March 6, 2010
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - No. 8 seeded Santa Clara continued its run through the Zappos.com WCC Women's Basketball Championship, knocking off No. 4 seeded Portland, 74-61, while No. 3 Pepperdine defeated No. 6 seed Loyola Marymount to advance to Sunday's semifinals at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Santa Clara will now face No. 1 seeded Gonzaga in the first semifinal at 11:30 AM, while Pepperdine advances to play No. 2 seed Saint Mary's in the second semifinal.
No. 8 SANTA CLARA - 74
No. 4 PORTLAND - 61
Santa Clara's improbable run at the WCC Tournament continues. The Broncos stormed back from a nine-point second-half deficit to trounce Portland 74-61 and advance to Sunday's semifinal round.
Santa Clara's defense held Portland without a basket for nine minutes during a lopsided second half in which the eighth-seeded Broncos outscored the tournament's fourth-seed 43-25.
"Our second half was one of the best halves we've played all year long," said Jennifer Mountain, who improves to 3-1 in WCC tournament games as SCU's head coach. "It's been the defense, our intensity and believing that we can win games that has got us going here the past two days."
Santa Clara (5-26) upset fifth-seeded San Diego in the tournament's opening game Friday, 68-67, on a buzzer-beating basket by senior Maggie Goldenberger. SCU moves on to face top-seeded and nationally ranked Gonzaga Sunday at 11:30 a.m.
Lena Gipson poured-in 23 points for SCU and had 15 rebounds - just three shy of the all-time tournament record.
"Well its tournament time," said Gipson when asked about the team's surprising upset victories in Las Vegas. "We really have something to prove and the energy our awesome freshmen class brought was contagious."
Freshmen guards Telisha Anderson and Ashley Armstrong combined for 26 points and 12 rebounds to spark SCU's comeback.
The Broncos four blocks was a season-high, they out-rebounded the Pilots 48-33 and made 12 of 15 free throws.
SCU TOURNAMENT NOTES:
# Santa Clara's last trip to the WCC Tournament semifinals was in 2005-06, beating USF 75-65 in OT, then losing in the championship game to Pepperdine 71-67
# SCU beat Gonzaga 77-66 in the 2005 WCC Championship game, the last time the two schools have played in the tournament
# SCU is 3-0 all-time vs. GU in the WCC Tournament, winning in 2005, 2003 and 1999
# Gonzaga is the tournament's top seed for the fourth-straight year
# Jennifer Mountain was GU's top assistant when SCU upset the Zags in the 2005 championship game
# During Mountain's seven seasons as an assistant at GU from 2001-08, the Zags won four WCC regular-season titles and one WCC Tournament title
# In the 18-year history of the WCC Tournament, Santa Clara has won at least one game 13 times
# Lena Gipson's 23 points and 10 field goals Saturday against Portland were career-high's
# Gipson is averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds and shooting 58.1 percent from the field in the tournament's two games
# Gipson's 15 rebounds Saturday was three shy of the WCC Tournament record
# Gipson needs just 10 rebounds equal the all-time tournament rebounding record of 35 set by San Diego's Amber Sprague in 2009
# Gipson's 315 rebounds this season is third-best all-time in SCU's 45 years of sponsoring women's basketball
# Santa Clara's win over Portland Saturday was by far its best statistical game of the year - five players scored in double-figures for the first time in 2009-10
# Alyssa Shoji's 83 3-pointers this season ranks 5th all-time in WCC history
# Shoji has reached double-figures in scoring in 27 of 31 games this season
# Freshman G Telisha Anderson is averaging 10 points per game in the tournament - up from her regular season average of 3.2
# Anderson set career-highs in points (13), rebounds (8) and free throws (7-for-8) Saturday
# Senior Maggie Goldenberger - who made Friday's game-winner - is scoring 11 ppg in the tournament's two games
# Ashley Armstrong is 8-for-11 (.727) from the field in the tournament and she is also averaging double-figures (10.5)
# SCU's dramatic 68-67 victory over San Diego Friday snapped a 9-game losing streak
No. 3 PEPPERDINE - 60
No. 6 LOYOLA MARYMOUNT - 51
Sophomore guard Lauren Bell scored 17 points to lead the Pepperdine women's basketball team to a 60-51 victory over rival Loyola Marymount in a West Coast Conference Tournament quarterfinal on Saturday afternoon.The Waves (19-10) move on to the semifinals to face second-seeded Saint Mary's on Sunday (Feb. 20) at approximately 2 p.m. in the Orleans Arena. Fans can listen to Al Epstein's call of the game at www.pepperdinesports.com with a subscription to Wave Casts. The game will also be video streamed at www.wccsports.com.
After falling behind early, the Waves went on a 24-4 run to end the first half and eventually went ahead by as many as 25 points in the second half before LMU (13-17) closed the gap toward the end.
"It's exciting to be advancing," Pepperdine Coach Julie Rousseau said. "It's different from last year when we went out in the first round. We came in focused and had a good week of practice and it was good to see them implement the things we had practiced all week long."
Bell (San Bruno, Calif./Sacred Heart Cathedral) made six of nine shots and hit three-pointers en route to her second-highest point total of the season.
Senior center Miranda Ayim (London, Ontario, Canada/Saunders Secondary) had 13 points and nine rebounds, sophomore guard Katie Menton (Coarsegold, Calif./Yosemite HS) made three three-pointers and scored 12 points and sophomore guard Jazmine Jackson (Oakland, Calif./Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep) posted eight points, nine rebounds and four assists.
The Waves outshot the Lions 41.5% to 36.5% and had a 35-31 rebounding edge. Although offensive rebounds were close to even (14-12 in Pepperdine's favor), the Waves had a big 16-2 advantage with second-chance points.
Alex Cowling (22 points) and Lisa Helmers (12 points) provided most of LMU's offense.
LMU got off to a good start and led 16-11 midway through the first half. But the final 10 minutes of the half was all Pepperdine, as the Waves outscored the Lions 24-4 en route to a 35-20 halftime lead. The Waves' guards led the way in the first half, with Jackson scoring eight points, Bell notching seven and Menton and freshman guard Shay Cooney-Williams (Frisco, Texas/Frisco HS) getting six apiece.
A jumper by Bell capped a 7-0 run and gave Pepperdine its first lead at 18-16 with 7:18 to go in the half. It was just a one-point lead at 21-20 with a little more than five minutes left, but the Waves held the Lions scoreless the rest of the way and scored the next 14 points before halftime, of which Menton had six.
The Waves' lead grew to 20 points at 42-22 early in the second half after a short jumper by Ayim bounced around the rim and fell in. It increased shortly thereafter to 25 points at 49-24 after another Ayim basket with 12:10 remaining.
But LMU's offense finally awoke and the Lions cut the lead in half thanks to a 12-0 run that made the score 59-36 with less than eight minutes to play. Bell put an end to it, however, making two free throws and hitting a three-pointer to push Pepperdine's advantage back up to 54-36 with 5 1/2 minutes left. Ten of Bell's points came in the second half.
It was still a 17-point game at 60-43 after a three-point play by Ayim with 1:50 left, but the Lions scored the game's final eight points, including a three-pointer at the buzzer, to cut into the Waves' final margin of victory.
The two schools both earned a point this weekend toward the PCH Challenge, a season-long competition between the two rivals. The LMU men won a first-round game against Pepperdine on Friday night and after the Waves' women won today, the season total now stands at 8.5-6.5 in Pepperdine's favor.
Pepperdine swept all three meetings in 2010 with LMU. This was the third time in the last five years the two schools have met in the WCC Tournament, with the Waves winning two of three.