PROVO, Utah – BYU opened up a 20-point lead in the first half and went on to beat visiting Santa Clara 84-57 Thursday night at the Marriott Center. The Cougars used a decisive 56-30 rebounding advantage to generate 24 second-chance points.
Kristen Riley had 17 points to lead five Cougars in double-figures. Riley, along with classmates Haley Steed and Dani Peterson celebrated 'Senior Night' with a big win.
BYU (24-5; 12-3 WCC) can clinch the WCC regular-season title and secure the No. 1 seed in next week's WCC postseason tournament if they can defeat No. 21 Gonzaga Saturday in Spokane.
Santa Clara (11-17; 4-11 WCC) got four treys from Ricki Radanovich, who finished with 14 points to lead SCU. Not much else seemed to go right for the Broncos. Alyssa Shoji, who averages a team-high 15.0 points per night, was held scoreless for the first time this season and the WCC's No. 2-ranked FG percentage shooter, Lindsay Leo, went 3 for 12 from the floor.
The Cougars came out red-hot from the field, making 4 of 9 three-pointers to open the game, taking leads of 23-7, 33-13 and 40-15. Steed went 3 for 4 from long range in the first half and as a team BYU out-rebounded SCU 32-16 to lead 46-22 at halftime.
Radanovich made back-to-back 3s for the Broncos in the early stages of the second half to get SCU within 20, 52-32. SCU attempted 23 three-pointers on the night and made eight.
The Broncos will play their 2011-12 regular-season finale Saturday afternoon against USF. Tip-off is set for 2:05 p.m. SCU will recognize Shoji's outstanding college career prior to the game.
GAME NOTES: Alyssa Shoji entered the Thursday's game needing just one three-pointer to equal the Broncos single-season school record of 94 set by Chandice Cronk in 2006-07, however Shoji went 0 for 5 from long range … Thursday's game was much different than the team's first meeting at the Leavey Center on Jan. 28, when the Broncos led at the half before Haley Steed made 3-pointer in the final moments to allow BYU a win, 74-64.
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