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WCC Women's Basketball Recaps

March 1, 2008

Gonzaga - 79
Saint Mary's - 63

MORAGA, Calif. - The Gonzaga University women's basketball team closed out its 2008 West Coast Conference regular season on a high note defeating Saint Mary's College 79-63 at the McKeon Pavilion Saturday afternoon in Moraga, Calif. The Bulldogs, who are WCC regular season champions for the fourth-straight year, finished the WCC season with a stellar 13-1 record; their second-straight season with only one loss in conference action.

Gonzaga now holds a 22-7 overall record. It is only the fourth time in school history GU has won 20 or more games and the third time under head coach Kelly Graves. Saint Mary's finishes the regular season with a 14-16 overall mark and a 6-8 record in the WCC.

The game was never in doubt for Gonzaga as it built a 28-point halftime advantage at 51-23. The Bulldogs were clicking on all cylinders in the first half, hitting a smoking 58.8% (20-34) from the field, including an impressive 77.8% (7-9) from behind the three-point arc.

The Zags held the Gaels to just 20.6% (7-34) shooting in the opening half, including 16.7% (1-6) accuracy from behind the three-point arc. Gonzaga also held the huge 31-12 rebounding advantage.

Gonzaga had three players score in double-figure points to help secure the Bulldogs large halftime advantage. Freshman Courtney Vandersloot finished with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field, including a perfect 3-of-3 accuracy on three-pointers. She also grabbed a team-leading seven rebounds and dished out four assists. Sophomores Heather Bowman and Tiffanie Shives posted 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Saint Mary's used a strong opening second half to cut Gonzaga's lead to 17, 62-45, with 11:47 left in the contest. Only three players scored for the Gaels during their 22-11 run, including Louella Tomlinson with led the way with nine points. Serena Benavente added four points while Jontelle Smith drained back-to-back three-pointers to close out the SMC surge.

Gonzaga held steady though, never letting its lead dip below 14 points.

Bowman paced the Bulldogs in the second stanza, scoring nine points, while Vandersloot, sophomore Vivian Frieson and freshman Janelle Bekkering all chipped in four.

Bowman finished the contest with her third-straight 20-plus point performance. The Spokane native scored a game-high 20 points and added six rebounds, one block and one steal. Vandersloot closed out the contest with her first career double-double, registering 15 points and a career and game-high 11 rebounds.

Gonzaga finished the contest hitting 45.5% (30-66) of its shots, including 58.3% (7-12) from behind the three-point arc, and was 66.7% (12-18) at the free throw line.

The Bulldogs outrebounded the Gaels 53-35, including 15-11 on the offensive board.

Benavente and Smith led the way for Saint Mary's posted 16 and 15 points, respectively. The Gales finished the game shooting 28.8% (19-66) from the floor, 31.6% (6-19) on three-pointers, and 90.5% (19-21) at the charity stripe.

Gonzaga will be back in action on Thursday March 6 when it begins WCC Tournament action. The Bulldogs, who are the No. 1 seed, will play the No. 8 seed at 2 p.m. at the Jenny Craig Pavilion in San Diego, Calif.

Pepperdine - 72
San Francisco - 67

MALIBU, Calif. - Celebrating Senior Day in style, the Pepperdine women's basketball won its fourth straight conference dual by defeating University of San Francisco 72-67, on Saturday afternoon, in Firestone Fieldhouse.

"It was a great way to send the seniors off. We're going to the WCC tournament playing well, but we still have to work hard on some things that have been hampering us," said head coach Julie Rousseau. "All our focus and attention is on the tournament right now."

The Waves maintained a lead for most of the first half, going on a nine-point scoring run early in the game to bring the score to 14-8, in the first seven minutes. However, with 4:23 remaining in the half, the Dons had narrowed the margin by one point, 26-25 and Shay Rollins sunk three shots from beyond the arc in less than two minutes to give San Francisco a six point lead at the half, 34-28.

Rollins led in scoring at halftime with 12 points, while sophomore Miranda Ayim (London, Ontario, Canada) recorded 10 points. The Waves were shooting 42.3% on field goals to the Dons 40.6%. San Francisco shot an impressive 53.8% on three-pointers to Pepperdine's 28.6%.

Returning from halftime, the Waves focused on closing the scoring gap and using its speed to execute fast-breaks. Jessica Ross (Gilroy, Calif./ Notre Dame HS) scored two three-pointers and Senior Daphanie Kennedy (Oakland, Calif. / Kearney HS) added seven points of her own in the first seven minutes, to assist Pepperdine to a tie score of 45-45, with 13:01 left.

"We've all been on the same page the last four games," said Kennedy. "Things just started clicking and we've spent a lot of practice time working on defense and rebounding. Right now we're just going to go celebrate this win!"

Sophomore Teena Wickett made a lay-up shot to give the lead back to the Waves 51-49 with 11:50 on the clock. The Dons tied the score two more times before Pepperdine went on an eight point scoring run to widen its lead 65-57, with 5:23 remaining in the game.

San Francisco was unable to bounce back and a series of free-shots (5 points) by Shannon Johnson (Highland Village, Texas / Marcus HS) secured the win for Pepperdine when the buzzer sounded.

Kennedy was the game-high 25 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, while Ayim had her eighth double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Also scoring in double figures for the Waves were, Ross with 12 points and Wickett with 12 points and five assists.

Rollins was the high-scorer for the Dons with 17 points, making 5-of-11 three-pointers. Dominique Carter scored 15 points while Nykia Peace added 10 points for San Francisco.

Pepperdine finished the game shooting 60% on field goals to San Francisco's 37%, 54% on shots from beyond the arc to USF's 48%. The Don's out-shot the Waves on free-throws 75% to 55%.

Next up for the Waves is the WCC Tournament in San Diego, Calif., March 6 - 9. Pepperdine plays Gonzaga at 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 6th.

>San Diego - 63
Loyola Marymount - 55

LOS ANGELES, CA - LMU could not send its seniors off in style, suffering a 63-55 defeat to visiting San Diego in the regular season finale on Senior Day Saturday afternoon at Gersten Pavilion. The Lions (15-14, 7-7 WCC) drop their fourth consecutive contest to the Toreros (16-12, 7-7 WCC), who leap over the Lions in the standings for third place, relegating LMU to the fourth seed for next week's West Coast Conference Tournament in San Diego.

The worst free-throw shooting team in the conference, LMU's struggles from the line reared its ugly head at the most inopportune time. The Lions trailed by six with 84 seconds left but missed four free throws, including the front end of a one-and-one twice, to allow the Toreros to escape with the win.

Junior Jenna Sybesma scored in double figures for the eighth straight game, leading the Lions in scoring for the third consecutive outing with 15 points and 11 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. She also had a career-high five steals. Sophomore Lisa Helmers had 12 points and seven rebounds, with freshman Renahy Young adding 10 points for her 10th double-digit scoring game in WCC play. Playing in their final home game, senior Amanda DeCoud had eight points, four assists, and four steals while classmate Valerie Ogoke had six points, eight rebounds, and three blocks.

The Lions finished a shade above 30% (23-for-76) from the floor and 22.2% from three-point range, attempting 27, one off their season high, making six. At the line, LMU was 3-of-8 (37.5%), missing all five attempts in the second half.

LMU could not take advantage of 25 offensive rebounds, converting them into just 18 second-chance points, and was out-rebounded 47-44 overall. The Lions committed just 11 turnovers and again got very little from their bench, just four points.

Morgan Henderson led four Toreros in double figures with 15 points. Amber Sprague had a near-triple-double of 12 points, 11 rebounds, and nine blocks while Amanda Rego had 10 points, 12 assists, and seven steals. Kiva Herman added 10 points for USD, who shot 46.4% (26-for-56) overall, 44.4% (4-for-9) from long range, and 53.8% (7-for-13) at the line.

The emotions of Senior Day might have still been lingering as LMU got off to a slow start. USD sank its first six shots from the floor to take an early 11-2 advantage and force an LMU timeout. That seemed to settle the Lions, who switched to a zone and clamped down on defense to go on a 14-5 run and tie it at 16-all on a three-pointer by Helmers. Moments later, they took their first lead of the game, 19-18, on a three-point play by Sybesma with 9:17 left.

USD's zone defense kept the Lions on the perimeter but they were able to knock down enough long-range efforts to keep the Toreros honest. When USD came out to defend the three-pointers, LMU smartly made the extra pass, with Sybesma, in particular, shooting the gaps for layups. The danger for LMU was to rely too much on the three-ball as they went cold from distance, missing their last nine attempts and finishing 2-for-15 for the half. Still, Sybesma's play was able to pick them up as the junior had 13 points at the half with LMU trailing 31-27.

Knowing it was her final half at home of her career, DeCoud was everywhere coming out of the break, diving on the floor for loose balls, grabbing rebounds at both ends, and sticking her hands into passing lanes. Her play inspired that of her teammates, who came out of the locker room on an 11-2 run to take a 38-33 lead. DeCoud and Young each had four points during the run.

USD got hot, tying the game at 43-all before Herman hit three long jumpers and Henderson a three to pull ahead, 52-47 with 6:52 left. Helmers cut short the run with a big three from the corner to bring the Lions back within two but USD continued its charge with a three-pointer by Sam Child and a layup by Rego putting San Diego ahead nine, 59-50, with 3:43 remaining.

LMU went cold from the floor, missing nine straight shots but USD missed four free throws to give the Lions hope. Helmers finally broke the drought, hitting another three from the corner with 1:24 left to make it 59-53. The Lions trapped and got a steal, with Young fouled as she went to the basket. This time, it was LMU's turn to struggle at the line. She missed both free throws but Sybesma grabbed a crucial offensive rebound and was fouled, although she would miss the front end of the bonus and Rego made both after she was fouled. Ogoke kept the Lions in it with a layup with 27.1 seconds left. After an LMU timeout, the Lions pressed and got a steal, with Ogoke getting fouled. She, too, missed the front end of the one-and-one, essentially putting an end to the contest.

In a pregame ceremony, the Lions honored their three seniors, Amanda DeCoud, Bronwyn Evans, and Valerie Ogoke playing in their final home game.

The Lions will now head to the WCC Tournament in San Diego as the number four seed. They will play #5 seed Saint Mary's in the first round Thursday at 8 p.m.

Santa Clara - 76
Portland - 62

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Five Broncos reached double-figures as the Santa Clara women's basketball team defeated the Pilots of Portland Saturday afternoon at the Leavey Center. With the win, SCU closed out the regular season with a 19-10 overall record and an 8-6 West Coast Conference action. UP dropped to 15-14 on the season and 5-9 in league play.

Senior Tracey Walker and redshirt junior Sara Majors tied the game-high 17 points, while Majors registered her fourth double-double of the season with a game-high 12 rebounds. Senior Jen Gottschalk added 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for the Broncos as she notched her 11th double-double of the season. Meanwhile, junior Elizabeth Doran and freshman Nicole Gall chipped in with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

The Broncos and Pilots battled for possession of the ball, tying the score three times in the first four minutes of the game. Doran scored a three-point goal to give Santa Clara a five point edge, 11-6, right before a timeout was called on the floor. The Broncos then exploded to a 12-point lead, 22-10, on free throws from Walker and Majors along with a trey from Gall and a tip-in by Gottschalk with 10:55 remaining.

Santa Clara continued to hold control of the ball game, claiming a 17-point lead on a fast break layup by Gall with 1:17 to play. Rachel Stratton made a jumper for the Pilots with less than a minute to play, but the Broncos had the final say of the half with a layup by Majors, 44-27.

Majors converted a four-point play to open the second half for the Broncos, 48-29. A jumper by Doran with 17:32 to play gave Santa Clara a 20-point advantage, 52-32. SCU compiled an 8-0 run consisting of six straight points from Walker.

The Pilots did not back down and forced the Broncos defense to work extra hard. Despite exchanging baskets, Santa Clara remained on top and created its largest lead of the contest, 27-points, on a jumper from Doran, 64-37, with 12:37 to play. SCU held that lead once again, 66-39, on a tip-in by Majors.

Portland produced a seven-point run ending with a three-pointer by Laiken Dollente to bring Santa Clara's lead to 20-points, 66-46, with 7:14 left. The Pilots then made it a 13-point game, 70-57, with a trey by Allyson Sievers. Gottschalk halted the Pilots run with a under the basket layup with 2:38 remaining and then scored another deuce seconds later to make the Broncos lead 74-57. With seven seconds left, Claire Goins made both free shots to give Santa Clara a 76-62 victory.

The Broncos return to action on Thursday, March 6 at the 2008 WCC Championships in San Diego. Fans should check www.SantaClaraBroncos.com for bracket information.