March 7, 2003
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The Santa Clara University women's basketball team opened the 2003 West Coast Conference Championship with a 68-54 victory in the second round over Loyola Marymount. Quinn Thomas hit five three-point field goals to lead the third-seeded Broncos with 17 points.
The Broncos have now won eight straight against the Lions and 17 of the last 18. Santa Clara improves to 18-9 and will play Gonzaga, the Tournament's second seed, Saturday at noon. The Bulldogs received byes in the first two rounds under the new Championship format. The Broncos split with the Zags during regular-season play.
Thomas' first three of the game gave her 69 for the season, moving her into third place on SCU's all-time single season record for three-point field goals made. She finished with 73 on the year and is just two short from tying Caroline Gruening's mark, set last season. Julie Lienert set the standard during the 1990-91 season with 89 baskets from behind the arc.
"We came here to take care of business and we did a good job of setting the tone with our defensive intensity," SCU head coach Michelle Bento said.
Rachael Ziemann came off the bench for LMU and led the Lions with 15 points.
Santa Clara started on fire on both ends of the court, forcing LMU into six turnovers in the first four minutes of the game, while hitting their first five shots from the field. Thomas his back-to-back threes to give the Broncos a 16-8 lead.
Reserve Jennie Rondel hit a lay-in to push the lead to double digits midway through the period. Two consecutive three-pointers by Ziemann reduced the lead to six, but the Lions could not pull any closer. A three by Huss with one minute left in the half pushed the lead back up to 12 before the Broncos settled for a 38-26 halftime advantage.
Santa Clara extended its lead with a 10-0 run midway through the second period, pushing the advantage to 22 points. LMU responded with a 7-0 run, but it was still a 63-48 Bronco advantage with four minutes remaining.