Dec. 15, 2002
Santa Clara University women's basketball defeated Oregon 88-79 this evening at McArthur Court, on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene. The Broncos overcame a slow start and a 12-point first-half deficit to improve to 4-3 on the season. Oregon falls to 3-4. The contest marked the first win against the Ducks in 17 years, and only the second overall, dating back to a 72-60 victory on Feb. 2, 1985.
Guards Quinn Thomas and Whitney Sutak, as well as forward Kim Butler, posted career highs to lead the Broncos. Thomas hit seven of eight free throws in the final minute of play to seal the victory, while also making five of six three pointers, and finished with 24 points, two more than a previous best. Sutak hit three from long range, and 8-13 from the field, en route to 20 points. Butler came off the bench and scored 15 points, and also tied a career high in rebounds, with seven.
Oregon opened with 10 straight points on three three-pointers from three different Ducks. Santa Clara did not get on the board until four minutes into the game, when senior Kendra Rhea converted a lay-up on a back-door pass from Sutak. After a media time out, both teams were erratic, creating chances but not finishing the opportunities, and both teams went scoreless for the next three minutes. Catherine Kraayeveld ended the drought for UO with her third three pointer of the contest. Thomas countered with her own three two plays later, but Kraayeveld hit another long-distance shot to give Oregon a 21-9 lead.
Santa Clara countered with its own run, outscoring the Ducks 16-8 to pull within four, 29-25, with 4:50 remaining in the period. The run was highlighted by back-to-back threes by Thomas and Sutak, followed by a lead pass into the paint to Sutak, who, in mid air, pushed the ball out the arc, where a waiting Thomas buried her third three of the period.
A baseline jumper by Sutak put the Broncos within two at the 2:40 mark and the Broncos had two chances to take the lead in the final minute, but a turnover and a miss kept the score at 38-36, favoring the Ducks. Oregon found Kraayeveld open at the top of the arc and her sixth three-point score of the half put the home squad ahead 41-36 as the teams headed to the lockerroom.
Kraayeveld had 24 points in the first half, hitting six of seven opportunities from three-point range. After starting the game 1-9 from the field, Santa Clara cam back and finished 14-31, a .452 clip. The teams combined for 16 made three-point shots in the first-half shoot-out. After posting seven turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the contest, Santa Clara only committed two more the rest of the half.
"We knew coming in it was going to be tough to play at the Mac," Santa Clara head coach Michelle Bento said. "We started rattled, but we knew we would get the anxiety out. People stepped up and did a phenominal job to get the win."
The tempo picked up the second half as both teams took advantage of fast-break opportunities. Thomas and sophomore guard Kayla Huss hit back-to-back threes to give Santa Clara its first lead of the game, 44-43 with 17:45 remaining. Thomas made it a five-point lead with another three, as the Broncos opened the second half making six of eight three-point tries.
Santa Clara held the lead most of the second half and extended it to nine points after Sutak converted a three-point play. Earlier, she hit a long three as the 30-second shot clock was set to expire.
The Broncos took a five-point lead into the two-minute mark, and slowed the game down, forcing Oregon to foul. Rhea converted her one-and-one opportunity from the charity stripe and pushed the lead to seven with under a minute remaining. Annas converted a lay-up, but Davis hit a three to lessen the lead to four, at 81-77 with 43 seconds remaining. Thomas converted her two free throws, but Duck Kourtney Schreve scored on a putback, keeping the lead at four with 28 seconds remaining. Thomas hit three more free throws to ensure the victory.
"We knew we had to keep answering; they just kept scoring," Sutak said. "We had every confidence in ourselves that we could hit our shots too."
Bento altered her lineup for the first time this season, giving Huss her first start of the season at point.
Kraayeveld was held to nine second-half points and finished with 33. Alissa Edwards was the only other Duck in double figures, finishing with 10.
Rhea led the Broncos defensively, posting 11 rebounds. The Broncos went 12-21 (57.1 percent) from the three-point line in the game and 16-17 from the charity stripe.
The Broncos return to the mission campus for three home games at the Leavey Center. Santa Clara will host Loyola Chicago on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m., and follow with a contest against Pacific on Saturday, the 21st. The game will be the last for the team before the holiday break and is slated for 2 p.m. Santa Clara returns to the courts on Saturday, Dec. 28, hosting Arkansas State at 2 p.m.