MALIBU, Calif. – In a game dominated by defense, Santa Clara women's basketball took down Pepperdine on the road by a final of 38-36. The win moves the Broncos to 11-6 overall and 3-1 in conference play while Pepperdine moves to 4-11 overall and 1-3 in conference with the loss.
Santa Clara shot 28.1% (16-57) from the field but was just 1-14 from deep and the team only went 5-16 from the charity stripe. Ruta Zurauskyte led the team with 10 points on 5-12 shooting while pulling down seven boards. Nici Gilday also had seven boards and scored six points on 3-8 shooting. Raquel Avila and Ricki Radanovich each had eight points. Radanovich shot 3-11 and had the lone Santa Clara three-ball while Avila pulled down career-high 10 rebounds and added four steals.
Pepperdine shot 23.1% (15-65) from the field and 4-16 from downtown. Shay Cooney-Williams scored a game-high 11 points on 4-10 shooting including 3-9 from deep and Emerson scored 10 points on 5-12 from the field. Kelsey Patrick shot 2-11 and had six points while grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds.
"Our defense was great," said Bronco head coach Jennifer Mountain. "When you hold a team to 36 points, chances are you're winning a basketball game. I loved the first five minutes. I thought we came out and played really well on both ends of the floor and our energy was exactly where we wanted. That's something we've been emphasizing because we've been starting slow."
Zurauskyte got the scoring started at 19:26 when she made a layup to put the Broncos on top 2-0. The Broncos would go on to an 8-0 run over the first four and a half minutes of the game behind two buckets each from Zurauskyte and Gilday.
Pepperdine got on the board at 15:23 on a layup by Amanda Lovely and Cooney-Williams followed with a three to cut the lead to 8-5 Santa Clara with 14:44 left in the first half.
After Avila converted a three-point play to put Santa Clara up 13-5 with 13:48 remaining, both teams went scoreless for the next two minutes until Emerson knocked down a jumper for the Waves to make it 13-7.
The Waves scored two more baskets to get within two at 13-11 at the 8:30 mark but a layup by Radanovich and a jump shot from Zurauskyte put the Broncos back out in front by six at 17-11 with five and a half minutes to go in the first half.
Santa Clara was able to extend its lead out to eight with one and a half minutes in the half but Patrick knocked down two free throws with just over a minute remaining to put the score at 21-15 Broncos and that is where the score stayed until the half.
Zurauskyte led the way for Santa Clara in the first half with eight points on 4-8 shooting. She also pulled down six boards, tied with Gilday for the team-lead. Gilday added six points on 3-7 shooting. Radanovich added four points and Avila had three to round out the first half scoring for the Broncos. As a team Santa Clara shot 32.3% (10-31) from the field and pulled down 25 rebounds while forcing nine Waves turnovers.
Emerson led Pepperdine with six first half points on 3-8 shooting while Kelsey Patrick scored four points and had a game-high eight first half rebounds. Cooney-Williams hit the only three of the first half and had three points. The Waves shot just 19.4% (6-31) from the field in the first half.
Pepperdine started the second half on a 7-0 run over the first three minutes to take its first lead of the game at 22-21. A three by Cooney-Williams and a couple of jumpers fueled the run.
Santa Clara got on the board with a jumper by Leo to retake the lead 23-22 at the 16-minute mark.
Avila followed with back-to-back layups to put Santa Clara back up by five at 27-22.
Radanovich hit the first Bronco three of the night with 11:32 remaining to put Santa Clara up 32-26.
With Santa Clara up 36-31 with 3:46 left on the clock, Ea Shoushtari hit a three to get the game within two points at 36-34.
After a Radanovich free throw made the score 37-34, Emerson cut the Waves' deficit to one with a layup with 44 seconds remaining.
Meagan Fulps hit a free throw with two seconds left and the Broncos came away with a 38-36 victory.