Feb. 10, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Hot hands from the floor and big efforts on the boards combined to work against the Santa Clara women's basketball team Saturday night, as the Gonzaga Bulldogs came away with the 79-68 decision at the Leavey Center. The Bulldogs shot 54.5% from the floor in the contest while outrebounding the Broncos 43-28.
The Broncos will hit the road next week, traveling to San Diego for a 7 p.m. contest next Thursday, Feb. 15, before ending the weekend with a Sunday night contest at 7 p.m. against San Francisco.
Tracey Walker scored a career-high 20 points and came away with six steals Saturday night, while Chandice Cronk led all Broncos with 21 points. Jen Gottschalk scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds to round out SCU players in double-figures.
Yet Gonzaga, led by the performances of post players Heather Bowman (28 points, 15 rebounds) and Stephanie Hawk (22 points, nine rebounds), dominated the paint, preventing second-chance opportunities for the Broncos.
It was a close contest throughout most of the first half, as the Broncos led 19-16 at the halfway point of the opening 20 minutes. Gonzaga took the lead soon after, and held a slim 29-28 advantage with 3:57 left before halftime before making a 12-5 run, paced by six points from Bowman, to close the half and take a 41-33 lead.
"I thought that for the most part our girls played really hard tonight, they gave great effort," said head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. "But we just had a spurt there in the second half where we just weren't making the best decisions in terms of our shot selection, and we started panicking a little bit because we weren't scoring."
Five points to open the second half followed by a three-point play from Walker helped Santa Clara close to four at 45-41 in the first minute and a half of the second half, but again, the Bulldogs rallied, as six more points from Bowman and a jumper from Hawk upped the GU lead to 10 at 53-43.
Gonzaga got ahead by as many as 20 points at 72-52 with 2:59 to play, and continued to keep the Broncos at an arm's length the entire way. A pair of free throws by Cronk and a layup from Walker cut the lead to 10, but Gonzaga converted its free throws late to put things on ice and claim the win.