The San Francisco Dons snapped a six game skid that left them winless in the month of February with a comfortable 67-51 win over the San Diego Toreros in the first game of the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas.
USF’s Jamayee Bouyea led all scorers with 18 points and also had 6 assists and 6 rebounds in strong all-around performance. Dzmitry Ryuny (13 points, 9 rebounds) and Taavi Jurkatamm (11 points, 5 rebounds) also put together nice games while Khalil Shabazz proved to be a defensive disruptor with 4 steals to help USF get back in the win column and set up a second round matchup with LMU.
The Toreros end a disappointing season with a 3-11 record that was marred by long COVID-pauses that prevented head coach Sam Scholl from getting the practice time and games to truly develop his squad. Scholl will be hoping for a bounceback season next year if some type of normality can be restored.
In the late game, the 7th-seeded Santa Clara Broncos held off a Portland team that hadn’t won a conference game all season but was looking to change that narrative with a first round upset. The Broncos held on 95-86 and will play the 6th seeded Pacific Tigers in the second round on Friday night.
The Pilots only trailed by a single point at halftime, but couldn’t make the plays at the end of the game to steal their first conference win in what would have been a surprising upset. Portland will be searching for a new head coach next season after the university dismissed Terry Porter a month ago. After spending the last few years at the bottom of the WCC barrel, this will be an important offseason for Portland.
On the women’s side, the 8th-seeded LMU Lions defeated Pepperdine 85-73 to set up a second round game against No. 5 Portland. LMU’s Chelsey Gipson (26 points) was on fire from the three point line finishing 8-12 from the arc, while Khari Clark (20 points) controlled the interior for the Lions.
The 7th-seeded Saint Mary’s team enjoyed a first round bye due to a COVID-pause for the San Diego women which began on February 25 and effectively ended their season since the WCC Tournament began before the end of their 14-day shutdown. It’s a disappointing way for the season to end for San Diego, who were in 4th place in the WCC with a 12-7 record and had three players who received All-WCC honors. Saint Mary’s will play Pacific on Friday afternoon.