SPOKANE, Wash. – No. 23 Gonzaga opened the game by making 10 of 12 shots and went on to beat visiting Santa Clara 87-55 in front of 5,529 fans at the McCarthey Athletic Center Thursday night.
Leading by 14 at halftime, Gonzaga (23-4; 12-2 WCC) received 19 points from Australian native Kelly Bowen, who went 7 of 8 from the floor, and senior classmate Kayla Standish had 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Santa Clara (10-16; 3-10 WCC) plays at Portland on Saturday night, a game that figures to impact both team's seeding in the upcoming WCC tournament. Guards Alyssa Shoji and Ricki Radanovich combined to make six 3s for the Broncos.
Radanovich finished the game with 12 points and Shoji had 11.
SCU trailed 23-9 after eight minutes, getting all their initial points off 3s from Shoji, Radanovich and Meagan Fulps. The Zags then reeled off a 9-0 run to build up a 23-point lead with 8:30 left before halftime. Bowen scored eight points early on, making all three of her attempts in the first half.
Shoji dropped in back-to-back jumpers and Radanovich converted an old-fashioned 3-point play for SCU just before halftime but the Zags would lead 45-31 at the break.
"The last five minutes of that first half, we played well and got back into it," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "We just did not come out right away with the confidence we need to beat this team."
GU scored the first seven points following the intermission before Shoji made her third triple, then dished to Lindsay Leo for an easy basket, which made it 52-36 with 16:42 left.
True freshman Nici Gilday made an impact by grabbing six rebounds for SCU, but the rebounding advantage was decisively in favor of Gonzaga 45-32.
The Zags went on a 7-0 run midway through the second half to put the game out of reach. Sunny Greinacher scored five of those points and Standish added two others.
GAME NOTES: Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain played at Gonzaga (1987-91) and was an assistant coach there (2001-08) … Santa Clara entered the game in sixth place in the WCC standings and is trying to hold its position over Portland, LMU and San Francisco.