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WCC Women's Basketball Begins Postseason This Week

March 17, 2009

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GONZAGA AND PORTLAND PREPARE FOR THE POSTSEASON
Gonzaga and Portland will represent the West Coast Conference in the postseason, marking the 10th straight year and the 13th time in the last 14 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 Xavier in Seattle, WA on Saturday to mark GU's second-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Portland received a bid to the WNIT following one of the most successful seasons in program history, and will head over to take on Portland State this Thursday.

Gonzaga captured the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after claiming its second-ever WCC Tournament title in Las Vegas last week. The Zags have posted a 26-6 overall record and enter the postseason winning seven of their last eight games to close out the season. The Bulldogs are led by WCC Player of the Year, Courtney Vanderlsoot, who was also named WCC Tournament MVP, becoming the first women's player since 2001 to win both awards. Gonzaga will meet No. 5 seed Xavier, who posted a 25-6 overall record and a 13-1 mark in Atlantic 10 Conference play.

March 21 at Seattle, WA (Bank of America Arena)
No. 12 Gonzaga vs. No. 5 Xavier - 7:30 PM (PT)

Portland will be making its first WNIT and postseason appearance in 10 years when it travels to play cross-town rival Portland State this Thursday. The Pilots posted a 17-13 overall record, which is the most since the program collected 19 wins in 1997-98. The second place conference finish was the best since the team went undefeated in conference play in 1996-97. Portland State went 22-9 during the regular season, and finished 14-2 in the Big Sky Conference.

March 19 at Portland, OR (Stott Center)
Portland vs. Portland State - 7:05 PM (PT)

WCC TOURNAMENT RECAP

GON Post-Game Press Conference
USD Post-Game Press Conference

Gonzaga won its second WCC title in three years and its second NCAA Tournament appearance with a 66-55 win over San Diego. San Diego went on an impressive run winning its first three games in back-to-back-to-back fashion to make the tournament final.

Opening Round (March 6)
No. 8 SCU 82, No. 5 SMC 55
No. 6 USD 73, No. 7 USF 64

Quarterfinals (March 7)
No. 4 LMU 71, No. 8 SCU 60
No. 6 USD 76, No. 3 PEP 69

Semifinals (March 8)
No. 1 GON 74, No. 4 LMU 63
No. 6 USD 74, No. 2 POR 64

Final (March 9)
No.1 GON 66, No. 6 USD 55

All-Tournament Team
Courtney Vandersloot, GON (MVP)
Janelle Bekkering, GON
Heather Bowman, GON
Dominique Conners, USD
Kiva Herman, USD

AROUND THE WCC
WCC Announces Women's Basketball All-Conference Teams

2009 ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM

WBB Player of the Year
Courtney Vandersloot, GON

Defensive Player of the Year
Louella Tomlinson, SMC

Newcomer of the Year
Alex Cowling, LMU

Coach of the Year
Jim Sollars, POR

WBB All-WCC First Team
Miranda Ayim, PEP - SO - F
Heather Bowman, GON - JR - F
Laiken Dollente, POR - JR - G
Vivian Frieson, GON - JR - F
Kiva Herman, USD - SR - F
Shay Rollins, USF - SR - G
Amber Sprague, USD - SR - C
Louella Tomlinson, SMC - SO - F
Courtney Vandersloot, GON - SO - G
Renahy Young, LMU - SO - G

WBB All-Freshman Team
Kelly Bowen, GON - G
Dominque Connors, USD - G
Alex Cowling, LMU - F
Alexis Gannis, POR - F
Jazmine Jackson, PEP - G

WBB Honorable Mentions
Lauren Angel, POR
Karlie Burris, POR
Alex Cowling, LMU
Tara Cronin, POR
Lena Gipson, SCU
Nakeya Isabell, PEP
Jazmine Jackson, PEP
Cassady Moore, LMU

WCC Players of the Week: Saint Mary's Louella Tomlinson Earns Weekly Honor
Saint Mary's sophomore Louella Tomlinson averaged a double-double in two games of action, as the Gaels won their final games of the regular season and tied for fourth in the WCC. She averaged 17 points and 13 rebounds, while shooting 100 percent from three (2-of-2), and 72.7 percent from the free throw line (8-of-11) and totaled 10 blocks and three steals. Tomlinson is tied for the most weekly honors this season.

Also Nominated: Alex Cowling, LMU; Sara Majors, SCU

Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot Considered Among Top Point Guards in the Country
Gonzaga University women's basketball sophomore point guard Courtney Vandersloot is one of 13 finalists for the 10th Annual Nancy Lieberman Award.

The award is a national project for the Rotary Club of Detroit honoring the nation's top collegiate point guard in women's Division I basketball. The criteria for the award are the floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills that personified Hall of Famer, Nancy Lieberman during her career.

Vandersloot is currently third in assists per game (7.3) in NCAA Division I, is the fourth leading scorer in the West Coast Conference (16.1 ppg) and is a leading candidate for Player of the Year in the WCC.

She currently holds the fourth spot in the Bulldog career record book for assists with 381; 13 shy of taking over third. Vandersloot has handed out double-figure assists in five contests this season, including a career-high 13 versus Montana State University on Nov. 21.

Sportswriters from across the country have determined the final nominee list. They will now select three finalists from the list and one winner at the beginning of April 2009. The announcement of the three finalists and one winner will be made during the Final Four Weekend (April 5-7, 2009) and the winner will be invited to attend the April 22 award luncheon at the Detroit Athletic Club.

San Diego's Amber Sprague is No. 1...Again
San Diego senior center Amber Sprague became the school's all-time leading scorer recently, and has 1,728 points for her career. The previous record was 1,510 by Susie Erpelding (`96-00). Sprague also captured the school's all-time rebounding mark in the last game of the season against Gonzaga, giving her 868 for her career, which surpasses the previous mark of 831 set by Chris Enger (`92-93). She now joins Mary Hile (USF `77-81) and Lorena Legarde (POR `81-85) as the only players in WCC history to be their program's all-time leading scorer and rebounder. Sprague finishes her career a the sixth all-time leading scorer and fourth all-time leading rebounder in WCC History.

Louella Tomlinson Leads the Block Party at Saint Mary's
Sophomore Louella Tomlinson has picked up right where she left off last year, when she broke the NCAA record for blocks in a season, with 156. This season, she is averaging 5.3 blocks a contest, and is ranked second in the country. She has a chance to own yet another NCAA record, average blocks per game in a season, which currently sits at 5.8. The second year Aussie has also registered two triple-doubles this season, both of which included 11 blocks in a game. She is the only player in the country to have multiple games with double digit blocks.


WCC TEAM NOTES

SCHOOL TEAM NOTES

Overall Record: 26-6
WCC Record: 12-2
  • Gonzaga earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament by winning its second WCC Tournament title, where it defeated LMU and San Diego.

  • Sophomore Courtney Vandersloot was named WCC tournament MVP and became the first women's basketball player since 2001 to win Tournament MVP as well Player of the Year honors. She finished with 10 points and 10 assists to go along with three steals in the championship game.

  • Junior Heather Bowman and sophomore Janelle Bekkering joined Vandersloot on the all-tournament team. Bowman finished with a team-high 16 points in the championship rematch against San Diego, while Bekkering had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.

  • The 12th seeded Zags will stay close to home in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, where they will take on 5th seeded Xavier (3/21) at the Bank of America Arena in Seattle, WA.
  • Overall Record: 18-12
    WCC Record: 7-7
  • LMU went into the WCC Tournament as the fourth seed and defeated No. 8 Santa Clara in the quarterfinals, before losing to No. 1 Gonzaga in the semifinals.

  • In the win over Santa Clara, sophomore Renahy Young had a game-high 23 points, including three three-pointers. It was her sixth 20-plus point outing of the season and gave her 423 for the year, tying her for seventh on the LMU single-season scoring list. Senior Cassady Moore was solid all-around, with 15 points, eight rebounds, and three steals.

  • In the game against Gonzaga, WCC Newcomer of the Year Alex Cowling had her fourth double-double and finished the year with 401 points, a freshman record. Young once again led the team in scoring with 18 points.

  • Next year, LMU returns everyone from its current lineup save for Moore, the team's lone senior.
  • Overall Record: 16-13
    WCC Record: 9-5
  • Pepperdine came into the WCC Tournament as the No. 3 seed, but lost to sixth seeded San Diego in the quarterfinal round.

  • Senior Taylor Smith scored a team-high 16 points and also made three of four three-pointers. Senior Nakeya Isabell had a strong all-around performance with nine points, eight assists, five steals and four rebounds.

  • Isabell ends the season ranked first in the conference in steals (3.1) and second in assists (5.8). Her steals average ranks 11th nationally, while her assist-turnover ratio (2.0) led the conference and ranks 15th nationally.

  • The Waves will say goodbye to five seniors: Isabell, Jessica Ross, Taylor Smith and forwards Alisha Bryant and Dana Huley. They helped Pepperdine to 16 wins overall and nine in WCC play this season, the most in their four or five years with the team.
  • Overall Record: 17-13
    WCC Record: 10-4
  • The Pilots came into the WCC Tournament as the No. 2 seed, but fell to sixth seeded San Diego in the semifinal round. Portland will continue its season as it will participate in the WNIT this Thursday.

  • Junior Laiken Dollente led the way against the Toreros, scoring a team-high 20 points, while grabbing six rebounds and dishing out four assists. Senior Allyson Sievers chipped in with a double-double of 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

  • The Pilots are making their first postseason appearance in 10 years and will be playing in their second WNIT overall. Their 17 wins this season marks the most for the program since it won 19 games in 1997-98 and had their best conference finish since 1996-97 under WCC Coach of the Year Jim Sollars.

  • The Pilots first round WNIT matchup is scheduled to take place at the Stott Center against cross-town rival Portland State with the winner advancing to face Oregon State.
  • Overall Record: 11-19
    WCC Record: 7-7
  • Saint Mary's entered the WCC Tournament as the No. 5 seed, but lost in the opening round to eighth seeded Santa Clara.

  • WCC Defensive Player of the Year Louella Tomlinson had an impressive performance, finishing with game-highs of 21 points, on 8-of-14 shooting, and seven blocks to go along with seven rebounds. Freshman Ashlee Smith also contributed, netting in 16 points, on 5-of-8 shooting.

  • Tomlinson's seven blocks improved her season count to 161, topping her previous single-season record of 156. She finished just three blocks shy of the national leader and is on pace to shatter the NCAA career blocks record of 480 as she has totaled 317 in just two seasons with the Gaels.

  • Smith finished the season with a .569 shooting percentage, to lead the league while averaging 9.6 points a game.
  • Overall Record: 19-13
    WCC Record: 7-7
  • San Diego entered the WCC Tournament as the No. 6 seed and went on an impressive run, defeating No. 7 San Francisco, No. 3 Pepperdine, and No. 2 Portland, before losing to No. 1 Gonzaga in the championship game.

  • Senior Kiva Herman was outstanding throughout the tournament, leading the team in scoring in all four games. She finished the WCC Tournament with a WCC record 95 points and was named to the all-tournament team. Freshman Dominique Conners joined Herman on the all-tournament team.

  • Senior Amber Sprague became the school's all-time leading rebounder with 868 for her career, surpassing the previous mark of 831, set by Chris Enger (`92-93). She now joins Mary Hile (USF `77-81) and Lorena Legarde (POR `81-85) as the only players in WCC history to be their program's all-time leading scorer (1,728) and rebounder. Sprague finishes her career a the sixth all-time leading scorer and fourth all-time leading rebounder in WCC History.
  • Overall Record: 7-22
    WCC Record: 3-11
  • San Francisco entered the WCC Tournament as the No. 7 seed, but lost to sixth seeded San Diego in the opening round of the tournament.

  • Freshman Vania Singleterry led the team in scoring, tying her career-high with 18 points, on 9-of-16 shooting. Freshman Rheina Ale and senior Shay Rollins added in 15 and 14 points respectively, while hitting three from beyond the arc each.

  • Rollins ended the season ranked first in the conference in three-pointers made (77) and fourth in scoring (16.3). Her 77 treys broke her previous single-season school record of 75, which she set last year. She ends her career as the Dons' all-time leading three-point shooter (205) and ranks eighth on the all-time scoring list (1,337).

  • The Dons will return most of their team next year and will only lose seniors Rollins, Alexis Musante, Leslie Walker, and Necolia Simmons.
  • Overall Record: 4-27
    WCC Record: 1-13
  • The Broncos entered the WCC Tournament as the No. 8 seed and defeated No. 5 seeded Saint Mary's in the opening round, before falling to fourth seeded LMU in the quarterfinal round.

  • Sophomore Lena Gipson had her league-leading 19th double-double of the season in the win over the Gaels, finishing with a team-high 19 points, on 9-of-15 shooting, and a game-high 10 rebounds.

  • The Broncos were hot from beyond the arc in the win with freshman Alyssa Shoji hitting 3-of-4 and senior Elizabeth Doran connecting on 4-of-10. All five starters finished in double-figures for the first time all season.

  • Senior Sara Majors ended her career on a high note against the Lions, finishing with a career-high 19 points to go along with three three-pointers and two blocks.