Women's basketball roundup: BYU forced to settle for No. 2 in West Coast Conference

Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Feb. 25 2012 11:09 p.m. MST

SPOKANE, Wash. — In their final game of the regular season, the Cougars fell hard to conference regular season champion Gonzaga, 77-60, Saturday afternoon in Bulldog territory.

BYU (24-6, 12-4) ends the season No. 2 in the West Coast Conference standings with Gonzaga (25-4, 14-2) taking the regular season title.

"I thought we played 20 good minutes in the game," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "Their inside presence really hurt us. Steed had probably one of her best games this year. Hopefully we'll get a shot at them again in the tournament."

Senior Haley Steed led the Cougars with 17 points, eight assists, five rebounds and three steals. True freshman Lexi Eaton had 13 points and four assists, while senior Kristen Riley had 11 points and nine rebounds, leading BYU on the boards.

BYU shot 36 percent from the field and 45 percent from behind the 3-point line.

Gonzaga's Katelan Redmon led all scorers with 28 points, helping the Bulldogs shoot 49.2 percent from the floor.

BYU took control to start with a 6-0 run. Steed's three defensive rebounds in the first two minutes prevented Gonzaga from snagging second-chance points. Gonzaga's own 9-0 run put the Bulldogs in the lead 13-8 after a 3-pointer by Taelor Karr.

Seven turnovers plagued the Cougars early in the half, but Steed kept her team in the game with a trey. Stephanie Vermunt tied it at 13 on her layup, but BYU stumbled and allowed a 7-0 Bulldog run.

Steed became No. 4 in BYU history for career 3-pointers with 6:09 on the clock, draining a beyond-the-arc bucket. True freshman Xojian Harry's trey put the Cougars back within three points, setting up Riley to tie the game at 22 on the team's third-straight 3-pointer.

Gonzaga skipped ahead as the clock wound down, but a Vermunt 3-pointer and last-second jumper kept the score at a close 29-27 going into halftime. The sophomore forward led the team with seven points at the half in 10 minutes of play.

Senior Dani Peterson pushed the score within one with the help of Eaton before the Bulldogs took off on a 16-0 run for their largest lead of the game, 48-31. Steed tried to stop Gonzaga's momentum with a 3-pointer, but Karr responded with her own basket from 3-point land.

Eaton cut the deficit to 12 before Steed fired off her fifth 3-pointer of the game with just over 10 minutes left. Eaton continued her successful streak with a layup and her own 3-pointer to bring BYU within seven at 56-49.

Eaton's renewed energy wasn't enough to spark a comeback, ending the rematch in a 77-60 Gonzaga victory.

With their second-place finish, the Cougars pick up the No. 2 seed for the West Coast Conference championships, giving BYU a bye into the semifinals. BYU will play Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

STANFORD 69, UTAH 42: At Stanford, Calif., playing their second game since losing starting point guard Janita Badon to a knee sprain she suffered earlier this week in practice, Utah's problems were on full display against the second-ranked team in the country.

The Utes committed shot clock violations on their first two possessions, shot just 35.4 percent, committed 15 turnovers and had only six assists in a 69-42 loss to No. 2 Stanford on Saturday.

"Part of the problem is we're having a heck of a time running anything," Utah coach Anthony Levrets said. "When you don't execute great it's difficult for kids to make shots because they're not shooting from where they're used to shooting."

Taryn Wicijowski scored 15 points and Iwalani Rodrigues had 12 for the Utes, who trailed by as much as 27. Michelle Plouffe added nine points but no other Utah player had more than three.

Utah (13-14, 6-10) made one run and pulled within 50-34 when Wicijowski scored on a three-point play midway through the second half but wilted down the stretch and remained winless in 14 games against Stanford.

"Sometimes we get a little frazzled because people aren't in the right positions," said Wicijowski, who went 6 of 14 from the floor. "Sometimes we seem to get into a good flow but it's not continuous."

Chiney Ogwumike scored 16 points and had 12 rebounds, older sister Nnemkadi Ogwumike added 15 points and five blocks for No. 2 Stanford to give coach Tara VanDerveer her 700th career victory with the Cardinal.

UTAH STATE 85, IDAHO 63: At Logan, senior forward Ashlee Brown's team-leading eighth double-double of the season sparked the Aggies to a 22-point win, the largest margin of victory against Idaho in 22 meetings. This is also the second-straight season that USU has swept the season series as the Aggies improve to 10-5 against Idaho since joining the Western Athletic Conference. With the win, the Aggies (18-8, 9-3 WAC) tie the school record for wins in a season with 18 set last season when Utah State finished the season 18-15.

USU was led by Brown's eighth double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds. She also added three assists, three steals and two blocks. Junior guard Devyn Christensen scored 26 points to lead all scorers. This was her ninth 20-point game of the season. Sophomore guard Jennifer Schlott and senior guard Brooke Jackson both scored 11 points, while junior guard Jenna Johnson added 10.

Idaho got 17 points from leading scorer Alyssa Charlston who also added eight rebounds. Charlston scored 29 points when the two teams met in Moscow earlier this season. Keri Arendse added 14 points for the Vandals.

The Aggies also dominated on the glass, outrebounding the Vandals 36-26.

Idaho scored the first five points of the game to jump to an early 5-0 lead. Jackson responded with a deep two to cut the lead to 5-2 with 17 minutes remaining in the first half.

The Aggies struggled from the field early on with Idaho taking a 13-8 lead with 12:56 left in the half. Through the first 12 minutes of the game USU was 5-of-14 from the field. Schlott made the Aggies' first three of the game to cut the lead to 13-11 at the 12:01 mark. Another Schlott three gave USU its first lead of the game 14-13. Utah State never gave back the lead after that point.

USU used an 12-0 run to increase its lead to 20-13. As the Aggie offense continued to heat up, Utah State stretched its lead to 28-18 before the Vandals fought back to cut the lead to 28-23 with less than six minutes left in the half.

After the Aggies jumped out to a 35-26 lead, Idaho scored five-straight to cut the lead to 35-31 before Schlott's 11th point of the half stopped the Vandal run. The Aggies closed out the half, leading 39-33.

In the first half, Utah State was led by 11 points from Schlott, who also added three rebounds and one assist. Brown scored nine points and brought down six rebounds. Utah State took care of the ball well in the first half with only five turnovers.

Idaho was led by nine points from Arendse, who was 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Leading scorer, Charlston was held to six points and two rebounds in the first 20 minutes.

The Aggies scored six of the first eight points of the second half to take a 46-35 advantage. USU continued its strong play to extend its lead to 51-35. The Aggies kept the Vandals off the scoreboard for over five minutes.

USU took a 20-point lead for the first time 61-40 after a Brown layup. The Aggies were able to maintain a double-digit lead for much of the second half. USU's biggest lead of the game was 22 points.

Christensen's second-half scoring frenzy was too much for Idaho to overcome. After scoring only four points in the first half, the junior scored 22 in the second half to help the Aggies secure the win.

USU ended the game 26-of-53 (49.1 percent) from the floor. The Aggies were 7-of-15 from 3-point range (46.7 percent), while shooting 26-of-30 (86.7 percent) from the charity stripe. Idaho was 23-of-57 (40.4 percent) from the field, making 8-of-25 threes (32.0 percent). The Vandals were 9-of-12 (75.0 percent) from the free-throw line.

Utah State now prepares for the final two games of the regular season. The Aggies host Hawai'i on Thursday at 7 p.m., before closing out the regular season against San Jose State on Senior Day on Saturday at 7 p.m. USU will say thank you to six seniors, Chelsea Burns, Ashlee Brown, Banna Diop, Brooke Jackson, Maddy Plunkett and Reyneisha Mays.

ORAL ROBERTS 54, SUU 47: At Cedar City, the Thunderbirds led visiting Oral Roberts by 11 points halfway through its season finale, but was outscored 32-14 by the Golden Eagles in the second half.

The Thunderbirds jumped out to an early 8-5 advantage in the game behind a pair of scores from junior forward Kimie Hawkins. The Golden Eagles answered with a 6-0 run to take a three-point lead. A layup by Angel Dorn pulled SUU within one and two teams then traded baskets until an ORU basket tied the score at 20 with five-and-a-half minutes remaining in the period.

The next three-minutes saw Carli Moreland score six points as part of an 8-0 run that put Southern Utah (6-23, 2-16 Summit League) out in front 28-20. In total the T-Birds outscored Oral Roberts 13-2 in the final minutes of the half to take a 33-22 edge into the locker room.

Moreland led all scorers with 14 first half points. Hawkins and Anderson each added seven points before the break. ORU got seven from both Georgia Jones and Bernadett Balla in the opening period. SUU held a 32-19 advantage on the boards early on and held the Golden Eagles to just 7-32 shooting to start the game.

Oral Roberts held Southern Utah without a basket during the first five minutes of the second half during a 5-0 run that helped the visitors cut the deficit to six at 33-27. A pair of SUU free throws by Hawkins finally snapped the streak, but the Golden Eagles went on to level the score at 38 on a Jaci Bigham layup with just over eight minutes left to play.

ORU outscored the T-Birds 7-2 over the next five minutes to go up by a count of 45-40. Southern Utah battled back and after a 3-pointer by Andrea Jones, trailed by just four with 37 seconds left to play.

Moreland added just one basket in the second half for 16 total points in the game. The sophomore forward also had nine rebounds, finishing just one shy of a double-double. Hawkins also pulled down nine boards to go along with nine points. Four of the five Oral Roberts starters finished in double figures, including Georgia Jones with 14 points, Jordan Pyle with 10 as well as Bigham and Balla who both had 11.

"Carli was tremendous in the first half,"? said SUU head coach JR Payne. "Then in the second we had a hard time getting her the ball and were turning the ball over before we could get it inside."

The Thunderbirds held a 51-40 advantage on the boards, but shot the ball just 15.4 percent in the second half, dropping its shooting mark to 26.7 percent for the game.

ORU improves to 14-4 and will enter the conference tournament as the second seed next week.

NORTHERN COLORADO 62, WEBER STATE 54: At Ogden, Wildcats seniors, playing in their second-to-last home game, combined for 25 points, but Northern Colorado, led by Kaisha Brown's 26 points, rallied from a second-half deficit.

Senior center Mikell Woodfield led the way for the Wildcats with 13 points and six rebounds, while senior guard Caela Mohre had 12 points and five assists, going the entire 40 minutes.

Junior forward Amanda Hughes had 14 rebounds and eight points, while sophomore guard Jordan Pfau and junior guard Megan Patterson each added eight points for the Wildcats.

Patterson's two 3-pointers gives her 152 career makes, moving her into sole possession of the No. 4 spot on Weber State's career list.

Redshirt freshman Alexandra Troy, one of just two available bench players for the Wildcats, had a career-high seven rebounds and three points in 15 minutes of action.

Neither team led by more than eight points on the afternoon, with Weber State led by as many as six in the first half.

The Wildcats held a 51-47 lead after Woodfield's tipin with 9:02 remaining, but went cold as the Bears scored 10 straight points to take a 57-51 lead with 5:13 remaining and held Weber State to just three points the rest of the way.

Weber State (2-26, 0-15 Big Sky) will wrap up its season on Saturday against Montana State. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. at the Dee Events Center, and the Wildcats' three seniors, Mohre, Woodfield and injured center Karlee Weight, will be honored.

UT-PAN AMERICAN 71, UTAH VALLEY 70 (OT): At Edinburg, Texas, the Wolverines overcame a four-point deficit with just a little over a minute to play to force overtime and nearly overpowered a similar margin in the extra frame.

"I was really pleased with how our kids battled in a situation of controllables and uncontrollables," said UVU head women's basketball coach Cathy Nixon. "If we could have converted some free throws and avoided some turnovers at very inopportune times we could have possibly pulled away in regulation. But every game is its own adventure and certainly I'm proud of the kids' effort and energy and toughness in the back end of a long road trip."

Trailing 63-59 after LaQuita Garner buried a corner three for UTPA (11-16, 4-5 GWC), Sammie Jensen worked her way to the foul line for UVU (13-13, 5-3) and knocked down the freebies to cut the lead in half. Then, after a defensive stop, Abbie Beutler looked inside for Erika Newbold who netted a left-handed hook shot in the lane to tie the score at 63 with 18 seconds left.

Bianca Torre pushed the other way for UTPA, but her runner in the lane was too strong, giving UVU the ball after a Jensen rebound. On the final possession of regulation, the Wolverines pushed the ball into the frontcourt, but Huber's desperation 30-footer as time expired skimmed off the back iron, sending the game into overtime.

UTPA drew first blood in the extra period after Donna Jackson buried a jumper from the elbow at the 3:44 mark. A free throw from Garner pushed the Bronc lead to 66-63 with 2:15 to play, but Alle Finch pulled the Wolverines back level just seconds later with a big three-point play.

Back-to-back scores from UTPA gave the Broncs another four-point lead at 70-66 with 1:17 left in overtime. After consecutive 1-for-2 trips to the foul line for both teams, the score sat at 71-67 with 12 seconds remaining. A wing three from Whitney Jenkins with 6.4 seconds left kept UVU alive and after Franchesca Simon missed both free throws on the next UTPA possession, the Wolverines had a shot at the win.

Jenkins pulled in the rebound off the second miss and delivered an outlet pass to Jensen who raced the other way. Jensen drove into the paint where she collided with UTPA's Jackson near the basket. The baseline official whistled an offensive foul on Jensen, returning the ball to the Broncs and sealing the Wolverines fate.

The Wolverines were led in the contest by a game-high 23 points and 14 rebounds from Jensen — her 14th double-double of the season. Also finishing in double figures were Jenkins with 14, including a pair of treys, and Newbold who added 12. Newbold also nine rebounds and Beutler and Finch had five assists apiece.

NO. 16 WESTMINSTER 64, GREAT FALLS 54: At Salt Lake City, the Griffins (20-7, 13-1) notched a seventh consecutive 20-win season and claimed a fourth straight Frontier Conference championship.

With 10:23 to play UGF held a 41-40 advantage. The Griffins put the game away behind a 17-5 run to take a 60-48 lead with 1:41 left.

After shooting a season-low 19.4 percent in the opening half, Westminster bounced back to shoot 57.7 percent after intermission to finish at 36.8 percent. They recorded 15 assists on 21 made field goals while committing just six turnovers. They made seven of the 22 attempts from beyond the arc and went 15-of-19 at the foul line. The Griffins finished with 32 rebounds and had 11 second chance points from 13 offensive rebounds.

"We played hard and we're a little too emotional with it being senior night,"? head coach Shelley Jarrard said. "We made some adjustments at halftime and we executed much better."?

Four Griffins reached double figures in points with Nicole Yazzie and Jenteal Jackson scoring 12 apiece. Jackson had five assists and three treys. Tia Pappas came up with 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench with Shelby Ellsworth contributing 10 points. Cydney Tibbitts filled the stat sheet with eight points, nine rebounds and six assists.

Lindsey Abramson led UGF with 19 points and eight rebounds. Kindra Jones scored 13 with Kezia Ford had 10.

These two teams will now play again on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Frontier Conference Tournament. Westminster is the No. 1 seed while Great Falls is the No. 8 seed. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. in the Behnken Field House.

DIXIE STATE 78, CHAMINADE 51: At St. George, Shanae Vaifanua led four Red Storm players in double figures with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

SLCC 72, COLORADO NORTHWESTERN 53: At Taylorsville, the Bruins led by as many as 22 points in the game and used 27 bench points to ease past Colorado. The win evens Salt Lake's conference record at 7-7 and takes their overall record to 16-11 overall.

The Bruins scored 28 second-chance points and scored 20 points off turnovers. Nicole Newbold led Salt Lake with a double-double grabbing a team-high 10 rebounds and scoring 10 points. Sophomore Sophia Hepworth scored a game-high 24 points on 10 of 20 shooting. The quick hands of SLCC defenders collected 11 steals, led by Hayli Shurtz with four steals and nine points.

SNOW COLLEGE 61, USU-CEU 43: At Ephraim, the Badgers secured second place in the SWAC, earning a bye for the Region 18 tournament as eight players contributed offensively, led by Tori McGrath's 14 points and five rebounds. Kelsi Wells, Kaitlyn Diaz and Becca Rees each added nine points. The Eagles outshot Snow College 47 percent to 36 percent in the first half, but the Badgers got their percentage up to 45 percent.

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