Husky Women Trounced by Santa Clara

The Santa Clara Broncos mixed their size and quickness to perfection Saturday night and raced to a 71-56 win over the #25 ranked Washington Huskies in the championship game of the Seattle Times Classic at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

The loss was Washington's first at home since January 18th of last year against Oregon.

Santa Clara took the lead on a three pointer by Kayla Huss with 9:24 left in the first half and never trailed again thanks to the speed and quickness of their backcourt combination of Becki Ashbaugh and Caroline Gruening. The senior duo never let their team lose focus and helped preserve the victory.

Washington made several attempts to come back but every time the Broncos had an answer. The Huskies were down by as much as 12 early in the second half before cutting into the lead and getting the deficit down to three with 8:22 remaining in the game. With the Husky crowd going crazy, Santa Clara called timeout. It worked to perfection as the Broncos went on a 9-0 run in four-and-a-half minutes time and stretched the lead back out to 12 with just under four minutes remaining in the contest. The Huskies never again got closer than 10.

"During that timeout, I told the team that they had to play a 40-minute game," said Santa Clara Head Coach Chris Denker. "It took mental toughness. You've got to expect to play a long game against a team like Washington."

The Broncos were led by the 21 points of Enumclaw product Tammy Annas and the 13 from freshman Quinn Thomas, a native of Kent.

From the opening tip, the visitors from California baffled the Huskies with an uptempo game that gave the purple and gold fits. Sisters Kim and Julie Butler provided the Broncos with tough defense inside the paint and made Washington earn every point. The Huskies were held to just 28 percent shooting for the half, including a terrible 18 percent from behind the three point arc. They went to half trailing 21-29 heading into halftime.

Coming out of intermission the Broncos immediately added to their lead, getting it up to double-digits in the first two minutes of the second half. They pressured Husky point guard Giuliana Mendiola and limited her to just 2-12 shooting from the field and five points for the entire game. The freshman Thomas often got the assignment of guarding the crafty Husky sophomore ball handler, and did a nice job preventing any good looks at the basket.

"Quinn was just awesome," said Denker after the game. "Not only was she good shooting, but she played really good defense too."

The touch Bronco defense helped their offense immensely, leading to many easy opportunities at the other end of the court. Santa Clara also benefited from hot shooting from the outside, where they routinely beat the Husky zone for three point shots. They buried an amazing 10-18 for the contest.

Broncos seemed to be a step faster than the Huskies everywhere on the court and no mattter what they tried, Washington simply couldn't match Santa Clara's effort level.

No where was that more evident than on the glass, where shorter Santa Clara team managed to outrebound the Huskies 42-37 for the game, and continually capitalized with second-chance points.

"We weren't getting offensive boards," said Washington Head Coach June Daugherty. "There were too many times that the shot went up and we had two or three people getting ready to get back on defense instead of getting on the boards. We needed to get second shots and more energy on the boards."

"It's a disappointing loss. We didn't come out and play the way we did 24 hours ago. Our energy level wasn't where it needed to be."

Washington was led in scoring by Emily Autrey, who pitched in 18, and Andrea Lalum, who had 13. The 6-4 Lalum also pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.

Game Notes:

Burt Hurt: Freshman shooting guard Kayla Burt sustained a stress fracture in her left foot in the Northeastern game on Saturday and will be out 4-6 weeks. She wore a boot on the injured foot and had to use crutches to get around while watching from the bench for tonight's game.

Local Flavor: The way Santa Clara's roster looks, with seven Washingtonians, it would seem that the school was based out of Washington. The Washington native include Becki Ashbaugh from Bellevue, Tammy Annas from Enumclaw, Kayla Huss from Everett, Jennie Rondel from Redmond, sisters Kim and Julie Butler from Tacoma, Courtney Cushing from Brush Prairie, and Quinn Thomas from Kent.

The Honorable Five: After the game, the All-Tournament team was announced and included: Caroline Gruening and Tammy Annas of Santa Clara, Loree Payne and Emily Autrey of Washington, and Lauren Rigney of Princeton. Annas was named tournament MVP. Top Stories