SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Playing in one of the toughest environments in the country, Santa Clara women's basketball lost to No. 22 Gonzaga by a final of 89-37. The loss puts the Broncos at 7-14 overall and 3-6 in WCC action while the Bulldogs are now 19-3 overall and 9-1 in conference play.
Santa Clara returns to the floor Sat., Feb. 1 at 1 p.m. at Portland.
"I thought we started off the game OK but we turned the ball over a few times and it changed the momentum of the game," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "We lost our point guard in the first half and couldn't recover. The crowd took and Gonzaga played really well tonight. We just could not get ourselves back in the game."
Santa Clara shot 31.1% (14-45) from the field and 0.0% (0-5) from three. The Broncos had 24 rebounds, seven assists, 29 turnovers, four blocks, and nine steals. Arteivia Lilomaiava led the offense with eight points and three rebounds. Jo Paine scored eight points with two rebounds while Montana Walters had three steals.
Gonzaga shot 45.6% (31-68) from the field and 26.7% (4-15) from three. The Bulldogs had 49 rebounds, 16 assists, 13 turnovers, four blocks, and 16 steals. Shelby Cheslek led the offense 14 points and seven rebounds. Keani Albanex scored 13 points on 5-7 shooting while Jazmine Redmon added 12 points, six assists, and four steals.
Ruta Zurauskyte put the Broncos up 2-0 early and Paine made it 4-3 with a nice put back on an offensive rebound. Nici Gilday grabbed a loose ball off a near turnover on the next possession and laid it in to make it a 6-3 Santa Clara lead with 16:42 on the clock.
Gonzaga went on a 10-0 run over 1:37 to get back out in front. Alanez nailed a three to tie the game with 15:44 on the clock and back-to-back turnovers by Santa Clara led to two Zags' layups. Gilday ended the run with a slash to the lane at 13:23 to make the score 13-8 Gonzaga.
Over four minutes Santa Clara got just one shot off with five turnovers while Gonzaga went on a 13-1 run. With the shot clock winding down, Shaniqua Nilles drained a deep three to highlight the run. Lilomaiava got an offense rebound and scored the first Bronco field goal in nearly five minutes to make the score 24-11 with 8:26 on the clock.
The Bulldogs got the lead to 20-points for the first time at 4:45 when Cheslek pulled in an offensive board and laid in back in. Zurauskyte answered with an inside bucket to make the score 35-17 but Haiden Palmer answered right back with a jumper.
A 10-0 Gonzaga run ended the first half and sent the teams to the locker rooms with the score 45-17. The Broncos were 0-4 from the field with three turnovers during the final 3:43 of the half.
Santa Clara shot 33.3% (8-24) from the field and 0.0% (0-3) from three in the first half. The Broncos had 13 rebounds, three assists, 15 turnovers, and three steals. Lilomaiava led the offense with six points and two rebounds. Zurauskyte and Gilday each had four points while Marie Bertholdt grabbed three rebounds.
Gonzaga shot 45.7% (16-35) from the field and 33.3% (3-9) from three in the first half. The Bulldogs had 23 rebounds, seven assists, five turnovers, two blocks, and six steals. Albanez led the offense with 10 points on 4-5 shooting. Cheslek added eight points on 4-4 from the line with five rebounds while Redmon and Danielle Walter each had three assists.
A beautiful give-and-go on a fast break by Cheslek and Redmon got Gonzaga on top by 30 for the first time just over two minutes into the second half. The offense continued as the Zags went on an 17-0 run over 4:10 to make the score 62-20 while Santa Clara was 0-4 from the floor. Lilomaiava made the first Santa Clara field goal since 3:55 in the first half to get the Broncos back on the board.
The Broncos fell behind by 50 at the 10-minute mark when Lindsay Sherbert made one of two from the free throw line. Paine came back and made a layup that made the score 72-24 but Gonzaga answered right back.
Both teams began to empty their benches and Gonzaga won 89-37.
Game Notes: This was the 17th straight win for Gonzaga vs. Santa Clara … It was the third-worse loss in program history and the worst since an 89-37 loss at San Jose State during the 1977-78 season ... It was also the fewest points scored by Santa Clara since 37 points at UC Santa Barbara in 2008 ... Santa Clara's last win vs. Gonzaga was a 74-52 win on Feb. 2, 2006 in Santa Clara. … The Broncos last win in Spokane was an 81-75 win on Feb. 9 2001.