March 16, 2006
CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Santa Clara women's basketball team's 2005-06 season came to an end Thursday night as cold shooting and turnovers played a major role in a 77-48 loss to the Oregon State Beavers in a preliminary round Women's NIT game at Gill Coliseum.
"Our girls fought hard and they fought to the very end," said head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson following the game. "At the beginning of the game Oregon State was pressuring and I thought we were back on our heels a bit and we didn't get things going offensively that we usually do."
Michelle Cozad paced the Broncos (19-12) in her final game wearing the red and white with 15 points while Ashley Gonnerman added six points and grabbed six rebounds. Kayla Huss added three points and a pair of assists in her farewell game as a Bronco as well.
Scoreless stretches doomed the Broncos Thursday night, as a six-minute drought in the first half combined with a scoreless stretch of about five minutes encompassing the end of the first half and the start of the second allowed Oregon State to build a commanding advantage and stretch the lead all the way to 29 at 56-27 on a Kim Butler jumper with 8:21 to play in the game.
Butler's double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds led the Beavers (16-14) Thursday night while guard Anita Rivera added 17 points for the home team. Oregon State will now advance to the next round where they will meet the Wyoming Cowgirls (20-8) in Laramie on Saturday night.
Santa Clara's 19.2% (5-for-26) shooting in the first half put the team into a deep hole early on as Oregon State heated up in the final 12 minutes of the half. The Beavers made 11 of their last 17 attempts to close out the first half and converted 10 SCU turnovers into nine points to head into the break with a 33-19 advantage.
Oregon State took advantage of Santa Clara's poor start from the floor and got off an 18-4 run to stake themselves to a 22-10 lead with seven minutes to play before the break. The Broncos were further hurt in that sequence as they went scoreless for nearly six minutes until Ashley Graham drained a three with about five and a half minutes left in the half.