January 4, 2009

Broncos Defeat Spartans 56-39

Jan. 3, 2009

Box Score

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Four players scored in double-figures Saturday night as the Santa Clara women's basketball team defeated San Jose State, 56-39, in their annual cross-country rivalry match. Sophomore Kathy Willinsky led the Broncos' charge with a career-high 14 points and seven rebounds.

With the win, the Broncos improved to 2-13 before heading into West Coast Conference action next week, while the Spartans dropped to 1-12 overall. Santa Clara outshot San Jose State 34.6 to 30.8 percent from the field; yet, SJSU out-rebounded SCU 37 to 30. The Broncos also went 11-6 in steals and forced the Spartans to turn the ball over 30 times.

Elizabeth Doran and Sara Majors added 12 points each, and Lena Gipson chipped in with 10 points.

"This win was very important to us," said Majors, a senior guard from Aumsville, Ore. "We need this momentum going into conference play. We did a very good job as a team defensively. Anytime you hold a team under 40 points is a good."

Gipson scored the first basket of the game and layup from Rhianna Faithfull put the Broncos up 4-0 at 16:11. Santa Clara would never relinquish the lead despite advancements made by San Jose State in the first half. At 11:20, Doran made two free throws to give SCU a 12-6 lead. But, SJSU fought back to make it a one-point game, 12-11, with 9:54 remaining. Yet, Santa Clara closed out the first half with a 14-4 run to make the score 26-15. The rally included the Broncos claiming a 13-point lead, 26-13, on a layup from Majors. Majors and Willinsky each posted six points during the run.

The Broncos held the lead for the second half. Early on, the Spartans closed the gap to eight points on three occasions but not catch up. With 8:22 to play, Faithfull made a solid jumper to give SCU a 15-point advantage, 40-25. The Broncos then claimed an 18-point lead, their largest of the game, on three occasions. The first came on a layup by Gipson that followed a series of four free throws made by Doran. Chasity Shavers interrupted the Broncos' 8-0 run with a layup but Willinsky got SCU back on track with her own layup at 2:16 to bring back the 18-point lead, 52-34. The final occasion was on free throws from Majors with 1:30 left to play.

For the Spartans, Shavers came in off the bench to lead the game with 15 points and eight rebounds.

Santa Clara begins West Coast Conference action on Thursday, Jan. 8 against long-time foe Saint Mary's. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Leavey Center. The Broncos then make a quick trip down to San Diego for a 2 p.m. battle against the Toreros on Saturday, Jan. 10.