LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jill Barta scored 32 points and hit six free throws in the final 43 seconds, helping Gonzaga beat San Diego 79-71 on Tuesday to repeat as West Coast Conference tournament champions.
Gonzaga (27-5) shut San Diego down in the third quarter on its way to a 16-point lead, but had trouble breaking the Toreros' pressing and trapping defense in the closing minutes. San Diego (17-15) cut the lead to 73-66 with a 9-0 run, but ran out of time.
Barta, the WCC player of the year, made all 10 of her free-throw attempts and was 10 for 19 from the field.
Zykera Rice had 17 points and the Bulldogs shot 51 percent to earn their eighth WCC tournament title and fourth in six years.
San Diego shot 9 of 27 in the second half and went 1 for 5 from 3-point range overall to see its upset NCAA Tournament bid come to an end.
Maya Hood scored 23 points and Sydney Williams had 20 for the Toreros.
The Bulldogs are no strangers to playing for championships, reaching the WCC title game for the 13th time.
San Diego was the surprise finalist, knocking off No. 3 seed BYU in its opener and seventh-seeded Pacific in the semifinals.
Gonzaga swept both regular-season meetings, rolling 63-44 in San Diego, but needing a late 3-pointer from Laura Stockton to hold off the Toreros 58-54 in Spokane.
San Diego got off to a fast start in the third meeting, making 12 of 19 shots in the opening quarter to lead 25-20.
Gonzaga found a different gear in the second quarter. Closing in on the Toreros on defense and making 6 of their first 8 shots, the Bulldogs went on an 11-0 run to go up 37-31.
Gonzaga made 16 of 28 shots in the first half to lead 45-40.
The Bulldogs extended the lead to 61-50 in the third quarter by shutting the Toreros down. San Diego made 1 of 12 shots in the quarter and scored five points.
Gonzaga stretched the lead to 16 early in the fourth quarter before San Diego started giving the Bulldogs trouble with pressure defense. That's when Barta helped seal the victory.
San Diego's run to the title game gives it something to build upon heading into next season.
Gonzaga should improve its NCAA Tournament seeding by winning its second straight WCC title.