Overall Record: 3-21
    WCC Record: 1-8
  • Santa Clara went winless last week, falling to Saint Mary's, 69-62, and San Diego, 67-58. Four of the Broncos' last five losses have all come within single digits.

  • JR Lena Gipson nearly had double-doubles in both games, finishing with nine points and 11 rebounds in each game. Gipson has now moved into the Broncos' career top 10 list for rebounds (539) in just her second season. She currently ranks second in the league in rebounding (9.7) and is one of two players in the league with over 200 rebounds.

  • SO Alyssa Shoji scored a career-high 27 points against San Diego and went 5-for-11 from downtown. Her league-leaging 62 threes this season ties for the eighth spot on the school's single season list.

  • Santa Clara is on the road this week at Loyola Marymount (2/11) and Pepperdine (2/13).