SPOKANE, Wash. – Continuing the opening weekend of West Coast Conference play, Santa Clara women's basketball fell to defending WCC champions Gonzaga by a final of 79-50. With the loss the Broncos are now 9-6 overall and 1-1 in conference play while Gonzaga moves to 12-4 overall and 2-0 in the WCC.
Santa Clara returns to the court on Thur., Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. vs. LMU in its 2013 conference home-opener.
Lindsay Leo led the Broncos on offense with 16 points on 7-14 shooting from the field. Leo also grabbed a team-high six rebounds and had three blocks. Arteivia Lilomaiava scored nine points on 4-5 shooting and Ruta Zurauskyte and Nici Gilday each added seven points. Raquel Avila pulled down five rebounds. The Broncos shot 36.4% (20-55 from the field and 3-8 from downtown.
The Zags were led by Haiden Palmer who had a game-high 17 points on 8-12 shooting. Taelor Karr scored 15 on 5-8 shooting and Sunny Greeinacher had 11 points on 4-7 shooting. Kiara Kudron pulled down eight boards while Jazmine Redmon and Shleby Cheslek each had seven. As a team Gonzaga shot 48.5% (32-66) from the field and 7-16 from deep.
"We did not come out and do what we needed to do right from the tip," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "We needed to take care of the basketball and not allow transition buckets but four out of our first five possessions were turnovers and you can't win doing that against a team of this caliber. I thought the second half we came out and competed but in that first half they took us out of what we wanted to do."
Gonzaga started the game on an 8-0 over the first two and a half minutes of the game. Gonzaga had two steals and two fast break layups during the run.
Santa Clara got on the board at the 17:19 mark when Fulps made a layup from the paint to bring the score to 8-2.
The Zags continued to dominate the game and scored 10 unanswered points to push the lead to 18-2. Karr nailed a three to start the run at 16:51 and Palmer scored back-to-back buckets on a layup and a jumper.
Zurauskyte scored the second Bronco basket at 13:51 to make the score 18-4.
After Palmer nailed a three, Santa Clara went on a 5-0 run behind a three from Nici Gilday and a jumper from Lindsay Leo. The run made the score 21-9 Gonzaga with 11:47 remaining in the first half.
The Bulldogs' defense stepped up and didn't allow another Santa Clara basket for over seven minutes. The Zags used good inside play to go on an 11-0 run and push the lead out to 32-9 before Leo made a layup in the paint with 4:41 left in the half.
Leo hit a jumper in the lane and Ashley Armstrong nailed a three for the Broncos but Gonzaga continued to score quickly and ended the half on a 15-5 run that put them up 47-17 at the half.
Leo led Santa Clara in the first half with six points on 3-7 shooting while grabbing two rebounds. Gilday and Armstrong each scored three points while Avila pulled down a team-high three rebounds. The Broncos shot 28.0% (7-25) from the field and 2-4 from deep.
The Zags were led by Palmer with 13 points on 6-9 shooting and Karr with 10 points on 4-6 shooting and 2-3 from three. Greinacher added nine points and pulled down four boards, tied with Cheslek for second on the team. Redmon had a team-best five first half rebounds and scored five points. Gonzaga shot 52.8% (19-36) from the field and 5-10 from deep.
After Chesklek hit a jumper to start the second half, Santa Clara went on a 5-0 run fueled by three free throws and a jumper by Fulps. The run got the score to 49-22 Zags with 16:54 remaining in the game.
Gonzaga got the lead to a game-high 36 points with 8:20 remaining on a jumper by Elle Tinkle.
A three pointer by Brooke Gallaway with 56 seconds remaining cut the lead the 26 points at 75-49 but time ran out and Gonzaga won the game by a final of 79-50.