February 28, 2004

Women's Basketball Comeback Falls Short

Feb. 28, 2004

Box Score| Photo Gallery

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University senior Jennie Rondel netted her first career double-double, scoring 19 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in an exciting finish to the women's basketball team's final game of the regular season. Down 22 points in the second half, the Broncos mounted a strong charge and pulled within six, but ran out of time in an 83-73 loss to Portland tonight in West Coast Conference action at the Leavey Center. Pilot Lauren Himmelspach recorded a career-high 27 points to lead her team to a 13-14 overall record, and an 8-6 league mark. Santa Clara is now 8-19, 4-10.

Bronco freshmen Jenni Gottschalk and Ashley Graham each posted 12 points in the second half and both finished with 15. Junior Quinn Thomas added 11.

Portland also registered a double-double, from Ashlee Orndorff, who posted 12 points and 15 rebounds. Whitney Grant added 15 points, while Khalila O-Rielly-Williams pulled down 10 rebounds.

Tied 5-5 early in the night, Portland went on a 13-2 run, which saw five Bronco turnovers in that stretch. An Orndorff putback at 5:32 doubled the Pilots' lead, 30-15. Santa Clara went five minutes without a field goal and was down 45-26 at the half.

Senior Whitney Sutak was also honored prior to tonight's tip-off. Photos by Don Jedlovec.


Portland remained in control during the second period and was up by 22, 63-41, with 11:50 left to play. The Broncos did not give up and closed out the game in an exciting fashion. Graham netted back-to-back lay-ups, and was followed by four straight baskets from Gottschalk to half the deficit. Minutes later, Graham and freshman Yasemin Kimyacioglu hit back-to-back threes to move the Pilot advantage to single digits, 72-64 with 2:12 on the clock.

Thomas hit a three and two free throws to make the score 75-69, a six point Portland lead heading into the final minute. Portland only made one field goal in the final six minutes of the contest, but made 12 of 18 free throws in that span to secure the victory.

Tonight's loss marked the 12th at home for the Broncos, tying for the worst home record at Leavey in 25 seasons. Santa Clara posted a 5-12 season in 1988-89.

Santa Clara is the host of the 2004 West Coast Conference Championship. The Broncos will be the tournament's sixth seed and will play San Francisco on Thursday, March 4. The time will be determined on Sunday.