LOS ANGELES – For the first time in program history, Santa Clara women's basketball went to three overtimes, picking up an 83-75 win at LMU Saturday afternoon.
Tia Hay led the Broncos (9-7, 2-3 WCC) with 30 points, the first Santa Clara player to score as many since Nici Gilday scored 35 vs. San Francisco on Feb. 14, 2015, on 11-for-22 shooting while playing a career- and game-high 49 minutes.
"Tia carried us today," Santa Clara head coach Bill Carr said. "She made big shot after big shot and defended. She played a really, really good game."
Santa Clara opened the third overtime with a 6-0 run but Andee Velasco answered with a 3-pointer to keep it a game before Hay responded with a triple of her own on the ensuing possession.
The Lions (10-8, 3-3 WCC) would get the deficit down to 77-75 on a layup from Velasco with 1:43 left in the period, but Dru Toleafoa knocked down a jumper and Hay hit four from the free throw line in the final 27 seconds to hold off LMU.
"This afternoon was just a really good college basketball game," Carr said. "Both teams battled and made plays. Both teams competed really hard. We were just fortunate to come away with a win."
Santa Clara shot 45.8-percent from the field as a team while holding LMU to just 32.5-percent to help offset the Lions 30 free throw attempts to the Broncos 14. Despite the discrepancy, LMU had just a 16-9 advantage in free throws made.
Hay looked like she had won it for Santa Clara with under two seconds to go in the second overtime when she drove to the lane for a layup, but Bree Alford stepped up and hit a jumper from the paint as time expired to even the score at 68-all.
"When I looked in the huddle during into the overtimes, it looked like the team wanted to keep playing," Carr said. "They were eager to get out there on the floor and weren't fazed at all. It was good to see them competing like that."
Alford and Chelsey Gipson both scored a team-high 18 points with Alford grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds for the double-double. Jasmine Jones also had a double-double (12 points/11 rebounds) and Velasco scored 11 despite shooting just 3-for-12 from the field.
The first overtime saw the teams go back and forth, with Ashlyn Herlihy knocking down a 3-pointer to give the Broncos a 61-60 lead with 26 seconds to go. Gipson gave the Lions the lead right back with two free throws and Hay converted one of two from the charity stripe with three seconds on the clock to tie the game again.
Herlihy fouled out in the first overtime but still put up 19 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Lexie Pritchard was the third and final Bronco in double-figures with 11, despite fouling out in regulation.
LMU got the lead to 52-47 with 5:21 to go in the fourth, but Santa Clara came back with six in a row over the next two and a half minutes to take a 53-52 lead with 2:29 left in regulation. Neither team scored until Jones made one of two free throws with 26 seconds left to put both teams at 53.
A 16-4 run in the third built the Santa Clara lead out to 44-38 with 3:23 remaining but LMU closed the period with six in a row, including the final four from Jones to send it to the fourth even at 44 apiece.
"We did a much better job tonight of handling the highs and lows of a game," Carr said. "We went on a run and then they would but we handled their runs better than we have in the last couple games which was good to see."
The biggest lead in regulation was a seven-point Bronco advantage after Emily Wolph connected from downtown at the 7:21 mark of the second quarter to make it 24-17. The Lions, however, finished the half by outscore the Broncos 14-4 to take a four-point lead into the locker room.
- Santa Clara is now 48-26 all-time against LMU.
- Every Bronco to play scored and had at least one assists with all but one player also grabbing at least one rebound.
- With her two blocks, Lauren Yearwood now has 40 on the year, good for seventh on the Santa Clara single season list.
- The Broncos are now 3-0 in overtime games this year with all three coming on the road (64-60 at Cal State Fullerton 11/19/18 and 71-66 at San Francisco 1/5/19). It is the most overtime games in s season since 1999-2000 when they went 2-1.
The Broncos head home and take on Pacific Thursday at 7 p.m.
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