November 25, 2003

Women's Basketball Edges Pacific by One

Nov. 25, 2003

Box Score

STOCKTON, Calif. - The Santa Clara University women's basketball team overcame an eight-point deficit with four minutes remaining to top Pacific 60-59 tonight at the Spanos Center. Stockton native Michelle Cozad netted 18 second-half points to lead the Broncos with 27 on the night.

The Broncos improve to 1-1 on the season, while the Tigers remain winless at 0-2. The Broncos avoided their first 0-2 start since the 1997-98 season, when the Broncos were also defeated by Pacific 70-57.

Back-to-back threes from Cozad on the left wing made it a 54-46 game with four minutes remaining. The Broncos pulled within five with a Cozad steal and three-point play. At 2:10, she made a three from the right wing to pull the Broncos' within one. Gillian d'Hondt responded for Pacific, with a lay-up, but senior Whitney Sutak nailed two free throws to keep the Broncos close. A defensive stop followed by a post basket from senior Jennie Rondel gave the Broncos a 58-57 lead with 1:13 remaining. d'Hondt made another basket, this time with 35 seconds remaining. Rondel came through again in the clutch with 22 seconds left on the clock. Pacific missed its final attempt to secure the Broncos' first victory of the season.

"I just felt it was time to step up, and my teammates did as well; everybody contributed to this win," Cozad said after the game. "I was looking forward to this game for so long; it was in my hometown, in front of my family and friends. I really wanted this win."

Bronco freshman Ashley Gonnerman came off the bench and contributed eight points and eight rebounds. Corrine Wong led Pacific with 11 points, making nine from the charity stripe. She added eight rebounds and eight assists.

The game got off to a slow start offensively, as both teams combined to miss their first 12 shots. It was four minutes into the contest before a basket was scored, with SCU striking first. Cozad scored a basket to add to two earlier free throws and put the Broncos ahead 4-0. Pacific then scored eight straight to take the lead. Later in the half, a three-point play by Cozad kept the Tigers' lead at one. Gonnerman came off the bench and made three straight baskets to keep the Broncos close.

Heading into the final five minutes of the half, Pacific held an 18-16 advantage. Sutak came in late in the half and sparked the Broncos, netting a baseline jumper to tie the game at 20, and then lobbing to Rondel for the easy two and then scoring from 15 feet to push Santa Clara's lead to four, 26-22 inside two minutes. The only three-pointer of the half was scored by Pacific's Nancy Dinges in response and another Tiger basket sent the teams to the locker room with the home squad holding a slim 27-26 edge.

Despite the Broncos shooting 42.3 percent from the field, the first half was marred by turnovers, as Santa Clara committed 14 to the Tigers' 13. Player control was also a factor, as the teams shared nine first-half offensive fouls.

The teams traded leads seven times through the first half of the second period. Freshman Ashley Graham's first collegiate three-pointer with 11:37 remaining gave Santa Clara a 39-37 lead. Three straight Tiger baskets changed the flow of the contest and Pacific increased it's advantage to 52-43 with 4:51 left to play. Cozad scored nine points during the team's 17-7 run to close out the victory.

The Broncos return home for a Friday, November 28 contest vs. 10th-ranked Georgia. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at the Leavey Center.