SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Continuing its four-game home stand, Santa Clara women's basketball will hosts Saint Mary's Thurs., Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. and Pacific Sat., Jan. 11 at 2 p.m. Last week Santa Clara dropped two games at home, including a tight battle vs. Saint Mary's. The Broncos are now 6-10 overall and 2-3 in West Coast Conference play.
"We have to have a better effort in both games," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "In Thursday's game we had a great effort but in Saturday's it wasn't quite there. Competing for 40 minutes in both of these upcoming contests is huge. We've also got to do a better job on the defensive end. We need to not let people get by us and our rotations have got to improve. We're scoring the ball well enough but we need to defend the basket."
Sunday's game vs. Gonzaga will be broadcast live on TheW.tv and will be called by George Devine. It will also be Santa Clara's Roaring Red-Out game. Fans are encouraged to wear red to show their Bronco pride.
"Having fan support and that energy in the gym is crucial and the more the better," said Mountain. "Especially against good teams, that home court advantage is sort of like having a sixth man. Having fans in the stands is really important."
Santa Clara is averaging 71.1 points per game and is shooting 42.6% (402-944) from the field. The Broncos are shooting 28.0% (70-250) from deep and 74.5% (263-353) from the free throw line. They are averaging 41.6 rebounds per game, 15.9 assists per game, 20.2 turnovers per game, 5.8 steals per game, and 3.0 blocks per game.
Nici Gilday leads the Broncos with 15.4 ppg, sixth in the WCC, on 40.3% (89-221) shooting from the field. Gilday adds 3.4 rpg while playing a team-high 32.8 minutes per game. She also leads the team in free throw percentage with an 83.6% mark while placing second in makes (51) and attempts (61). Over the course of four games, Gilday made 26 straight from the free throw line, including 13-13 at LMU. Vanessa Leo is second on the team with 5.7 rpg while scoring 7.7 ppg on 43.8% (42-96) shooting. Ruta Zurauskyte has seen action in all 16 games and is third on the team with 10.4 ppg and adds 4.8 rpg while shooting 58.0% (65-112) from the floor, second in the conference. Zurauskyte leads the Broncos with 19 blocks.
After missing 14 games with a broken wrist suffered in practice, senior guard Ricki Radanovich returned to the floor vs. Pacific and immediately made her presences felt. Radanovich scored 11 points on 4-6 shooting and 2-4 from deep with two steals and a rebound.
"I'm really pleased because Ricki's not playing tentatively and isn't scared of contact," said Mountain. "Having her back automatically brings a three-point threat that we haven't really had since she's been gone. We have players that can shoot the three but just standing around the floor, people have to respect her range. That and her leadership are huge. She's done a nice job off the floor but with her back out there I think it will make a big difference."
Of the 80 starts for Santa Clara in 2013, 39 have been made by true freshmen. Jo Paine from Oregon City, Ore., Montana Walters, also from Oregon City, Ore. and Marie Bertholdt of Alameda, Calif. have started 16, seven, and 13 games, respectively.
Paine has started every game and is second on the team with 11.2 ppg while adding 5.3 rpg. She had her first career double-double at Pepperdine on Jan. 2 when she set career highs with 28 points and 14 rebounds. Paine is shooting 46.7% (63-135) from the floor and leads the team with 22 threes made.
Walters has started seven games and leads the team with 3.0 apg while scoring 5.8 ppg. Walters is adding 2.6 rpg and has hit 13 threes.
Bertholdt has started the last 13 games and has played in all 16. She is averaging 8.3 ppg and a team-high 6.1 rpg while shooting 57.1% (40-70) from the floor. She set a career-high with 10 rebounds at Pepperdine on Jan. 2 and followed it up with 10 more at LMU on Jan. 4. Bertholdt also leads the team in free throws made (52) and attempted (67), good for a 77.6% mark from the charity stripe.
Santa Clara is 34-29 all-time vs. Portland and 18-12 at the Leavey Center. Last season the Broncos won at Portland 59-58 but fell at home 71-68.
The Pilots enter the week with a 9-7 overall mark and a 2-3 mark in WCC play. They are 6-3 at home but just 3-4 on the road. Last week Portland beat San Diego 72-51 at home but fell 75-68 to BYU. The Pilots have lost twice in a row just once this season and their longest winning streak was three in a row.
Portland is averaging 70.0 ppg and is shooting 39.5% (389-984) from the field. The Pilots are shooting 32.6% (99-304) from deep and 73.9% (243-329) from the free throw line. They are averaging 40.1 rpg, 13.6 apg, 15.7 tpg, 8.1 spg, and 4.3 bpg.
Cassandra Brown leads Portland with 15.1 ppg despite starting just two of 16 games. Brown is shooting 42.4% (81-191) from the field and 34.2% (25-73) from deep while adding 5.4 rpg. Kari Luttinen scores 13.1 ppg on 39.3% (77-196) shooting and leads the Pilots in threes made (26) and attempted (78), good for a 33.3% mark. She adds 3.9 rpg and 1.4 spg. Jasmine Wooton scores 13.0 ppg on 44.9% (66-147) shooting with 3.2 rpg and a team-high 3.9 apg. Amy Pupa leads the team with 7.3 rpg while scoring 6.9 ppg and Cassandra Thompson grabs 7.1 rpg with 8.7 ppg.
Santa Clara is 27-29 all-time vs. Gonzaga and 16-12 at the Leavey Center. Last season the Broncos dropped both games to Gonzaga, 70-55 at home at 79-50 on the road.
The Bulldogs enter the week with a 14-3 overall mark and a 4-1 mark in WCC play. They are 9-0 at home and 5-3 on the road. Last week Gonzaga topped BYU and San Diego at home to move into first place in the WCC. The Zags' losses have come to two ranked teams (at No. 25Oklahoma and at No. 4 Stanford) and at Saint Mary's in overtime.
Gonzaga is averaging 74.4 ppg and is shooting 44.3% (495-1118) from the field. The Zags are shooting 30.6% (92-301) from deep and 64.0% (183-286) from the free throw line. They are averaging 42.8 rpg, 16.3 apg, 13.4 tpg, 11.7 spg, and 5.2 bpg.
Haiden Palmer leads Gonzaga with 15.3 ppg on 44.3% (112-253) shooting from the field. Palmer also leads the Zags with 54 steals and is second on the team with 5.2 5.2 rpg. Sunny Greinacher is scoring 11.9 ppg on a team-best 56.7% (89-157) shooting with a team-best 5.6 rpg. Greinacher also leads the team with 20 blocks. Jazmine Redmon leads Gonzaga with 65 assists while scoring 4.4 ppg and adding 2.9 rpg.