December 19, 2010

Santa Clara Wins Again, Tops Seattle 63-60

Post Game Interview with Alyssa Shoji

SANTA CLARA, Calif. –
Alyssa Shoji made two free throws with 12.4 seconds left to give Santa Clara the lead and a 63-60 victory over Seattle on Sunday. Meagan Fulps scored a season-high 21 points and Shoji finished with 14 for the Broncos, winners of two straight.

In a close game throughout, Santa Clara built up a seven-point lead, 60-53, with less than four minutes to play, however three consecutive turnovers allowed Seattle to comeback and tie the game on an inside bucket by Elle Kerfoot.

Knotted up at 60 with one minute left, a steal by Fulps gave Santa Clara a chance to take the lead in the closing seconds. Shoji was fouled going to the basket and calmly sank two free throws to put SCU up by two.

Seattle's Daidra Brown drove the length of the floor but her last-second lay up attempt bounced off the rim.

"There was a two-minute stretch right at the very end where we didn't get some calls and (Seattle) made a few baskets to come back, but our kids stuck with it," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "At the minute mark we made a big play and made some free throws. We shot the ball really well from the free throw line, which was key. It was a collective team effort. It was people hitting big shots and making plays when they needed to."

Santa Clara (2-8), who defeated Pacific 52-47 on Thursday, wins back-to-back games on its home floor. Fulps scored 20-plus points for the third time in her young career, making 9 of 10 free throws. Freshman Ricki Radanovich added 11 points, a season-high.

Seattle (4-8) received a team-best 15 points from Amani Butler, Kerfoot scored 11 and Salena Dickerson chipped in with nine points and eight boards.

"We shot the ball better today. I thought our defensive intensity was good as well," said Mountain. "We did a better job later in the game on the boards. We shot close to 40 percent from the field, which is something we have struggled to do. So you can see things collectively coming together."

The Redhawks used a 15-5 rebounding advantage to hold the lead throughout the first 15 minutes, leading by as many as eight at the 8:50 mark of the first half.

A pair of free throws by Brown right before halftime gave Seattle a 33-31 edge at the intermission.

The game remained tight in the early stages of the second half. A driving lay up by Fulps tied it at 40 and she made a baseline 3 on SCU's next possession to help put the Broncos in front 45-42 with 11:30 left.

Seattle regained the lead 51-50 on a drive by Salena Dickerson but Santa Clara responded with a 10-2 run, fueled by free throws from Lena Gipson, Ashley Armstrong and a lay-up by Shoji and SCU led by seven until Seattle made their final push.

"We have big game on Tuesday with the Ducks coming in here," said Mountain, looking ahead to playing a high-scoring Oregon team in two days. "They are very similar in style to the Sac State team we played earlier in the year. We've got to bounce back on short rest to get ready to play transition D."

GAME NOTES: The game between the two Jesuits schools was one of more than 90 games that will be played this season as part of the Jesuit Basketball Spotlight (JBS) … In 47 years of sponsoring women's basketball, Lena Gipson now needs just two more rebounds to move into second on SCU's all-time list … Alyssa Shoji made two 3-pointers to bring her career total to 140, 6th all-time at SCU.