Stanford-SCU: Broncos Lose Star Player and Game

Cecile NguyenCorrespondent IFebruary 5, 2008

In a non-conference game, the Santa Clara women’s basketball team fell 96-74 to No. 6 Stanford at the Leavy Center.  With the loss, the Broncos fall to 16-6 overall.

It looked like it might be a long night for the Broncos with the news that they will be without their leading scorer Chandice Cronk due to a career-ending knee injury; she could go into surgery as early as next Tuesday, said Head Coach Michelle Bento-Jackson.

"Obviously it was tough the last 24 hours," Bento-Jackson said. "We got the news last night after practice. Our hearts go out to Chandice."

Cronk tore her ACL and her MCL as well as fractured her leg when her leg buckled going up for a layup in the 88-52 lost to Gonzaga last Saturday.

Gottschalk opened the game with a free throw, which turned out to be the Broncos’ only lead in the game as Stanford dominated the entire game. 

Gottschalk finished the game with 14 points, five rebounds, and four assist.

Stanford star and reigning Pac-10 player of the week, Candice Wiggins quickly followed suit with a shot from downtown for the game’s first and only lead change.

Wiggins, arguably the best female basketball player in the country, finished the game with 20 points, two rebounds, and two assists.

“We saw this game as an opportunity and a challenge,” Wiggins said.  “They (Santa Clara) have threats from all positions.”

The Cardinals (20-3) extended their winning streak to eight straight games and displayed why they are No. 6 in the nation. They were able to go on a 22-6 run with less than seven minutes left in the first half to extend their 47-25 lead.

Turnovers and fouls didn’t help the Broncos’ cause, with the Cardinals scoring 12 points off turnovers in the first half.

Bronco guard Tracey Walker picked up her third foul of the game at just 13 minutes in and sat on the bench for the rest of the half.

However, Walker scored 17 of her game-leading 23 points in the second half; Walker's second half performance was the lone bright spot in the Broncos'  loss.

“I was upset in the first half with those three fouls,” said Walker.  “I just got back at them in the second.”

Santa Clara tried to close out the first half strong, going on a 11-6 run in the last two minutes that was highlighted with five points from Gottschalk to cut down the Cardinals’ lead to 56-38 as both teams headed to their respective locker room.

Broncos’ Maggie Goldenberger, who replaced Cronk in the lineup, opened the second stanza with a deep two but Cardinals’ JJ Hones scored from downtown on the ensuing possession to end any hope at a rally.

Hones finished the game with a career-high 20 points, one rebound, and three assists in 31 minutes of play.

The second half was eerily similar to the first.  The Broncos improved their defense and were able to force four turnovers in the first nine minutes of the second half, but with Gottschalk on the bench with four fouls, Santa Clara could not snag any rebounds. 

Stanford shot an impressive 62.1 percent from the field and shot a season-high 13 threes.

Santa Clara will next play St. Mary’s on the road on Saturday.  Tip-off is at 7 PM.