LOS ANGELES – In a matchup that served as a tiebreaker for fourth place in the West Coast Conference, the Loyola Marymount women’s basketball team (17-10, 9-7 WCC) finished the day victorious after a heated battle throughout. The Lions defeated the San Francisco Dons 65-60 (13-14, 8-8 WCC) on Saturday at the Pavilion. This marked the first time the Lions have beaten the Dons since March 7, 2013 in a 75-53 win in at the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas.
“USF is a really good basketball team,” head coach Charity Elliott said. “We were having trouble in our man [defense] and we just switched it up and went to some zone and some matching up and some full court stuff just to try to slow them down. I thought we did such a great job of working hard and making sure every shot was contested. We rebounded well out of it. This was a big, big win for us. It’s been a while. For some reason, the Dons have had our number, so this felt really good.”
Kalyn Simon of USF scored 20 first-half points to give the Dons a six-point lead at the half, with the score standing at 40-34. The Lions’ balanced scoring kept them close behind USF, as four Lions scored 5+ points in the opening frame. Gabby Green and Raychel Stanley led the Lions in scoring in the half, putting up eight points apiece. Green added three rebounds and three assists. Chelsey Gipson and Cheyanne Wallace each added six points through the first two quarters, while Bree Alford pulled down four boards to go along with three assists and two blocks.
The Lions came out fighting, chipping away at USF’s lead and tying it up at 42-42 on a Cierra Belvin layup. LMU went on to take its first lead since the 3:45 mark of the first quarter on a Gipson jumper at with 3:54 left in the third. LMU would end the quarter up 52-46.
USF battled back in the fourth to take the lead from LMU once again, going up by as many as six points (60-54) with just over five minutes remaining, but the Lions never gave up. LMU went on to hold the Dons scoreless for the rest of the contest and score the final nine points of the game to seal the 65-60 victory.
After her 20 first-half points, LMU held Simon to just two points in the second half.
Gipson poured in 10 of her team-high (and also season-high) 16 points in the final two quarters of play. In addition to Gipson, Jasmine Jones (12 points), Green (11 points) and Stanley (10 points) all recorded double-figure scoring. Green also added nine rebounds, six assists and a game-high four steals in the win.
The Lions will play their final home game of the season on Thursday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. This game will serve as senior night for guard Makenzie Cast, in which LMU Athletics will celebrate her four-year career on the bluff.
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