Shelby Cheslek tied her career high against BYU Saturday. - USA TODAY Sports
The No. 1-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs and No. 2-seeded San Diego Toreros cruised to semifinal victories Saturday in Las Vegas.
The first game of the day featured a large crowd on hand from two of the league's most active fan bases, in Gonzaga and BYU. But the Cougar faithful were silenced early as the Bulldogs eased to a 62-43 victory behind a career-high tying 16 points from Shelby Cheslek. Gonzaga extended its winning streak to 14 games in the wire-to-wire victory over last year's champion in BYU.
Noticeably absent from the in-game stat sheet and post-game press conference was BYU guard Haley Steed. She closed her career with eight points on 3-for-11 shooting and three assists. Both teams struggled from long range, combining to go 4-of-30, but with 11 extra field goal attempts and eight more attempts at the line, Gonzaga cruised to the championships.
WBB: ZAGS WIN!!!!! GU 62, BYU 43. Cheslek with career-high 16 points! #ontothefinal— Gonzaga Athletics (@GonzagaBulldogs) March 9, 2013
The second semifinal saw San Diego dispatch Saint Mary's 74-53. The Gaels had the game close in the early stages of game action before a 22-2 run lifted the Toreros into the lead and off to the races. Saint Mary's battled back to get the game within 10 points midway through the second half, but couldn't crawl out of the large deficit. Amy Kame led all game scorers with 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting and five assists in USD's victory.
@usdwbb DEFEATS SMC 74-53!!!! Toreros play in the WCC Championship on Monday at 1pm! Catch it on ESPNU!— USD Toreros (@USDToreros) March 10, 2013
Gonzaga will be going for its fifth title after winning the crown in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011. San Diego looks for its fourth WCC tournament championship after winning its last in the midst of the string of Bulldogs' victories. In that 2008 contest, held at the Toso Pavilion in San Diego, the third-seeded Toreros knocked off the No. 1 seed Gonzaga, 71-66. The pair met again in the championship game in 2009 in the first WCC Championship held in Las Vegas and the Bulldogs came away with the 66-55 victory.