Jan. 8, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Sophomore Lena Gipson had 13 points and senior Claire Goins tied her career-high seven rebounds but the Santa Clara women's basketball team lost an intense battle with Saint Mary's 58-55 at the Leavey Center Thursday night in the opening game of the West Coast Conference season. With the win, the Gaels improved to 5-11 on the season and 1-0 in league play, while the Broncos fell to 2-14 overall and 0-1 in WCC action.
Santa Clara took a 4-2 lead on a layup from Sara Majors at 16:56. However, Katie Batlin responded with a three-pointer for Saint Mary's to reclaim the lead. The Gaels then climbed to a five-point advantage, 13-8, with 13:15 remaining. Yet, the Broncos did not back down and rallied to tie the score. Goldenberger converted a three-point play to knot the score, 13-13. The game was tied once more, 15-15, on a layup from Goins, but Louella Tomlinson made one of her two free shots to give back the edge to SMC. The two teams traded leads before a series of jumpers from Elizabeth Doran and Shoji gave the Broncos a five-point advantage, 23-18. Despite the Gaels efforts, SCU held the lead until there were 17 seconds left in t he first half. Amber Coatney made both her free throws to give Saint Mary's a 26-25 edge going into halftime.
Saint Mary's started off strong in the second half and earned a seven-point lead, 32-25, just three minutes into the game. However, Rhianna Faithfull interrupted the Gaels run with a three-pointer and a jumper from Gipson made it a two-point game, 32-20, with 16:24 to play. Yet, Saint Mary's still held control of the scoreboard and took its largest lead, 10-points, on free throws by Ashlee Smith, 47-37.
The Broncos fought hard to close the gap. Goldenberger sparked a 9-2 run with a jumper at 7:53 that brought the Broncos within three-points, 49-46, with 4:32 to play. She then sunk both her free throws at the 2:28 mark to make it a one-point game, 51-50. However, a Santa Clara foul just five seconds later would send Alex Carbonel to the line and she put SMC back up by three-points, 53-50. At 1:57, Gipson brought it back to a one-point difference, 53-52, with a layup but Maija Lahde's free throw put the Gaels ahead by two once again, 54-52.
But, Santa Clara was still in it. With 26 seconds to play, Faithfull nailed a trey that gave the Broncos the lead, 55-54. Despite the jumper made by Batlin with 16 seconds to play, 56-55, Santa Clara was only down by one point. However, a foul charged to SCU sent Tomlinson to the free throw line where she made both her shots for the final score, 58-55.
For Saint Mary's, Smith had 14 points, while Tomlinson had a double-double of 11 rebounds and 11 blocks.
The Broncos travel to SoCal to take on the Toreros of San Diego on Saturday, Jan. 10. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.