March 4, 2004

Women's Basketball Advances at WCC Tourney

March 4, 2004

Box Score| Photo Gallery

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University women's basketball team set a West Coast Conference Championship mark for field goal accuracy, shooting 61.4 percent in a 71-66 victory over San Francisco this afternoon at the Leavey Center. Senior Jennie Rondel led the Broncos with a career-high 22 points as the home squad advances past the first round and improves to 9-19 on the season. Joy Hollingsworth scored 26 points to lead the Lady Dons, who finish their season 10-18.

Santa Clara bested its own record in field goal percentage, topping the .596 mark the program set against Portland in a 1993 semifinal. The Broncos were 17-23 from the field in the first half today, good for a 73.9 percentage.

Santa Clara advances and will play Pepperdine, the tournament's third seed, tomorrow at approximately 2 p.m. San Diego opened the Championship with an 87-81 double-overtime victory and will play fourth-seeded Portland tomorrow at noon.

The Broncos took the early lead and held a five-point advantage for most of the first half. A baseline jumper from Rondel at 6:24 pushed SCU's lead into double digits, 26-26, and the team settled for a seven-point edge at halftime, 36-29. Redshirt freshman Tori Markey scored 10 of her 12 points in the first half, and finished one rebound shy of a double-double.

San Francisco held tough, and a Hollingsworth drive and three-pointer brought the Lady Dons within two, 43-41 at the 14:25 mark, forcing SCU head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson to call a time out. Her team responded, and a three-point play and a jumper from senior Whitney Sutak, followed by a trey from Quinn Thomas, re-established the Broncos lead at 10 points. That three marked Thomas' 157th of her career, tying the program mark, set by Julie Lienert, from 1988-91.

USF's Angela Gibson scored on a jumper that brought the visitors with four just inside the five-minute mark, but baskets by both Bronco seniors gave SCU a seven-point lead heading into the final minute. Hollingsworth made it exciting for the crowd as she hit two threes 10 seconds apart, to make it a 67-64 game with 19 seconds remaining. However, Thomas and Sutak made both of their shots from the charity strip to secure the Bronco victory. Sutak finished with 15 points.

Gibson finished with 13 for San Francisco, while Hollingsworth added a team-high seven rebounds.