SEATTLE, Wash. – Santa Clara received 22 points from All-WCC senior guard Alyssa Shoji who prepped at Washington's Issaquah High School, but host Seattle University won its fourth-straight, 80-62.
Santa Clara (6-4) entered the game with one of the NCAA's best offenses, but its defense allowed 75-plus points for the seventh time this season. The Broncos' road record drops to 1-4.
Seattle (6-4) – coached by longtime University of Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini – beat Portland 69-55 Sunday at the Connolly Center. The Redhawks' winning streak is the team's longest since transitioning to Division I three years ago.
Oregon State transfer Talisha Rhea scored 19 points on 8 of 14 shooting. The Redhawks made 49 percent of their shots on the night, generating 24 points in the paint in the first half alone. Seattle jumped out to leads of 10-0, 13-2 and 15-2 and never trailed.
"They were aggressive but our defensive effort wasn't there from the beginning," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "We talk about defense and getting stops as being our staple and we are just giving up too many points in the paint."
The loss overshadowed a 14-point scoring effort from Santa Clara junior forward Lindsay Leo, which matched her career-high. Meagan Fulps added 12.
Shoji kept the Broncos within striking distance early on, scoring all seven of Santa Clara's points to open the game. Her second baseline 3 of the half made it 28-20 at the 4:22 mark. In front of large crowd of friends and family who came out to watch, Shoji finished the night with four three-pointers. She ranks No. 2 among all NCAA players in 3s per game (3.9).
"Alyssa came out and scored the ball, but we did not have an inside presence," said Mountian. "(Post play) is something we went to in the beginning of the game but it just wasn't there. Linsday (Leo) came in and did a good job. Ruta (Zurauskyte) just hasn't brought it the last two games. She has been a little bit ill the last couple of days but we all have to play sick now and then. We certainly can't use that as an excuse. As a group our post play just was not good enough."
After owning a 42-31 lead at halftime, Seattle began the second half on a 10-5 run to open up a 52-36 lead with 15:14 to play.
Off the bench, Telisha Anderson provided SCU with some much-needed defensive energy and her driving lay up in transition got the Broncos within nine, with 12:06 remaining.
Rhea's back-to-back baskets stopped all the momentum Santa Clara gained and by the 10:06 mark the Seattle advantage had swelled to 63-45.
The Broncos return to the Leavey Center on Saturday, where they are 5-0 at home. SCU will host San Jose State at 5 p.m. It will be the second part of a basketball doubleheader on the Mission Campus, with the men hosting Pacific at 2 p.m.
GAME NOTES: The game was part of the 2011-12 'Jesuit Basketball' series, featuring teams from Jesuit colleges and universities … Santa Clara has allowed 70+ points in eight of its 10 games … Santa Clara entered the game ranked No. 19 nationally in scoring (77.6 ppg), No. 6 in 3PT % (40.3) and No. 8 in 3PT FG (8.3 pg).