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Torero Athletics: Men's Basketball Competes; Softball, Golf Debuts Near; Roundup

USD guard Olin Carter III (3) shoots against Gonzaga center Jacob Larsen. Photo credit: James Snook, USA Today SportsUSD guard Olin Carter III (3) shoots against Gonzaga center Jacob Larsen. Photo credit: James Snook, USA Today Sports

Close and almost. This past week, the University of San Diego men's basketball team experienced both of these feelings in West Coast Conference games against top competition — both nationally ranked — and certainly took a few steps forward in the eyes of many around the conference due to their performance.

USD played No. 14 Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., on Feb. 1 and they were ready for the challenge. Holding the lead a few different times during the game — the last time with a 13-2 run to start the second half — but Gonzaga put together a few big runs of its own to pull away late for a 69-59 victory over the Toreros.

Olin Carter III led USD with 21 points, Isaiah Pineiro had 13, Isaiah Wright added 12 and Tyler Williams scored eight.

Two days later, the Toreros hosted No. 13 Saint Mary's in the Jenny Craig Pavilion and they nearly knocked off the WCC's lone undefeated (in conference) team, but fell, 65-62.

Wright's 3-point shot attempt at the final buzzer was just off the mark for what would have sent the game to overtime. As it was, Pineiro led the Toreros with 24 points, Williams had 12 (all on three-point baskets) and Wright finished with 10 points. Wright also had six rebounds, five assists and four steals.

The two losses pushed USD's record to 15-9 overall, 6-6 in WCC play.

Next Games: USD Men's Basketball at Pepperdine, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; USD at Santa Clara, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Women's Basketball

A tough pair of West Coast Conference losses this past week — a 63-44 setback against Gonzaga on Feb. 1 in the Jenny Craig Pavilion and then a 66-57 defeat against host Saint Mary's Feb. 3 — dropped the USD women's basketball team record to a 5-7 WCC mark (12-11 overall).

The loss to Gonzaga came in spite of 14 points by Aubrey Ward-El on National Women and Girls in Sports Day. The Bulldogs remained perfect in WCC play, helped by a 20-10 second quarter and a 19-7 third quarter to widen the gap.

Against Saint Mary's, the Toreros trailed 57-38 after three quarters, but a 19-9 fourth quarter showed the team's heart and desire to win. Ward-El again led USD in scoring, this time with 15 points.

On a separate note, USD celebrated National Women and Girls in Sport Day with a visit by U.S. women's soccer standout Julie Foudy and a halftime appearance by the San Diego Splash, a women's basketball team featuring players in their 80s.

This Thursday's USD home game against Pepperdine is USD Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night.  

Next Games: USD Women's Basketball hosts Pepperdine, Thursday, 6 p.m., Jenny Craig Pavilion; USD hosts Santa Clara, Saturday, 2 p.m., JCP.

Women's Tennis

A weekend trip to Arizona enabled the USD women's tennis team to earn a split of its matches — a 4-1 win against Grand Canyon in Phoenix on Feb. 2, followed by a competitive 4-3 setback against Arizona on Feb. 3.

Against Grand Canyon, USD rallied from losing the doubles point with a solid effort in singles play. No. 1 Daniela Morales, No. 3 Gemma Garcia, No. 4 Maria-Paula Torres and No. 5 Carolin Nonnenmacher notched victories to give the Toreros their first team victory of the spring season. Garcia's win was the deciding point.

The next day in Tucson, USD won the doubles point on match wins for the No. 2 team of Morales and Kati Kukaras and the No. 3 team of Garcia and Nonnenmacher. In singles, it started well for USD with No. 1 Nicole Anderson winning her match for a 2-0 lead, but Arizona won at the No. 6 spot and then No. 4 and No. 2 positions for a 3-2 lead. Torres, playing at No. 5 singles, edged her Arizona opponent to tie the team score at 3 apiece. At No. 3 singles, Kukaras fell in a tough three-set match to give the Wildcats the home win.

The Toreros have a 1-3 overall record to start the spring season.

Next Matches: USD women's tennis hosts Hawai'i, Thursday, 1:30 p.m., Skip and Cindy Hogan Tennis Center (on campus behind Mother Rosalie Hill Hall); USD at San Diego State, Sunday, noon.

Men's Tennis

The USD men's tennis team (2-1 record) had a week off from match competition, but they'll resume the spring season by hosting UC Santa Barbara this Sunday at the Skip and Cindy Hogan Tennis Center at USD.

Softball

The 2018 USD women's softball season gets underway this weekend with San Diego Tournament games against Cal State Bakersfield and Campbell University Feb. 8-11 at the USD Softball Complex.

The schedule for 17th-year USD Head Coach Melissa McElvain and her team is the season-opener at 7:30 p.m. Thursday against Campbell, a school located in North Carolina. The Toreros will then play CSU Bakersfield at 3:30 p.m. Friday, followed by a 6 p.m. game versus Campbell. On Saturday, USD plays Campbell a third and final time at 2:30 p.m. and then there's a USD-CSUB matchup at 5 p.m. USD and CSUB will meet one final time on Sunday at noon.

The Toreros have three seniors on the roster, outfielder-first baseman Kailey Hill, second baseman Hannah Gilliland and catcher-outfielder Sarah Stone. First-Team All-West Coast Conference junior outfielder Taylor Spence is also back.

Men's Golf

New USD Men’s Golf Coach Chris Riley and his team make their spring debut Feb. 12-13 when they’ll host the USD Intercollegiate Tournament at Rancho Santa Fe's The Farms Golf Club.

Riley, a former PGA Tour player and standout at UNLV, has three senior players — Zack Wagner, Daniel Lopez and Regan Kilpatrick — and a graduate student in his final year of eligibility, Tyler Gulliksen, among the 12-man roster.

Connect with USD Athletics

For all USD Athletics news, scores and information, visit the website and follow the Toreros on social media platforms: FacebookTwitter and Instagram.