Gonzaga takes WCC title

PORTLAND - Gonzaga simply had too many offensive weapons for Loyola Marymount and the rest of the WCC women's basketball conference to overcome.

The top-seeded Bulldogs had a different leading scorer in each of their three games in this week's conference tournament. It was Stephanie Hawk's turn on Sunday as she scored 17 points and grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds to lead Gonzaga to a 64-47 victory over Loyola Marymount in the tournament championship game.

It was Gonzaga's first WCC tournament title and it was the ninth consecutive victory overall for the Bulldogs (24-9), who earned an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.

It will be Gonzaga's first NCAA appearance.

During the WCC tournament, the Bulldogs showed they could play virtually any style of game and it really didn't matter who played a starring role.

"I'm really proud of our basketball team," Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said. "We played a style that we're not always comfortable with - a knock-down, drag-out, tough battle. We showed we can play that way. If you punch us in the nose, we'll punch back."

The Bulldogs used Hawk, a 6-foot-3 post, in the low-post position through most of the opening minutes of the game. But Hawk, who was the WCC's co-player of the year during the regular season, had her hands full with Loyola' Ashlee Dunlap, who is a more physical inside player.

During those early minutes, the third-seeded Lions (19-12) managed to match Gonzaga basket for basket and they even held a one-point lead on a couple of occasions. Then, Graves decided to move Hawk to top of the key, where she seems to be at her best.

That move led to two open outside jumpers, including a 3-pointer, and Hawk hit both of them. It also opened up the inside for Gonzaga forward Heather Bowman, who finished the game with 14 points and wound up being named the tournament's most valuable player.

"Maybe all those times Hawk yelled at me paid off," Bowman said of her MVP award. "It was unexpected and it felt good, but it felt better to win this tournament."

No. 7 Stanford 67, Southern California 52

At San Jose, Calif., Candice Wiggins hit a career-high and tournament-record eight 3-pointers on the way to 29 points, and Stanford beat Southern California to reach the Pac-10 tournament title game.

Wiggins hit her first five 3-point attempts and initial six field-goal tries, and finished 10-for-13 from the field and 8-of-9 from long range for the Cardinal (27-4), who will play tonight against Arizona State .

No. 9 Arizona State 60, California 53

At San Jose, Calif., Kirsten Thompson scored all 14 of her points in the second half, including eight straight in crunch time, to lead Arizona State past California and into the Pac-10 tournament title game.

Emily Westerberg added 12 points before fouling out late in the Sun Devils' ninth straight win. Thompson, a 6-foot-6 sophomore from Monroe, scored 10 points over the final 6:40.

The win was No. 200 for coach Charli Turner Thorne at Arizona State (28-3).

No. 4 N. Carolina 60, No. 24 N.C. State 54

At Greensboro, N.C., Ivory Latta scored 20 points, becoming North Carolina's career scoring leader, and the Tar Heels ended North Carolina State's emotional run through the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

No. 13 Vanderbilt 51, No. 11 LSU 45

At Duluth, Ga., Dee Davis scored 19 points, including a crucial basket with 23 seconds left, to lead Vanderbilt past LSU in the Southeastern Conference tournament championship.

No. 3 Connecticut 74, South Florida 54

At Hartford, Conn., Charde Houston scored 19 points, Tina Charles added 18 and Connecticut opened its Big East conference tournament with a quarterfinal win over South Florida.

No. 20 Louisville 68, West Virginia 56

At Hartford, Conn., Angel McCoughtry scored 26 points and Louisville held West Virginia without a field goal for over 12 minutes in the first half.

Louisville (26-6) jumped out to an 18-3 lead, behind 10 points from McCoughtry, the Big East's player of the year. The Cardinals led 26-14 at halftime.