San Diego Leaves LMU Feeling Blue on Pink Day, 77-72
Young breaks LMU career three-point record and moves into third place on scoring list
Feb. 3, 2011
LOS ANGELES - Senior Renahy Young broke the LMU career three-point record and moved into third place on the school's all-time scoring list but San Diego used a 14-2 run late in the second half for a 77-72 win to kick-off the second round of West Coast Conference play Thursday night at Gersten Pavilion. Young registered her fifth 20-point game in WCC play with 24 points but the Toreros (12-10, 2-6 WCC) shot 50% from the floor to earn a split in the season series against the Lions (10-12, 4-4 WCC).
Donning pink uniforms for their annual WBCA PinkZone game, the Lions led by as many as 11 in the first half and tied a season-low with just seven turnovers. They would have to play the final 32 minutes of the contest without second-leading scorer Candice Nichols, however, as the junior left the game with 12:36 left in the first half after landing awkwardly and did not return. In her absence, San Diego's leading scorer, Dominique Conners, scored 16 of her game-high 25 points after halftime and USD shot 58% in the second half, using a crucial 14-2 run to turn a 65-60 deficit into a 74-67 lead that they would not relinquish.
Young entered the contest needing two three-pointers to tie record-holder Lisa Helmers (2006-10) atop the three-point list and needing 15 points to tie current Associate Head Coach Lynn Flanagan (1988-91) for third place on the scoring list. She reached both milestones with her seventh 20-point outing in her last nine games, finishing with 24 points, five rebounds, and four assists. She was joined in double figures by sophomore Courtney Collishaw, who had a career-high 13 points off the bench, and freshman Hazel Ramirez with 10 points. Seniors Jessica Vargas (nine points) and Melanie Ysaguirre (six points, seven rebounds) also had outstanding contests, as did freshman Mackenzie Kerins, who came off the bench for a career-high seven points.
The Lions shot 48% in the second half and 45.3% (29-for-64) overall, including 31.3% (5-for-16) from three-point range. Free throw shooting proved to make a difference, however, as LMU converted just 56.3% (9-for-16) at the line compared to 80% (21-for-26) for the Toreros.
Conners led all scorers with 25 points on 10-for-13 shooting, adding eight assists, five rebounds, and a pair of blocks. Morgan Woodrow contributed 17 points and Sam Child had 16 points and six rebounds as USD snapped a three-game losing streak. The Toreros connected on 27-for-54 (50%) from the floor and 2-for-10 (20%) from three while taking advantage of a 34-31 rebounding edge.
San Diego took the initiative out of the gates, riding eight points from Child to take a 16-8 lead. The Lions would get a lift from the introduction of Collishaw, who scored a quick seven points to spur a 10-2 run over the next 3:10 to tie things at 18-all. Despite the loss of Nichols at the 12:36 mark, the Lions stepped up their aggressiveness on the boards to turn a 12-5 rebound deficit into a 15-13 advantage. With the Toreros rotating for rebounding position, that opened up the driving lanes and the Lions, and Ramirez in particular, took advantage, getting to the basket to increase the lead to 34-23 as part of a larger 23-7 run. Fourteen of those points came in the paint as LMU was able to find the gaps in the San Diego defense
San Diego soon regained its stride and came back with an 8-1 run to cut the Lion lead to four, 35-31, until Collishaw knocked down a straightaway three, her second of the half, to go over her previous career-high. Buoyed by just three first-half turnovers and 11 points from Collishaw, the Lions took a 38-33 lead into the break.
After knocking down one three in the first half, Young connected on her first attempt of the second to pull even with Helmers atop the LMU career list. Threes were on order for both sides, with Conners and Woodrow each dialling it up from long distance for the Toreros, who hit their first two threes of the second half after going 0-for-7 in the first. Those threes helped USD connect on nine of its first 12 shots overall to mount a 13-4 run and take a 50-47 lead. Young would respond by tying the game at 50 with her record-breaking three-pointer with 13:15 remaining.
While the two teams' leading scorers surpassed the 20-point mark, it was their teammates who stepped up in support. The Lions got a huge boost from Kerins, who converted a three-point play to break a 56-all tie and followed with a smooth drive and layin. The Lions would need contributions from others, though, as Young picked up her fourth foul and headed to the bench with 6:51 left and a 65-60 lead.
Young's fourth foul proved the turning point in the contest. In her absence, Conners took over, scoring four points during an 8-0 USD run to take a 68-65 lead and draw Young back into the fray with five minutes left. The momentum had already shifted, though, as LMU went over four minutes without scoring. As had been the case in LMU's last two home losses, missed free throws reared their ugly heads once again as Buckley missed the front end of a one-and-one with 2:52 left and the Lions trailing 70-67. At the other end, Conners found a cutting Kameron Knutson under the basket to make it a five-point game.
This time, it was USD's missed foul shots that kept the door open for the Lions. Knutson and Woodrow could each only hit 1-of-2 at the line in the final minute and Young got a layup with 21 seconds left to cut it to 74-69. Again Woodrow could only make 1-of-2 and Young was fouled on her drive to the hoop. She made the first and intentionally missed the second, with the rebound falling to Vargas to lay in and make it a one-possession game at 75-72 with 10 seconds left. The Lions pressed and fouled Child but the conference's top free throw shooter rattled home both to put the game away.
LMU remains at home on Saturday for a showdown with Saint Mary's at 2 p.m.