SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Finishing its four-game road trip, Santa Clara women's basketball heads to Utah Valley for a game Sat., Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. Pacific vs. the Wolverines. The Broncos are 2-6 on the season after falling at Fresno State on Dec. 8. Next week Santa Clara will host a Barefoot Coaching game to bring in shoe donations for the needy.
"We need to score the ball," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "We've gotten ourselves in situations where we're getting decent shots but not scoring the ball. We need to have some patience and make sure we get into a better flow instead of taking some of the shots we've been taking. It's something we started to work on this week in practice so now we have to carry it over to the game."
Santa Clara is averaging 66.9 points per game and is shooting 40.6% (195-480) from the field. The Broncos are shooting 24.6% (32-130) from deep and 72.0% (113-157) from the free throw line. They are averaging 43.4 rebounds per game, 16.5 assists per game, 21.0 turnovers per game, 5.9 steals per game and 1.5 blocks per game.
"I think we have the overall size advantage," said Mountain. "They have a player that is 6-5 but we have better size than they do. They do have some good pieces and are a team that is right on the edge of putting things together. This is an important game for us to get things going before we head into the final weekend of non conference play."
Nici Gilday leads the Broncos with 13.5 ppg on 37.1% (43-116) shooting from the field. Gilday adds 3.9 rpg, 2.8 apg and 1.8 spg while playing a team-high 31.1 minutes per game. Vanessa Leo leads the team with 7.8 rpg while scoring 9.1 ppg on 49.2% (29-59) shooting. Leo is tied for the team lead with five blocks. Ruta Zurauskyte has seen action in all eight games and is averaging 6.1 ppg and 2.3 rpg while shooting 55.6% (20-36) from the floor.
Of the 40 starts for Santa Clara in 2013, 20 have been made by true freshmen. Montana Walters and Jo Paine, both from Oregon City, Ore., have started each game they have played while Marie Bertholdt of Alameda, Calif. has started five games and played in all eight.
Paine has started all eight games and is second on the team with 9.9 ppg while adding 4.3 rpg. Paine is shooting 48.3% (29-60) from the floor.
Walters had started all seven games she has played and leads the team with 3.3 apg while scoring 6.6 ppg. Walters leads the team with 12 three's made and is adding 3.1 rpg.
Bertholdt has started the last five games and has played in all eight. She is averaging 8.9 ppg and 5.1 rpg while shooting a team-best 62.5% (20-232) from the floor. Bertholdt also leads the team in free throws made (31) and attempted (40) while shooting 77.5% (31-40) from the charity stripe.
Santa Clara is 1-0 all-time vs. Utah Valley. Last season the teams met in the Leavey Center with the Broncos winning 80-67.
"Utah Valley has a good inside-outside attack," said Mountain. "They haven't had a lot of success yet but are the cusp of winning a lot of games, just like us. We've got to do a good job on Katie Kuklok, a transfer from San Diego who has been scoring a lot of points for them. Their guards are the go-to people but I think it's going to be about us getting in an offensive flow and brining that energy on defense for 40 minutes. We'll also have to do a good job of winning the battle of the boards."
Utah Valley enters the week with a 1-8 mark and is coming off losses at Boise State and Weber State. The Wolverines are scoring 71.0 ppg while shooting 42.5% (221-520) from the field. They shoot 38.6% (51-132) from deep and 72.3% (146-202) from the free throw line. Utah Valley averages 38.2 rpg, 14.0 apg, 16.2 tpg, 7.3 spg and 2.4 bpg.
"We're going to make them put the ball on the ground," said Mountain. "They like to shoot the ball instead of create, which is different than some of the teams we've played so far and a better matchup for us athletically. We need to not allow them to take so many shots and force them to try and create a little bit more."
Katie Kuklok leads the Wolverines with 19.9 ppg on 51.4% (56-109) shooting from the field and an impressive 50.7% (36-71) from deep. Kuklok leads the team in free throw percentage at 91.2% (31-34). She is second on the team with 6.0 rpg and averages 1.9 apg. Tina Doughty is second on the team with 13.7 ppg on 34.5% (41-119) shooting from the floor. Doughty adds 4.6 rpg and is second with 2.7 apg. Karlee Kartchner is tops on the team with 7.8 rpg while scoring 9.6 ppg. Georgia Agnew leads Utah Valley with 4.4 apg and is scoring 6.0 ppg with 3.4 rpg.