February 10, 2001

Women's Hoops Takes Sole Lead In WCC Race

Feb. 10, 2001

Box Score| Quotes

Malibu, Calif.--The Broncos recorded their second come-from-behind victory in as many games and claimed sole possession of first place in the West Coast Conference, with a 63-61 victory over Pepperdine tonight at the Firestone Fieldhouse.

The Broncos entered the game tied with Pepperdine for first place in the league standings, but are now alone at the top, improving to 17-5 overall and 8-2 in the WCC. Pepperdine falls to 17-8, 7-3. Tonight's win also gives Santa Clara a 23-14 lead in the all-time series. Combine that with last night's win over Loyola Marymount, SCU has swept the Los Angeles schools four times in the last five seasons.

Down by 15 at one point, and nine at the half, the Broncos' win tonight marked the team's fifth come-from-behind victory in 10 conference games.

"I wish I knew why we keep doing this," head coach Chris Denker said of his team's slow first-half play. "I told them before the game--and it didn't work at all--`Okay, it's halftime and we're down by nine. Let's go.' They just kind of laughed and didn't do anything about it. It's something we're going to need to address as coaches why we're getting off to these slow starts. But the key is how you do at the end of the game and luckily we're doing okay that way so far."

Bronco senior guard Kim Sorenson led all scorers with 17 points. She scored nine straight early in the second half to pull the Broncos to within four. Sophomore forward Kendra Rhea added 16 points for the Broncos, with five field goals in six trips down the court for SCU, tying the game at 50 points apiece with under nine minutes to go in the contest. A Sorenson three with five minutes to play gave Santa Clara its first lead of the game, at 57-54.

Pepperdine answered with a three pointer by Damaris Hinojosa, who led the Waves with 15 points tonight. A three-pointer from junior guard Becki Ashbaugh at the four-minute mark put the Broncos back up by three. Two field goals by Pepperdine's Nadja Morgan followed by a free throw from SCU's Jennifer Glysson tied the game again, at 61, with under two minutes to play.

The score remained that way for the next 1:30 until junior guard Caroline Gruening provided the game-winner, driving for a layup on the right side. Pepperdine missed a last-second shot.

Pepperdine opened the game with three straight baskets by Rasheeda Clark. A layup by the Hinojosa prompted Denker to call a time out within the game's first two minutes. Sorenson recorded the Broncos' first field goal on the night, with a three from the right side at16:37. Pepperdine maintained its five-point advantage through most of the half, and added to it with two straight steals and layups by Shandrika Lee, followed by a three-pointer from Hinojosa, during a 13-3 Wave run that doubled the score to 30-15. Bronco sophomore forward Julie Butler scored at the buzzer to bring SCU's deficit back to single digits, heading into the half down 32-23.

The Broncos now return to the mission campus for its final two home games of the regular season, against San Francisco and Saint Mary's. Santa Clara will host the Dons on Thursday, Feb. 15 and the Gaels the following Saturday. Both contests will begin at 7 p.m. at the Leavey Center.