Feb. 16, 2002
Junior forward Courtney Cushing led the Broncos with a career-high 17 points, but it wasn't enough as Santa Clara dropped an 84-76 decision to Saint Mary's in West Coast Conference women's basketball action this afternoon at McKeon Pavilion in Moraga. Combined with last night's loss at San Francisco, the Broncos have lost two straight for the first time this season and fall to 17-8 overall, 7-5 in league play. Saint Mary's improves to 14-10, 8-4.
The game also saw SCU senior guard Becki Ashbaugh tie the school's career assist record with her ninth and final dish on the night, tying Jennifer Lucas' (1986-89) 591 mark. Ashbaugh's record-tying assist went to junior forward Tammy Annas for a three-pointer with 47 seconds remaining.
"I wish it would have come in a game we would have won," Ashbaugh said. "Right now I'm just worried about our team defensively. Once again we scored more than 70 points and didn't win."
Saint Mary's Katie Davis hit all five three-point attempts en route to a career-high 25 points to lead the Gaels. Four of those points came on free throws in the final minutes to seal the win. Seniors Jerkisha and Jermisha Dosty scored 20 and 13 points, respectively, playing in their final regular season home contest. Jermisha Dosty posted a game-high 16 rebounds.
Cushing led four Broncos that finished scoring in double figures. Annas added 15 points while senior guard Caroline Gruening and junior forward Kendra Rhea had 10 points each. Cushing and Annas led the Broncos on the boards with eight rebounds each.
The game was a sea-saw affair for most of the first half. With Santa Clara leading 29-25 at the 7:14 mark, Saint Mary's used an 18-4 run to open a 42-33 lead with 1:09 until halftime. Baskets by Gruening and Ashbaugh cut the Gael lead to 42-37 at the break.
Saint Mary's never lost its lead in the second half, which hovered around the seven points until the 13:33 mark, when SCU cut the lead to 55-50. The Gaels would extend the lead to 10 points, its biggest lead of the game, with 6:53 remaining. However, the Broncos would not go away, as they cut the lead to 77-73 with 43 seconds remaining. The Gaels made 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch to ice the game.
"We played last night and I think our legs went out on us defensively this afternoon," head coach Chris Denker said. "We shot 35 percent from the floor and we're a much better shooting team than that. If you watch the film you would see we had a lot of good opportunities to make baskets. We calculated that we had missed six lay-ups or putbacks in the first half alone. In the second half we followed up with much the same. You just can't beat good teams by missing easy shots and giving up 84 points."
Santa Clara returns home for the final two league contests of the season, hosting Loyola Marymount on Thursday and Pepperdine on Saturday. The contest against the Lions is also "Take a Kid to the Game Night", where youth will be admitted for $2 with an adult. On Saturday, the athletic department will honor the team's two seniors, Gruening and Ashbaugh, while also celebrating Fan Appreciation Day. Game times are 7 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.
"We're not looking ahead to the tournament because we still have two games to play," Ashbaugh said. "For me, they're my last two home games. We're undefeated at home so far this season and we do have a sense of home-court pride, but we need these games to build momentum for the WCC Championship. It's impossible to just decide to play for the tournament, it's got to be something we're working on every day."