Nov. 25, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's basketball team closed out its busy three-game week on a high note Saturday afternoon, as the team used a little bit of everything on the way to an 80-72 win over the Washington State Cougars. Five players scored in double-figures as the Broncos overcame a late deficit to capture their fourth win of the season.
The Broncos (4-2) will be on the road next week, traveling up the road to Stanford to battle the 11th-ranked Cardinal at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29, followed by a trip to Southern California as they take on the CS Northridge Matadors in a 2 p.m. contest Saturday, Dec. 2.
Chandice Cronk led the five Broncos scoring in double figures with 21 points, and grabbed six rebounds as well. Jen Gottschalk continued her solid week, scoring 16 points to go with a team-leading 12 rebounds and a career-high five assists and four steals. Guards Ashley Graham and Tracey Walker each scored 11 points, while Kasey Monteith added 10 behind a career-best 8-of-8 shooting from the free-throw line.
"Having that kind of scoring depth is huge for us," said head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. "One of our goals throughout this season has been to get balance in our scoring attack, and when we have that, we can be very dangerous and difficult to defend."
Santa Clara made 11 three-pointers and outrebounded the Cougars 34-33, with the strong post play opening up looks for the Bronco back court.
"Our posts have stepped up tremendously," said Cronk. "Some teams may deny the guards open looks, and when our posts start scoring, defenders are going to have to collapse and it gives us open looks on the outside."
"[Rebounding is] something we've really been working on, because we know that when we rebound well, we're going to win games," added Gottschalk. "Its our job to get in there and box out, so we knew what we had to do today."
Marisa Stotler led the Cougars (2-3) with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Kate Benz added 13 points and Ebonee Coates posted 11 with eight rebounds.
The Broncos started the game off hot as they grabbed a 14-5 lead in the opening five minutes of the contest behind eight points from Cronk. But SCU cooled off, going scoreless for the next six minutes as the Cougars went on an 11-0 run to take a 16-14 lead.
A Walker three put the Broncos in front 19-18 with eight minutes to play in the first half, and things stayed close until consecutive SCU threes from Graham and Anna Martin gave the Broncos a 10-point lead at 34-24 with 3:07 left. A Cronk three, one of her five and the team's 11 on the day, put SCU up 39-28 with a minute to go, before WSU scored the final three points of the half to make it 39-32 Broncos at the break.
Santa Clara continued to hold Washington State off for the first few minutes of the second half, but the Cougars started chipping away at the deficit and building momentum at the 15:16 mark. A three from Amanda DuRocher followed by a jumper from Coates started a 10-0 run that found the Broncos on the wrong end of a 55-50 score.
The Cougar lead got up to six at 65-59 with 8:47 to play in the game before the Broncos started doing some whittling of their own. After SCU ratcheted up the pressure and forced WSU over the foul limit, Monteith's jumper and a pair of free throws helped trim the deficit to two, and a pair of free throws from Gottschalk gave the lead back to SCU at 68-67 with 5:39 left.
Graham's three-pointer gave the Broncos some breathing room at 74-70 with 3:58 to go, and a Martin jumper made it 76-70 a minute and a half later. Helped by Washington State's 8-of-16 mark from the free-throw line in the second half, the Broncos continued to apply pressure as they continued sinking free throws as time winded down. With a minute to play, Gottschalk sank a pair of free throws to give SCU a 78-71 lead, followed by Cronk draining a pair of her own to provide the final points.