Sports

Stanford women suffer rare home basketball loss to Broncos

 

Nationally No. 13 Stanford got itself in trouble early and never did get things straightened out, dropping a 61-58 nonconference women's basketball contest to visiting Santa Clara on Monday night.

The Broncos beat the Cardinal (3-1) for the first time in 17 years and won at Maples for the first time in 31 years. Santa Clara earned its fifth victory in the 34-game series.

"They played a gritty game. They outplayed us," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "We turned the ball over and they got on the O-boards. The whole team is disappointed. We'll go back to the drawing board and look at things."

Erica McCall recorded her fourth double-double in as many games with 12 points and 11 rebounds, Lili Thompson scored 21 points but the Cardinal allowed 23 offensive rebounds and turned the ball over 26 times.

"Erica played with tremendous heart," VanDerveer said. "She hardly came out of the game. We need to establish her more in the half-court."

Santa Clara opened a 43-33 lead early in the fourth quarter and maintained its dominance on the offensive boards.

"That's focus," VanDerveer said. "We'll have to evaluate who can help us on the glass. We'll see whose going to learn from this. We have to be a better rebounding team."

The Cardinal drew within 43-41 with 6:50 left to play with Briana Roberson hitting a layup, followed by a 3-pointer and a Thompson 3-pointer.

Santa Clara made a pair of free throws and then Roberson, who finished with nine points, delivered a 3-pointer. She was fouled on the play and made the free throw to tie it at 45 with 6:02 remaining.

"I just let it fly," Roberson said. "I thought it was a good energy play for the team."

Santa Clara worked the advantage to 57-50 with under a minute to play, driving the lane with confidence and making four consecutive shots.

The Cardinal did have a chance to tie it in the final five seconds but a 3-point try was short.

The Broncos took a 39-31 advantage into the fourth quarter, as Stanford could not hang onto the ball, committing eight turnovers in the third period, resulting in nine points.

Stanford led for all of a minute in the first half (and 3:17 total) as the Broncos played an aggressive zone defense that prevented the Cardinal from getting the ball into the post players.

"They were very effective in the 2-3 zone," Thompson said. "There are things we can do against it and we'll learn from it."

The Stanford perimeter players were having difficulty knocking down shots, making a quarter of their attempts. Santa Clara won the turnover battle, scoring 11 points off Stanford miscues and also outscoring the Cardinal, 10-6, in second chance points.

The Cardinal kept Santa Clara from running away with it early by also clamping down defensively. Stanford was fortunate it was tied, 22-22, at halftime.

Stanford travels to the Gulf Coast Showcase this weekend in Estero, Fla., playing Missouri State (2-2) on Friday at 10:30 a.m.

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