Nov. 17, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - A solid night from the backcourt trio of Chandice Cronk, Ashley Graham, and Anna Martin, who combined for 56 points, was turned in Friday night as the Santa Clara women's basketball team continued its high-scoring ways with a 73-54 win over the Cal Poly Mustangs at the Leavey Center.
With the win, the Broncos improve their record to 2-1, and will hit the road next week for a pair of tests, playing at Boise State at 6 p.m. Pacific time on Monday, Nov. 20, and a 3:30 p.m. contest on Wed., Nov. 22 against No. 18 BYU.
Cronk again led the way for the Bronco offense, scoring 21 in the game, while Graham was right behind her with 20, and Martin, making her first start of the season, added 15 on 5-of-6 shooting, including a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the arc. Graham also passed out six assists, while underneath, Kasey Monteith grabbed six rebounds and made a pair of blocks.
"Chandice, Ashley, and Anna are three really good ballplayers and tonight they did a great job of keeping their composure even though Cal Poly was putting a lot of full-court pressure on us tonight," said head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. "Ashley was steady the entire game and had an extremely solid performance for us tonight."
The night started slowly for the Broncos as the offense struggled to find a rhythm in falling behind 8-2 in the first three and a half minutes. Cal Poly also was slow to come around, as the teams went scoreless for a stretch of two and a half minutes, until a Martin three at the 13:56 mark energized the Bronco attack.
Graham followed up with a three of her own to tie the game at 8-8, and from there the Broncos went on a 17-4 run that put them ahead to stay at 19-12.
From there, Santa Clara calmed down and tightened up the defense, holding Cal Poly scoreless for almost four minutes and scoring eight in a row to build a 32-17 lead with just over three minutes to play in the first half on the way to a 36-23 halftime lead.
"[In Wednesday's loss to Miami], we gave up too many transition layups, and tonight we were focused on taking that away and I think we did a much better job of that," Bento-Jackson noted on the team's defensive effort. "We still have to continue to work hard on the defensive boards, but for the most part I thought our half-court defense was pretty efficient tonight."
The Broncos extended the lead to 17 at 43-26 within three minutes of the start of the second half, as a lay-up from Jen Gottschalk and a Graham jumper kept the Broncos hot. Cal Poly managed to trim the lead to nine with 11:12 to play, but Cronk and Graham responded by accounting for all 11 Bronco points in an 11-3 run over the next five minutes that rebuilt the lead to 17 and snuffed out any comeback hopes the Mustangs may have harbored.
From there the lead never got to less than 13, as Cronk, Graham, and Martin combined for 10 of SCU's last 14 points to cap the team's second win.
"The two early wins certainly give us confidence, especially heading into two very tough challenges this upcoming week in Boise State and BYU," Bento-Jackson said.