February 11, 2012

Santa Clara Falls to Saint Mary's 57-47

by, Brandon Rebboah

SANTA CLARA, Calif.- Saint Mary's used a double-digit performance on the offensive glass to defeat Santa Clara 57-47 in front of a large pink-filled crowd for the 'Play 4Kay' breast cancer awareness event at the Leavey Center on Saturday.

Santa Clara (10-15; 3-9 WCC) was led by Ashley Armstrong who finished with 12 points. The Reno, Nev. native continues to enjoy an impressive junior campaign, reaching double-figures in scoring for the tenth time this season.

Saint Mary's (17-8; 9-4 WCC) wins its second-straight WCC game. Jackie Nared led all scorers with 16 points for SMC, who beat Portland by by 18 points on Thursday.

Saint Mary's began the game with a 10-0 run highlighted by Jasmine Smith's two three-pointers. The Gaels grabbed a total of 57 rebounds, including 20 on the offensive side of the ball.

At the 7:38 mark, down 20-12, the Broncos had clawed their way back with triples by Ricki Radanovich and Meagan Fulps. Radanovich and Fulps combined for nine of Santa Clara's first 14 points.  

The Broncos took advantage of stout defense from their backcourt to push within six at 22-16 when Armstrong picked up a loose ball and took it coast-to-coast.

After a series of second-chance points, Saint Mary's lead grew to 33-18, capped by a Nared three-pointer from the top of the arc. Nared led all scorers in the first half with 10 points and SMC was up at the break 36-20.

To start the second the Gaels and Broncos traded early baskets. Lindsay Leo scored in the paint on a quick pass from Fulps, but SMC was able to keep building on its halftime lead. After a quick three from Saint Mary's, Armstrong jumped in front of a pass and converted on a fast-break opportunity, but at that point it was 43-24 Gaels with 16:42 left.

Despite being down 51-33 at the 7:55-mark the Broncos continued to battle. Leo wowed the crowd with an impressive block before the under-eight media timeout.

Leo continued to work inside when she grabbed an offensive board and kicked it out to Alyssa Shoji who knocked down a three-pointer to cut the lead to 15. Shoji then grabbed a long-rebound before being fouled on a fast break opportunity; Shoji converted both shots from the charity stripe.

SCU had a chance to get within 12 with five minutes left, but a missed lay up and Carli Rosenthal's basket on the other end made it a 15-point game.

Despite the late surge, the Broncos fell 57-47.

Santa Clara begins a three-game road swing beginning with a trip to Spokane, Wash. to battle No. 19 Gonzaga on Thurs., Feb. 16 at 6:15 p.m. The Broncos then stay in the Northwest with a game against Portland on Saturday Feb. 18.

GAME NOTES: Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain pledged to donate $10 for every three-point basket made Saturday for the Play 4Kay cause, which raises funds and awareness for breast cancer research … Santa Clara's home record moves to 7-7 … the Gaels have won 11 of 12 against the Broncos spanning the past four seasons.