March 2, 2013
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SAN FRANCISCO - Less than 48 hours after earning a huge win on senior day in Gersten Pavilion, the LMU women's basketball team played senior day spoiler in San Francisco, rallying for a 58-55 victory in War Memorial Gym Saturday afternoon.
The win moved the Lions to 12-17 overall and 6-10 in West Coast Conference play, vaulting them into a tie for fifth place in the regular-season league standings and the fifth seed in next week's WCC Championship in Las Vegas.
San Francisco fell to 11-18 overall and 4-11 in WCC play and will earn the eighth seed next week.
The Dons led 33-22 at the break and looked to build more momentum as the second half started, opening with an 8-2 run to lead 14-25 at the 16:09 mark.
But then the Lions slowly began to chip away. Deanna Johnson knocked down a three and Alex Cowling hit a pair of free throws to trim the spread to 11. The teams then traded buckets back and forth until Cowling sparked LMU's final run.
The redshirt senior powered her way to a old fashion three point play with 6:40 to play. Hazel Ramirez, Johnson and Mackenzie Kerins followed with back to back to back jumpers and suddenly the Lions were within one, 49-48 with 4:40 remaining.
Three straight points by USF's Zhane Dikes pushed the lead back to four, but it was Cowling who responded for the Lions yet again, coming up with a big steal and fast break layup, followed by another jumper moments later, knotting the score at an even 52 apiece.
Taj Winston put USF back on top by three with a layup and and-one free throw and again Cowling had the answer, this time with a long three ball for the game's fourth tie.
Forced to foul, USF sent Kerins to the line with 52 seconds remaining. The junior made one of two putting the ball back in the Dons' hands. But Dikes turned the ball over and Johnson sank both free throws with seven seconds remaining to give LMU it's final three-point spread.
Cowling scored the game's first bucket and the Lions quickly jumped out to an 11-2 lead at the 14:52 mark. But the Dons would come alive as Bailey Barbour and Mel Khlok hit back-to-back layups to begin an 8-0 San Francisco run.
Cowling halted the streak with a jumper just inside 11 minutes, but a three by Taj Winston sparked a 12-0 USF run as the Lions went 0-7 over a four-minute span. A pair of Chelsea Barnes free throws trimmed the deficit to four with two minutes remaining in the half, but two Barbour jumpers and a Khlok three to close out the half sent the Lions into the locker room trailing 33-22.
Cowling finished with a game-high 21 points to go along with 10 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season. Johnson chipped in 12 points while Kerins had seven points and eight boards.
Winston led the Dons with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Also in double figures were Dikes (12 points), Khlok (11 points) and Barbour (10 points).
The Lions now head to The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas as the five seed at the 2013 WCC Champinonship. They will open play on Thursday, March 7 at noon against the winner of No. 8 San Francisco versus No. 9 Pepperdine. The game can be heard live on KXLU 88.9 PM and on BYUTV.