Bronco Comeback Falls Short in Final Seconds

Feb. 8, 2003

Box Score

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The Santa Clara University women's basketball team scored 10 three-pointers in a second-half comeback, but couldn't overcome a 17-point halftime deficit as it takes an 80-77 loss to San Diego this evening at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Broncos remain winless against the Toreros in five tries during regular season West Coast Conference action at the JCP.

Santa Clara, now 15-6 on the season and 6-2 in the league, has not defeated USD in its new arena, which opened for the 1998-99 season. Santa Clara has won twice at the Pavilion, but during WCC Tournament play, and is now 2-7 all-time at the JCP. San Diego improves to 10-11 overall, 4-4 in conference play.

Down 44-17 at the half, sophomore Kayla Huss hit her first of six threes for the period to start the Bronco offense. She finished with a career-high 24 points, 20 of which came after intermission. Fellow sophomore guard Quinn Thomas hit also six three-pointers in the game-both who tied for fourth best in school history for a single-game performance-and finished one short of her career-high with 24 points.

Santa Clara made 12 three-pointers in the contest, but San Diego ended the Broncos' streak of five wins when reaching double figures in three-point field goals made. Additionally, Santa Clara hit an amazing 63.3 percent from the field in the second half in its comeback attempt.

San Diego started the contest on fire offensively and took the Broncos out of their game. USD hit 58.1 percent of its shots while forcing Santa Clara into 10 first-half turnovers. Kerri Nakamoto, who was a game-time decision due to a shoulder injury last week, hit three three-pointers in the first half and had 11 at the half. Thomas matched that, with 11 points of her own, but the Broncos were held without a field goal in the final five minutes of the first half, while San Diego closed the period with a 9-0 run, including a lay-in at the buzzer, for the 44-27 halftime lead.

Senior Julie Butler contributed to reducing the deficit, hitting seven straight points to follow Huss' three at the onset of the second period. Three consecutive long-range shots from Thomas reduced USD's lead to 58-59, and two lay-ups by senior Tammy Annas reduced the edge to single digits, at 60-53 midway through the period.

Foul trouble hurt the Broncos, as San Diego made it first 10 attempts from the charity stripe in the second half. Another Huss three with just over seven minutes remaining reduced the deficit back to seven, and another long-range shot made it a 68-64 Torero lead at the seven minute mark. Santa Clara made more three-pointers than other field goals in the period and pulled to within three on a Butler lay-in for the final score.

Thomas blocked a shot with 18 seconds remaining to give SCU a chance to tie the contest, but the Broncos missed a last-second three that would have sent the game into overtime.

Sophomore Megan Nelson returned to the court after missing the last two contests due to tendonitis in her hip and saw eight minutes in the first half.

Nakamoto only scored two points in the second half and finished as one of four Toreros in doubles figures. Erin Malich led USD with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

Santa Clara remains on the road and will return to Southern California next weekend for games against Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine. Both contests can be heard on an Internet audio broadcast, while the game against the Waves will air life on television on Fox Sports.