Men’s and women’s basketball wrap up regular season and look ahead to WCC Tournament in Las Vegas

By Edwin Blebu

The Toreros lost an uphill battle against the University of San Francisco Dons last Thursday, losing 83-70 at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Dons were completely in sync Thursday night, shooting 68 percent from the field in the first half. Due to this amazing shooting performance, the Toreros found themselves trailing 18-2 in the opening minutes of the game.

The Dons’ junior forward Cole Dickerson scored a game high 24 points and 12 rebounds. The Toreros’ senior forward Ken Rancifer tallied a team-high 17 points and sophomore guard Johnny Dee and senior guard Cameron Miles each added 15 points.

Although the optimism was high for the Toreros throughout the game, they simply could not overcome the scoring barrage of the Dons. The Toreros were at one point able to reduce their deficit to single digits when they were down 62-53 with less than 12 minutes remaining in the second half. However, the consistent shooting of the Dons persisted and the Toreros were not able to recover.

Going into Saturday’s game against the Pepperdine University Waves, the Toreros knew they would be able to tie the Dons for fifth place in the West Coast Conference with a win against the Waves. It was only fitting that on senior day for the Toreros at the Jenny Craig Pavilion, senior forwards Ken Rancifer and Chris Manresa along with Miles led their team to a 76-69 victory.

Unlike the previous matchup against the Dons, the Toreros began the game with a sense of urgency, going up 7-3 in the opening minutes of the first half. After falling behind toward the middle of the first half, the Toreros fought back to lead the Waves 37-34 going into halftime.

“We had to battle all the way to the end to beat them. To have your three seniors play that well in their last home game and win is pretty special,” he said Toreros head coach Bill Grier.

The game stayed rather close throughout the second half before Dee made a three-pointer to put the Toreros up 66-60 with less than five minutes left to play in the game.

Dee was the leading scorer for the Toreros as he contributed 14 points. Manresa and Rancifer both added 13 points, while senior guard Lorne Jackson scored a game high 22 points for the Waves.

The win officially puts the Toreros in sixth place within the WCC with a 7-9 conference record and 14-17 record overall.. The Toreros will face off against the Waves again on March 7 in their opening game of the WCC Championship in Las Vegas.

The women’s basketball team dominated the Santa Clara University Broncos on Saturday afternoon winning 84-66 and securing the second place spot in the West Coast Conference. The Toreros made history with the win against the Broncos as they recorded the first ever back-to-back 20-win seasons in program history.

Senior forward Klara Wischer notched a double-double, scoring a career high of 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. The Broncos hung around the Toreros in the first half of the game, igniting a few short scoring runs that were always extinguished by a flurry of points from the Toreros shortly after.

The Toreros entered halftime up 30-29, and began the second half on 7-0 run within the opening minute. The Toreros’ lead crossed the double digit threshold with less than 15 minutes to play in the second half with a layup by sophomore guard Maya Hood. As the game went back and forth for the bulk of the second half, Wisher put the game out of reach after hitting two free throws with about eight minutes left in regulation.

Despite trading baskets with the Broncos for the remainder of the game, the Toreros put the Broncos away and ended the game 84-66. The Toreros can now enjoy valuable time off as they await their next opponent in the semifinals of the WCC Championship in Las Vegas. The Toreros’ number two seed is the highest seed USD has ever earned in the tournament.