Feb. 22, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Just when it appeared that the Santa Clara women's basketball team was poised to snap its three-game slide, a cold spell came over the team, allowing the Loyola Marymount Lions to come back and steal a 65-56 victory Thursday night at the Leavey Center. Despite the result, the Broncos received a bit of cheer when senior Ashley Graham became the 16th member of the school's "1,000-Point Club."
The Broncos (13-15, 5-8 WCC) will host the Pepperdine Waves Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. in the final home game in the careers of six seniors: Graham, Ashley Gonnerman, Yasemin Kimyacioglu, Anna Martin, Lauren Michalski, and Kasey Monteith.
Tracey Walker led the team Thursday night with 11 points, and with Graham, grabbed a team-high five rebounds. Chandice Cronk scored 10 points and became the single-season West Coast Conference record holder for three-pointers made in one season, hitting her 91st of the season.
Yet with 7:05 remaining in the game, it was Graham who reached a personal milestone of her own, hitting a three-pointer from the wing to score her 1,000th career point, making her the 16th Bronco to ever reach that mark.
"I'm very proud of Ashley, she is very deserving of every accolade that she receives," said head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. "She has been committed to this program for four years, and I've appreciated her commitment and how she has really worked hard to become a better player."
"It's a very cool achievement, and I'm proud to join pretty select company, but right now its all about the team, and turning things around in time for the WCC Tournament," Graham said afterwards.
Graham's three-pointer at that time upped SCU's lead to seven at 51-44 in the second half. The Broncos, who had led 32-39 at halftime, built their lead to as many as 10 points at 48-38 with 8:45 left to play.
But Loyola Marymount, paced by Amanda Patton, who scored 16 points to lead all players, and forward Ashlee Dunlap, who scored 12 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds, whittled away at the deficit over the next four minutes, tying the game at 51-51 after Amanda DeCoud picked off an inbound pass and scored an uncontested layup.
"We just had a spurt there where we broke down on both ends of the floor," said Bento-Jackson. "We got very careless with the ball on offense as we were breaking down defensively, and that's just a very horrible combination."
The Lion defense also took over the contest, as after Graham's three, they only allowed the Broncos one more field goal in the final 7:05. SCU managed only five points over that span.
After Sara Majors missed a free throw that kept the Lion lead at 55-54 with 2:45 left, scored the next five points on buckets by Jennifer Hall and Patton, and a free throw from DeCoud. Walker's layup cut the lead to 60-56 with 38 seconds to play, but the Lions converted five free throws the rest of the way to ice the game.
Santa Clara shot 42.9% for the game, compared to LMU's 44.2% showing, but again, rebounds factored into the decision, as the Lions won the battle on the boards, 37-27.
Both teams started off slow in the first half, combining for only 25 points in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Lions built a 25-14 lead with 6:46 left before halftime, but the Broncos heated up and ended the half on an 18-4 run fueled by nine points from Walker.