Cal Pulls Away From Santa Clara Women in Second Half

Ashley Armstrong ( photo)
Ashley Armstrong ( photo)

BERKELEY, Calif. – The Broncos trailed by just three points midway through the second half, but the homestanding Golden Bears used a decisive rebounding advantage to pull away for a 75-58 win at Haas Pavilion.

Santa Clara (6-3) made 10 three-pointers and rallied from a double-digit deficit to make it a 46-43 game with 11:19 left. Alyssa Shoji led all Bronco scorers with 14 and Ashley Armstrong added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

"I'm proud of our effort," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "The score did not reflect how close this game really was. I thought we battled hard. I thought a couple of our kids were fearless. We had a chance to win this game."

Cal (8-2) out-rebounded SCU 62-33. Gennifer Brandon had a double-double (13 points and 11 rebounds) and Layshia Clarendon made a pair of timely second-half 3s to help Cal pull away down the stretch.

"Giving up that many boards, offensively or defensively, regardless it's just too many," said Mountain. "We gave them too many easy looks in the paint. Points in the paint killed us. Second chance points killed us. (Cal's) athleticism across the board is phenomenal."

The Broncos got off to a slow start, trailing 9-0 and 11-2, but five first-half 3s got SCU right back into it, 17-16 at the 9:29 mark. When Meagan Fulps connected on one of her two treys and Armstrong dropped in a reverse lay up, Santa Clara took the lead 21-19.

Cal countered with a full-court press and used its rebounding advantage to limit Santa Clara to one field goal in the final 7:45 of the first half. Cal took a 12-point lead into the locker room at the break, 37-25.

Brittany Boyd's pull-up jumper gave Cal a 16-point lead, 44-28, early in the second half. Cal dominated the paint, but had a difficult time making outside shots, going 4 for 14 from long range.

On the other end, the guard play of Ricki Radanovich and Shoji sparked a 13-2 Bronco run. Radanovich, who scored all 11 of her points in the second half, scored and was fouled on a transition lay up. Her free throw made it 46-41 with 13:20 to play.

After slicing the lead down to three, 46-43, Cal was able to surge ahead thanks to a pair of inside buckets by Brandon and a baseline 3 from Layshia Clarendon. At the 8:55 mark, Cal had reestablished a 13-point point lead, 56-43.

"There are quite a few positives we can take from this game," said Mountain. "We would have loved to get one of these wins for our program. We were in this game, but just didn't have it for 40 minutes. Looking ahead we have to take care of business up in Seattle. Seattle is a different team than we saw last season in Santa Clara.  We have to do quite a few things better on Tuesday to win on the road."  

GAME NOTES: Ashley Armstrong's 10 rebounds was a season-high… SCU's 6-foot-4 center Ruta Zurauskyte was held scoreless – Zurauskyte was coming off a 33-point game last week in Irvine … highly-touted Cal freshman Reshanda Gray made her first career start … Cal entered the game 4-0 at home, beating opponents by 25 points per game … Cal's 62 rebounds ties for third-highest all-time against Santa Clara in Bronco history … Cal had 27 rebounds on the offensive end alone.