by, Brandon Rebboah
SANTA CLARA, Calif.- Saint Mary's used a double-digit performance on the offensive glass to defeat Santa Clara 57-47 in front of a large pink-filled crowd for the 'Play 4Kay' breast cancer awareness event at the Leavey Center on Saturday.
Santa Clara (10-15; 3-9 WCC) was led by Ashley Armstrong who finished with 12 points. The Reno, Nev. native continues to enjoy an impressive junior campaign, reaching double-figures in scoring for the tenth time this season.
Saint Mary's (17-8; 9-4 WCC) wins its second-straight WCC game. Jackie Nared led all scorers with 16 points for SMC, who beat Portland by by 18 points on Thursday.
Saint Mary's began the game with a 10-0 run highlighted by Jasmine Smith's two three-pointers. The Gaels grabbed a total of 57 rebounds, including 20 on the offensive side of the ball.
The Broncos took advantage of stout defense from their backcourt to push within six at 22-16 when Armstrong picked up a loose ball and took it coast-to-coast.
After a series of second-chance points, Saint Mary's lead grew to 33-18, capped by a Nared three-pointer from the top of the arc. Nared led all scorers in the first half with 10 points and SMC was up at the break 36-20.
To start the second the Gaels and Broncos traded early baskets. Lindsay Leo scored in the paint on a quick pass from Fulps, but SMC was able to keep building on its halftime lead. After a quick three from Saint Mary's, Armstrong jumped in front of a pass and converted on a fast-break opportunity, but at that point it was 43-24 Gaels with 16:42 left.
Despite being down 51-33 at the 7:55-mark the Broncos continued to battle. Leo wowed the crowd with an impressive block before the under-eight media timeout.
Leo continued to work inside when she grabbed an offensive board and kicked it out to Alyssa Shoji who knocked down a three-pointer to cut the lead to 15. Shoji then grabbed a long-rebound before being fouled on a fast break opportunity; Shoji converted both shots from the charity stripe.
SCU had a chance to get within 12 with five minutes left, but a missed lay up and Carli Rosenthal's basket on the other end made it a 15-point game.
Despite the late surge, the Broncos fell 57-47.
Santa Clara begins a three-game road swing beginning with a trip to Spokane, Wash. to battle No. 19 Gonzaga on Thurs., Feb. 16 at 6:15 p.m. The Broncos then stay in the Northwest with a game against Portland on Saturday Feb. 18.
GAME NOTES: Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain pledged to donate $10 for every three-point basket made Saturday for the Play 4Kay cause, which raises funds and awareness for breast cancer research … Santa Clara's home record moves to 7-7 … the Gaels have won 11 of 12 against the Broncos spanning the past four seasons.