Jan. 11, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University's women's basketball team opened the West Coast Conference season with a 72-63 victory over San Diego this evening at the Leavey Center. Reserve guard Megan Nelson scored a career-high 15 points as the Broncos won their fifth straight contest to improve to 10-4 overall, 1-0 in league play. The Toreros fall to 6-8, 0-1.
Santa Clara's 34-point victory was just three points shy of the Broncos' biggest win against the Toreros in the teams' all-time series history. Tonight's win also marked the 13th straight for Santa Clara over USD in regular season league action at Leavey, as San Diego has not won on the Broncos' home court during the regular season since 1989. Additionally, Santa Clara has now won 34 of its last 36 home WCC contests in the last five-plus seasons.
Nelson led four Broncos in double-digit scoring, as senior Kendra Rhea added 12 points and tied a career high with 13 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Senior Julie Butler returned to the starting lineup and added 14 points, going 6-7 from the field in the first half. Sophomore guard Kayla Huss finished with 10 points.
San Diego was led by Marta Menuez and San Jose native Kerri Nakamoto, who each posted eight points. Menuez added nine rebounds to lead the Toreros defensively. The Broncos held USD's leading scorer Erin Malich to seven points under her 14 ppg average.
The Bronco defense gave the fans something to cheer about early, taking two charges in the first 2:30 of the contest. Although San Diego scored the first basket of the night, it was Huss with a jumper to give the Broncos a 10-3 lead at the 14:12 mark.
USD's Tiara Harris hit a three-pointer to return the deficit to seven, but Bronco senior Tammy Annas responded with a three to make it a 20-10 lead. On the team's next possession, she scored on a baseline jumper with her toe on the arc to force San Diego head coach Kathy Marpe to take a time out.
The Broncos closed the half with a 15-4 run in the last five minutes. Rhea stole the ball under the Toreros' basket, and in transition, handed it to Butler for the lay-in. On the next possession, the two seniors traded roles, as Butler earned the assist on Rhea's lay-up to make the score 30-15.
Nelson tied her career-high with nine points in the first half, while sophomore Quinn Thomas registered six first-half assists. The team shot 55.2 percent from the field while holding San Diego to a 28.6 percent mark at intermssion.
In the second period, a Thomas jumper made it a 30-point lead and the Broncos would extend that to as much as 35 before back-to-back three-pointers by Nakamoto would reduce the lead to 24 with 7:55 remaining.
The Broncos continue a four-game homestand at the Leavey Center with two more WCC games next weekend, hosting Pepperdine on Thursday, Jan. 16 and Loyola Marymount on Saturday, Jan. 18. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. tip offs.