Santa Clara “plays with a little fire” to defeat UCSB and recover from season-opening loss
— Santa Clara Women's Basketball (@Santaclarawbb) November 15, 2017
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Senior guard Kyla Martin and junior guard Dru Toleafoa led Santa Clara (1-1) in recovering from a season-opening loss over the weekend to defeat UC Santa Barbara 68-63 Tuesday night. Martin and Toleafoa had 17 points each for the Broncos. Martin also dished out 11 assists to give her a double-double for the night. Her point total was a career high.
It was a hard-fought win for Santa Clara but in the words of head coach Bill Carr “the team played with a little fire” in contrast to their performance Saturday night when they lost 73-69 to a smaller yet feisty Cal State Fullerton squad.
“I think Saturday night’s game was on all of us,” Carr said. “I think maybe gave them too much information going into the game and sometimes when you’re thinking you’re not moving. So, we all had to learn from that one. It’s on everybody. Tonight, I thought we just played and played harder and it looked like it mattered to us and I think that was the difference.”
Even as the Broncos led for most of the game, the Santa Clara (1-1) was never far behind, always just a few shots or less from tying the game up. Martin, who started in place of leading scorer junior Emily Wolph who is injured, had no turnovers during the game.
Senior guard Taylor Berry was also instrumental in Santa Clara’s effort with gutsy play on both ends of the court. She contributed 10 points and a game-high seven rebounds before fouling out at 1:32 in the fourth quarter.
“She was really good on the boards tonight, gave us extra plays and put backs,” Carr said about Berry.
The Broncos got off to an early 4-0 lead with shots from senior forward Megan McGwire and Toleafoa.
The Gauchos quickly responded to tie the game up, going on a 6-0 run to take a 10-4 lead. Martin contributed six points to help the Broncos tie the game again. Free throws from sophomore forward Tamia Braggs gave the Santa Clara the lead at 3:08 in the first quarter. Junior guard Andraya Flor capped the period with a three-point shot to give the Broncos a 16-18 lead heading into the second quarter.
Santa Clara built up a seven-point lead to start the second ten minutes before UCSB began to retaliate. A 7-2 run from the Gauchos put them within two of their opponent but the Broncos did not falter. Santa Clara went into break with a six-point lead after a layup from McGwire.
It seemed as if Santa Clara was firmly in control in the third quarter, outscoring UCSB 17-14 and building up a double-digit lead late in the period. However, during the last ten minutes of the game, UCSB fought hard to outscore the Broncos 18-14. While it was not enough to take the lead, it did put them within three points of Santa Clara in the last minute of the contest.
Senior forward Drew Edelman led UCSB with 23 points plus six rebounds. She was the only Gaucho to score in double figures.
Santa Clara will face another tough test at the end of the week when they host Pac-12 school USC at the Leavey Center. The Broncos will follow with a road trip to Chicago to play Big Ten school Northwestern and Horizon League institution Illinois-Chicago.
UCSB heads home to host Seattle on Friday.
By the Numbers