4:30 PM ET, March 9, 2008
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- San Diego utilized a seldom-used weapon -- the 3-pointer -- to shoot its way to a championship and an NCAA tournament berth.Morgan Henderson scored 20 points, hitting six 3-pointers, and Kiva Herman added 16 to lead San Diego to a 70-66 upset of top-seeded Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference tournament championship game Sunday.The Toreros took a 17-point first-half lead and snapped a 12-game losing streak against the Bulldogs.San Diego made just 70 3-pointers, an average of less than three per game, and hit only 29 percent of its attempts coming into the title game. But the Toreros went 8-for-11 from 3-point range, including all seven attempts in the first half."Shooting the 3s was icing on the cake," San Diego coach Cindy Fisher said. "It was extra points and helped Amber [Sprague] out inside a lot."Third-seeded San Diego (19-12) withstood Gonzaga's second-half charge but never relinquished the lead. The Bulldogs had only one lead at 6-5 -- and it lasted all of 8 seconds.Conference Player of the Year Heather Bowman led Gonzaga with 25 points, and Tiffanie Shives finished with 11. The Bulldogs (24-8) have won four straight regular-season titles, and were going for their second straight WCC tournament championship.Sprague added 14 points for San Diego, which won its first WCC tournament title since 2000. Sam Child and Amanda Rego each scored 10 points. Rego also had 12 assists and eight rebounds."There are really no words to explain it," said Rego, whose team lost twice to Gonzaga in conference play. "The whole feeling is so surreal. It's something I have wanted to do since I set foot on this campus."San Diego used a 22-4 run over 7 minutes in the first half to take a 27-10 lead with 10:08 left. Henderson made three 3-pointers in the burst."I thought our kids came out so focused, so ready to play," Fisher said. "I just thought we really came to work and believed from the jump."Gonzaga then scored eight straight points to cut the lead to 27-18 with 5:44 remaining. Bowman went the first 13 minutes without a point before scoring four during the Bulldogs' run."I thought we played a pretty good game after the first 10 minutes," Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said. "Unfortunately, we dug ourselves too big a hole in those 10 minutes to get out of it."Henderson hit all five of her 3-point attempts in the first half as San Diego built a 38-29 halftime lead. The Toreros shot just 41.9 percent in the first half, but went 7-for-7 from 3-point range.The Bulldogs used two baskets by Vivian Frieson and Bowman's rebound putback to cut San Diego's lead to 40-35 just more than one minute into the second half.The Bulldogs keep chipping away at the margin as Michelle Elliott hit a 3-pointer with 4:28 left to pull Gonzaga to within 60-59 with 4:28 left. Herman answered with a basket before Bowman scored on a baseline jumper with 3:34 remaining to cut the lead to 62-61.Gonzaga twice had a chance to take the lead in the final 3 minutes, but Frieson missed a shot and Bowman was called for a charge."The whole time we felt this is where we get over the hump, over the top," Bowman said. "Obviously, we couldn't finish."Herman then hit two free throws and a 15-foot jumper with 1:18 left to put the Toreros ahead 66-61.
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||24-52 (.462)||27-64 (.422)|
|3P Made-Attempted||8-11 (.727)||6-17 (.353)|
|FT Made-Attempted||14-17 (.824)||6-9 (.667)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||10 (0/0)||14 (0/0)|