Nov. 1, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Bronco fans got their first full look at the 2006-07 Santa Clara women's basketball team in Wednesday night's exhibition against Sonoma State. Playing with a variety of different rotations and getting good long looks at some of the younger players, the Broncos came out with the 63-59 victory over the Seawolves as veteran Tracey Walker took charge with 20 points and seven assists.
The Broncos will return to the Leavey Center on Monday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. for their final exhibition of the preseason, hosting San Francisco State. SCU then begins the 2006-07 regular season on Sunday, Nov. 12 against the Long Beach State 49ers in a 2 p.m. game in Long Beach.
Along with Walker's strong performance, which included her going 4-for-4 from beyond the arc, Chandice Cronk scored 15 points while Jen Gottschalk, in her first game back with SCU in two years, added 15 points of her own to go along with eight rebounds in a fine performance in the paint. Freshman forward Maggie Goldenberger added four points and four rebounds inside while seeing 19 minutes of action.
Walker, Cronk, and Gottschalk's performances came in handy, as the Broncos used a second-half surge to overcome a slow start and a 37-29 halftime deficit.
"The team's performance on the offensive end was fine, but our focus is on the defensive end right now, because we don't know how well we're going to shoot the ball night in and night out," said Santa Clara head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson.
After taking a nine-point lead at 19-10 just over seven minutes in, the Broncos went cold, being outscored 27-10 the rest of the half to go into the locker room down eight at the break.
But in the second half, SCU steadily began to shake off the cobwebs and rust, as consecutive threes from Gottschalk and Ashley Gonnerman paced a 14-4 run in the opening six-and-a-half minutes of the second half to knot things up at 41-41. Nearly a minute later, the Broncos took their first lead since the 9:48 mark in the opening half as Cronk drained one of her three treys on the night.
With the score 46-46 moments later, Gottschalk and Goldenberger hit back-to-back jumpers to give SCU some room to operate at 50-46. Goldenberger was one of three underclassmen to see some time in the game, as Claire Goins and Elizabeth Doran also saw action and made a positive impact for the Broncos.
"One thing that Maggie brings is a lot of energy and I thought that she, along with Claire Goins and Elizabeth Doran, came in tonight and were focused on executing what they needed to," Bento-Jackson said of the performance of the underclassmen players.
But the Seawolves bounced back on a three-pointer by Genny Anderson to grab a 54-51 lead, and SCU didn't regain the lead until the 2:59 mark, as Walker took charge with a three of her own, and followed it up the next time down with another to give SCU the 59-55 advantage. Although SSU managed to tie things at 59-apiece with 1:42 to play, Gonnerman's jumper put the Broncos ahead to stay moments later, and a pair of free throws from Cronk iced the contest with three seconds remaining.