university of portland women's basketball

Portland nears NCAA tourney bid

UP women's hoop upsets No. 11 Gonzaga in WCC Tourney
Staff Report

In one of the more improbable comebacks of an already improbable season, the University of Portland women's basketball team rallied from a 20-point deficit to beat No. 11 Gonzaga 70-69 in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference Tournament in Las Vegas.

Sophomore guard Haylee Andrews scored on a short jumper with five seconds left for the final points, ending a ferocious finish by both teams.

Portland will play in the conference final Tuesday with the winner earning an automatic NCAA Tournament berth. Gonzaga is likely to earn a berth and play host to first- and second-round games in spite of the loss.

"This is amazing how we were picked for 10th," Andrews said to the streaming media audience. "Now we have to get ready for one more game."

Portland improved to 20-11 on the season, just a week after losing to Gonzaga at home.

Gonzaga dropped to 28-3.

The Piots were picked for last in the WCC prior to the season under first-year coach Michael Meek. But they overcame all expectations and finished fourth in the conference standings with just one primary senior in the playing rotation.

Trailing 29-9 in the first quarter, the Pilots rallied to within 39-35 at the half and led by six points in the fourth quarter before the Zags went on an 8-0 run to lead 65-63 with 2:57 left. But freshman forward Alex Fowler, who scored a game-high 22 points, gave Portland the lead again at 68-67 with 25 seconds left. Gonzaga scored for a 69-68 lead with eight seconds left, which set the stage for Andrews' heroics.

Portland has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 1997, and has never won a tournament game.






Pilot women lose, gain momentum

No. 10 Gonzaga pulls away for 56-42 win, but UP eyes tourney upset
By Cliff Pfenning,

PORTLAND - A loud, often raucous crowd set the stage for a huge, memorable win Saturday for the University of Portland women's basketball program, and it did it's part for most of three quarters.

Senior guard Kate Andersen, honored prior to the game, even hit a three-point shot at the first quarter buzzer to tie the game at 11.

But, tenth-ranked Gonzaga had too much inside firepower and pulled away from a 40-35 edge after three quarters for a 56-42 victory before an announced crowd of 1,709 fans at the Chiles Center.

Gonzaga junior forwards Jenn and LeeAnne Wirth combined for 28 pooints and 17 rebounds to send the Zags, who had more than 100 fans themselves, into the West Coast Conference Tournament as the No.1 seed. Gonzaga is 28-2 overall and 17-1 in WCC games.

Portland enters the tournament that begins in Las Vegas on Thursday as the fifth seed at 18-11, 11-7. The Pilots, who lost their contest at Gonzaga by 10 points earlier in the season, won just seven games two seasons ago.

"This has been a great season for our girls and our fans to build support for the program," first-year coach Michael Meek said afterward. "This is an easy team to get behind because of how our players perform, and the effort they put out."

Andersen led the Pilots with 10 points, and sophomore Haylee Andrews had 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Pilots were hammered by turnovers, though, commiting 21 in the game, including 10 in the fourth quarter when they were outscored 16-7.

Gonzaga held a 12-5 edge in second chance points and 14-2 in bench scoring.

First round WCC tournament pairings have yet to be announced, but Andrews said the Pilots would take Saturday's loss as a significant learning tool if they are able to meet Gonzaga again.

"We're definitely be looking at a lot of film, looking to see what we can do to beat them," said Andrews, who was the WCC Player of the Week three times this season. "They're No. 10 for a reason, but we're going to go into the tournament with the thinking we can beat them."




Lady Pilots on verge of breakthrough

UP women's basketball eyes home upset of No. 10 Gonzaga
By Cliff Pfenning

For a change, the University of Portland women's basketball program might get a little attention in-state this weekend.

Especially if it can pull off an upset on its home court.

The Pilots enter their final game of the season with a four-game win streak and a potential large, rowdy crowd to back up its effort against No. 10 Gonzaga at the Chiles Center.

Portland is 18-10 overall, including a 69-49 win over San Francisco played two weeks ago before a crowd of 1,772 at the Chiles Center, and 11-6 in West Coast Conference games. The Pilots are familiar with playing before home crowds of around 500 fans throughout the season, but the team's success - already securing its first winning record in 10 seasons - has some buzz on the campus.

The Pilots, who will be seeded no worse than fourth in the WCC Tournament that plays out next week in Las Vegas, have not finished more than five games above .500 since 1998. Perhaps, even better, the team only has one senior, and features several key freshmen under first-yaer head coach Michael Meek.

After the large crowd two weeks ago, the athletic department is hoping for an even larger crowd, especially with the potential for a program-building upset in the air - against the conference's top villain (even if that's a moniker largely generated by the men's basketball team).

Gonzaga enters the game at 27-2, 16-1 and with a 62-57 win over the Pilots in Spokane, Wash., on Dec. 29 when it was ranked No. 17.

Game time is set for 2 p.m.



2020 - 18-10 / 11-6 WCC

2019 - 13-17 / 5-13 WCC

2018 -  7-23 /  3-15 WCC

2017 -  6-24 /  4-14 WCC

2016 -  3-23 /  1-17 WCC

2015 -  4-26 /  2-16 WCC


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