January 22, 2011

Pilots Escape with Home Win Over Broncos

Update from the road with Telisha Anderson

PORTLAND, Ore - Portland won a closely contested West Coast Conference women's basketball game with Santa Clara 70-62 Saturday afternoon at the Chiles Center.

Tied at 52 with 6:37 left, the Pilots out-scored the Broncos 18-10 down the stretch to win their second straight. Portland (11-9; 2-3 WCC), who started the season 9-3, picks up a weekend sweep at home after beating USF easily on Thursday.

ReZina Teclemariam scored a game-best 19 points for the Pilots, including a timely 3 which put UP up by six with 3:23 left. Tara Cronin added 17 points and four assists.

Santa Clara (6-13; 2-4 WCC) held a 30-16 advantage in the paint behind All-WCC power forward Lena Gipson who posted her eighth double-double, scoring 14 points and hauling in 11 rebounds. Meagan Fulps scored 14 and Lindsay Leo had 10.

Santa Clara used a zone defense to pressure Portland in the first half, out-rebounding the Pilots in the early going and keeping the score close. A triple by Fulps made it a one-point game, 17-16 at the 11:31 mark.

SCU went without a field goal for over five minutes during the first half but their defense held up and would trail by just four at halftime, 30-26.

Portland opened up a sizable lead after the break, three times leading by as many as nine, the first coming at 39-30 via a 3 from Teclemariam. Natalie Day dropped in a triple at the 14-minute mark to extend the advantage into double-digits.

Trailing by as many as 11, the Broncos fought back, using the inside game of Gipson to generate scoring chances in the paint. An 8-0 Santa Clara run, helped along by free throws from Ashley Armstrong, got the visitors within three, 46-43, with 10 minutes left.

The Pilot lead was three when Leo's drive and free throw tied it, 50-50, at the 7-minute mark.

Things remained extremely tight inside of five minutes, tied at 52 and again a UP three-point lead until Teclemariam's fourth and final 3 put the Pilots up by six with 3:23 on the clock.

Natalie Day knocked in a 3 on Portland's next possession and the Pilots led by seven. The hot three-point shooting from Portland was part of a five-minute span in the closing moments where the Pilots missed just one shot.

The Broncos will return home to the Leavey Center next week to host Pepperdine (Thursday at 7 p.m.) and Loyola Marymount (Saturday at 2 p.m.).

GAME NOTES: Santa Clara used the same starting lineup for the fifth-straight game (Fulps, Shoji, Radanovich, Willinksy, Gipson) … Ashley Armstrong made 6 of 6 free throws on the afternoon, which was a career-high ... the game was broadcast free online as part of the WCC's comprehensive video streaming enhancement program (all non-televised league games can be viewed online this season) … Meagan Fulps and Lindsay Leo will be featured on the next installment of the 'Road to Vegas' video series released by the WCC each Wednesday.