March 24, 2008
BOULDER, Colo. - The Gonzaga University women's basketball team's great season came to an end Monday with an 82-68 loss at the University of Colorado in the second round of the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). The Bulldogs closed out their season with a 25-9 overall record, while the Buffaloes improved to 17-14 on the year and will now play in the third round against Villanova University.
Senior Michelle Elliott capped off an impressive two-year career with Gonzaga scoring six points, and grabbing four rebounds in her final game in a Bulldog jersey.
The Bulldogs came out a little skittish, and the home Buffaloes capitalized, building a quick 16-point lead only seven minutes into the opening half. Bianca Smith drained two three-pointers in the opening minutes, while teammate Brittany Spears had 10 during their opening run.
Gonzaga started to play its game, buckling down on defense, and finally hitting its shots. The Bulldogs slowly chipped away at the double-digit lead, cutting it down to four after Vivian Frieson, sophomore Heather Bowman and freshman Courtney Vandersloot scored consecutively to put the score at 35-31 with 2:51 remaining before halftime.
A late three-pointer by Susie Powers with seven ticks left on the clock pushed the Buffs lead to 42-33, but Bowman grabbed an offensive board and drained a jumper with time running out to give the Bulldogs some momentum going into the locker room.
Gonzaga forced Colorado to turn the ball over 10 times in the first half, scored 10 points on the Buffs miscues and had 20 second chance points.
Gonzaga continued to fight in the second half, cutting Colorado's lead to five twice in the first six minutes, but the Buffaloes always seemed to have an answer. Frieson hit a jumper right as the second half began to put the score at 42-37, but Colorado scored two straight buckets to put back its lead to nine at the 17:05 mark.
Sophomore Tiffanie Shive scored two straight a short time later to put the score at 48-43 with 15:04 left on the clock, but the Buffaloes again answered with eight-straight points to get their lead above double-digits at 56-43.
The Bulldogs continued to forge ahead, trying mightily to get within striking distance, but never could get closer than eight points down the stretch.
The Buffaloes scored seven of the final nine points to seal the 14-point victory.
Gonzaga had four players score in double-figures, including Bowman who finished with 16 points, six rebounds, and one block. Frieson collected her second double-double of her career scoring 10 points and grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds in the setback. Shives added 12 points, while sophomore Janelle Bekkering posted 10.
The Bulldogs finished the game with a slight 44-43 advantage in rebounds, including an impressive 20-13 advantage in offensive boards.
Colorado was led by Spears who had a game-high 22 points and 10 rebounds. Jackie McFarland and Bianca Smith added 21 and 12 points, respectively.