November 7, 2009

Santa Clara Looks Sharp in Season-Opener

Nov. 7, 2009

Final Stats |  Action Photos 

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara held Sonoma State to 31 percent shooting and won its season-opener in dominating fashion, 73-43, Saturday at the Leavey Center.

Lena Gipson, Alyssa Shoji and Maggie Goldenberger each finished with 12 points to pace a balanced Broncos offense.

Gipson - an All-West Coast Conference forward - scored her first points late in the first half during a 12-3 Santa Clara run which put the Broncos up 35-17 at halftime.

"We have to get better defensively and you can see that it's starting to click a little bit," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "The last three days of practice we have been focusing on our defense and our urgency and intensity level on the defensive end today contributed to our success on the offensive end."

Sonoma State was limited to 16 points in the paint and made only 18 of 58 shots. Larkin Olivia - who finished with team-high 13 points- connected on a three-pointer at the 10:34 mark, allowing the Seawolves to hang-around in the early stages, 18-14.

Freshman guard Ashley Armstrong hit a 3 with 9:08 left in the half, extending the lead back to nine, 23-14, and SCU would never look back. Armstrong was one of six Santa Clara freshmen who made their collegiate debuts.

"I really thought our newcomers played well today," said Mountain. "We didn't get the ball into Lena the way we needed to in the beginning of the game and I thought people stepped up, especially our guards."

Armstrong, Telisha Anderson and Meagan Fulps - all true freshmen - each played significant minutes. Fulps, Colorado's 5A `Player of the Year,' started alongside Shoji and Rhianna Faithfull in the Broncos' backcourt.

Shoji's fast-break layup with 13:24 left put Santa Clara up by 24 and another moments later would put the Broncos up by 30.

"We have so much more depth than last year," added Mountain. "We are definitely more athletic, with a number of people that can make plays and make things happen for us."

The Broncos bring a 1-0 record into next Saturday's meeting with the University of Iowa at the Hawkeye Challenge.