Portland women knock out No. 16 Gonzaga, reach NCAA tourney Timme sets record, Gonzaga routs Saint Mary’s for WCC title UCLA’s Jaquez Jr., Cronin highlight AP All-Pac-12 team Zach Edey is AP Big Ten Player of the Year; Painter, Collins honored Marquette’s Kolek, Smart collect AP’s top honors in Big East Kansas’ Jalen Wilson named AP Big 12 Player of the Year
LAS VEGAS. Maisie Burnham had 19 points, Alex Fowler had 15 points and 11 rebounds as Portland defeated two-time West Coast Conference champion Gonzaga 64-60 on Tuesday to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Portland (23–8) snapped a six-game losing streak against the No. 16 Zags, with the most recent victory coming in the tournament semi-finals in the 2019–20 season. The Pilots won the tournament’s championship that year before the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Portland played in four consecutive NCAA Tournaments from 1994 to 1997 before returning in 2020.
Portland, who were 13 points behind at the start of the third quarter, picked up seven unanswered points in the fourth quarter to extend their lead to 58-50. But Gonzaga scored the next nine points and cleared Yvonne Ajim from the free-throw line with 43.9 seconds left.
Fowler pulled into the alley and turned her defender around before completing a jump ball. She was fouled during the game and converted a free throw to take a 61–59 lead with 37.8 seconds left.
Ejim was booked for an offensive foul with 31.4 seconds left, and Portland defenseman McKell Meek made two free throws on the other end to make it 63–59. Gonzaga missed a 3-pointer, but Callie Stokes intercepted the offensive rebound and was fouled with 14.7 left before hitting 1 of 2 free throws three points back.
Gonzaga trapped Mick in the corner and a held ball was called with a possession arrow in Gonzaga’s favor with 11.5 to go. After a delay due to an injury, Kaylynn Truong, Portland forced another draw and took possession of the ball with a score of 6.2. Portland successfully attacked him and led until Emma Shearer was fouled with 1.7 to go. Shearer hit the first free throw by four points and deliberately missed the second.
Fowler, who averaged 17.9 points, missed her first five shots before finishing 7-of-14 for Portland’s first double-double of the season. Mick added 12 points and Burnham, who was born in Spokane and played in nearby eastern Washington, was 3-of-7 from 3-point range.
Portland’s defensive pressure created problems for Gonzaga late in the third quarter, leading him to 12 unanswered points to take a 46–45 lead after going 9–7. Zags finished with 24 losses.
Ejima had 21 points and 14 rebounds before fouling Gonzaga late (28-4). Truong, WCC Player of the Year, had 18 points, five assists and three steals, as well as seven turnovers.
LAS VEGAS. Gonzaga players heard criticism that this was not the Bulldogs team that had been among the national elite in recent years, and they even struggled to live up to the program’s huge expectations.
“There were a lot of days where I wasn’t very fun,” said Gonzaga’s coach Mark Few.
The Bulldogs kept working on it, and No. 9 Gonzaga sent a message to the rest of the country with a dominant 77–51 victory from the start over No. 16 St. Mary’s in the West Coast Conference tournament championship game. .
The Zags (28-5) continued their dominance in the WCC, claiming their fourth consecutive tournament championship and 10th place in 11 years, except for Saint Mary’s in 2019. In total, Gonzaga has won 21 tournament titles.
Drew Timm scored 18 points to become Gonzaga’s all-time leading scorer, becoming the tournament’s most outstanding player.
“I took the win for granted,” Timme said. “I won so much in my career, it’s a shock that I didn’t win. I think at the beginning of the year it just made me appreciate what it takes to win night and night. I think sometimes we kind of assume we’re just going to win because we’re Gonzaga.
“Sometimes it’s hard not to get into the idea that we just need to get to March. This season has been shitty. I think this job has made us as a group appreciate every win and what it takes to win and be a good team.”
St. Mary’s (26-7) was seeded first in the tournament after the teams split the regular season series, with Timme saying it was odd to wear the blue jersey rather than the usual white. The Gaels were the last team to defeat Gonzaga, who won a nine-game streak in the NCAA Tournament, including a victory over St. Mary’s to end the regular season.
Both teams will know their seeding and destinations on Sunday.
Gonzaga made 58% of his shots and St. Mary made 33% of his shots. The Bulldogs led by a whopping 37 points and were never behind.
Timme was effective, hitting 8 out of 10 shots, which led to four Bulldogs in double figures. Malachi Smith had 14 points, Nolan Hickman had 12 points and Julian Strouter had 10. Anton Watson had 10 rebounds.
Timme’s short jumper with 10:18 left put him in first place as the top scorer in St Mary’s history. He was only five points short of breaking the mark, and his 18 points per game gave him 2,210 career points. Frank Burgess held the record of 2,196 from 1958 to 1961.
Logan Johnson led the Gaels with 20 points while Alex Doukas scored 10.
Gonzaga took control early, using a nine-point streak to go up 14–4, and maintained a double-digit lead most of the way. The Zagis hit 10-of-12 field goals at one point in the first half, and by half-time they took full command with a 37–19 lead.
“I told our guys that we played 32 games and played very well in 32 of them,” said St. Mary’s coach Randy Bennett. This one, we’re leaving. You can lend to them. They played well. We didn’t show up.”
Gonzaga: The real pressure right now is on Gonzaga, who has won numerous NCAA tournaments but is still looking for that elusive national championship. Until this happens, critics will say that the school of the WCC is not on the same level as the representatives of the conference of power. Zagi must prove they are wrong.
St. Mary’s: The St. Mary’s almost lost their 26-point lead in the semi-finals on Monday because the Gaels were having trouble with the BYU press. Gonzaga threw the press on the St. Mary’s, and while it didn’t result in any crossover throws for the Bulldogs, it slowed the Gael attack. The St. Marys will need to figure out how best to play against the press or it will become a problem in the NCAA Tournament.
Gonzaga has a legitimate shot at seeding second and entered the game ninth in the NET rankings, a metric the NCAA committee uses when choosing a field. Even though the St. Mary’s are only one spot ahead of the Bulldogs, the Gaels are likely looking for a fifth or sixth seed.
Jaime Jaquez Jr.’s decision to return for his senior season worked out very well for #2 UCLA.
Jacques was named Pac-12 Player of the Year by the Associated Press and Bruins coach Mick Cronin was named Conference Coach of the Year. Washington forward Keyon Brooks was named Pac-12 Rookie of the Year by a panel of eight journalists covering the conference.
Jaques considered leaving Westwood for the NBA after three productive seasons, including in the Final Four and Sweet 16 in later years. The sly, 6-foot-7 swinging man had another career-high season on his return, averaging 17.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, helping the Bruins to their first Pac-12 title in the regular season. for a decade.
Cronin brought UCLA back to prominence in four seasons after leaving Cincinnati. The Bruins have been active in the NCAA Tournament for the past two seasons and have been the Pac-12 class this year.
UCLA posted an overall record of 27–4 in the regular season, 18–2 in the Pac-12 game, and had its first unbeaten home season (17–0) since 2006–07. The Bruins have the longest home winning streak in the country at 25 games and are in first place in this week’s Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas.
Brooks made an immediate impact on the Washington after moving from Kentucky. The 6-foot-7 forward was third in the Pac-12 with 17.8 points per game and 6.9 rebounds.
u-Guard – Tiger Campbell, UCLA, Sr., 5-11, 180, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Guard – Boogie Ellis, USC, Sr., 6-3, 185, San Diego.
u-Forward – Jaime Jaques Jr., UCLA, Sr., 6-7 years old, 225 years old, Camarillo, California.
u-Forward – Azuolas Tubelis, Arizona, Jr., 6-11, 245, Vilnius, Lithuania.
Center: Branden Carlson, Utah, Sr., 7-0, 228, South Jordan, Utah.
-“u” means unanimous choice.
Guard – Drew Peterson, USC, Sr., 6-9, 205, Libertyville, IL.
Guard – Keyon Brooks Jr., Washington Sr., 6-7, 210, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Forward – Mohamed Gouyet, Washington St., Co., 6-11, 210, Dakar, Senegal.
Forward – N’Fali Dante, Oregon Sr., 6-11, 230;
Center – Arizona Jr., 7-0, 260;
Player of the Year – Jaime Jaques Jr., UCLA.
Coach of the Year – Mick Cronin, UCLA.
Rookie of the Year – Keyon Brooks, Washington
All-Pac-12 voting group: Bruce Pasco, Arizona Daily Star; Michelle Gardner, Republic of Arizona; Paul Klee, Colorado Springs Gazette; Adam Grosbard, Register of Orange County; John Wilner, San Jose Mercury News; James Crepy, Oregonian; Pat Rooney, BuffZone.com; Jesse Sova, Corvallis Gazette-Times.
Purdue’s Zach Edie was named Associated Press Big Ten Conference Player of the Year, while Boilermakers’ Matt Painter and Northwestern’s Chris Collins were named Coaches of the Year.
Edey received all but one of the votes as Player of the Year, as voted by 14 journalists covering the conference. Maryland’s Jameer Young defeated Indiana’s Jalen Hood-Scifino for Rookie of the Year.
Edie and Trace Jackson-Davies of Indiana were unanimously selected to the AP All-Big Ten First Team.
At 7ft 4in and weighing 305lbs, Edie led the Boilermakers to their first overall Big Ten regular season championship since 2017. first…