SANTA CLARA, Calif. – With just one game this week, Santa Clara women's basketball faces local rival San Francisco on Sat., Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. Last week the Broncos fell to BYU and San Diego at home. The Broncos are now 7-17 overall and 3-10 in WCC play.
"In practice this week we've been working on us," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "Number one has been to play with more intensity. Rebounding and ball pressure have been big points of emphasis for us this week as well. We've also been working on the little things like setting better screens and executing so we get better shots. We've been in a tough stretch lately and we need to get ourselves back on track and in the win column. I want us playing well heading into the conference tournament so that when we get there we can make some noise."
Santa Clara is averaging 65.9 points per game and is shooting 41.0% (549-1339) from the field. The Broncos are shooting 28.4% (99-348) from deep and 75.9% (385-507) from the free throw line. They are averaging 38.3 rebounds per game, 13.9 assists per game, 20.3 turnovers per game, 6.4 steals per game, and 2.7 blocks per game.
Nici Gilday leads the Broncos with 15.2 ppg on 40.1% (126-314) shooting from the field. Gilday adds 3.0 rpg while playing a team-high 32.8 minutes per game. She also leads the team in free throw percentage with an 87.1% mark while leading in makes (88) and attempts (101). Over the course of four games, Gilday made 26 straight from the free throw line, including 13-13 at LMU. Vanessa Leo is third on the team with 4.7 rpg while scoring 6.1 ppg on 38.6% (51-132) shooting. Ruta Zurauskyte has seen action in all 24 games, 53.8% (84-156) from the floor, third in the conference. Zurauskyte leads the Broncos with 23 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 5.9 ppg and 3.0 rpg while hitting 12 threes, already fourth on the team. She has added 13 assists, four blocks, and six steals as well.
Of the 120 starts for Santa Clara in 2013-14, 56 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 24, eight, and 21 games, respectively.
Paine has started every game and is second on the team with 10.5 ppg and 4.9 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 46.9% (90-192) from the floor and leads the team in threes made and three-point percentage at 38.0% (30-79).
Walters has started eight games and averages 2.5 apg while scoring 5.3 ppg. She is adding 2.0 rpg and has hit 19 threes. Walters set a career-high on Feb. 1 in her first start since Dec. 30 at Portland when she scored 11 points.
Bertholdt has started the last 21 games and has played in all 24. She is averaging 6.8 ppg and a team-high 5.6 rpg while shooting 50.5% (47-93) 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 (68) and attempted (87), good for a 78.2% mark from the charity stripe.
Santa Clara is 53-35 all-time vs. San Francisco with the first meeting coming in 1964-65. Earlier this season Santa Clara took down the Dons 81-72.
"In that first game we got after it defensively in the second half and our inside play hurt them," said Mountain. "We pushed tempo a little bit and executed offensively. We have to do a better job on the boards against these guys the second time around.
The Dons enter the week with an overall record of 9-15 and are 4-9 in conference action. Last week San Francisco upset San Diego at home but fell to BYU in a close game.
"San Francisco is playing pretty well right now and they like to get out in transition," said Mountain. "They have some athletic guards that have the ability to push tempo. They also have a post player in Taylor Proctor that can pull the ball out to the perimeter and shoot the ball pretty well. Right now they're just playing really hard and getting out in transition. One of their players that didn't play in our first game with them is back and she is a three-point threat. We've got to match their intensity and make sure we have a good inside-outside game."
San Francisco is averaging 68.9 ppg and is shooting 40.0% (581-1454) from the field. The Dons are shooting 29.5% (102-346) from deep and 70.9% (390-550) from the free throw line. They are averaging 38.6 rpg, 10.3 apg, 15.5 tpg, 6.7 spg, and 2.8 bpg.
Taylor Proctor leads San Francisco with 12.9 ppg on 42.3% (94-222) shooting from the field. Proctor leads the team with 7.1 rpg and has averaged 2.1 apg. Zhane Dikes averages 12.3 ppg on 36.5% (91-249) shooting. She is tops on the team with 2.5 apg and averages 1.3 spg. Rachel Howard has made a team-best 29 threes and is shooting 33.7% (29-86) from deep. Howard scored 10.0 ppg and is leading the Dons with 20 blocks.