Feb. 2, 2002
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - For the second straight game, senior guard Caroline Gruening sank a three in the final minute of action to put Santa Clara ahead for good, this time a 65-64 decision over San Francisco in West Coast Conference women's basketball action tonight at the Leavey Center.
Gruening nailed a three from the wing to put Santa Clara ahead 59-55 with one minute remaining. Fellow senior guard Becki Ashbaugh made all six free throw attempts to seal the victory. A three-pointer at the buzzer by USF's Alicia Hernandez brought the final score to a one-point margin.
The Dons took the early lead, and led by eight midway through the first half. Junior forward Tammy Annas responded at that point with a three-pointer that sparked the Broncos, as sophomore Jennie Rondel came off the bench for a three on the team's next trip down the court. On USF's next possession, Annas stole the ball and fed Gruening for a three for the Broncos' first lead of the game, 19-18. The Dons regained the lead but the teams were all tied up at 23, and traded baskets to a 30-30 tie at intermission.
USF again opened up an eight-point advantage, this time at 47-39 with a steal and lay-in by Don Lisa Whiteside. The Broncos were able to pull within three, in part by two lay ups from Annas, who finished with a game-high 17 points and nine rebounds. Freshman guard Kayla Huss soon entered the game and within two minutes, registered a three-pointer tie the contest at 50 apiece. A drive by junior forward Julie Butler put SCU up by three.
The last three minutes of the game saw USF miss two crucial jump shots, forcing them to foul. With Santa Clara in the bonus, Butler converted two clutch free throws to put SCU ahead by three again, at 56-53 with under two minutes to play, Gruening's three and Ashbaugh's free throws were the rest of the game.
Ashbaugh finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, while Butler chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds. Gruening finished with nine points while junior forward Kendra Rhea had another strong night rebounding, chipping in nine.
USF shot 39.7 percent from the floor and had three players in double-figure scoring: Hernandez with 13 and Melanie Turner and Carrie Sauer with 11 each.
The Broncos will visit the Northwest in continuing conference action. On Thursday, SCU will visit Portland for a 7 p.m. contest at the Chiles Centre. On Saturday, the Broncos will play Gonzaga at the Martin Centre, also scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.