Another Late Push Comes Up Short
Deanna Johnson led LMU with 19 points and Taylor Anderson chipped in a career-high 13.
Jan. 4, 2014
LOS ANGELES - A slow start that led to a double-digit deficit early came back to haunt the LMU women's basketball team Saturday afternoon against Santa Clara. Despite a strong second half of play, the Lions saw a late rally fall just short for a second straight outing, falling 69-65 in West Coast Conference action.
Santa Clara's Nici Gilday led all scorers with a career-high 34 points on 10-of-20 from the field and 13-of-13 from the free throw line. Raquel Avila chopped in 15 for the Broncos who finished shooting 38 percent from the field and 89 percent from the charity stripe (25-for-28).
LMU made just 10 trips to the free throw line, hitting 6-of-10. Leslie Lopez-Wood gave the Lions three double-digit scorers, scoring 12 points off the bench.
With 7:57 remaining in the game, Lopez-Wood nailed her second three pointer to give the Lions their first lead of the game, 49-48.
Avila would answer with a three, followed by a Kerins jumper to knot the score at 51-51. A Gilday jumper and Ruta Zurauskyte opened back up a three-point advantage for the Broncos with just under six minutes to play.
The Lions would cut the spread to a single point once more, 58-57, with 3:21 on the clock, but Santa Clara would go a perfect 11-for-11 from the free throw line to hold on for the win.
This marked LMU's eighth game this season decided by five points or fewer. The Lions are just 1-7 in those meetings.
A ragged start saw the Lions turn the ball over six times in their fist 11 possessions, while managing just two buckets as the Broncos built a 16-4 lead with 11:34 remaining in the first half.
Santa Clara would push its lead to as many as 14 points in the opening period. Trailing 31-19 with 2:39 remaining, a Kerins layup and Lopez-Wood three, along with a pair of quality defensive stops, gave the Lions momentum headed into the break.
LMU continued to push as the second half opened, trimming the spread to three early in the second half with back-to-back buckets by Johnson and Taylor, 33-30.
Anderson scored 10 straight for LMU midway through the half as the Lions' momentum built. Her final bucket of the 10-point stretch left the Lions trailing by just two, 46-44, with 9:36 to go.
LMU returns to action Saturday, Jan. 11, facing off against PCH Cup Rival Pepperdine in Malibu. Tip off at Firestone Fieldhouse is scheduled for 2 p.m.