Feb. 2, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Facing a crucial battle against a team that had beaten them a month earlier, the Santa Clara women's basketball squad sent a message to the rest of the WCC as they routed the Gonzaga Bulldogs 74-52 Thursday night at the Leavey Center.
With the win the Broncos (12-9, 6-2 WCC) take sole possession of second place, only one game behind conference -leading LMU. Gonzaga (10-13, 5-3 WCC) drops to third with the loss.
A huge second half spurred Santa Clara, as they exploded for 43 points in the half.
Michelle Cozad scored all but two of her 16 points in the second half and grabbed five rebounds to pace the Broncos as they ran away from the Bulldogs. Anna Martin scored 15 on 6-of-8 shooting while Tracey Walker added 13 points.
Santa Clara met Gonzaga's size from the get-go, as the two teams traded baskets for the first 10 minutes of the half. The Bulldogs took an early 17-12 lead with 13-and-half minutes left, but then the teams went nearly three minutes without scoring.
After a media timeout in which Bento-Jackson told her team they needed to make something happen to boost spirits, Chandice Cronk hit a leaning three as the shot clock expired, knotting things up at 27-apiece with about 3:40 left in the half.
The Bronco defense dug in at that point, forcing a Gonzaga turnover and pulling ahead as a Cozad pass found a streaking Walker for an easy lay-in. Walker then made a pair of thefts on the next two Gonzaga possessions, and Monteith intercepted another errant toss the third time down. She then followed up with a jumper that gave SCU a 31-27 lead which they carried into the locker room at halftime.
SCU kept at the Bulldogs at the second-half whistle, as Cozad converted a three-point play to start things off then scored an easy lay-up after a theft on the defensive end. Walker then accounted for the next five Bronco points as the advantage ballooned to 11 at 41-30.
Things only got better for Santa Clara, as the team penetrated and scored nearly at will for the rest of the game. A Martin lay-up in traffic extended the lead to 56-35 with 13 minutes left.
Another Cronk three made it a 25-point game at 72-47, as a Bronco victory became apparent.
Santa Clara returns to action Saturday afternoon as the Portland Pilots come to town. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. and tickets are available by calling (408) 554-4660.