Jan. 16, 2002
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Four Broncos reached double figures but it wasn't enough, as the Santa Clara University women's basketball team fell 76-69 to San Diego in West Coast Conference action tonight at the Jenny Craig Pavilion in San Diego.
The Broncos only scored three baskets in the game's last five minutes and took their first loss in league play. The team moves to 12-4 on the season, 2-1 in league play. The Toreros improve to 11-5, 2-1. Santa Clara has now lost four straight to USD in San Diego during regular-season play.
Additionally, the 79 points SCU allowed to the Toreros marked the most in two seasons. The Broncos last allowed that many when LMU notched 83 in an overtime SCU victory on Jan. 28, 2000, a span of 25 games.
The teams traded leads in the first half, but the Broncos struggled to hold on to rebounds and get their offense going. USD's Janeene Arendsen hit three straight three-pointer as USD built up a 10-point lead with two minutes remaining in the first half. Santa Clara countered with two threes of its own by senior guard Caroline Gruening and the team pulled within six at halftime, 45-39. Gruening added six assists in the period.
The Broncos came out in the second half more controlled and shrunk the deficit to five after two free throw by senior guard Becki Ashbaugh, but it could pull no closer. Ashbaugh and junior forwards Julie Butler and Tammy Annas each finished with 13 points, while Gruening added 12. Annas and Butler also led the team defensively with 10 and nine rebounds, respectively.
USD guard Kerri Nakamoto led San Diego with 22 points. She was a perfect 6-6 from the field, four of those baskets were from three-point range.
Santa Clara concludes the home-and-home series with San Diego Saturday night at the Leavey Center. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. The basketball program will honor its alumni during a special halftime ceremony.