Santa Clara-USF: Broncos on Four-Game Winning Streak

Cecile NguyenCorrespondent IJanuary 27, 2008

Santa Clara’s Chandice Cronk continued her quest for the records book when she led the Broncos to a 57-50 win over West Coast Conference foe San Francisco in a tightly contested game Saturday night at the Leavey Center.

Cronk entered the week with a SCU record 234 career three pointers and needed only three more to surpass former Pepperdine standout Damaris Hinojosa (1999-03) for first place in the WCC career three-pointer list.

The senior guard broke the record Thursday night against San Diego with four made threes and tonight verses USF she added three more.

“It’s awesome,” Cronk said being on No. 1 in the WCC for career three-pointers made.  “I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates for setting me up and putting up screens.”

The Alaska native finished the game with 15 points, three rebounds, one assist, two steals, and went 4-for-4 on the free throw line.

Bronco’s forward Jen Gottschalk had her eighth double-double of the season when she finished the game with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Both SCU and USF entered the game tied for second place in the WCC with a 3-1 record.  With the win, Santa Clara takes over sole possession of second place in the WCC with a 4-1 record behind Gonzaga, who has a perfect 5-0 in conference play.

With the win the Broncos now are 15-4 and are on a four-game winning streak after dropping their first conference game against St. Mary's.

SCU led by as much as 16 points in the second half, but the Dons was able to fight back and cut down the deficit to as low as two points.  USF never lead the game.

“They’re a good team and that’s what good teams do, come back,” said Cronk.  “But we stuck it out and did what we need to do.  We made big shots.”

San Francisco won the opening tip off, but Broncos’ Tracey Walker had the game’s first point on a layup at 17:55.

Fueled by Walker, the Broncos got out on fast start, scoring 10 straight points before the Dons finally registered their first basket of the game at 11:30 on a jumper by Dominique Carter.

Carter led all scorers with 21 points.

Santa Clara closed out the first half strong, going on a 13-6 run.  Bronco guard Cronk’s late three right before the halftime buzzer was her first points of the game and it extended Santa Clara’s lead to 29-16.

The Broncos held the Dons to just a 25.9 field goal percentage while shooting 46.4 percent from the floor in the first half.

SCU continues to have success from beyond the arc.  The No. 1 team in three-point field goal percentage shot 25 percent in the first half.

The Dons quickly regrouped in the second half and went on a 14-2 run to get right back into the game after Bronco’s Liz Doran opened the half with a three.

USF fans who made the commute began rallying behind their team when Necolia Simmons scored on a jumper to cut Santa Clara’s lead down to just four points with 11 minutes left in the game.

Bronco players just could not secure the rebound on the next San Francisco possession as the Dons gathered offensive rebounds and had three straight chances to cut the deficit to two points.

After a foul by USF’ Carter at 8:44, Bronco’s Gottschalk had a chance to build up Santa Clara’s lead once more on a pair of free throws, the Bronco’s first free throw attempt of the night, but was 1-for-2.

The game began picking up again as both teams traded basket, but Cronk’s three just under two minutes left in the game extended SCU’s lead to seven, a lead the Broncos never relinquish as they held on to win the game.

Santa Clara will hit the road and play Portland next Wednesday January 30th.