Dec. 28, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Despite receiving a legitimate scare in the second half, the Santa Clara women's basketball team persevered and found its touch late in the game in recording a 73-64 win over the visiting Toledo Rockets at the Leavey Center Thursday afternoon, ending a three-game skid.
The Broncos will return to action Saturday night, concluding the non-conference slate with a Rivalry Series battle at the Event Center against the San Jose State Spartans.
Chandice Cronk and Ashley Graham led the way for the Broncos Thursday, each player scoring 18 points. Graham's points all came from three-pointers, as she nailed six of her nine attempts, and Cronk's points came from four three-pointers (in five attempts) and a perfect 6-of-6 showing from the free-throw line.
"A win is a win, and the good thing about today is that we did finish the last four minutes of the game pretty strong," said head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. "We did get some strong rebounds and key stops on the defensive end, and now we need to finish our non-conference schedule strong at San Jose State and fix a few things to give ourselves confidence heading into WCC play."
By halftime, it appeared that Thursday's contest would be a rather easy day in the office for the Broncos, as they hit four threes and another jumper to open the game on a 14-0 run. Walker's three-pointer with 6:32 left in the half got the Bronco lead to 22 at 42-20, the team's largest lead of the day. SCU continued to fire away at the Rockets, shooting 63.6% (14-of-22) from the floor, including 76.9% (10-for-13) from behind the arc in the opening half en route to a 47-30 lead at the break.
Yet the game took a turn from the start of the second half, as Toledo opened things up with a 15-4 run to trim the Bronco lead to six at 51-45 with 11:05 left to play. Santa Clara found itself in foul trouble early, as the Rockets found themselves in the bonus with 13 minutes left.
Free throws helped the Rockets trim the lead further, but they squandered a pair of chances to tie the game at the line, coming to within one at 54-53, and again at 61-60 with 4:40 to play.
That was as close as Toledo would get, though, as a Cronk three and a layup from Jen Gottschalk fueled an eight-point run to give SCU a 69-60 lead with just over a minute to play. From there, the Rockets were forced to foul, and Cronk's four free throws in the final minute helped the Broncos seal the win.