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Four WCC Women's Basketball Teams to Compete in Postseason Play

March 17, 2010

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FOUR TEAMS BEGIN POSTSEASON PLAY THIS WEEK
For the first time since the 2002 season, the West Coast Conference will send four women's basketball teams into the postseason. Gonzaga will play in the NCAA Tournament, Saint Mary's will be hosting Utah in the first round of the WNIT, while Pepperdine will travel to BYU. In the inaugural Women's Basketball Invitation, Portland will take on the University of Washington. This also marks the first time since 2004 the WCC will have multiple teams in the WNIT.

Gonzaga will be making its second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament after finishing the conference season undefeated and winning the WCC Tournament title. The Zags will also be making their second consecutive appearance at the Bank of America Arena in Seattle, WA, where they played the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament last year. Last season, as the 12th seed, Gonzaga upset No. 5 Xavier in the first round, before nearly upsetting No. 4 Pittsburgh in the second. This year, Gonzaga is the No. 7 seed and will play No. 10 North Carolina. It will mark the second meetingbetween the two teams.

Pepperdine will be making its first postseason appearance since the 2006 NCAA Tournament and will be playing in its first WNIT since 2004 as the the Waves head on the road to take on BYU. The Cougars finished second in the regular season in the Mountain West Conference. This will mark the third meeting between the two schools as they split the first two matchups.

Saint Mary's will be playing in its third WNIT as the Gaels will host Utah. The Gaels earned the automatic bid after finising second in the WCC regular season. Saint Mary's has hosted one other time, in 2000, when it beat Hawaii in the first round, before losing to Long Beach State in the second. This will mark the fifth overall meeting between the two teams, with the most recent coming in 2007.

Portland will play in the postseason for the seventh time in the inaugural Women's Basketball Invitational at No. 3 seed Washington, marking the ninth meeting between the two teams. This is also the Pilots' second consecutive postseason appearance as they played in the WNIT last season.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
Portland at Washington
WBI
Seattle, WA
6:00 PM
THURSDAY, MARCH 18
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
Pepperdine at BYU
WNIT
Provo, UT
6:00 PM
SATURDAY, MARCH 20
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
No. 7 Gonzaga vs. No. 10 North Carolina
NCAA Tournament
Seattle, WA
7:30 PM
SUNDAY, MARCH 21
TEAMS LOCATION
TIME
Utah at Saint Mary's
WNIT
Moraga, CA
2:00 PM

AROUND THE WCC

2010 All-Conference Teams Announced

Player of the Year
Courtney Vandersloot, GON

Defensive Player of the Year
Louella Tomlinson, SMC

Coach of the Year
Kelly Graves, GON

Newcomer of the Year
Katelan Redmon, GON

ALL-WCC First Team
Miranda Ayim, PEP
Heather Bowman, GON
Dominique Conners, USD
Alex Cowling, LMU
Laiken Dollente, POR
Vivian Frieson, GON
Lena Gipson, SCU
Jontelle Smith, SMC
Louella Tomlinson, SMC
Courtney Vandersloot, GON

All-Freshman
Shay Cooney-Williams, PEP
Meagan Fulps, SCU
Kate Gaze, SMC
Tifa Puletasi, SMC
Felicia Weinberg, USD

Honorable Mention
Rheina Ale, USF
Sam Child, USD
Alexis Gannis, POR
Jazmine Jackson, PEP
Tiffanie Shives, GON
Alyssa Shoji, SCU
Renahy Young, LMU

WCC February Player of the Month: Courtney Vandersloot, GON
Vandersloot helped Gonzaga to a perfect 7-0 record in the month of February by averaging 16. 1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 9.7 assists and 2.7 steals per contest. She also shot an impressive 55.4 percent (36-of-65) from the field, hit 40.0 percent (8-of-20) from beyond the 3-point arc and was 80.5 percent (33-of-41) at the charity stripe. Vandersloot scored double figure points in all seven contests, and registered two double-figure assist games. She became the GU all-time steals leader during the month of February, after making two steals at the University of San Francisco - she now has 236 career steals. She also became the West Coast Conference all-time assists leader during the month of February - securing the top spot at the University of San Diego on Feb. 13

Also nominated: Alex Cowling, LMU; Miranda Ayim , PEP; Louella tomlinson, SMC; Dominique Conners, USD

WCC Player of the Week: Dominique Conners, USD
Conners carried USD last week and put USD into a position to almost earn a bye in the first round of the WCC Tournament. Conners averaged 25.0 ppg, 8.0 rebounds per game and had 7 steals. Conners shot .487 from the field, and in Saturday's loss to Pepperdine, Conners turned it on in the second half of the game, as she scored 20 of her team-best 22 points in the second half, including putting USD up 2 with 11 seconds left. In the Pepperdine game, she also recorded her first career double-double as she had a career-high 11 rebounds in the loss. In the win over LMU, Conners scored a game-high 28 points on 11-for-18 shooting from the floor and she recorded seven steals.

Also nominated: Vivian Frieson, GON; Jontelle Smith, SMC

Gonzaga Picked as the Favorite in WCC Preseason Coaches Poll
The Gonzaga Bulldogs have been selected as the preseason favorite to win the WCC title this year, receiving seven out of the eight first place votes, for 49 points, as voted on by the league head coaches. The Zags edged out Loyola Marymount, who received the remaining first place vote and totaled 40 points. Coming in a close third to the Lions was Pepperdine with 34 points. In the middle of the pack were Portland, with 31 points for a fourth place finish, and Saint Mary's, who received 29 points for the fifth spot. San Diego finished just behind the Gaels, with 22 points for sixth place. Rounding out the poll are San Francisco and Santa Clara, who tied for seventh with 10 points each.

2009-10 WCC Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Gonzaga - 49 (7)
2. Loyola Marymount - 39 (1)
3. Pepperdine - 34
4. Portland - 31
5. Saint Mary's - 29
6. San Diego - 22
7. San Francisco - 10
Santa Clara - 10

2009-10 WCC Women's Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team
Miranda Ayim, PEP
Heather Bowman, GON
Dominique Conners, USD
Alex Cowling, LMU
Laiken Dollente, POR
Vivian Frieson, GON
Lena Gipson, SCU
Jontelle Smith, SMC
Louella Tomlinson, SMC
Courtney Vandersloot, GON
Renahy Young, LMU

Three Conference Games Slated For National TV Broadcasts
This season, three WCC women's basketball games will appear on national TV on the CBS College Network as well as ESPNU. Two of the games will air on the CBS College Network, with the WCC Tournament championship game from Las Vegas airing on ESPNU.

WCC Women's Hoops Television Schedule

Feb. 18Loyola Marymount at Gonzaga - 8:00 pm (PT) CBS College Sports
Feb. 27San Diego at Pepperdine - 7:00 pm (PT) CBS College Sports
Mar. 8WCC Tournament Championship - 12:00 pm (PT) ESPNU

WCC Extends Reach Overseas
Several WCC players and coaches decided not to take the summer off and instead took their games overseas. Gonzaga's Janelle Bekkering took the last spot on Canada's Senior Women's National Team, beating out 15 other players selected to tryout. This gave her a chance to play in the FIBA Americas Championships. Saint Mary's Louella Tomlinson played for Australia in this year's World University Games, where she helped her team win a Bronze Medal against the Czech Republic. Dons' Head Coach Tanya Haave took her team on a journey throughout Scandinavia, where it played a five-game tour, going 3-2 against top teams from Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Pepperdine Head Coach Julie Rousseau got her first taste of Team USA as she was an assistant coach for the World University Team, who ended up winning the Gold Medal against Russia at the World University Games. Below is a list of all the international players competing in the WCC.

Multiple WCC Teams In The Postseason For 11th Straight Year
For the 11th straight season, and the 15th time in the past 16 years, the West Coast Conference was represented by multiple teams in the postseason. Gonzaga captured the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament by winning the WCC Tournament, while Portland was selected to play in the WNIT against Portland State. It marked the second appearance for both programs in their respective tournaments. Gonzaga pulled off the upset as the 12th seed, taking down fifth seeded Xavier, 74-59 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to give the program its first ever NCAA Tournament victory. In round two, the Zags went back and forth with No. 4 seed Pittsburgh, as the lead changed 16 times, before losing the lead for good with two minutes to go, losing 65-60. The Pilots had control of their game in the second half, leading by as many as nine, but were unable to hold on for the win.

WCC Basketball Championships Remain in Las Vegas Through 2012
The West Coast Conference and Orleans Arena announced a three-year contract extension that will keep the WCC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships in Las Vegas through 2012.

The extension comes after the West Coast Conference sold out the Orleans Arena for the 2009 WCC Basketball Championships. The 2009 championship, which was the WCC's first-ever at a neutral site, set conference records for both total championship attendance (33,320) and single session championship attendance (7,845).

The agreement will bring the WCC Basketball Championships to the Orleans Arena on March 5-8 of 2010, March 4-7 of 2011, and March 2-5 of 2012.

The 2010 WCC Championships will feature the same format as the 2009 event, with a combined total of 14 men's and women's games over four days. Tickets for the 2010 championship will go on sale to the general public on Friday, November 13.

Saint Mary's Louella Tomlinson Sets Two NCAA Blocks Records
Junior Louella Tomlinson has now become the NCAA's all-time leader for blocks in a career (486) and a single season (169). She accomplished both feats in the game against Gonzaga on Feb. 11 in a game that decided sole possession of first place in the conference. She currently leads the NCAA with 6.5 blocks per game and had had five games this season with double-digits in blocks with a career-high of 15 in a game against Boise State.

Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot Makes the List
Gonzaga University junior point guard Courtney Vandersloot is no stranger to national player of the year lists across the country. Before the season, she was named to the Wooden Award and the Wade Award watch lists and has made the cut to the Wooden Award midseason watch list. In addition, she was recently named one of just eight finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award, given to the country's best point guard, and the Naismith Award midseason top 30 list.

WCC Returning Record Setters
The WCC returns seven players who are already in the the league's all-time season and career record books.

Record         Player                 Place   TotalPoints (S) Heather Bowman, GON  (4)     641Points (C)Heather Bowman, GON  (9)  1,666Assists (S) Courtney Vandersloot, GON (3)     239Rebounds (S) Lena Gipson, SCU  (5)     307Blocks (S)  Louella Tomlinson, SMC  (1)     161FG Pct. (S) Ashlee Smith, SMC  (10)    56.93FG Pct. (S) Morgan Henderson, USD     (9)     44.9Blocks (C)  Louella Tomlinson, SMC  (2)     317FT Pct. (C) Laiken Dollente, POR  (3)     87.0FT Pct. (S)Laiken Dollente, POR  (3)  91.4

S= Season, C= Career

All-WCC Performers Highlight Squads
Seven All-WCC performers return to their respective squads this year, along with five players that earned honorable mention honors last season. Gonzaga returns three all-WCC players in Courtney Vandersloot, who won Player of the Year, Heather Bowman, and Vivian Frieson. Pepperdine returns Miranda Ayim, while Saint Mary's brings back Louella Tomlinson, who won Defensive Player of the Year. LMU's Renahy Young and Portland's Laiken Dollente round out the returning all-conference players.

Player                    YRPPGMiranda Ayim, PEP    SR11.5Heather Bowman, GON    SR19.4Laiken Dollente, POR    SR15.3Vivian Frieson, GON    SR10.0Louella Tomlinson, SMC    JR15.2Courtney Vandersloot, GON   JR16.4Renahy Young, LMU    JR14.7


WCC TEAM NOTES

SCHOOL TEAM NOTES

Overall Record: 27-4
WCC Record: 14-0
  • Gonzaga won its third WCC Tournament title in four years with a 87-47 win over Santa Clara and a 76-48 victory against Pepperdine in the final.

  • JR Courtney Vandersloot was named the tournament MVP for the second straight year, becoming just the second player in conference history to win the award multiple times. SR's Heather Bowman and Vivian Frieson joined her on the all-tournament team, with Bowman becoming the only player in conference history to do so all four years.

  • The Zags are riding an 18-game winning streak, good for fourth in the country, and have a scoring margin of 23.3, which is second in the NCAA behind Connecticut.

  • Bowman and Vandersloot made history this year becoming the league's all-time leader in scoring (2,133) and assists (719) respectively.

  • No. 7 seed Gonzaga takes on No. 10 seed North Carolina in the NCAA first round (3/20).
  • Overall Record: 13-17
    WCC Record: 5-9
  • LMU beat San Francisco, 61-54, in the first round of the WCC Tournament, before losing to Pepperdine, 60-51 in the second.

  • SO Alex Cowling averaged a double-double of 20.5 points and 10.0 rebounds in the two games, giving her 12 20-point performances for the season. This year, she set single-season school records for points (526) and field goals made (202). She is well on her way to breaking the all-time scoring mark as her 927 career points are more than halfway to the record of 1,662.

  • JR Renahy Young finished with 448 points this season, which is good for fifth on the Lions' all-time single season scoring list.

  • SR Lisa Helmers ended her career as the school's all-time leader in three-pointers (156). She needed three in the game against the Waves, and got the record-breaking three-pointer with 42.9 seconds remaining.
  • Overall Record: 20-11
    WCC Record: 9-5
  • Pepperdine beat LMU, 60-51, and Saint Mary's, 62-56, before losing to Gonzaga, 76-48 in the championship game of the WCC Tournament.

  • SR Miranda Ayim was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 12.0 points and 5.3 rebounds over the three games. She currently holds the school record for single-season (82) and career blocks (179). Her 179 career blocks are also good enough for ninth on the WCC's all-time list.

  • SO Lauren Bell joined Ayim on the all-tournament team as she averaged 15.0 points for the tournament, after coming into the tournament averaging 8.6 points.

  • Pepperdine's season will continue as the Waves earned an at-large bid to the WNIT and will head on the road to face BYU in the first round (3/18). It marks the third all-time meeting between the two school's as they split the previous two.
  • Overall Record: 18-12
    WCC Record: 7-7
  • Portland lost to Santa Clara, 74-61, in the quarterfinal round of the WCC Tournament.

  • SR Laiken Dollente finished with 23 points, which gives her 1,863 career points, good for the third spot on the school's all-time scoring list. She also hit 9-of-10 from the charity stripe, giving her a 92.4 free throw percentage on the season, which is tops on the school's all-time single-season list and ranked second in the NCAA.

  • SO Natalie Day finished with 12 points and is the team's second leading scorer (11.6), averaging 21.9 minutes off the bench. SO Alexis Gannis is currently ranked third in the league in rebounding (8.2).

  • Portland plays at Washington (3/17) in the inaugural Women's Basketball Invitational.
  • Overall Record: 21-9
    WCC Record: 12-2
  • Saint Mary's lost to Pepperdine, 62-56, in the semifinals of the WCC Tournament.

  • JR Louella Tomlinson had her league-leading 20th double-double, finishing with 18 points and 14 rebounds and added six blocks. She now has 189 blocks this season and 506 for her career, both NCAA all-time records. Tomlinson also amassed three triple-doubles this season, tied for first in the country, giving her five for her career. Her 15 blocks in a game earlier this season ranks first among game-highs in the country.

  • SR Jontelle Smith, already the program's all-time leader in three-pointers, hit two from downtown, giving her 265 for her career, ranked second on the WCC's all-time career list.

  • The Gaels received an automatic bid into the WNIT after finishing second in the regular season standings and will host Utah (3/21).
  • Overall Record: 15-14
    WCC Record: 7-7
  • San Diego fell to Santa Clara, 68-67, on a buzzer-beater in the first round of the WCC Tournament.

  • SO Dominique Conners had game-highs of 22 points and 3 steals, marking her fourth straight 20 point performance. After entering conference play averaging 13.9 points, she increased her scoring to 18.5 points over the rest of the season with six 20 point games in that span.

  • SR Morgan Henderson was second on the team with 13 points, including a three-pointer, giving her 157 for her career, second on the school's all-time career-list. She also finishes her career with 1,079 points, which is 10th on the all-time scoring list.

  • Conners' scoring average this year of 16.3 ranks fourth on the school's all-time single season list and her 473 points ranks seventh. She has already totaled 800 points for her career in only two years and is just 271 points away from entering the school's all-time career list.
  • Overall Record: 5-27
    WCC Record: 1-13
  • San Francisco fell to Loyola Marymount, 61-54, in the first round of the WCC Tournament.

  • SO Rheina Ale scored a game-high 13 points, including going 2-for-4 from downtown. Her 60 three-pointers this season are tied for second on the school's all-time single-season list. Her 13.2 point per game ranked 11th in the conference and she led the team in scoring in all but two games during conference play.

  • This season, USF's roster featured four freshmen, who earned valuable playing time in their first season on the Hilltop. Three of the four have earned the starting nod at some point this season, while as a group, they average 12.2 minutes a game.

  • The Dons will only lose one player, Nnenna Okereke, due to graduation, and should return four of the five starters from this year's squad.
  • Overall Record: 5-27
    WCC Record: 1-13
  • Santa Clara defeated San Diego, 68-67 on SR Maggie Goldenberger'sbuzzer beater, and Portland, 74-61, before falling to Gonzaga, 87-47, in thesemifinals of the WCC Tournament. The Broncos became the first team in WCC Tournamenthistory to reach the semifinal round as a No. 8 seed.

  • Santa Clara ended the regular season as the top three-point shooting team in the league (6.2), thanks in large part to SO Alyssa Shoji's league-leading 84 three-pointers this season, tied for fourth on the WCC's all-time single-season list.

  • In just two seasons with the Broncos, JR Lena Gipson has already totaled 626 career rebounds, which ranks seventh on the school's all-time career list, and is easily on pace to snag the second spot of 710. She was only one of two players in the league to average a doubledouble with averages of 12.6 points and 10.0 rebounds. Her 10.0 rpg is currently tied for 29th in the country.