Women's basketball roundup

DePaul celebrates winning the Big East conference tournament, 98-63, over Marquette on Tuesday in Chicago. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo)
DePaul celebrates winning the Big East conference tournament, 98-63, over Marquette on Tuesday in Chicago. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo)

DePaul 98, Marquette 63

Amarah Coleman scored a career-high 27 points and No. 2 seed DePaul routed top-seeded Marquette on Tuesday night for the Big East Conference Tournament championship and automatic NCAA berth.

DePaul (26-7) made 16 3-pointers, one shy of a tournament record. Each Blue Demon starter finished in double-scoring after three quarters. Coleman led with 25 points as the Blue Demons built a 35-point lead, 83-48, and avenged last season's eight-point loss in the title game to the Golden Eagles in Milwaukee.

The teams tied for the regular-season title and split their two meetings, each winning on its home court. DePaul has won 12 of their last 13 games since their 26-point loss at Villanova on Jan. 19. Marquette (23-9) had its eight-game win streak snapped.

It is DePaul's third Big East Tournament title.

Seven DePaul players made at least one 3-pointer, four had five or more assists, and two finished with double-doubles.

Coleman made five 3s and was 9-of-13 shooting overall. Chante Stonewall added 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Kelly Campbell chipped in 10 points and 11 rebounds. Ashton Millender had 16 points and Mart'e Grays 14.

Amani Wilborn, last season's conference tournament Most Outstanding Player, scored 12 points before fouling out early in the fourth quarter for Marquette. Natisha Hiedeman added 10 points.

DePaul built a 22-17 lead in the first quarter and cruised with 30 and 31 points in the second and third quarters.

The Blue Demons were 38-of-74 (51.4 percent) shooting overall, and 16 of 35 (46 percent) from long range. They outrebounded Marquette 52-34 and finished with 27 assists. Lauren Prochaska led with eight assists and chipped in four points. Grays added six assists and Coleman and Campbell dished five apiece.

The Blue Demons, who lead the country in 3-pointers per game and second in 3-point attempts, shot nearly 40 percent (44 of 112) from long range in the tournament.

It was DePaul coach Doug Bruon's 1,000th game with the Blue Demons.

Gonzaga 79, San Diego 71

Gonzaga went into the season with plenty of question marks, with new players on the roster and returning players filling new roles.

The regular season ended just the way it did a year ago: with a West Coast Conference championship.

Jill Barta scored 32 points and hit six free throws in the final 43 seconds, helping Gonzaga beat San Diego to repeat as WCC tournament champions.

“We just worked out to our goals and we had people step up all year long,” Gonzaga coach Lisa Portier said.

Gonzaga (27-5) shut San Diego down in the third quarter on its way to a 16-point lead, but had trouble breaking the Toreros’ pressing and trapping defense in the closing minutes. San Diego (17-15) cut the lead to 73-66 with a 9-0 run, but ran out of time.

Zykera Rice had 17 points and the Bulldogs made all 16 of their free throws to earn their eighth WCC tournament title and fourth in six years.

Barta, the WCC player of the year, was 10 for 10 on free throws and 10 for 19 from the field.

“She’s a big-game player,” Fortier said. “I will tell you, she’s hyper competitive and wants to win.”

San Diego shot 9 of 27 in the second half and went 1 for 5 from 3-point range overall to see its upset NCAA Tournament bid come to an end.

Maya Hood scored 23 points and Sydney Williams had 20 for the Toreros.

“We got down a little too much,” San Diego coach Cindy Fisher said. “I was thinking about using the full trap too early and then we would run out of gas. But then we used it. They fought, and they fought, and gave us a chance of getting right back in it.”

The Bulldogs are no strangers to playing for championships, reaching the WCC title game for the 13th time.

San Diego was the surprise finalist, knocking off No. 3 seed BYU in its opener and seventh-seeded Pacific in the semifinals.

Gonzaga swept both regular-season meetings, rolling 63-44 in San Diego, but needing a late 3-pointer from Laura Stockton to hold off the Toreros 58-54 in Spokane.

San Diego got off to a fast start in the third meeting, making 12 of 19 shots in the opening quarter to lead 25-20.

Gonzaga found a different gear in the second quarter. Closing in on the Toreros on defense and making 6 of their first 8 shots, the Bulldogs went on an 11-0 run to go up 37-31.

“We knew we couldn’t let them score 25 points in a quarter and win the game,” Fortier said.

Gonzaga made 16 of 28 shots in the first half to lead 45-40.

The Bulldogs extended the lead to 61-50 in the third quarter by shutting the Toreros down. San Diego made 1 of 12 shots in the quarter and scored five points.

Gonzaga stretched the lead to 16 early in the fourth quarter. That’s when San Diego started giving the Bulldogs trouble with pressure defense before the Bulldogs closed it out.

“At the end, we had a really good fight and we would have gotten back into the game if we had a little more time,” Hood said.

No. 22 Green Bay 62, Wright State 44

Allie Leclaire scored 24 points and tied a career high with eight rebounds, Jessica Lindstrom had her 41st career double-double and Green Bay beat Wright State for its fourth straight Horizon League Tournament championship and automatic NCAA berth.

The Phoenix, winners of 11 straight HL tournament games, has claimed seven of the last eight titles and 16 of 21. Green Bay is 16-4 all-time in the championship game for 18 NCAA Tournament appearances.

Lindstrom added 12 points and 14 rebounds, her 18th double-double this season, for top-seed Green Bay (29-3), which reached 29 wins for the sixth time in program history. Leclaire, named the tournament’s MVP, averaged 20.3 points per game in three tournament games and made four 3-pointers against Wright State.

Green Bay held the league’s player of the year Chelsea Welch to just 13 points on 2-of-15 shooting. The Raiders were 1 of 13 from long range and shot 28 percent overall.

The Phoenix closed the first quarter on a 7-0 run for a 10-point lead and Wright State didn’t make a second-quarter field goal for the final seven minutes of the half to trail 38-21. Green Bay cruised in the second half, leading for over 38 minutes, for its seventh straight win and 62nd in 66 series meetings.

Lexi Smith scored 14 points for No. 3 seed Wright State (23-10). Welch scored 22 and 24 points in the two single-digit, regular-season losses to Green Bay.

South Dakota State 65, South Dakota 50

Summit League player of the year Macy Miller had 16 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals and South Dakota State snapped rival South Dakota’s 20-game winning streak with a victory for its eighth automatic NCAA Tournament bid in 10 seasons.

Second-seeded SDSU lost both regular-season matchups this season by six points or fewer but remained undefeated against South Dakota in the Summit championship game at 4-0.

Ellie Thompson added 14 points and Tagyn Larson chipped in with 13 for South Dakoka State (26-6), which dominated points in the paint with a 36-16 margin in front of a crowd of 8,700. Madison Guebert, the league’s second-leading scorer at 15.1, finished with six points on 2-of-10 shooting.

South Dakota (26-6) was the second team in Summit League history to go undefeated in conference play — the first in 24 years. The Coyotes entered with the sixth longest winning streak in the country with their last loss coming against Tulsa on Dec. 16.

Ciara Duffy led the top-seed Coyotes with 12 points. Jaycee Bradley, who tied a tournament record with seven 3-pointers in a 51-point quarterfinal victory over Fort Wayne, was held to six points as South Dakota was just 6 of 30 from 3-point range. The Coyotes entered averaging 75 points per game.

Since the 2008-09 season, South Dakota (‘14) and Western Illinois (‘17) are the only other two teams to win the conference tournament.

 

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