Women's Hoops Moves into First Place in WCC with 26-point Victory

Jan. 27, 2001

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara returned to the top of the West Coast Conference standings after defeating Gonzaga 74-48 tonight at the Leavey Center.

Santa Clara improves to 14-4 overall, 5-1 in WCC action, and moves into first place after Saint Mary's fell to Pepperdine earlier tonight 58-46, to fall to 4-2 in league play. Gonzaga falls to 5-14 on the season, and remain winless in the WCC at 0-6. The Broncos now lead the all-time series over the Bulldogs 20-8.

The Broncos held Gonzaga to 32 percent shooting and, at one point, sustained a 34-point lead in the second half as they solidified first place after six WCC contests. Additionally, the 10 three-pointers Santa Clara posted was a season high and just three short of a team best, set last season against Gonzaga.

Junior Becki Ashbaugh capped a 12-0 Santa Clara run that opened up a 15-5 Bronco lead as she nailed a three-pointer at the 14:34 mark in the first half. The Bulldogs' Triana Allen brought the Zags to within four (18-14) with her own shot from behind the arc with 11:34 to play, after trailing by 10 points just minutes earlier.

The Broncos closed the first half with a 17-5 run that gave them a 38-21 advantage. The Zags headed into the lockers facing a 17-point deficit as the Broncos held the Zags leader in scoring and rebounds, Jessica Malone, to just five points on 1-of-4 shooting in the first half. Santa Clara forced 15 Bulldog turnovers while recording seven steals. Malone was limited to just 13 minutes in the first half as she picked up two quick fouls in the early going.

Santa Clara shot 43 percent on 12-of-28 shooting in the first half, with six of those scores from behind the arc. SCU's three-point attack was led by three 3s from senior Kim Sorenson as her nine first-half points were all from downtown.

Santa Clara began the second half on a 13-2 run that was capped on a layup from sophomore Kendra Rhea. The Broncos' scoring spree opened up a 51-23 advantage with 13:59 remaining.

The Broncos stretched their lead to a 31-point margin, 58-27, as Julie Butler hit a jumper with 10:55 left in the game. The Bulldogs couldn't close the gap any closer than 26 the rest of the way.

Santa Clara finished with four players in double figures. Ashbaugh led the Broncos with 14 points while Caroline Gruening, Kendra Rhea, and Julie Butler chipped in with 13, 12 and 10, respectively. Allen led the Bulldogs with 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Gonzaga's Bernice Stime added 10 rebounds. Malone finished her night with 11 points and five turnovers.

The Broncos remain at home for its next conference game, a midweek contest against San Diego on Wednesday, Jan. 31. The game will begin at 7 p.m. at the Leavey Center.