SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Trying to get back in the win column, Santa Clara women's basketball beat San Francisco by a final of 74-73. The win puts the Broncos at 8-17 overall and 4-10 in WCC action while the Dons are now 9-16 overall and 4-10 in conference play.
Santa Clara returns to the floor Thurs., Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. at newest West Cost Conference member Pacific.
"Today was an intense 40 minutes of basketball with a lot of runs and responses by both teams," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "Basketball is a game of runs and we talk about sustaining our runs. When they went on their runs we had to stay composed. Our players picked up the defensive intensity in both halves and that fueled us."
Santa Clara shot 50.9% (28-55) from the field and 46.7% (7-15) from three. The Broncos had 32 rebounds, 11 assists, 25 turnovers, six blocks, and four steals. Nici Gilday led the offense with 21 points on 7-10 shooting. Montana Walters had a career-high 20 points on 4-5 shooting from deep while Jo Paine scored 13 points.
"Montana was solid today and I think that was her most complete game of the year," said Mountain. "Her three at the end was a big shot but so were the free throws she hit. I'm really proud of her."
San Francisco shot 44.4% (24-54) from the field and 50.0% (6-12) from three. The Dons had 29 rebounds, 11 assists, 20 turnovers, three blocks, and 12 steals. Taylor Proctor led the offense with 27 points on 10-16 shooting from the field. Paige Spietz scored 16 points with eight rebounds while Zhane Dikes scored four points with three assists and three rebounds.
The Dons went on a 6-0 run over 1:07 to get out on top by four points at the 16-minute mark. Gilday came back with a three on the other end to make it 9-8 USF.
San Francisco followed with a 12-2 run over 2:40 to get out on top by double-digits for the first time at 21-10. The Broncos were 1-4 from the field during the run with three turnovers. Paine drilled a three from the top of the key to cut the deficit to eight with 11:55 left in the first half.
Walters hit her second three of the game at 8:56 to cut the USF lead to 11-points. After a USF turnover, Marie Bertholdt grabbed an offensive rebound and got the Bronco deficit to single-digits.
The Broncos went on a 13-0 run over 5:15 to take the lead 33-32 with 3:46 on the clock. The Dons were 0-9 from the field with six turnovers during the run. Walters hit her third three to help the run and give Santa Clara its first lead since 17:07. San Francisco finally scored when Claudia Price made two free throws at 1:55 to put USF up by one.
Two more free throws by Hardick made the score 36-33 USF at the half.
Santa Clara shot 43.8% (14-32) from the field and 55.6% (5-9) from three in the first half. The Broncos had 22 rebounds, eight assists, 12 turnovers, two blocks, and three steals. Walters led the offense with nine points on 3-3 shooting from three with three assists. Paine scored seven points with two rebounds while Bertholdt scored four points and grabbed six rebounds.
San Francisco shot 37.5% (12-32) from the field and 60.0% (3-5) from three in the first half. The Dons had 18 rebounds, seven assists, nine turnovers, three blocks, and nine steals. Proctor led the offense with 16 points on 6-8 shooting. Spietz scored nine points with six boards while Dikes had three assists and two steals to go with two points.
Gilday hit a three from the top of the key with 14 minutes left in the second half to make it a two-point game. Proctor answered with a three of her own on the other end to make the score 47-42.
With the deficit at seven, Walters and Paine made back-to-back short jumpers to get the Broncos within three points. After one of two from the free throw line by Spietz, Santa Clara called a timeout. The Broncos came out of the timeout with four straight points to tie the game at 52-52.
The Dons came right back with a 7-0 run over 2:11 to get back on top 59-52. The Broncos were 0-3 from the field during the stretch. Gilday ended the run with both ends of a one-and-one at 6:39.
Bertholdt hit a baseline jumper to start a 6-0 run to get the Broncos within a point at 65-64. Proctor slashed to the lane on the next Dons' possession to end the run but Gilday came back with a three-point play on the other end to tie the game with 1:10 left on the clock.
With just 22.9 seconds left in regulation, Walters hit a deep three to put Santa Clara up 70-67. Hardick missed a three on the other end and Bertholdt was fouled to extend the game. She hit both from the charity stripe to make it a tow possession game with under 10 seconds remaining.
Proctor hit a deep three to keep hope alive for the Dons and Walters was fouled on the in bounds with 3.8 seconds left. Walters connected on both free throws and Rachel Howard hit a three as time expired but it was too late as the Broncos held on for the one-point win.
Game Notes: Ricki Radanovich started for the first time since the season-opener. … Five former USF players that played in the first ever game at War Memorial Gym were in attendance. One of the players was Ricki Radanovich's grandfather.