March 6, 2009
LAS VEGAS - Lena Gipson had 19 points and a game-high 10 rebounds to lead the Santa Clara women's basketball team to an 82-55 victory over Saint Mary's Friday afternoon in the first round of the 2009 West Coast Conference Basketball Tournament. The Broncos will face the Lions of Loyola Marymount in the second round on Saturday, March 7 at Noon.
"It was a well deserved victory for our players," said head coach Jennifer Mountain. "They battled so hard all season long and we finally were able to put one together. It showed not just everyone in the stands but it proved to ourselves that we can compete. I'm really proud of our effort today."
The Broncos had five players in double-digits for the first time all season and only had nine turnovers. Sara Majors and Elizabeth Doran added 14 points and a game-high seven assists, while Maggie Goldenberger had 12 points and Alyssa Shoji tallied 11 points.
For the Gaels, Louella Tomlinson posted 21 points and had seven blocks, while Ashlee Smith registered 16 points.
Santa Clara started off with a 4-0 lead on a three-pointer from Doran and a free shot by Majors. The Gaels rallied and came within one point, 6-5, on a trey from Maija Lahde but the Broncos held strong and pulled away with a 16-9 lead with 16:30 to play. With a jumper from Kathy Willinsky, Santa Clara claimed its largest lead of the half, 28-14, with 8:59 remaining.
However, a 7-0 run from Saint Mary's cut the lead in half and another 8-2 rally put the Gaels within four points of the Broncos, 32-29. At 1:35, Ashlee Smith converted a three-point play to give SMC its first lead of the game, 36-34. Yet, Claire Goins fought her way to the basket to knot the score, 36-36, before heading into halftime.
SCU grabbed a four-point advantage quickly in the second half to pull away from SMC. The score remained tight but the Broncos held the advantage. Santa Clara compiled a 16-5 run through the first nine minutes of the second half to put 10 points between the Broncos and the Gaels, 58-48. The rally began with back-to-back three-pointers from Doran and Shoji.
The Broncos then claimed a 16-point lead, 68-52, seven straight points from Gipson. Santa Clara continued to push ahead and with 3:23 to play, Doran sank her fourth three-pointer of the game to make it a 21-point game, 73-52. Santa Clara won the game, 82-55, on free throws by Goins.