Feb. 18, 2007
(San Francisco) - USF women's basketball battled back from a 10 point halftime deficit to seize a 64-58 West Coast Conference victory against ancient Bay Area rival Santa Clara Sunday afternoon at War Memorial Gym in the 2007 home regular season finale. The Dons (9-18, 3-9 WCC) down the Broncos (13-14, 5-7 WCC) for the first time since 2005 and snapped a six-game losing streak to their South Bay neighbors.
After shooting at a pedestrian .370 (10-27) from the field in the first half, USF warmed considerably after the break converting on .654 (17-26) finishing the contest at .509 (27-53). The Dons defense held Santa Clara to a .339 (21-62) from the field, and limited the Broncos to just nine field goals in the second half.
"This was a huge win for us on so many levels," USF head coach Tanya Haave said. "To get a win like that against our biggest rival at home was terrific and to send our seniors out with a win was really special. We got a great result against a team that knocked us out of the WCC Tournament last year and were able to do it at home in front of a good crowd. This was a great day for the program."
It was a big day for junior center Lisa Olden, who scored a game-high 17 points and pulled down seven rebounds in 30 minutes. Junior guard Nykia Peace enjoyed an outstanding day running the point for the Dons, dishing out a career-high 10 assists to go along with seven points and six rebounds. Senior forward Nickie Warren scored 12 points and pulled down six boards in her final home game in the Green and Gold, while sophomore guard Shay Rollins chipped in nine points including a clutch 3-pointer to seal the win.
Junior guard Dominique Carter added 13 points and nine rebounds, finishing the contest with 1,198 career points, good for sole possession of eighth place on the Dons career scoring list. Carter moved past USF Legend of the Hilltop Valerie Gillon (1993-96 - 1,188) and Melinda Harrison (1985-89 - 1,190).
USF dug an early hole as Santa Clara as the Broncos busted out of a 2-2 tie sprinting on a 20-6 run, taking a 22-8 lead with 9:43 remaining. The Dons lingered and slowly closed to within 10 points on a Carter bucket with 16 seconds left before halftime to make the score 32-22.
San Francisco was a changed team after the intermission as the Dons battled to take their first lead since opening with a 2-0 advantage at the 7:16 mark, 48-46 on a Rollins lay-up. Santa Clara made three 3-pointers in the final seven minutes, but reclaimed the lead only briefly at 56-55 with 2:17 remaining on a 3-pointer from senior guard Anna Martin. Carter made 3-of-4 from the free throw line with Rollins big 3-pointer sandwiched between and the Dons sent their seniors out winners for the first time since 2005.
USF dominated the board battle 41-29, after trailing 21-17 at the break. The nation's leading 3-point shooting team, Santa Clara connected on 9-of-28 (.321) from beyond the arc.
Senior guard Ashley Graham led the Broncos with 13 points and was the only Bronco to reach double-digit scoring. Junior forward Jen Gottschalk scored nine and three players finished with eight apiece.
USF returns to WCC action when it travels to the Northwest for the final games of the 2006-07 regular season, beginning Thursday, February 22 at Portland. Game time against the Pilots is set for 7:00 PM at the Chiles Center.