SANTA CLARA, Calif. – In their final exhibition before officially beginning the season Friday, Nov. 9 against UC Irvine, the Broncos of Santa Clara used a 16-4 run opening the second half to beat visiting Sonoma State 74-54.
Santa Clara drilled Division III UC Santa Cruz by 48 points Thursday night, but Division II Sonoma State hung tough through the first 20 minutes, trailing by just six at the half, 42-36.
Ricki Radanovich (pictured) drained a 3-ball immediately following the break and back-to-back baskets from Raquel Avila and Ashley Armstrong helped SCU extend the run and its lead to 18, 58-40, with 11:50 left.
"It was our defense, our defense fueled what we were doing offensively," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain when asked about her team's second-half run. "We are playing a lot of people in these types of games, but our core group at that point took control."
Preseason all-league forward Lindsay Leo scored 12 of her 14 points in the first half and finished the afternoon with 10 rebounds. Junior center Ruta Zurauskyte had 12 points as well, and added seven boards. Radanovich made three 3s and scored 11.
The Broncos shot 50.9 percent from the floor, but turned the ball over 22 times.
Sonoma State – who had not played an exhibition this season – went 6 for 13 on the day from long range to stay in it during the opening half. Senior guard Alyssa Ito and junior forward Kristina Fahey each scored 10 to pace the Seawolves offensively.
Following the SCU surge immediately following the intermission, the game's outcome was never in question. Two Zurauskyte free throws with 10:10 gave the Broncos its largest lead of the night at 63-43.
"I thought we definitely picked it up on defense in the second half," said Leo. "That helped us pull away, but we need to work on our rebounding and communication out on the floor. We have some tough competition coming up and those two things will be big for us."
Sunday's game marked the fourth consecutive year SCU and Sonoma State have played an early-season game at the Leavey Center. In 2008-09, SCU beat SSU 73-43 in its regular-season opener. The past two years have seen the Broncos win 62-45 and 62-49 in exhibition play.
The SCU women's schedule has the Broncos hosting five straight games to open the year in November, which includes next week's games against UC Irvine (Fri., Nov. 9) and Stanford (Sun., Nov. 11).
For tickets or more information call the SCU ticket office at 408-554-4660 or visit the Bronco Ticket Zone online and take the Leavey Center Virtual Tour to preview your seats.