March 6, 2010
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Santa Clara's improbable run at the WCC Tournament continues. The Broncos stormed back from a nine-point second-half deficit to trounce Portland 74-61 and advance to Sunday's semifinal round.
Santa Clara's defense held Portland without a basket for nine minutes during a lopsided second half in which the eighth-seeded Broncos outscored the tournament's fourth-seed 43-25.
"Our second half was one of the best halves we've played all year long," said Jennifer Mountain, who improves to 3-1 in WCC tournament games as SCU's head coach. "It's been the defense, our intensity and believing that we can win games that has got us going here the past two days."
Santa Clara (5-26) upset fifth-seeded San Diego in the tournament's opening game Friday, 68-67, on a buzzer-beating basket by senior Maggie Goldenberger. SCU moves on to face top-seeded and nationally ranked Gonzaga Sunday at 11:30 a.m.
Lena Gipson poured-in 23 points for SCU and had 15 rebounds - just three shy of the all-time tournament record.
"Well its tournament time," said Gipson when asked about the team's surprising upset victories in Las Vegas. "We really have something to prove and the energy our awesome freshmen class brought was contagious."
The Broncos four blocks was a season-high, they out-rebounded the Pilots 48-33 and made 12 of 15 free throws.
# Santa Clara's last trip to the WCC Tournament semifinals was in 2005-06, beating USF 75-65 in OT, then losing in the championship game to Pepperdine 71-67
# SCU beat Gonzaga 77-66 in the 2005 WCC Championship game, the last time the two schools have played in the tournament
# SCU is 3-0 all-time vs. GU in the WCC Tournament, winning in 2005, 2003 and 1999
# Gonzaga is the tournament's top seed for the fourth-straight year
# Jennifer Mountain was GU's top assistant when SCU upset the Zags in the 2005 championship game
# During Mountain's seven seasons as an assistant at GU from 2001-08, the Zags won four WCC regular-season titles and one WCC Tournament title
# In the 18-year history of the WCC Tournament, Santa Clara has won at least one game 13 times
# Lena Gipson's 23 points and 10 field goals Saturday against Portland were career-high's
# Gipson is averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds and shooting 58.1 percent from the field in the tournament's two games
# Gipson's 15 rebounds Saturday was three shy of the WCC Tournament record
# Gipson needs just 10 rebounds equal the all-time tournament rebounding record of 35 set by San Diego's Amber Sprague in 2009
# Gipson's 315 rebounds this season is third-best all-time in SCU's 45 years of sponsoring women's basketball
# Santa Clara's win over Portland Saturday was by far its best statistical game of the year - five players scored in double-figures for the first time in 2009-10
# Alyssa Shoji's 83 3-pointers this season ranks 5th all-time in WCC history
# Shoji has reached double-figures in scoring in 27 of 31 games this season
# Freshman G Telisha Anderson is averaging 10 points per game in the tournament - up from her regular season average of 3.2
# Anderson set career-highs in points (13), rebounds (8) and free throws (7-for-8) Saturday
# Senior Maggie Goldenberger - who made Friday's game-winner - is scoring 11 ppg in the tournament's two games
# Ashley Armstrong is 8-for-11 (.727) from the field in the tournament and she is also averaging double-figures (10.5)
# SCU's dramatic 68-67 victory over San Diego Friday snapped a 9-game losing streak