RIVERSIDE, Calif. – In the first regular season game under new head coach JR Payne, Santa Clara women's basketball fell to UC Riverside by a final of 80-69. The loss puts the Broncos at 0-1 while the Highlanders are now 1-0.
Santa Clara returns to the floor Sun., Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. in the home-opener vs. San Francisco State.
Santa Clara shot 38.7% (24-62) from the field and 18.8% (3-16) from three. The Broncos had 53 rebounds, 11 assists, 25 turnovers, two blocks, and six steals. Marie Bertholdt and Vanessa Leo led the offense with double-doubles. Bertholdt scored 17 points on 5-6 shooting from the field and 7-8 from the line with 15 rebounds. Leo scored 14 points on 7-10 shooting and had 12 boards. Emily Wolph scored 16 in her collegiate debut while Nici Gilday scored 14.
Riverside shot 32.9% (24-73) from the field and 26.3% (5-19) from three. The Highlanders had 42 rebounds, 12 assists, 10 turnovers, two blocks, and four steals. Brittany Crane led the offense with 29 points on 8-18 shooting and 3-6 from deep. Crane added eight rebounds and two steals. Simone DeCoud scored 19 on 5-12 shooting with six boards while Michelle Curry added 11 points and four rebounds.
With Riverside on top 10-3 at the 14:58 mark, Gilday drilled the first three of the season for Santa Clara. A few minutes layer Bertholdt made a layup to get Santa Clara within two at 15-13. The lead was cut to one on a free throw from Maddison Allen.
With four and a half minutes remaining in the first half, Crain knocked down a three to put Riverside up by seven at 28-21. Crain followed up with two from the charity stripe at four minutes remaining to put the Highlanders up 30-21.
Wolph scored her first collegiate points with a three at 3:13 that was preceded by a Sidney Rielly free throw. After a free throw by Riverside, Wolph added a layup to get the Broncos within four.
Riverside went on a 9-1 run over 2:23 to end the half and head into the locker room with a 40-28 lead.
Santa Clara shot 29.0% (9-31) from the field and 25.0% (2-8) from three in the first half. The Broncos had 27 rebounds, four assists, 12 turnovers, one block, and four steals. Bertholdt led the offense with eight points on 3-4 shooting with six rebounds. Wolph also scored eight points on 3-7 shooting while Morgan McGwire grabbed five rebounds to go with two points.
Riverside shot 38.7% (12-31) from the field and 50.0% (5-10) from three in the first half. The Highlanders had 17 rebounds, seven assists, six turnovers, one block, and three steals. Crain led the offense with 14 points 3-4 shooting from deep and added two boards and a steal. Curry scored seven points on 2-3 shooting with three boards while Jaelyn Wilson scored six points.
Four minutes into the second half Santa Clara was trailing by 12 points when Bertholdt hit a free throw and Leo followed with a layup to make the score 46-37.
The teams traded baskets for seven minutes until Riverside pushed the lead out to 13 points at the 9:23 mark with a layup by Crain and a free throw by Wilson. Bertholdt answered with a pair from the charity stripe to keep Santa Clara within 10.
Wolph converted a three-point play with 8:12 remaining in the half to get the Bronco deficit back down to single digits. The Broncos would go on a 7-0 run over 2:06 to get within three points at 57-54. The run was capped with a layup by Leo but ended with a layup by Curry.
After Santa Clara got it back to a three-point game, the Highlanders came back with five straight points. Gilday put in a free throw and off a turnover Leo hit a jumper to make it 64-59 with 3:04 remaining.
The Broncos could never get the deficit to fewer than five points as the Highlanders hit their free throws down the stretch and Riverside held on for the season-opening win.