TUCSON, Ariz. – Santa Clara women's basketball went on the road and put up a valiant effort but fell short in a 65-52 loss at Arizona Friday night.
The Broncos (1-1) held a lead at the half and carried it into the fourth but a run by the Wildcats (2-0) propelled them to a lead they wouldn't surrender.
"We're at a point as a program now where we should be really disappointed," Santa Clara head coach Bill Carr said. "We gave ourselves a chance and couldn't capitalize. If we're mature enough to learn from the good and the bad of tonight, it will be worth it."
The run that changed the game was 12-0 by Arizona to close out the third and open the fourth that made it a four-point lead for the Wildcats. Aari McDonald's scored five of the points with Dominique McBryde's triple at 7:56 making the score 50-46.
Sam Thomas and Lucia Alonso hit back-to-back 3-pointers later in the quarter to stretch the lead to 59-50 and Arizona was in control the rest of the way.
"They got some momentum and made some shots" Carr said. "We had some breakdowns; it was a combination of things. We put ourselves in a position to win but couldn't close it out."
McDonald finished with a game high 20 points thanks to going 10-for-12 from the free throw line. Thomas added 17 on 7-for-14 shooting from the field to go with a game-high eight rebounds.
Trailing by 11 early in the second, Santa Clara outscored the Wildcats 16-2 over the final nine minutes of the quarter to take a 27-24 lead into the break. Merle Wiehl led the way with eight points and Tia Hay drilled a pair of 3-pointers to close out the half.
Wiehl scored a team leading 15 points and was 6-for-10 from the floor with Hay scoring 14. Lauren Yearwood added 10 points as well.
"Once we got settled down, I thought we really started to play," Carr said. "Our offense definitely got going. I also thought we defended well for 34 minutes tonight."
Santa Clara didn't hit a field goal for the final 5:29 of the first quarter, getting just three free throws, while Arizona rattled off a 12-3 run to close the period and turn a tie game into a 20-11 Bronco deficit.
- Santa Clara is now 1-3 all-time against Arizona.
- The Broncos shot a combined 54.5-percent from the field in the second and third quarters but just 27.2-percent in the first and fourth quarters.
The Broncos return home for their final game at Leavey Center in November and take on San Jose State Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
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