For the rebuilding Bruins, Wednesday’s first quarter against Wilcox went as well as they could have hoped for. Santa Clara is ranked 663rd in the state this season while the surging Chargers are ranked 100. The final score was not a friendly swap of numbers for the Bruins. Wilcox would eventually win 73-37, but the game was tied 17-17 after the first quarter.
“We got off to a great start and then I don’t know what happened,” said Bruins Head Coach Deedee Kiyota.
Bruins’ sophomore sharpshooter Annie Liu paced the Bruins early, knocking down a deep two and a pair of threes with Santa Clara jumping out to a 12-5 lead.
“After her first couple points they definitely clamped down on her,” added coach Kiyota on Liu. “They shut her down after that, but I still thought we were in it. I don’t know if we started playing scared or what.”
“I feel like we were all feeling our shots early, but later on we started to fade out,” chimed Liu. “We played really good defense in the beginning and we knew we could win. I feel like we were still in it come the second quarter, but after halftime it got away from us.”
Liu’s older sister Bonnie Liu finished off the second quarter with an acrobatic, buzzer-beating layup to pull the Bruins back within 11 at 34-23. The Bruins would get no closer, though, as Wilcox would dominate the second half. The Chargers outscored Santa Clara 39-14 over the final two quarters.
Leading the way for Wilcox from the get go was their usual go-to scorer in senior guard Anna Neeley. After falling behind early at 12-5, it was Neeley leading the charge during a 10-0 Chargers’ run.
“She creates a lot, she makes us go,” said Chargers Head Coach Justin Fujihara on his star guard. “When she makes big plays it gets everybody else into the game too. She wants to make everyone better around her, she’s a facilitator, she creates shots for herself and for other people.”
Even in a lopsided game towards the end, Neeley, fellow captain Elise Corwin, and the rest of the Chargers’ starters were cheering on their teammates, who were getting extra playing time. The entire bench nearly rose in unison at one point late in the fourth quarter. They were preparing to erupt in cheers on a rare three-point shot attempt from sophomore center Amanda McDowell.
“She has always been wanting to shoot a three, she jokes about it a lot” chuckled Neeley on McDowell. “She got it up there, but unfortunately I think it was an air ball.”
Wilcox will continue their league season with games at Palo Alto on Jan. 18 and Saratoga on Jan. 25. Santa Clara meanwhile is at Los Gatos on Jan. 18 and at home against Mountain View on Jan. 23.