Feb. 20, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University women's basketball team let go of an 11-point lead in the final seven minutes as San Francisco took a 69-67 victory over the Broncos this evening in West Coast Conference action at the Leavey Center. The Dons outscored SCU 18-5 and shot 57 percent from the field to close the game and earn a win at Leavey for the first time since 1997.
Santa Clara falls to 16-8 overall, and dropped its second straight contest at the buzzer to move to 7-4 in league play. The Dons are now 10-15 overall, 5-6. San Francisco had not won on the Broncos' home court in the last six seasons, dating to a Feb. 1, 1997 contest in which the Dons won by the same score, 69-67, but in overtime.
Carey Sauer led USF and all scorers with 27 points. Joy Hollingsworth added 14 for the Dons. Santa Clara had four players reach double figures in scoring, led by Kayla Huss' 15, and followed by 14 from Tammy Annas, 13 from Quinn Thomas and 11 from Kim Butler.
Santa Clara opened an 11-point lead with consecutive three-pointers by Jennie Rondel and Annas, and was ahead 62-51 with 7:19 remaining in the game. USF responded with a 10-0 run, including long-distance shots from Toni Russell and Sauer. The Broncos were up 63-62 heading into the final minute and Annas sank two free throws to keep SCU ahead. A lay-up by Russell was matched by two more free throws from Huss, with the clock down to 24 seconds.
Hollingsworth hit a three to tie the game at 67 with 16.3 seconds. An SCU turnover gave the Dons a chance, and Sauer banked in a fall-away jumper from the right side for the win. With 4.3 seconds on the clock, Santa Clara missed two final chances to tie and/or win the game.
The game began slowly, with 23 turnovers between both teams, contributing to a low-scoring first period. Thomas' second three of the game gave Santa Clara a slight 21-18 edge, and a backdoor pass from Huss to Annas extended the Broncos' lead to 31-25 with one minute remaining in the first half.
USF kept at it, and a jumper by Merisa Leatherman off an inbound play, followed by a baseline jumper by Leeane Jensen at the buzzer, pulled the Dons to within two, at 31-29 at intermission.
Santa Clara remains at home for the final home game of the season at the Leavey Center. The Broncos will honor their five seniors in their last home game of their career during the Saturday, Feb. 22 game against Saint Mary's. Tip-off for that contest has been moved up from its originally published time and is now at 2 p.m.