SANTA CLARA, Calif. – At the midway point of the conference season, Santa Clara women's basketball heads to the Northwest to take on Gonzaga and Portland. The Broncos face Gonzaga Thurs., Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. and Portland Sat., Feb. 1 at 1 p.m. Last week Santa Clara fell on the road to San Diego and BYU. The Broncos are 7-13 overall this season and 3-6 in West Coast Conference play.
"We need to get back to competing this week," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "I don't think we played particularly poorly last week but I think we just didn't play up to our ability. Going on road trip to two tough environments and following the games we've had with these teams this year means we're going to have to play well."
Santa Clara is averaging 68.3 points per game and is shooting 41.4% (471-1138) from the field. The Broncos are shooting 29.5% (90-305) from deep and 75.9% (334-440) from the free throw line. They are averaging 40.3 rebounds per game, 14.8 assists per game, 20.2 turnovers per game, 6.0 steals per game, and 2.8 blocks per game.
"The last couple of days we've just been focusing on ourselves in practice and getting that competitive spirit back," said Mountain. "Defensively we need to bring that intensity and get stops while also making shots on offense. We didn't put those together last week even though we had looks. We need to get that consistency and have people step up their game and be a little more productive."
Nici Gilday leads the Broncos with 14.6 ppg, sixth in the WCC, on 39.4% (100-254) shooting from the field. Gilday adds 335 rpg while playing a team-high 32.7 minutes per game. She also leads the team in free throw percentage with an 85.2% mark while leading in makes (69) and attempts (81). 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 5.2 rpg while scoring 6.7 ppg on 39.0% (46-118) shooting. Ruta Zurauskyte has seen action in all 20 games, starting the last 12, and is third on the team with 10.3 ppg and adds 4.9 rpg while shooting 55.6% (79-142) from the floor, second in the conference. Zurauskyte leads the Broncos with 20 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.
Radanovich is averaging 7.5 ppg and 3.3 rpg while hitting 10 threes, already fourth on the team. She has added eight assists, three blocks, and five steals as well.
Of the 100 starts for Santa Clara in 2013, 47 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 20, seven, and 17 games, respectively.
Paine has started every game and is second on the team with 10.6 ppg while adding 5.1 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 45.3% (73-161) from the floor and leads the team with 28 threes made.
Walters has started seven games and averages 2.7 apg while scoring 6.1 ppg. She is adding 2.3 rpg and has hit 16 threes. Walters returned from injury at San Diego on Jan. 23 for the first time since. Dec. 30.
Bertholdt has started the last 17 games and has played in all 20. She is averaging 7.7 ppg and a team-high 5.9 rpg while shooting 56.3% (45-80) 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 is second on the team in free throws made (63) and attempted (78), good for a 80.8% mark from the charity stripe.
"We'll be facing two very good basketball teams that have either been ranked or made it to the NCAA Tournament recently," said Mountain. "Having played well against both these teams earlier in the year gives us a little bit of confidence. Our players understand they can't afford to take plays off and they have to play well. I'm looking forward to getting a second shot at both these teams and hopefully we put it all together and play well."
Santa Clara is 27-30 all-time vs. Gonzaga with the first meeting coming in 1987-88. Earlier this season Gonzaga took down Santa Clara at the Leavey Center 67-61.
The Bulldogs enter the week with a record of 18-3 and are in first place in the WCC at 8-1 in conference action. They are 9-0 at home this season with two of their three losses coming vs. ranked teams. Last week Gonzaga had to go to overtime to beat LMU and topped Pepperdine on the road.
Gonzaga is averaging 74.3 ppg and is shooting 43.4% (600-1382) from the field. The Bulldogs are shooting 31.2% (118-378) from deep and 65.2% (242-371) from the free throw line. They are averaging 42.8 rpg, 15.8 apg, 13.7 tpg, 12.0 spg, and 4.7 bpg.
Haiden Palmer leads Gonzaga with 16.1 ppg on 45.8% (143-312) shooting from the field and 35.1% (27-77) shooting from deep. Palmer adds 5.3 rpg and 2.0 apg while leading the conference with 3.0 spg. Sunny Greinacher leads Gonzaga with 6.0 rpg while scoring 12.4 ppg on a team-best 55.3% (110-199) shooting. Jazmine Redmond is tops on Gonzaga with 3.7 apg while scoring 3.7 ppg and adding 1.8 spg.
Santa Clara is 35-29 all-time vs. Portland with the first meeting coming in 1986-87. Earlier this season the Broncos topped Portland 69-62 at home.
The Pilots enter the week with an 11-9 overall record and a 4-5 mark in WCC play. Portland is 6-3 on its home court this season but just 1-2 at home in conference. Last week Portland topped Pepperdine before falling to LMU on the road.
Portland is averaging 69.1 ppg and is shooting 38.9% (476-1223) from the field. The Pilots are shooting 31.7% (128-404) from deep and 73.8% (301-408) from the free throw line. They are averaging 39.2 rpg, 13.4 apg, 15.7 tpg, 9.0 spg, and 4.1 bpg.
Cassandra Brown leads Portland with 14.5 ppg on is tied for the team lead in field goal percentage (42.4%) and threes made (33). Brown is adding 4.9 rpg as well. Jasmine Wooton is tops on the Pilots and tied for fourth in the WCC with 3.9 apg. Wooton scores 12.5 ppg to go with 1.4 spg. Amy Pupa averages a team-best 7.4 rpg to go with 7.4 ppg as well. Pupa also leads the team with 1.9 spg.