Shocker: It’s Dons again 

Don’t look now, but the USF women’s basketball team is developing a reputation as queens of the first-round upset.

For the second year in a row, the Dons entered the West Coast Conference tournament as the No. 7 seed. And for the second year in a row, the Dons left the court with a victory over the No. 2 seed.

Junior guard Dominique Hunter scored 23 points, including going 11-of-12 from the free-throw line, as USF knocked off San Diego 80-69. The Dons (10-20) advance to Saturday’s semifinals, where they will face top-seeded Gonzaga (22-9) at either noon or 2:15 p.m.

Last year, USF knocked off second-seeded and tournament host Gonzaga 75-67 in the opening game, but lost to top-seeded Santa Clara 75-65 in the semifinals.

"I am so proud of this team," said first-year USF coach Tanya Haave, whose team dropped both regular-season games to San Diego (21-8). "This was our best effort of the season and the timing could not have been better for us. Every time USD made a run, we answered. This is a fantastic win for this team."

While Hunter did most of her damage in the second half after picking up three first-half fouls limited her to just nine minutes of action in the opening 20 minutes, her teammates more than made up for her absence.

Sophomore point guard Shay Rollins had a career-high 21 points, including 10 in the first half as the Dons opened the game with torrid shooting, make 11 of their first 12 shots and 14 of their first 17 before cooling off and missing seven straight.

Senior forward Nickie Warren had 12 points and seven rebounds, while junior guard Nykia Peace had a strong all-around game with 10 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Peace and Warren each had eight points in the big first half, which ended with the Dons up 40-25.

After taking their biggest lead of the game at 44-27 just 54 seconds into the second half, the Toreros went on a 10-2 run to pull within 46-37. However, USF countered with a 9-2 surge to restore some breathing room. San Diego twice pulled within six points, but the Dons came up with key defensive stops and made their free throws to seal the upset.

"My focus was to make sure we didn’t get down," Rollins said. "So any time San Diego got the game to single digits, I tried as hard as I could to get the team together and tell them not to get down and keep our heads up."

USF 80, San Diego 69

West coast Conference Tournament

At Chiles Center, Portland, Ore.

THURSDAY’S

QUARTERFINAL RESULTS

» No. 7 USF 80, No. 2 San Diego 69

» No. 1 Gonzaga 68, No. 8 Portland 55

» No.3 Loyola Marymount 65, No. 6 Santa Clara 49

» No. 5 Pepperdine 71, No. 4 St. Mary’s 67 (OT)

TODAY’S GAMES

No games scheduled

SATURDAY’S

SEMIFINAL GAMES

» No. 7 USF (10-20) vs. No. 1 Gonzaga (22-9), TBA

» No. 3 Loyola Marymount (18-11) vs. No. 5 Pepperdine

SUNDAY’S

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

» Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.

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