by, Brandon Rebboah
SANTA CLARA, Calif.- The back-to-back Ivy League champion Princeton Tigers finished its two-game Bay Area swing with a victory over Santa Clara, 77-61, Monday night at the Leavey Center.
Santa Clara (6-6) was led by Alyssa Shoji who scored a team-high 23 points, including five 3-pointers, and moved into 9th all-time in SCU history with 1,142 career points. Shoji entered the week ranked No. 2 in the NCAA in 3s per game (3.9).
Princeton (8-4) used its pressure defense and 12 offensive rebounds to pull away from Santa Clara. Niveen Rasheed, a product of Monte Vista High School and Danville, Calif., tallied 20 points to pace the Tigers offense.
The Tigers built up the lead to as many as 27, but the Broncos continued to battle as Shoji scored three late three-pointers to cut the deficit to 12 with 47 seconds left.
The Broncos were kept in check during the first half, after Princeton went on a 13-2 run to open the game. Rasheed had 11 points in the first half making 4 of 5 shots before the break. The Tigers led 38-20 at the half.
Santa Clara's offense got going after the intermission, scoring four straight to open the second half. Meagan Fulps drove the lane and dished to Lindsay Leo who was able to cut the lead to 16 points, 42-26 at the 16:36 mark.
Fulps finished in double-digits for the ninth time this season, scoring 10 points and adding a team-high four assists. Leo also had 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
However, Rasheed and the Tigers countered, making six 3s on the night. A Rasheed triple from the wing put Princeton's lead back at 19.
Despite the sharp shooting from Shoji, who made 5 of 7 threes, including three inside the 10-minute mark, Santa Clara was unable to overcome its early deficit. The Broncos have lost five in a row.
The Broncos will look to bounce back in a road matchup at Sacramento State on Dec. 22 before returning to the Leavey Center on Dec. 31 when they open up WCC play against Pepperdine.
Game Notes: Alyssa Shoji topped all scorers with 23 … Princeton had four of its five starters finish in double digits… Princeton out-rebounded Santa Clara 40-32… Meagan Fulps grabbed her 250th career rebound … Shoji was 6-6 from the free-throw line and is shooting over 95 percent this season.