Feb. 24, 2005
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara women's basketball remained in the hunt for the second seed in next week's West Coast Conference Championship with an 82-76 overtime victory tonight over San Francisco at the Leavey Center. Michelle Cozad came off the bench and led the Broncos with 22 points, as the team improves to 14-12 overall, 8-5 in league play. The Dons were led by freshman Dominique Carter's 21-point effort, but fall to 12-14, 6-7.
Santa Clara overcame a halftime deficit for the first time this season and was down by as many as 10 with 9:41 remaining in regulation. The Broncos outscored USF 19-8 over the next six minutes, and a jumper by Kayla Huss put the Broncos ahead 67-66 at 3:27. Cozad extended that lead by making two free throws, but the Dons cut the lead back to one with two successful shots from the charity stripe by Carter. Jenni Jones tied the game at 1:06 by making her first free throw attempt, but missed the second, sending the contest into an extra period tied at 69.
A Quinn Thomas lay-up midway through overtime put the Broncos ahead 77-73. USF was unable to convert and was forced to foul. SCU converted 9 of 10 to secure the victory.
"We had our backs up against a wall in the second half and I thought we did a great job of keeping our composure and fighting to the end; we found a way to win," head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson said. "The free throws were huge in overtime and I'm so proud that the team never gave up."
Twelve of Cozad's 22 points came from the charity stripe. Thomas added 17 points, seven rebounds, and six steals, and Huss followed with 13 points. For USF, Toni Russell started her night a perfect 7-7 from the field, and finished 7-10 for 18 points. Mary Jane Krueger added a 14-point, 12-rebound effort, and Leeane Jensen posted 10 points before fouling out in the final minute of overtime.
The Dons shot 52.7 percent from the field and out-rebounded Santa Clara 48-31 but were outscored 13-7 in overtime and committed a season-high 28 turnovers.
USF opened a 17-6 advantage early in the game and led 34-30 at the break, after shooting 61.5 percent from the field in the first half. In second-half action, Bronco Tori Markey converted a three-point play to give SCU a 45-44 lead at 15:47, but Toni Russell hit three straight jumpers to help push the Dons' lead back to 10.
Santa Clara remains in a must-win situation in its next contest, against San Diego on Saturday at 2 p.m. Both SCU and Loyola Marymount are tied for second with identical 8-5 league records. The Lions will play Pepperdine at 4:30 p.m. and should LMU win on Saturday as well, a tiebreaker will be implemented to determine next weekend's tournament's second seed.