March 6, 2008
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Senior Jen Gottschalk registered a career-high 31 points to lead the Santa Clara women's basketball team to an 89-84 victory over the University of San Francisco Thursday afternoon in the first round of the 2008 West Coast Conference Championship. With the win, the Broncos advance to the semifinals which will be played on Saturday, March 8 at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.
Santa Clara (20-10) rallied from behind in the final two minutes of the contest to take the lead and win the contest. Gottschalk nearly had her 12th double-double of the season as she pulled down a game-high eight rebounds. Junior Elizabeth Doran posted 17 points for the Broncos, while redshirt junior Sara Majors added 13 points. Senior Tracey Walker chipped in with 12 points and six rebounds. Walker was also 8-for-8 from the foul line.
"Resilient is the first word that comes to my mind," said head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. "This entire year people have doubted this basketball team and every challenge that has been put in front of us, this team has responded to and this afternoon was no different. I just told them today was about heart, I couldn't be more proud of them right now."
USF climbed to an 11 point lead early in the first half beginning with a three-pointer by Nykia Peace and ending on a jumper by Dominique Carter. The Dons led 16-5. However, Santa Clara's Doran halted the run with her second trey of the game, 16-8. Yet, USF held the lead. With a straight seven-point effort from Gottschalk, the Broncos came within three points, 26-23, with 6:05 to play.
A three-pointer by Walker made it a two-point game, 28-26, yet Santa Clara could not tie the score. Free shots made by Doran after a technical foul was issued to USF's Lisa Olden for unsportsmanlike conduct, made it a two-point game once again, 30-28, with 5:13 remaining in the half. The Dons jumped to a nine-point lead, 41-32, with :28 to play, but the Broncos had the final say with a three-point shot by Doran to end the half, 41-35.
The Broncos came out firing in the second half with four quick points from Majors and Walker to make the score 41-39. The two teams then traded baskets allowing the Dons to remain on top. A 7-0 rally from the Broncos on points from Maggie Goldenberger, Walker and a trey from Gottschalk knotted the game, 53-53, with 13:53 remaining. It was the first tie of the game. Santa Clara then tied the score again on a layup by Gottschalk. However, USF took a five-point lead, 61-56, on a jumper by Shay Rollins.
USF continued to push ahead on points from Carter and claimed an 11-point edge, 73-62, on a jumper from Olden with 8:02 left. Santa Clara fought back to bring the score within five points on baskets from Gottschalk, Majors and Doran. Two made free throws by Gottschalk made the score, 75-50, with 5:56 remaining. The Broncos continued their fight and made it a three-point game on free shots by Majors, 77-74. With 2:48, another set of free shots made by Gottschalk brought the Broncos within one-point, 77-76. Gottschalk then found a wide opened Goldenberger under the basket, who successfully made her layup to give Santa Clara their first lead of the contest, 80-79.
Santa Clara then made seven of eight free throws to claim an 89-84 victory over San Francisco.
The Broncos return to action on Saturday, March 8 in the semifinals of the 2008 WCC Tournament. The four advancing teams from day one will be reseeded for round two. Fans should check www.SantaClaraBroncos.com for remaining game times and opponents.