Jan. 24, 2003
MORAGA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University women's basketball team defeated Saint Mary's 82-72 this evening in West Coast Conference action at McKeon Pavilion in Moraga. The Broncos had six players reach double-figure scoring, led by sophomore Quinn Thomas' 19, as the team improves to 12-5 overall, 3-1 in league play. The Gaels fall to 7-10, 0-4.
Thomas added 10 rebounds for her first career double-double. She hit five three-pointers for the third time this season, and added three assists, two steals and two charges in the all-around performance. Junior Jennie Rondel scored 14 of her 16 points in the first half, while senior teammate Kendra Rhea scored 10 of her 12 points in the second period.
The teams exchanged baskets early on, with the Gaels taking a slight advantage. Santa Clara countered after the media timeout with a Thomas three to give the Broncos a 13-9 lead. SMC's Evynn Van Burger tied the game at 19 apiece with her long-distance shot from the left wing.
The Broncos took a 31-25 lead on a Rondel turn-around jumper. That play started with a Thomas steal and great passing on transition to find the open player. Rondel hit another basket, a free throw and a three-pointer to lead Santa Clara to a 10-point advantage, 37-27, with just over four minutes remaining until halftime.
The teams provided an exciting finish to the first period. A three by Gael Danielle Ferris cut the lead to five with two minutes remaining. Teammate Julie Morris hit a three, and then Ferris converted a three-point played to cut the lead. Rondel scored her 14th point of the half to aid the Broncos, but Morris hit another three to give the Gaels a two-point lead. A basket by Rhea made it a 41-41 tie at the half.
Both teams shot over 40 percent, with SCU taking the .432 to .429 edge. The Broncos forced Saint Mary's into 12 first-half turnovers.
Huss started the second period with a three to get the Bronco offense going. The contest remained close, with a Gael three reducing the deficit to two. Saint Mary's was getting the offensive boards-and chances at the charity stripe-but shot 4-10 from the free throw line to start the second half. Back-to-back three pointers from Thomas pushed Santa Clara to the 60-point plateau and an eight-point lead.
Santa Clara took a 10-point lead into the final 10 minutes of the contest, after Thomas hit a lay-up on the fast break. She nailed a three on the Broncos' next possession to make it a 69-56 lead. Her fifth three of the night, followed by a Rhea post move, gave the Broncos a 15-point lead with eight minutes left on the clock.
Saint Mary's slowly chipped away on an 11-2 run toward the final media time out. A Ferris drive made it a four-point Bronco lead with three minutes remaining. On two occasions, the Broncos missed the front end of a one-and-one, but the Gaels failed to capitalize. Thomas added two more points to her game-high totals to push the lead to 75-69 in the final minute. Huss hit two free throws, but Van Burger hit a baseline three to make it a five-point ball game with 35 seconds remaining.
The Broncos hit seven-of-eight free throws to close out the contest.
Van Burger finished the night with a team-high 15 points, as the Gaels had four players score at least 10 points. The Broncos held SMC's Triola Jackson to only one point in the second half and six points under her average, but she did manage to earn a league-high ninth double-double, with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Saint Mary's outrebounded the Broncos, including 15 offensive boards in the second half, but only hit 25 percent of their shots after the half, while the Broncos were on fire, hitting 51.7 percent of their second-half attempts.
The Broncos remain in the north part of the Bay and will take on San Francisco tomorrow night in continuing WCC action. The game against the Lady Dons is set for 7 p.m. at the War Memorial Gym.