Dec. 10, 2005
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Despite four Broncos scoring in double-figures and Michelle Cozad's 14 rebounds, the Santa Clara women's basketball team lost a hard-fought 73-69 decision that came down to the final minute against the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine.
Tracey Walker and Ashley Graham led the Broncos (2-5) with 16 points apiece Saturday, with 12 of Graham's points coming from behind the arc as she hit on 4-of-5 three-point attempts. Cozad added seven points, three steals and four assists to the effort.
Hawai'i, though, controlled the offensive boards throughout the game, pulling down 28, led by Brittany Grice's nine offensive rebounds and 16 overall. Grice also paced the Rainbow Wahine (5-2) with 20 points, a number matched by Amy Sanders.
"We need to put some bodies on people, here's [Michelle] Cozad, doing a great job on the boards for us with 14, we just need other people to step up and it has to be a priority for us," Head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson noted about Hawai'i winning the rebounding battle.
While the Broncos suffered some early shooting woes, the in-the-paint tandem of Ashley Gonnerman and Kasey Monteith bore down and kept Santa Clara in the game with their scoring. Both post players had eight points in the first half to lead the Broncos, and for the game Gonnerman scored 12 while Monteith had 10.
"We definitely got some good looks [underneath]," said Bento-Jackson. "Hawai'i came out guarding our perimeter very tight because they know we're a three-point shooting team. What that did was it opened up the paint and I thought we did a good job of getting high percentage shots down there to Kasey and Gonny, in particular."
The game stayed relatively close for much of the 40 minutes. Hawai'i held its largest lead at 36-25 with 1:25 left in the first half, but five-straight points by Ashley Graham cut the lead to six heading into the locker rooms.
Santa Clara then used a 12-5 run to start the second half and re-take the lead at 42-41, and from there the two teams battled back-and-forth as neither took the lead by more than five the rest of the way. A 60-60 tie with 4:56 remaining was the closest the Broncos would get, as the Rainbow Wahine held SCU off for the final five minutes.
The Broncos kept rallying to within a point, most notably on a Cozad three that made it a 70-69 game with just over a minute to play. Following a missed Hawai'i shot, Santa Clara came down-court with a chance to take the lead but Sanders knifed in front of a Bronco pass and took it in for the lay-up to give the Rainbow Wahine the 72-69 lead that would hold up to the end.
Santa Clara will be northbound for much of this coming week as they travel to Montana for a Tuesday night game at 6 p.m. before trekking to Eastern Washington University for a 7:05 p.m. tip-off Thursday night in Cheney, Wash. The Broncos will then return home to host the San Jose State Spartans Saturdya night at 7:30 p.m. in the Rivalry Series match-up between the two South Bay schools. Tickets are available for Saturday night's contest by calling (408) 554-4660.