January 30, 2010

Santa Clara Nearly Upsets UP at the Chiles Center

Jan. 30, 2010

Final Stats | Action Photos

PORTLAND, Ore. - Santa Clara University led in the second half but a 12-2 surge by the University of Portland allowed the Pilots a 73-65 West Coast Conference victory Saturday at the Chiles Center.

Lena Gipson scored 19 points for Santa Clara (3-19; 1-6 WCC), including a pair of free throws, which had put the Broncos up, 50-48, with 13:50 left.

Portland (15-7; 4-3 WCC) - a WNIT qualifier last season - responded with the decisive run in front of their home fans. Alexis Gannis - who made 8 of 9 shots - finished with 16 points. Tara Cronin led four Portland players in double figures, scoring 17.

A layup by Gannis gave the Pilots its then-largest lead of nine, 64-55, at the 7-minute mark.

Trailing by 10 with 4:35 remaining, Santa Clara rallied to close the gap to five, 66-61, on one of Alyssa Shoji's three triples. Meagan Fulps again pulled SCU within five in the final minute but the Pilots were able to hold on for the win.

Fulps and Kathy Willinsky each connected on a pair of first-half 3s. Willinsky's came on consecutive possessions and a break-away layup by Ashley Armstrong put the Broncos up 21-17 at the half's midway point.

Portland shot 48.3 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes. Gannis, Cronin and Jessica Clemens combined to make 10 of 13 shots prior to the intermission and the Pilots would lead 39-35 at halftime.

The Pilots' halftime lead would have been nine if it wasn't for a four-point play by Armstrong, who banked-in a 28-foot shot at the buzzer. She was fouled on the play - which was a desperation attempt for the Broncos who had to go the length of the floor with 3.2 seconds on the clock.

Gipson scored six quick points for SCU in the opening moments of the second half to tie the game, 41-41. Two baseline jumpers by Maggie Goldenberger kept the score tied before Gipson had given SCU a brief advantage.