SANTA CLARA, Calif. - It was only appropriate that on Senior Night, the Santa Clara women's basketball team was paced by seniors Michelle Cozad and Kayla Huss to a 67-53 victory over the San Francisco Dons Friday night at the Leavey Center.
The win extends Santa Clara's streak to nine games, the longest such run by a Broncos squad in 13 years. In 1992-93, the Santa Clara women won 11 games in a row.
With Loyola Marymount's loss to Pepperdine Thursday night putting the Broncos alone at the top of the West Coast Conference, Santa Clara needed to make a statement with a big win over the San Francisco Dons, especially with head-to-head matchups with both the Lions and Waves looming next week.
After being honored in a pregame ceremony along with four-year Team Manager Heidi Spurgeon, Cozad and Huss accounted for over half of SCU's total offense as Cozad scored 23 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds, while Huss ended up with 15 points and five assists of her own.
Huss and Cozad got things off to a rousing start for the Broncos, scoring 19 of the team's first 24 points in building a 24-11 lead 12 minutes in.
For the rest of the half the Broncos refused to allow the Dons to find a rhythm, forcing them into 11 turnovers and limiting them to only 33.3% shooting from the field.
Cozad's 12 points and nine rebounds in the first 20 minutes allowed the Broncos to head into the locker room at the break with a 34-22 advantage.
The Broncos maintained their double-digit lead throughout the second half as Cozad and Huss continued their inspired play on their night. Each time USF showed glimpses of gaining some momentum, there was a Bronco there to slam the door, as when Anna Martin drained a three from the top of the key to give SCU a 54-40 lead with 9:55 remaining.
From there the margin stayed around the mid-teens as Santa Clara continued to harass the San Francisco offense and cause general chaos.
The first-place Santa Clara Broncos will now travel to the greater Los Angeles area to close out the regular season and hopefully earn their first regular-season WCC title since 2000-01. Thursday night marks the much-anticipated showdown with second-place Loyola Marymount, with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. Following that game the Broncos will head to Malibu to close out the conference slate against the Waves in a 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon contest.