March 13, 2007
Gonzaga and USD Prepare For Postseason
Gonzaga and San Diego will represent the West Coast Conference in the postseason, marking the ninth straight year and the 12th time in the last 13 seasons that multiple WCC teams have earned postseason bids. The Zags received a No. 12 seed in the Big Dance and will meet No. 5 seed Middle Tennessee in Stanford, CA on Saturday to mark GU's first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. San Diego received a bid to the WNIT following one of the most successful seasons in program history, and will host UC Santa Barbara in first round action on Thursday night at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.
Gonzaga captured the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after claiming its first-ever WCC Tournament title in Portland last week. The Zags have posted a 24-9 overall record and enter the postseason on a nine-game winning streak, while having won 17 of their last 18 games to close out the season. The Bulldogs are led by WCC Co-Player of the Year Stephanie Hawk and WCC Newcomer of the Year Heather Bowman, who was named MVP of the WCC Tournament. Gonzaga will meet No. 5 seed Middle Tennessee, who posted a 29-3 overall record and an 18-0 mark in Sun Belt Conference play, in first round action.
March 17 at Stanford, CA (Maples Pavilion)
No. 12 Gonzaga vs. No. 5 Middle Tennessee - 5:00 PM (PT)
USD will be making its first-ever WNIT appearance and just its third postseason appearance in program history when it hosts UC Santa Barbara on Thursday. The Toreros posted their first-ever 20-win season this year, and finished second in the WCC with a 10-4 mark in conference play. UCSB went 18-13 during the regular season, and finished as the runner-up in the Big West Conference.
March 15 at San Diego, CA (Jenny Craig Pavilion)
San Diego vs. UC Santa Barbara - 7:00 PM (PT)
Around The WCC
Multiple WCC Teams In The Postseason For Ninth Straight Year
For the ninth straight season, and the 12th time in the past 13 years, the WCC will be represented by multiple teams in the postseason. Gonzaga captured its first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament after winning the WCC Tournament crown, while San Diego was selected for the WNIT following one of the best seasons in program history. This year will mark the third postseason appearance in the last four seasons for the Bulldogs, as GU made appearances in the WNIT following the 2004 and 2005 seasons. San Diego last appeared in the postseason as the WCC's representative in the Big Dance in 2000.
CSTV Televises WCC Tournament Championship Game
The 2007 WCC women's basketball tournament championship game was broadcast by College Sports Television (CSTV) on March 4, marking the first time in league history that the deciding contest for the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament was broadcast live to a national television audience. The match up between No. 1 seed Gonzaga and No. 3 seed Loyola Marymount ended in a 64-47 triumph for the Bulldogs, ensuring Head Coach Kelly Graves' squad a place in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
WCC Tournament Visits Portland In 2007, Returns To San Diego In 2008
The West Coast Conference men's and women's basketball championships returned to the Northwest this year with Portland hosting the event for the first time since 1992. The 16th annual women's championship took place March 1-4, while the 21st annual men's event was played March 2-5. In 2002, the league voted to rotate the championship site regionally. This year concludes the Northwest's two-year site rotation, and the 2008 tournament is slated to be hosted by the University of San Diego for the fourth time in event history. The WCC's premier event was held at USD three straight years from 2001-03.
WCC Squads Make Strong Start In 2006-07
West Coast Conference teams made a strong start to the 2006-07 campaign, as the eight conference teams combined to post a 62-55 overall record against non-conference opposition prior to league play. Highlighting the early season wins were two victories over ranked opponents, as Pepperdine topped then-No. 12 ranked Rutgers on November 17, and Gonzaga knocked off then-No. 19 ranked UCLA in Hawai'i on November 24. WCC squads have also had success against other conference's from the west, combining to post a 40-37 mark against teams from the Big Sky, Big West, Mountain West, Pac-10, and Western Athletic conferences.
WCC Team Notes
Gonzaga Bulldogs (24-9 / 13-1 WCC)
- Gonzaga earned its first-ever WCC Tournament title with a 64-47 win over LMU last week, and will be making the first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history on Saturday.
- Heather Bowman, the WCC Newcomer of the Year, became the first freshman to earn WCC Tournament MVP honors following her performance in Portland. Bowman led the WCC in scoring in conference games, averaging 16.3 points per contest against league opponents.
- Stephanie Hawk became the second Bulldog to earn WCC Player of the Year honors in the last three seasons, joining former teammate Shannon Mathews who earned the recognition in 2005. Hawk finished the regular season as the league's top rebounder (8.1 rpg), and ranked fourth in the conference in scoring (14.7 ppg).
- GU takes on No. 5 seed Middle Tennessee in NCAA Tournament action on Saturday.
Loyola Marymount Lions (19-12 / 9-5 WCC)
- LMU advanced to the WCC Tournament championship game for the second time in four seasons, but fell short against Gonzaga in a 64-47 loss.
- Amanda Patton tied her own LMU single-season record with her 67th three-pointer of the season in the loss to Gonzaga. Patton became the Lions' all-time leader with 153 career treys during her time at LMU.
- Amanda DeCoud garnered WCC Defensive Player of the Year honors for 2006-07, becoming the first Lion since Adrianne Slaughter in 2002-03 to earn the award.
- Ashlee Dunlap garnered All-Tournament honors after pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds in the loss to the Zags. The senior finished her career ranked eighth on the LMU career rebounds list with 515, despite playing just two seasons at LMU.
Pepperdine Waves (14-17 / 6-8 WCC)
- Pepperdine played a pair of overtime games at the WCC Tournament, knocking off Saint Mary's in first round action, 71-67, before falling to Loyola Marymount in the semifinals, 64-61.
- Teiosha George was named to the All-Tournament team following a pair of outstanding performances in Portland. The junior recorded a double-double with 18 points and 12 boards in the win over the Gaels, and added 14 points in the loss to the Lions.
- Teena Wickett garnered first team All-WCC honors and WCC All-Freshman Team recognition, making Pepperdine the only WCC program to have placed a newcomer on the All-Freshman Team in each of the four years since the honor was reinstated in 2003-04.
- The Waves posted a 3-1 record in overtime contests during the 2006-07 season, winning three straight before falling to LMU in the WCC Tournament semifinals.
Portland Pilots (10-20 / 2-12 WCC)
- Portland was eliminated in the first round of the WCC Tournament, falling to No. 1 seed Gonzaga, 68-55.
- Laiken Dollente garnered first team All-WCC honors and was named to the All-Freshman Team following an outstanding rookie campaign. Dollente finished the regular season as the top scoring freshman in the conference, averaging 15.2 points per game. Her 455 points ranked second in the WCC.
- Rachel Warren returned to the Pilot lineup for the WCC Tournament, and scored a game-high 19 points in the loss to the Zags.
- Carly Koebel finished the season with 36 blocked shots, and ranked fourth in the conference with 1.50 blocks per game. Koebel helped the Pilots lead the WCC with an average of 4.80 blocks per game as a team.
Saint Mary's Gaels (14-14 / 8-6 WCC)
- Saint Mary's reeled off four straight victories to close out the regular season, but dropped a 71-67 overtime decision to No. 5 seed Pepperdine in the first round of the WCC Tournament.
- Jontelle Smith was named to the All-WCC first team after emerging as a top three-point threat during her sophomore season. Smith ranked third in the conference with a .377 (49-for-130) three-point field goal percentage during the regular season, and ranked second in WCC play after shooting at a .431 (28-for-65) clip from three-point land.
- Maija Lahde, an All-WCC honorable mention honoree, closed out the season with a double-double in the loss to the Waves, scoring 17 points and pulling down 12 boards.
- Lauren Shaughnessy finished the season ranked second in the conference and 26th in the nation with 5.2 assists per game.
San Diego Toreros (21-8 / 10-4 WCC)
- San Diego fell to San Francisco in the first round of the WCC Tournament, 80-69, but earned a bid to the WNIT for the first time in program history.
- Amanda Rego shared WCC Player of the Year honors with Gonzaga's Stephanie Hawk, becoming the first Torero to earn the league's top honor. The guard led the conference in steals (2.76 spg) and assists (7.66 apg) for the second straight season, leading the nation in the latter.
- Amber Sprague, Rego's high school teammate, was tabbed for first team All-WCC honors after sitting out all of last season due to injury. Sprague averaged a team-high 14.8 points per game, and ranked second in the WCC with 8.0 boards per contest.
- The Toreros begin WNIT Tournament play at home on Thursday, hosting UC Santa Barbara for a 7:00 PM tip off at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.
San Francisco Dons (10-21 / 3-11 WCC)
- San Francisco upset the No. 2 seed in the first round of the WCC Tournament for the second straight season, knocking off San Diego, 80-69, before falling to eventual champion Gonzaga in the semifinals, 59-38.
- Dominique Carter scored 34 points in two games during the WCC Tournament, putting the junior in sole possession of seventh place on the USF career list with 1,262 points. Carter earned All-WCC first team honors for the third straight season this year, becoming just the 18th player in conference history to earn All-Conference honors three times.
- Heidi Heintz was named to the WCC All-Freshman Team, following in the footsteps of teammates Carter and Shay Rollins who were tabbed for All-Freshman recognition in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
- Nickie Warren ranked ninth in the WCC with 6.2 rebounds per game this season.
Santa Clara Broncos (13-17 / 5-9 WCC)
- The Broncos fell 65-49 to No. 3 seed Loyola Marymount in the first round of the WCC Tournament, marking the first time since 2001 that the Broncos failed to win a game in the tournament.
- Chandice Cronk was named to the All-Conference team after snapping the WCC single-season record for three-pointers with 94 on the season. Cronk became the second straight Bronco to lead the conference in scoring (16.0 ppg), and her 188 career three-pointers rank sixth on the WCC chart.
- Jen Gottschalk was named All-WCC honorable mention after sitting out the last two seasons. Gottschalk, who played for SCU as a freshman in 2002-03, returned to the squad and ranked second in the WCC in field goal percentage after shooting at a .512 (125-for-244) clip.
- Santa Clara led the nation with 8.4 three-point field goals per game as a team.