March 8, 2009
(Las Vegas, NV) - The USD women's basketball team won their third straight WCC Tournament game with today's 74-64 victory over No. 2 seed Portland to advance to Monday's championship game against No. 1 seed Gonzaga. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU at 12 noon. Senior forward Kiva Herman turned in her third straight outstanding game and finished with 22 points. Now with 72 points in three games, she has set a new WCC Tournament record for combined points. Freshman point guard Dominique Connors scored a personal-best 20 points in aid in the win.
"These two young women (Kiva & Dominique) were outstanding today," said head coach Cindy Fisher. "For a true freshman, Dominique is an extension of me on the floor at the point. And Kiva continues to rise to occasion and do remarkable things. We also got a lot of quality minutes from players off the bench today and I give the entire team a lot of credit."
For the third straight game the Toreros got out of the gates slow as they fell behind 10-2. Portland extended their lead to as many as 11 points (31-20) with 5:12 left in the half before the Toreros made their move. Over the next three minutes the Toreros went on a 12-0 run to take a 32-31 lead with 2:35 to go. Herman scored on a layup and added two free throws; Sam Child connected on a three-pointer; Amber Sprague cashed in on two free throws; and Morgan Henderson put USD up for the first time with a three-pointer. Portland retook the lead on a Tara Cronin basket, but Conners made both free throws for a 34-33 halftime lead.
In the 2nd half USD jumped out with an 8-2 run to go up 42-35, and they continued to roll the rest of the way. Over the final 20 minutes of action, the Toreros shot 65% from the field (13-20) and 75% from the free throw line (12-16) in holding off all Portland threats. USD's biggest lead came at 66-52 on a jumper by Herman with 3:15 to go, and although the Pilots would pull to within 8 points (72-64), it would be with just 44 ticks left. For USD, Morgan Henderson also notched another double-digit outing with 13 points. Portland (17-13) was led by guard Laiken Dollente with 20 points.
The Toreros meet up with Gonzaga for the second straight year in the WCC championship game. The Toreros won last year's meeting in San Diego at the JCP, 70-66. In head-to-head meetings this season, Gonzaga won both games - 109-73 in San Diego (Jan. 31) and 77-67 in Spokane (Feb. 28).
Added Coach Fisher, "Gonzaga is a fantastic basketball team. We will need to control our possessions and how we attack them."