PORTLAND, Ore. – Opening the 2013 West Coast Conference schedule tonight, Santa Clara women's basketball beat Portland 59-58 with senior Meagan Fulps jumping into Santa Clara's top 10 on the all-time scoring list. With the win the Broncos are now 9-5 overall and 1-0 in conference play while Portland is 5-9 overall and 0-1 in the WCC.
Fulps scored nine points to move in to 10th place on the all-time Santa Clara scoring list. She now has 1,136 career points and is eight points behind No. 9 on the list (Suzy Meckenstock (1982-86, 1,144).
Santa Clara plays again on Sat., Jan. 5 at 2 p.m. at defending WCC champion Gonzaga.
The Broncos shot 39.6% (21-53) from the field but just 3-17 from beyond the arc. The team was 14-18 from the free throw line and pulled down 33 rebounds while forcing 16 turnovers.
Santa Clara was led on offense by Nici Gilday who scored 15 points, including 11 in the second half. She was 5-7 from the field and 5-5 from the free throw line. Ricki Radanovich scored 12 points on 4-11 shooting while Lindsay Leo and Ruta Zurauskyte each had a team-high six rebounds. Fulps, Raquel Avila and Arteivia Lilomaiava each pulled down five boards.
Amy Pupa led Portland with 17 points on 6-11 shooting and 5-7 from the charity stripe. Cassandra Thompson added 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Pupa grabbed nine boards while Kari Luttinen contributed eight points and six rebounds.
The Pilots shot 36.1% (22-61) from the field and 3-14 from three. Portland was just 11-20 from the free throw line and grabbed 44 rebounds.
"The bottom line is we didn't play our best game and we still came away with a win on the road," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "Winning road games in this conference is going to be really important. I'm proud that we stuck it out but it's certainly not our best basketball and we have to be ready for Saturday in a different way."
The scoring didn't get started until two minutes into the game when Fulps gave Santa Clara a 2-0 lead. The basket moved Fulps into 10th place on the all-time Santa scoring list with 1,129.
Thompson answered the next trip down the floor for Portland with a layup to even the score at 2-2.
After Avila hit a free throw to put Santa Clara on top, Luttinen nailed a three to put the Pilots up for the first time at 5-3 with 16:07 left in the first half.
Thompson extended the lead to 7-3 and Radanovich made one from downtown with Avila following up with a layup to put Santa Clara back on top at 8-7 with just over 14 minutes remaining.
With the game tied at 10-10 Avila and Fulps put Santa Clara up four at 14-10 with 11:57 remaining with layups on back-to-back possessions.
Portland came back to tie the game on a jumper from Pupa and a layup from Jasmine Wooton with 9:18 remaining in the first half.
A three by Fulps put Santa Clara up 19-16 but Portland came back with five consecutive points on a jumper from Annika Holopainen and a three from Luttinen. With 5:12 remaining in the first half, the Pilots held a 21-19 lead.
Gilday scored four straight points in 45 seconds to get the Broncos back on top by two. Thompson of Portland hit a free throw at 2:25 on the clock to make the score 23-22 in favor of the Broncos. Neither team would score the rest of the half and the Broncos took a one-point lead into halftime.
Fulps scored a team-high seven points on 3-5 shooting in the first half and Radanovich scored five. Avila added five points as well and grabbed four rebounds, tied for the team-lead with Zurauskyte. The Broncos shot 34.6% (9-26) from the field in the first half but were just 2-11 from deep.
Luttinen and Pup each had six points in the first half to lead the Pilots. Luttinen was 2-7 from the field and 2-3 from deep while Pupa was 2-5 from the field. Thompson added five points and a team-best six rebounds. Ellen Nurmi, Luttinen and Pupa each grabbed five boards in the first half. Portland shot just 22.9% (8-35) in the first half and committed nine turnovers.
Portland came out of the locker room in the second half and immediately went back on top 26-23 on a pair of jumpers from Pupa. After Santa Clara hit a pair of free throws and then Nurmi hit a three to put Portland up by four at 29-25 at the 17:45 mark.
Santa Clara answered with a 7-0 run over 52 seconds fueled by a three-point play by Gilday. The run put Santa Clara up 32-29 with just over 16 minutes left in the half.
The two teams exchanged baskets over five minutes before the Pilots went on a 6-0 run starting halfway through the period. A pair of free throws by Holopainen made the score 44-40 in favor of Portland.
Santa Clara responded with a 6-0 run of its own over 1:20 on layups by Radanovich and Lilomaiava and two from the charity stripe by Lindsay Leo. The run put Santa Clara up 46-44 with 6:51 left in regulation.
With 4:13 left in the half Radanovich hit a three to give Santa Clara a five point lead at 53-48, its biggest of the game.
Avila hit one of two free throws at the 1:34 mark to put Santa Clara up by a game-high six points at 56-50 but Pupa answered at the other end with a jumper to keep Portland close at 56-52.
With her team down four and 37 seconds remaining, Pupa stole the ball and was fouled but missed the front end of a one-and-one. Fulps grabbed the rebound and Avila was fouled but she also missed the front end of a one-and-one to keep the Bronco lead at four points. The Pilots took advantage of the missed free throw and Wooton made a layup at the other end with 22 seconds left and the score now 58-56.
Avila extended Santa Clara's lead to 59-56 with a free throw and Portland followed with a missed three from Thompson but Portland got the offensive rebound and Pupa made it a one-point game with a layup with just one second remaining on the clock.
Santa Clara was able to inbound the ball and the clock expired to give the Broncos the 59-58 win.