PUERTO VALLARTA, Mex. – In a game in which it never trailed, Santa Clara women's basketball upset LSU by a final of 69-67. The win puts the Broncos at 3-1 while the Tigers are now 2-4. This was the first win for Santa Clara against an SEC team since a 58-53 win on Dec. 14, 1996 vs. Mississippi at the Wahine Invitational in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Santa Clara returns to the floor tomorrow, Wed., Nov. 26 at 3 p.m. vs. Kansas State.
"We couldn't be more proud of our team and the way that we played today against an incredibly talented and athletic LSU team," said Santa Clara head coach JR Payne. "We executed our game plan very well and had contributions from absolutely everyone. It is such an honor to play in a tournament like this with so many high caliber teams and we are excited to play again tomorrow against a very, very good Kansas State team."
Santa Clara shot 52.5% (21-40) from the field and 56.3% (9-16) from three. The Broncos had 25 rebounds, 17 assists, 22 turnovers, two blocks, and four steals. Nici Gilday led the offense with 29 points on 8-10 shooting and 7-8 from three. Maddison Allen added 13 points on a perfect 5-5 shooting from the floor to go with four rebounds. Raquel Avila added six assists to go with six points while Marie Bertholdt grabbed five rebounds.
LSU shot 42.1% (24-57) from the field and 41.7% (5-12) from three. The Tigers had 30 rebounds, 13 assists, 13 turnovers, one block, and 10 steals. Sheila Boykin led the offense with 14 points on 5-8 shooting. DaShawn Harden added 12 points and three steals while Akilah Bethel scored 10 and had six rebounds.
Just 19 seconds into the game Gilday put the Broncos on top with a three. Gilday would score the first eight points of the game for Santa Clara and the Broncos would hold an 8-2 lead after she converted an and-one at 15:29.
The Tigers would get within two but Gilday drilled another three and Allen followed it with a layup to make the lead seven with 11:42 remaining in the half.
With the score now 19-12 after a pair of free throws by Pedersen, Allen made a layup and Gilday hit another three. Her bucket put Santa Clara up by double-digits for the first time with 6:42 remaining on the clock.
The teams went back and forth for the final minutes of the first half and Santa Clara went to the locker room with a 34-23 lead.
Santa Clara shot 50.0% (11-22) from the field and 54.5% (6-11) from three in the first half. The Broncos had 16 rebounds, nine assists, 11 turnovers, one block, and one steal in the first half. Gilday led the offense with 23 points on 7-9 shooting and 6-7 from deep. Allen added eight points while Bertholdt grabbed four rebounds.
LSU shot 37.5% (9-24) from the field and 0.0% (0-4) from three in the first half. The Tigers had 11 rebounds, three assists, five turnovers, one block, and seven steals in the first half. Boykin led the offense with six points. Raigyne MonCrief scored four points with three rebounds and three steals.
The Tigers went on a 6-0 run over 2:23 to cut the Bronco lead to five at 14:25 to start the second half. Morgan McGwire made a layup to end the run and get Santa Clara back up by seven.
Two possessions later LSU would get within three after a layup by Boykin and one from MonCrief. Santa Clara responded with a 9-0 run over 1:24 to get the lead back up to 12. Sidney Rielly led the way with back-to-back threes.
After LSU got within five, the lead got back to double-digits as late as the 2:51 mark when Avila hit a pair of free throws following a layup from Boykin. The Tigers went on a 7-0 run over just 50 seconds to make the score 66-63 at the 1:51 mark.
Avila split two Tigers' defenders and finished a layup to end the run and get Santa Clara back on top by five. Boykin answered at the other end with a layup and Gilday was able to convert one of two from the free throw line to keep it a two-possession game.
With two seconds left in the game MonCrief made a layup to get LSU within two points but Santa Clara inbounded the ball and held on for the win.