After one quarter of play on Friday night, the Santa Clara Bruins and Mountain View Spartans looked like they would be locked in a tight battle for all four quarters. Santa Clara spotted the Spartans a 6-0 lead, but the Bruins bounced back by scoring 9 of the next 13 points to end the quarter.
Unfortunately for the Santa Clara supporters, the second quarter would not be as kind to their Bruins. All of a sudden Mountain View could not miss a shot and at the other end, the Bruins offense went dry. The Spartans would outscore the Bruins 20-4 in the quarter to take a 30-13 lead into halftime.
“Honestly, I just don’t think we brought out our usual intensity,” remarked Bruins Head Coach Deedee Kiyota on an eventual 51-37 loss. “Missing Hasitha [Dangeti] hurt us a little bit, but they played hard until the end, so I’m not going to discredit the effort.”
Easily the most noteworthy performance for the Bruins in the loss was the maximum effort shown by guard Vanesa Calvillo. Offensively, the junior displayed tremendous passing ability throughout the game. Calvillo was credited with four assists, but that total could have at least been doubled had the Bruins been better at finishing their layups.
However, it was on the defensive end where Calvillo really stood out. Not only did she finish with five steals, but she also had the most impressive hustle play of the game. Despite her team trailing by 22 points in the third quarter, Calvillo sprinted back and blocked what otherwise appeared to be a wide-open, fast-break layup. Not only did she block the shot, but she blocked it off the opponent and out of bounds, getting possession back for the Bruins.
“That play really brought up our overall morale,” chimed teammate Nina Llamas on Calvillo’s block. “No matter what the situation is, she’s always hustling and it brings all of us up, so it’s good to see plays like that.”
“Defensively she’s one of our spark plugs,” added coach Kiyota on Calvillo. “She’s very quick and has really good hands. She helps us out a lot.”
It’s one thing to help your team out with an athletic play defensively when the game is hotly contested on the scoreboard. But to disregard the human nature of taking the foot off the gas in a blowout is extremely impressive. So how did the junior muster up the drive to hustle back in that situation?
“I’m competitive, yes, but at the same time it’s just like we’re already down in the game, let’s just not make the deficit any bigger,” remarked Calvillo. “If we can do something to get a defensive stop, we got to do it. Just got to continue putting out that same effort no matter what the score is.”
The score really only got away from the Bruins because the Spartans started draining threes left and right. Bruins’ freshman center Mia Talalele was strong inside the paint at both ends, as points inside the paint were relatively even. It was the outside shooting that allowed the Spartans to pull away.
Santa Clara will look to get back on a winning note when they travel to Milpitas on Wednesday, Jan. 19 and then back at home two days later, on Friday against Gunn.