SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Santa Clara reeled off a 19-4 run to get back into a game they trailed by 23 with eight minutes left, and were down by just five in the final minute but San Diego was able to hold on for the win, 66-57.
Santa Clara (8-16; 4-6 WCC) received 22 points from senior forward Lena Gipson, one shy of her career-high, but the Broncos shot just 29 percent from the floor in the first half and missed their first 13 three-point attempts.
San Diego (14-11; 4-7 WCC) avenged a 62-57 loss to SCU last month at the Leavey Center. While Santa Clara struggled to make shots, the Toreros were red hot, making 5 of their first 9 to jump out to a 24-2 lead.
Morgan Woodrow scored 21 points, making 7 of 12 attempts to lead the Toreros. Dominique Connors added 13 and had five assists.
The loss moves the Broncos into fifth place in the league standings, one game behind Portland.
Updated WCC Standings
1. Gonzaga 10-1 (22-4)
2. St. Mary's 8-3 (16-10)
3. Pepperdine 6-5 (15-10)
4. Portland 5-5 (14-11)
5. Santa Clara 4-6 (8-16)
T6. LMU 4-7 (10-15)
T6. San Diego 4-7 (14-11)
8. USF 1-9 (4-20)
San Diego came out of the gates strong, taking an 11-2 lead at the first media timeout. On Santa Clara's end, the Broncos struggled offensively, going 1 for 10 in the early going and turning the ball over seven times in the first eight minutes.
The Toreros could not have asked for a better start, leading 24-2 at the midway point of the first half after an uncontested lay up by Izzy Chilcot.
It was Gipson single-handedly providing all the offense for SCU in the first half, scoring the team's first 11 points. San Diego led at the break 33-19.
One of Gipson's six field goals cut the USD advantage to 12 in the opening moments of the second half. She also made 10 of 14 free throws.
However, a baseline jumper from Connors, sandwiched between two inside baskets from Kameron Knutson, were part of an 11-5 Toreros run which pushed the lead back to 19 with 12:14 to play, 47-28.
The Broncos went 0 for 13 before making their first three-pointer with 5:53 left, a deep 3 from freshman Ricki Radanovich. A flurry of SCU baskets, fueled by 3s from Radanovich, Alyssa Shoji and Meagan Fulps accounted for runs of 16-2 and 19-4 after the Toreros had gone up by 23 at the 8:08 mark.
Despite the late spark, the deficit was too much for Santa Clara to overcome. A pair of free throws by Shoji made it 62-57 with 52 seconds on the clock and that would be as close as SCU would get.