SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Archbishop Mitty product Lindsay Leo scored a career-high 26 points and Santa Clara's guards combined to make 14 threes en route to a 96-76 road win over Sacramento State on Thursday.
Santa Clara (7-6) broke-open a close game by closing the first half on a 16-0 run. Leo made 11 of 12 shots and pulled down 13 rebounds. The Broncos' 96 points were the seventh-most in school history.
Sacramento State (5-8) was fresh off an 87-84 home win over CSU Bakersfield Tuesday. The Hornets came in averaging over 72 points per night and continue to be the highest-scoring team in the Big Sky Conference.
It marked the non-conference finale for both teams.
"We came out and had a balanced scoring attack," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "That is something we stressed in the locker room before the game, inside-outside play. (Lindsay) had a big day for us and combined with 14 threes from our outside shooting, a great team effort."
SCU got off to a good start, leading 19-11 at the 13:30 mark of the first half after the All-WCC backcourt combination of Alyssa Shoji, Meagan Fulps and Ricki Radanovich each made 3s. The Broncos made nine 3s in the first half and their 14 makes on the day matched a season-high.
Shoji finished the day with a season-best 25 points on 7 of 9 shooting from 3-point range. The senior from Bellevue, Washington ranks among Santa Clara's all-time top 10 in several different statistical categories, including points, assists, 3PT FG, FT percentage and minutes.
Using its up-tempo style, Sacramento State responded with a flurry of quick points to even things back up, 23-23, when Sadie Clements made one of the Hornet's six first-half 3s.
The frenetic pace pushed the halftime point-total near 100. The score was tied three times in the opening half, and was the game was even at 39-39 at the 3:25 mark but SCU never trailed.
A 16-0 Bronco surge closed out the half and gave SCU a 55-39 lead at the break and SCU led by 18 in the opening moments of the second half.
Leo's spinning post-move in the paint kept SCU in command by 15 with 15:37 to play and when Kylie Kuhns dropped in a baseline jumper to close the gap to eight, it was Leo again scoring on the other end to make it 64-54 Broncos with 13:11 remaining.
"This game was so important for us, especially leading into conference," said Leo. "It was a great overall win. It started in warm-ups, we had energy right off the bat. It really was a team effort, our guards were on fire."
Radanovich made 6 threes and had 21 points, both career marks for the Diablo, Calif. native and Carondelet alumn.
However, the Hornets were relentless on the offensive end, slicing the lead down to three midway through the second half and threatened to take back all of the Bronco momentum.
But it was Leo and her teammates coming through with key baskets in front of the Santa Clara bench. Radanovich nailed a deep 3 from the wing at the 10:29 mark and then hit another at 7:55. Shoji's sixth trey came with 4:23 to play and gave the Broncos the separation they would need to leave Sacramento with a win.
"I was really proud of our effort," said Mountain. "This got us back on the right track going into conference play when we get back from Christmas."
GAME NOTES: Santa Clara's 96 points was a season-high and most since Dec. 28, 2005 ... the point-total was also the second-highest on the road in school history, approaching the all-time road scoring record of 99 set in 1991 at Portland … Alyssa Shoji needs just five more 3s to break Santa Clara's all-time 3-point shooting mark … SCU used a four-guard lineup throughout, with underclassmen Nici Gilday, Arteivia Lilomaiava and Tyler Woods first off the bench … Sacramento State entered the game 4-1 on its home floor at 'The Nest' … the two teams combined to make 25 threes.