SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Finishing up a three-game home stand, Santa Clara women's basketball lost to Portland by a final of 71-68. With the loss the Broncos are now 12-8 overall and 4-3 in West Coast Conference play while Portland is 7-13 and 2-5 in conference.
Santa Clara returns to the court on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. at San Diego and vs. BYU on Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. at the Leavey Center.
Santa Clara was led on offense by Ricki Radanovich who scored a career best 24 points on 8-13 shooting including 6-10 from three. Ruta Zurauskyte added 20 points on 7-10 shooting and 6-6 from the line while pulling down six rebounds. Lindsay Leo had a career-high six blocks while scoring four and bringing down nine rebounds. The Broncos shot 48.9 percent (23-47) from the field including 8-19 from deep.
The Pilots offense was led by the trio of Ellen Nurmi who had 15 points on 4-7 shooting including 4-7 from deep, Alexis Byrd who scored 11 points on 4-8 shooting and Kari Luttinen who had 15 points. Amy Pupa had a team-best seven rebounds while scoring seven. Portland shot 38.9 (?-?) from the field for the game and 10-20 from three.
Jasmine Wooton got the scoring going at the 19:35 mark with a pair of free throws to give Portland the early 2-0 lead.
Radanovich caught fire to start the game for Santa Clara and hit three consecutive from deep to score the first nine Bronco points of the game. Portland was able to answer each time and the score was 10-9 Portland at the first media timeout.
Zurauskyte got Santa Clara out on top at 11-10 at the 15:46 mark with a layup for the first points by a Bronco player other than Radanovich.
The hot shooting continued as Nurmi hit back-to-back threes to put Portland up 16-13 but Radanovich came down the floor and hit a baseline jumper to get Santa Clara within one at 16-15 with 14 minutes remaining.
The scoring slowed down but the Broncos used a 6-0 run over 4:10 to build up a lead of 19-16 before Amy Pupa made a layup to get the game back within one at 19-18 at the 9:10 mark.
Nurmi hit another one from deep to give the Pilots the lead again at 21-19.
Radanovich hit her fourth three of the first half with 7:10 remaining to put Santa Clara up one at 22-21 but Byrd answered with a layup on the next trip to put Portland on top 23-22.
Portland extended its lead out to five points at 27-22 with a 7-0 run over two and a half minutes fueled by four points from Luttinen.
Radanovich hit her fifth triple to end the Pilots run and get the score to 28-25 with 3:20 left in the half.
Annika Holopainen hit a three from the top of the key at the end of the first half to put Portland up 33-27 at the break.
Radanovich led the Broncos in the first half with 19 points, two off her career-high, on 7-8 shooting including 5-6 from three. Zurauskyte added four points on 2-5 shooting while Brooke Gallaway and Arteivia Lilomaiva each scored two. Leo had a team-best four rebounds and tied her career-high with four blocks. As a team Santa Clara shot 43.5% (10-23) from the field and 5-10 from downtown.
The Pilots shot 40.0% (10-25) from the field in the first half and 5-10 from deep. Portland was led by 10 points from Nurmi on 3-4 shooting, all from deep. Wooton added seven points on 3-4 shooting and Pupa had a team-high six first half rebounds.
Luttinen extended the Portland lead to nine points with a three on the first Pilots' possession of the second half.
Raquel Avila answered the next time down the floor with a three from the right side to make the score 36-30 Portland.
Zurauskyte hit a layup and Fulps nailed a three to put the Broncos on an 8-0 run over a minute to get them within one at 36-35.
The run extended to 10-1 over two minutes and Santa Clara tied the score with 16:45 remaining.
The Broncos retook the lead on a jumper from Zurauskyte at 14:32 off of an in bounds play that made the score 43-42 but Holopainen answered with a three that made it 45-43.
Radanovich hit a three to set a new career-high in points with 22 at the 10:12 mark that tied the game at 52-52.
With the scored tied at 58, Portland hit a jumper and a three to move up 63-58 at the 6:18 mark.
Leo and Gilday both hit jumpers on back-to-back possessions to cut the deficit to one at 63-62 with four and a half minutes remaining.
With the shot clock winding down and under a minute remaining, Radanovich was fouled going to the basket. She hit both free throws to put the Broncos up 66-65 with 38 seconds remaining.
Pupa hit a jumper from the right baseline to put Portland back on top. Nici Gilday had her shot blocked and Luttinen was fouled and hit both from the line to put the Pilots up 69-66 with five seconds left in regulation.
Avila was fouled with four seconds left and went to the line. She knocked down the first and tired to miss the second but she banked it in.
After a foul, Wooton hit two free throws to make the score 71-68. Fulps attempted a half court shot but it missed at the Pilots won the game.