SANTA CLARA, Calif. – In the final non-conference home game of the season, Santa Clara women's basketball fell to Cal Poly by a final of 79-73. The loss puts the Broncos at 3-2 overall while the Mustangs are now 4-3.
Santa Clara returns to the floor Fri., Dec. 5 at 3:30 p.m. vs. UC Davis at the Air Force Classic.
"We played a good team tonight and only lost by six points despite missing 15 free throws," said Santa Clara head coach JR Payne. "We need to make our identity as a team one of tenacity. I thought we got outworked in the first half so we will continue to work on that."
Santa Clara shot 35.9% (23-64) from the field and 23.8% (5-21) from three. The Broncos had 45 rebounds, 10 assists, 22 turnovers, six blocks, and eight steals. Marie Bertholdt led the offense with 15 points on 7-11 shooting from the free throw line and added seven rebounds. Nici Gilday scored 14 points while Emily Wolph scored 10 points with four assists.
Cal Poly shot 40.9% (27-66) from the field and 31.3% (5-16) from three. The Mustangs had 48 rebounds, 11 assists, 23 turnovers, two blocks, and 12 steals. Ariana Elegado led the offense with 16 points on 12-12 shooting from the free throw line. Kristen Ale scored 11 points while Lynn Leaupepe scored 15 points to gow tih seven rebounds.
Three different players scored for Cal Poly to put them on a 6-0 run over a minute-plus to put them up 8-2. A three by Wolph at the 14:18 mark cut the lead in half and put an end to the run.
Two minutes later Sidney Rielly tied the game with a three of her own but Dynn Leaupepe came right back with a layup to put the Mustangs back on top. A nice drive to the bucket by Katie Hawkins on the ensuing Bronco possession lead to a pair of free throws to make it 10 all heading into the under-12 media timeout.
An acrobatic shot by Lisa Marie Sanchez made it 13-12 at 10:39. Not to be outdone, Wolph came right back with an acrobatic shot of her own to put Santa Clara back up one.
The Broncos would use a 7-0 run over just under two minutes to make the lead 19-13. Gilday drilled a three during the run to lead the way. A layup by Hannah Gilbert ended the run and made it a four-point game. Leaupepe followed with layup on the next possession to make it a two-point game headed to the under-eight minute timeout.
With Santa Clara up three, Beth Carlson hit a pair of free throws and Brooke Gallaway followed with a pair of her own to make it a six-point Bronco lead. An offensive rebound by Gilbert led to an easy layup for Cal Poly.
The Mustangs went on a 10-0 run over 1:50 to take the lead at 34-30. Ale hit a deep three as the shot clock expired and Leaupepe followed with a steal and a fast break layup. The run ended when Taylor Berry made a layup with 35 seconds left.
Lipton drilled a three with 12 seconds left in the half and Gilday grabbed an offensive rebound after a missed three by Wolph. Her shot was initially counted but after an official review the call was reversed. The teams went into the locker room with Cal Poly up 37-32.
Santa Clara shot 33.3% (10-30) from the field and 30.0% (3-10) from three in the first half. The Broncos had 22 rebounds, six assists, 13 turnovers, three blocks, and four steals. Wolph led the offense with seven points on 3-6 shooting and three assists. Gilday scored seven on 4-4 shooting from the free throw line.
Cal Poly shot 42.1% (16-38) from the field and 36.4% (4-11) from three in the first half. The Mustangs had 26 rebounds, seven assists, 14 turnovers, one block, and seven steals. Leaupepe led the offense with 10 points and five rebounds while Sanchez added four assists and two points.
Four-straight points by the Broncos to start the second half made it a one-point game. Leaupepe hit a baseline runner at 17:24 for the first Mustang points of the half.
Gilday tied the game with 15 and a half minutes remaining with a three from the right corner as the shot click was winding down. A minute later Leaupepe converted a three-point play off a fast break that made it 44-41.
Cal Poly used four free throws and some easy inside buckets to build its lead to 50-43 at the 11:50 mark. Gilday hit a turnaround jumper in the lane to get the game within five.
Four straight points by Cal Poly stretched the lead to nine points. Santa Clara was just 2-8 from the field before Bertholdt made a layup that made the score 54-47. Two free throws made it a five-point game but Leaupepe came back with a three-point play. On the next Cal Poly possession the Bronco deficit grew to double-digits for the first time on a reverse layup by Lipton after her steal.
With the shot clock winding down, Ale took a desperation three from way out. She made the shot and was fouled. Her four-point play made it a 10-point game again.
A 7-0 run over 36 seconds, highlighted by a three from Rielly and a steal in the backcourt got the Broncos within four points with just one minute remaining in the second half. Elegado hit two free throws to end the run.
The Mustangs hit their free throws in the final seconds of the game to hold on for the win.
Game Notes: Attendance was 224 … Red shirt sophomore Maddison Allen spent the last two seasons at Cal Poly, playing her freshman year and red shirting a season ago … Lori Parkinson and Taylor Williams will both red shirt this season. Parkinson due to NCAA transfer rules after playing the previous two seasons at Southern Utah under new Santa Clara head coach JR Payne. … Vanessa Leo sat out her third straight game with a back injury.