One of the most exciting aspects of the WCC or any other conference tournament is the lower seed pulling an upset or two and advancing farther than anyone expected. It’s not happening in this year’s WCC Tournament, at least not thus far. Not counting the nine seed beating an eight seed in the women’s bracket on the first night, all other games have gone according to seed.
#9 Pepperdine 59 - #5 BYU 74: BYU has two first team All-WCC selections and each had a dominating performance in an easy win over Pepperdine. The nation’s leading rebounder, BYU junior forward Lauren Gustin, had 23 points and 18 rebounds while sophomore point guard Nani Falatea dropped 23 points and handed out seven assists.
Pepperdine looked a little worse for wear after yesterday’s tough, last-minute win against Santa Clara. Down by seven at the half, the Waves fought hard to start the third quarter, but seemed to run out of gas midway as BYU went on a 15 to 2 run to pull away.
Pepperdine was led by Theresa Grace Mbanefo with 18 points and nine rebounds and forward Jane Nwaba who had 17 points and four assists.
BYU face #4 San Francisco tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. The teams split their season series, both with home wins.
#6 Pacific 82 - #7 St Mary’s 77: Up 53 to 44 at the end of the third quarter, the Pacific Tigers extended their lead to 19 points midway through the fourth before St. Mary’s staged a furious comeback to get within three. In the last 5:32, the Gaels went on a 30 to 14 run, including 12 straight free throws, before Pacific hit the final two from the charity stripe to ice the game.
Guard Liz Smith led the Tigers with 17 points, forward Cecilia Holmberg scored 14, including 4-for-4 on 3-point attempts and the Pacific bench chipped in 36 points.
For the second consecutive night, Taycee Wedin would lead SMC in scoring with 23 points. She hit three three-pointers during the game to end her career with 407 treys made and 1,740 points, fifth all time in program history. Center Ali Bamberger finished with 19 points and nine rebounds.
Pacific take-on #3 San Diego at 3:30 p.m tomorrow, the Tigers lost both regular season contests.
#5 BYU 82 - #6 Portland 71: In a lifeless and uninspired first half, the BYU Cougars trailed Portland 43-30 and looked like they going to end their time in the WCC as early as possible. I don’t know what Mark Pope said at the half, but it certainly worked and he should have recorded it. BYU scored 52 second half points to Portland’s 28, leading to the 11-point victory.
BYU opened the second half with an 18 to 2 run as the hot shooting Pilots from the previous night went into hibernation missing their first six three-point attempts. BYU extended the lead to nine with just over nine minutes left to play but Portland fought back to cut it to three at the 4:08 mark. BYU then turned up the defense, continued their dominance on the glass (44 to 21) and cruised home to victory.
BYU was led by Richie Saunders who came off the bench to score 18 points. Fousseyni Traore added 14 points and led the Cougars with nine rebounds. T-Rob (Tyler Robertson) led Portland with 31 points and six assists. Moses Wood , who was hampered with foul trouble the entire second half, was held to seven points and grabbed six boards.
BYU’s total rebounding advantage of 23 boards included dominating the offensive glass 19 to 7. The Cougars committed nine first half turnovers but only three in the second. Both teams shot mediocre from deep, Portland was 9 for 30 (30%) with BYU marginally better with 11 for 33 (33%).
BYU take on LMU tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN 2. The teams split their season series, each with home wins.
#6 San Francisco 80 - #7 Pacific 63: The game was competitive for the entire first half with both teams trading baskets and staying within four points of one another. All-WCC first-teamer and WSU transfer Tyrell Roberts was very impressive. He kept the Dons in the game by scoring 19 in the half including three for six from deep. The same could be said for Pacific’s Tyler Beard. The Georgetown transfer came off the bench to score 10 points, hitting all four of his shot attempts. USF scored the last five of the half to take a 40 to 36 lead into the locker room.
USF opened a 15-point lead in the first five minutes of the second half and cruised to victory. Pacific got within eight points with nine minutes left but a 14 to 4 USF run followed to put the game out of reach.
USF’s Tyrell Roberts led all scorers with 25 points and Marcus Williams added 18 off the bench. Josh Kunen led the Dons with eight rebounds and Khalil Shabazz chipped in four assists. Pacific was led by Keylan Boone’s 16 points and 11 rebounds and Tyler Beard scored 16 points and dished two assists.
Pacific only had seven assists in the game. The Tigers shot a pathetic 4 for 21 (19%) from deep while USF shot pretty well at 13 for 33 (39.4%).
USF play Santa Clara tomorrow at 9:30 p.m. (PST) on ESPN 2. Santa Clara won both games against USF during the regular season by double digits.