Nov. 28, 2008
CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Energy and solid defense was the answer Friday evening as the Santa Clara women's basketball team defeated Chicago State, 52-48, to earn its first win of the season. Senior Elizabeth Doran's 13 points led the Broncos as they gave first-year head coach Jennifer Mountain her first career victory.
"We were down and we battled back," said Mountain. "We ran our stuff in the second half and we shut them down offensively. They went eight possessions in a row without scoring and that's what we have to have. I was really proud of the fact that they really stepped it up defensively."
Santa Clara was down 12 points at the end of the first half and battled back to take control of the ball game in the final five minutes. With the win, the Broncos improved to 1-5 on the season, while the Cougars dropped to 2-4 overall.
"In the last two games we've been down and we've been in a position where we could have just held it and we'd come back," said Mountain. "That's indicative that our team is getting better. This win will really help their confidence level."
Doran went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe, while shooting 40.0 percent from the field. Sophomore Lena Gipson also had a great game for the Broncos, posting her fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Senior Sara Majors was a rebounding machine for Santa Clara as she pulled down 10 boards, eight of which were in the second half. Sophomore Kathy Willinsky also proved to be a spark of the bench for SCU as she registered a career-high nine points, six rebounds, two assists and a block.
"Kathy is just the energizer bunny," said Mountain. "She's come in the last two games for us and has done some really good things. She brings all this energy onto the court. It's good, positive energy and she played really smart today."
Santa Clara and Chicago State traded baskets in the early minutes of the first half. Jasmin Dixon gave the Cougars a one-point edge, 5-4, with a layup. About 10 seconds later, after an Alyssa Waldon steal, Chicago State pushed its lead to three-points, 7-4, with a layup by Jael Pena. Gipson responded at 14:47 with a field goal. Free throws by Majors tied the score and gave Santa Clara a one-point lead, 8-7, with 14:13 to play.
Made baskets from Gipson and Willinsky put the Broncos up by five-points, 14-9. After the Cougars rallied to bring the half within one, 14-13, another series from Gipson and Willinsky put SCU back up by five, 18-13, with 5:56 remaining. However, Chicago State fought hard and produced a 15-0 run to end the half with a 12-point lead, 30-18.
The Broncos opened the second half strong, scoring the first two baskets to cut the lead to eight points. Santa Clara successfully did not allow Chicago State to create more than a 10-point lead. At 8:14, Majors made a free throw that brought SCU within three-points, 37-34. Then with 5:29 remaining, redshirt freshman Rhianna Faithfull knocked down a three to give the Broncos a one-point lead, 44-43. It was Santa Clara first lead since the 8:02 mark of the first half.
Chicago State's Dixon scored a layup to take back the lead, 45-44. However, Santa Clara reclaimed the advantage on a free throws made by Willinsky, 46-45. After a foul charged to Majors, Pena's free shot tied the game, 46-46. That was the fourth and final time the game would be knotted up.
Doran then stepped up to score six straight points for the Broncos to give them their final 52 points. Her solo run was interrupted by a jumper from Nicole Clark with 11.8 seconds left. Santa Clara led, 50-48, before Doran finished off two free throws.
For the Cougars, Waldon led the game with 16 points and seven steals, while Clark had nine rebounds.
The Broncos continue action at the 2008 UM Thanksgiving Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 29 against either Austin Peay or Miami. Tip-off is scheduled for either 2:45 or 4:45 p.m. PT at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Fla.