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Lions Win WCC Tournament Opener, Advance to Face Pepperdine

Feb. 29, 2012

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Holding a 17-point lead with 14:34 remaining in the game, the LMU women's basketball team withstood a furious late run by San Francisco and held on for a 66-60 win in the opening game of the 2012 Zappos.com West Coast Conference Championship Wednesday at the Orleans Arena.

The Lions (8-21), seeded No. 9 in the tournament, earned their second win over the No. 8 seeded Dons (5-25) this season and their first WCC Championship win since 2010. They advance to face No. 5 seed Pepperdine on Thursday at noon.

Alex Cowling led all players with 24 points, Hazel Ramirez had 22 and freshman Taylor Ramirez added a career-high 12 for the Lions.

Alicia Scafidi was the lone Don to reach double figures, finishing with 12 points, including 10 in the second half.

Tied 24-24 with 5:05 remaining in the first, the Lions went on a 12-4 run to close out the period. Cowling began the run with jumper, and Anderson followed with a layup to give the Lions a quick four-point lead. Monica DeAngelis added a long three to beat the shot clock, pushing the LMU lead to seven, 31-24.

A Mel Khlok layup with 54 second remaining broke the Lions' 7-0 run, but Ramirez responded with a long trey from the right wing. A defensive stop and a Dani LeNoir 15-foot jumper from the right baseline sent the Lions into the locker room with a 10-point lead.

LMU held the momentum to open the second half, pushing their lead to 17, 47-30 with 14:34 to play. The teams began to trade buckets before a pair of Cowling free throws with eight minutes to play, put the Lions up 55-42.

The tide began to turn as the Dons rolled off 11 straight points, including six by Scafidi, cutting the Lions' lead to just two, 55-53 with 3:49 to play.

A Ramirez layup pushed the lead back to four, but another Scafidi layup and a long bank-shot three by Jamie Katuna to beat the shot clock brought the Dons to within one, 59-58, with 1:42 remaining.

LMU held its ground as Cowling and Ramirez combined to go 7-for-8 from the free-throw line in the final 1:30.

-Courtesy of LMU Athletics