Feb. 27, 2003
SPOKANE, Wash. - The Santa Clara University women's basketball team fell to Gonzaga 69-53 this evening in West Coast Conference action at the Martin Centre in Spokane. Both teams sport 8-5 league marks and are tied for second place in the conference standings with one game to go in the regular season.
Gonzaga was led by Triana Allen's 18 points, while Anne Bailey added 13 and Raeanna Jewell 12 for the Bulldogs.
Tonight's contest was crucial for both teams. It was a must-win for Gonzaga to remain in contention for the second seed while Santa Clara could have clinched second place with a victory tonight. The Broncos must now defeat Portland on Saturday, while the Zags must beat San Diego for both to stay in contention for that coveted seed. Under the new tournament format, the top two seeds do not play until the semifinals via first and second-round byes.
Should both teams remain in a tie after Saturday's games, the tie-breaker for the second seed would go to the squad with the best record against other WCC opponents in descending order of the league standings.
The game did not start off smoothly for the Broncos, who committed four turnovers in their first five possessions, as Gonzaga took an early 7-2 lead. Jennifer Bradley, making her second straight start, hit a three pointer, and then Thomas stole the ball for a lay-up to tie the game. A turn-around jumper by Kim Butler gave SCU its first and only lead of the half, at 9-7 six minutes into the contest.
A three by Anne Bailey took the lead back for Gonzaga, and the Bulldogs held the advantage through the rest of the period. They stretched the advantage to 21-14 during the next six minutes of play and an Allen long-distance score made it a 10-point deficit for Santa Clara. That basket gave Allen 11 point in the half, leading all scorers at intermission.
The Broncos kept at it, and a three-point play by Rhea reduced the Broncos' deficit to only six, 35-29.
Gonzaga restored that double-digit lead quickly, starting the second half with an 11-0 run. Thomas' third three of the game ended the drought at the 14:45 mark. A three by Tammy Annas reduced the lead to nine, at 48-39, but once again, Bailey responded with her own trey. The Zags scored two more threes on their next consecutive possessions to push the lead to 18.
The Broncos responded with eight straight to make the score 57-47, but would get no closer the rest of the night. Santa Clara went 4:20 on the clock without a field goal until an Annas jumper ended the drought with 3:11 remaining.
The Broncos will close out the regular season in Portland for the third time in four years, taking on the Pilots at the Chiles Centre on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be followed on a live audio broadcast on SantaClaraBroncos.com.