Second Half Runs Sink Santa Clara at Portland

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – In a game that saw a combined 49 free throws attempted, Santa Clara women's basketball fell to Portland by a final of 75-55. The loss puts the Broncos at 7-15 overall and 3-7 in WCC action while the Pilots are now 12-9 overall and 5-5 in conference play.

Santa Clara returns to the floor Thurs., Feb. 6 vs. BYU at the Leavey Center.

"I didn't think that we got ourselves into a flow, especially early in the game," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "We had some silly turnovers and some stuff that we can control. I also thought the flow of the game just didn't get going for us. We gave ourselves a chance in the second half, pulling it within two, but then stopped playing the defense we had been playing."

Santa Clara shot 36.2% (17-47) from the field and 30.0% (6-20) from three. The Broncos had 28 rebounds, 12 assists, 20 turnovers, two blocks, and six steals. Nici Gilday led the offense with 16 points and three assists. Jo Paine scored 12 points with seven rebounds while Montana Walters had a career-high 11 points.

Portland shot 48.9% (23-47) from the field and 40.0% (6-15) from three. The Pilots had 34 rebounds, 14 assists, 16 turnovers, two blocks, and 10 steals. Kari Luttinen led the offense with 23 on 8-11 shooting. Cassandra Brown had 20 points and six rebounds while Amy Pupa added nine points and four assists.

Walters drained a three on the opening possession of the game and Ruta Zurauskyte came back with an offensive rebound put back on the next possession.

Jasmine Wooton answered back with a three-point play and a fast break layup to even the score.

With the Broncos down three, Jazmyn Johnson hit a three and was fouled but couldn't convert the four-point play. Paine drove to the lane on the next Bronco possession and finished with a layup to make the score 15-11 with 12:58 left in the opening half.

The Pilots would go on a 13-2 run over 4:21 to get the lead to double-digits for the first time. Santa Clara was 1-4 from the field with four turnovers during the run. Paine hit a jumper at 10:01 to make the score 23-13.

The next six points for Santa Clara over all came from the free throw line. Portland also scored its only four points during the same stretch from the free throw line. Cassandra Thompson hit the first field goal for either team in over three minutes at 5:42 to make the score 31-19 and Portland came right back with a nice layup by Hannah Mattson.

Santa Clara finally made a field goal at 2:55, after going just over seven minutes without one. The Broncos were 0-4 from the floor during the run. The bucket by Ruta Zurauskyte made the score 35-23.

A 6-0 run by the Broncos over 1:32 got the deficit down to single-digits at 35-27. Katie Hawkins drained four free throws to lead the way. Luttinen went to the line and ended the run with one of two from the charity stripe.

Gilday came back with a jumper in transition to keep shrinking the Portland lead. After Brown made one of two from the free throw line, the Broncos couldn't convert on the final possession of the half and the teams went to the locker room with the score 37-29 Portland.

Santa Clara shot 36.8% (7-19) from the field and 14.3% (1-7) from three in the first half. The Broncos had 18 rebounds, four assists, 13 turnovers, two blocks, and two steals. Gilday led the offense with eight points on 4-4 shooting from the free throw line. Walters scored five points while Paine had four points and five rebounds.

Portland shot 43.3% (13-30) from the field and 14.3% (1-7) from three in the first half. The Pilots had 17 rebounds, six assists, six turnovers, two blocks, and five steals. Brown led the offense with 11 points on 5-8 shooting from the floor. Wooton scored seven points with four rebounds and three assists while Luttinen and Thompson each scored six.

Portland got its lead back to double-digits with four free throws to open the second half before Walters hit her second three of the game at 17:32 to make the score 41-32. Pupa came back with a three-point play opportunity but the free throw rimmed out.

Paine drained a three from the top of the key on the next Santa Clara possession and Gilday knocked the ball off a Pilot to give Santa Clara the ball right back. Gilday made the turnover count with a three that cut the deficit to just five.

The run would ultimately get to 9-0 over 1:55 after Paine hit yet another three. Pupa ended the run with a layup but Gilday ran the floor and hit a layup to keep it a two-point game.

The Pilots went on an 11-2 run over the next 2:05 behind three from beyond the arc. Santa Clara helped the run with three turnovers that led to six of the points. Lilomaiava would hit a jumper to get the lead back down to nine.

Portland came back with another run, this one 8-0 over 2:42, that put the Pilots up 17 with 6:59 left in the second half. Walters came back with a three to end the run and give her a career-high 11 points on the day.

With under a minute left in the game, Brown hit two free throws to make it a 20-point game for the first time. Gilday came back with a three-point play but it was too little, too late and Portland held on for the win.

Game Notes: Both Jo Paine and Montana Walters are from Oregon City, Ore. and went to high school together less than 30 miles from the Chiles Center. … Montana Walters started for the first time since Dec. 8, 2013 at Fresno State. It was also the first game to not feature the starting line up of Raquel Avila, Nici Gilday, Jo Paine, Marie Bertholdt, and Ruta Zurauskyte since the same game.