SANTA CLARA, Calif. – After getting back in the win column last week, Santa Clara women's basketball returns to the floor for a one-game week. The Broncos travel to Provo, Utah to take on BYU on Thur., Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. Last week, Santa Clara fell at LMU before bouncing back to win at USF 69-64 behind the first career double-double from Nici Gilday. Santa Clara is now 13-11 overall and 5-6 in the West Coast Conference.
Santa Clara is 1-5 all-time vs. BYU and 0-3 on the road. Earlier this season the Cougars took down the Broncos by a final of 65-48 on Feb. 2. Ruta Zurauskyte had a double-double for Santa Clara with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
With just one game this week, Santa Clara is able to focus its attention to making adjustments in practice and getting people experience in new situations.
"Since we only have one game this week we can do some things in practice to prepare for without having Lindsay [Leo]," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "We're going to get a chance to clean some things up and maybe tweak a couple things. I also think rest is always good going into those last couple weeks."
As a team Santa Clara shoots 39.3 percent (540-1374) from the field and 31.2 percent (122-391) from deep. Ricki Radanovich leads the Broncos with 11.1 points per game and has knocked down a conference-high 56 three-pointers. She also leads the Broncos with 1.9 steals per game. Meagan Fulps averages 10.6 ppg and grabs 3.3 rebounds per game while dishing out 2.3 apg. Ruta Zurauskyte pulls down 7.0 rpg while scoring 10.0 ppg. Her 50.7 percent (96-189) leads Santa Clara and is fifth in the conference. Zurauskyte also averages 2.0 blocks per game. Raquel Avila leads the Broncos with 3.0 apg and scores 4.1 ppg to go with 3.0 rpg. She is also second on the team with 1.5 spg. Gilday has shown a complete game this year, averaging 7.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.6 apg and 1.7 spg.
"I think our depth will be our biggest advantage," said Mountain. "They're relying on three or four people and we can go deeper into our bench than they can at this point. We're going to have to play very well. This is a team that is very good and we have to make sure that we play solid and not turn the ball over."
Some of that depth was on display last week as Brooke Gallaway came off the bench at LMU to score a career-high 12 points. Vanessa Leo also had a career game, pulling in 12 boards. At USF Gallaway only attempted two shots, both from beyond the arc, and nailed them both. She finished the game with eight points.
"Brooke [Gallaway] and Vanessa [Leo] stepped up for us last week," said Mountain. "So did Nici [Gilday], stepping into the starting lineup and getting her first career double-double for us. Brooke came off the bench and was extremely solid. She was hitting shots but more importantly playing defense. Her confidence in the last week has been really good and she's stepped up and made some big shots."
The Cougars enter the week with an overall record of 16-7 and a 7-3 mark in conference play, good for third place. BYU is a perfect 11-0 at home this season. The Cougars have taken down Arizona on the road as well as Seattle at home. They lost at Washington State on Nov. 28, at Gonzaga and at Saint Mary's.
BYU shoots 41.9 percent (544-1299) from the field as a team and 34.5 percent (161-467) from three. The Cougars hold opponents to 36.1 percent (469-1299) field goal percentage, tops in the WCC.
Kim Beeston leads the Cougars with 10.5 ppg and shoots 39.6 percent (78-197) from the field and 37.3 percent (50-134) from downtown. Haley Steed leads the conference with 7.7 apg and adds 10.3 ppg. Steed leads BYU in threes made with 52 and three-point field goal percentage at 38.2 percent. She grabs 4.0 rpg and 2.2 spg. Steed also leads the WCC with a 2.7 assist to turnover ratio. Jennifer Hamson is tops on the BYU team with 7.3 rpg and she scored 8.8 ppg on 46.8 percent (58-124) shooting. Bailey Morgan comes off the bench to lead the team in field goal percentage at 52.3 percent (91-174) while scoring 9.0 ppg and brining in 5.4 rpg.
"Their point guard Haley Steed killed us the first time," said Mountain. " She's extremely talented, a smart player that's been around the game for a long time. We let her get going too early in our game at our place. It's also going to be key for us to control the tempo on the offensive end and do some things differently on defense."