Dec. 4, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The BYU women's basketball team overcame an 18-point first-half deficit to defeat Santa Clara 75-63 this evening in non-conference action at the Leavey Center. Junior guard Quinn Thomas came off the bench for 13 points, but the Broncos remain winless at home, marking the first time that SCU has lost three home games to start the season since 1977-78, when Santa Clara finished 4-20.
Freshman forward Ashley Gonnerman earned her first collegiate double-double, contributing 12 points and 11 rebounds as a reserve, as the Broncos fall to 2-3 on the season. The Cougars were paced by Julie Sullivan's 20 points, and also saw a double-double, from Danielle Cheesman (13 points, 10 rebounds), and improve their record to 4-2.
BYU took a 13-11 lead with a jumper from Ambrosia Anderson with 12:59 remaining in the half. The Cougars would then go 0-18 from the field for the next 12 minutes, as Santa Clara raced to an 18-point lead, 36-18, on a jumper by freshman Ashley Graham with 1:45 remaining in the period. Senior Whitney Sutak was once again a factor for the Broncos off the bench, entering the contest and immediately contributing with two jumpers, including a steal and a lay-in to tie the game at 13 midway through the half, and spark a 25-5 Bronco run.
The Cougars ended the drought with back-to-back three-point baskets from Nancy Seljaas on the left wing, both assists to Kali Taylor. Kestlee Dooley, who would foul out late in the game, added a fade-away jumper at the buzzer to reduce the Broncos' lead to 10 at intermission, 36-26.
The Cougars added to that 8-0 run in the second half, outscoring the Broncos 17-6 to take a 43-42 lead with 11:49 remaining. The teams played closely, but two free throws by Sullivan-she went 12-16 from the charity stripe-put BYU ahead for good, 48-47 at 9:33.
Santa Clara pulled within three, 58-61 with four minutes to go, on a three-pointer from Thomas, who missed the last two games due to a back injury. Cheesman responded with two baskets while Sullivan converted a three-point play to keep the Broncos at bay. BYU made six of their last seven free throws to seal the victory.
After shooting 46 percent in the first half, Santa Clara only managed 21.4 percent in the second with six field goals. Graham and Sutak also reached double figures in scoring, with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Gonnerman added four assists and was perfect from the free-throw line at 6-6 to add to her all-around performance.
Taylor added 13 points for BYU, while Anderson and Ashleigh Chamberlain pulled down 12 and 11 boards, respectively.
The Broncos will play their third game of this week on the road, traveling to Reno for a Sunday 2 p.m. contest against the Wolf Pack.