Dec. 1, 2005
PORTLAND, Ore. - Despite the rain and cold outside of the Stotts Center in Portland, things heated up inside for 40 minutes Thursday night as the Santa Clara women's basketball team battled Portland State to the last second. After battling back from deficits of ten and nine points in the contest, the Broncos (1-4) came up just short as they dropped the 83-82 decision to the Vikings (5-1).
Michelle Cozad turned in her first double-double effort of the season as she netted 22 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Chandice Cronk scored 18 and dished out a team-high five assists while underneath, Ashley Gonnerman dropped 14 points and grabbed six boards.
"There's no reason that we couldn't have been as aggressive in the first half as we were in the second," head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson said about the team's physical play in the last 20 minutes. "We allowed them to dictate the pace in the first half and it put us on our heels so the second half we had to play catch-up."
Yet in the end, 29 Bronco turnovers and the performances of Portland State's Brianna Thompson (25 points and 10 rebounds) and Kasey Kahle (27 points and eight rebounds) proved to be too much for Santa Clara to overcome.
"Our decision-making was not good tonight," said Bento-Jackson. "We had a lot of uncharacteristic turnovers that really cost us and we kind of beat ourselves tonight."
Things got off to a quick start for the Broncos, as threes by Cozad and Cronk helped build an early 8-3 lead. Portland State worked their way into the contest and things stayed within four for most of the next 10 minutes before the Vikings heated up.
The Broncos led the contest 23-21 before Portland State started a run of their own as a 9-2 stretch gave them a 30-25 lead. The lead got to 10 at 43-33 with 2:35 left in the first half before Michelle Cozad halved the lead with a pair of free throws and a three on consecutive possessions. A Claire Goins lay-in at the buzzer kept that pace and the Broncos went into the locker room trailing 47-42.
The difference alternated from three to seven until there were about 13 minutes left in the game, when with the score 57-52 Cronk drove the lane and drew contact. The ensuing free throw completed the three-point play to put the Broncos within two. After a pair of missed free throws by the Vikings Cronk struck again off of a fast-break feed from Tracey Walker and the teams were knotted at 57 apiece.
The teams alternated leading the game for the next five minutes until Portland State extended their lead to 69-63 thanks in part to being in the bonus. Shooting woes hampered the Broncos as they tried to battle their way back into things, but a free throw for the Vikings increased their lead to nine at 75-66 with four minutes remaining.
Santa Clara fought back to 79-77 with 1:53 left as Cronk sank a pair of free throws but the deficit went back to five as Kasey Kahle converted a lay-up on the other end.
Solid defense kept the Vikings from scoring on the next two trips down, and a Cozad trey bounced in with 45 seconds left to make it an 81-80 game. Kahle scored on a fadeaway to put the Vikings up by three and a Kayla Huss three fell short and was put back by Monteith but it wasn't enough as Santa Clara fell by a point, 83-82.
The Broncos will return to the Bay Area this weekend as they welcome the UC Irvine Anteaters to the Leavey Center Sunday afternoon. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. Sunday and tickets are available by calling (408) 554-4660.