SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Coming off an upset of LSU, Santa Clara women's basketball returns home for one game before heading back on the road. The Broncos host Cal Poly on Tues., Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. before traveling to Colorado Springs, Colo. for the Air Force Classic. There the Broncos will play UC Davis Fri., Dec. 5 at 3:30 p.m. and host Air Force Sat., Dec. 6 at 3:30 p.m. Last week Santa Clara beat LSU 69-67 in its lone game at the Hardwood Tournament of Hope in Puerto Vallarta, Mex. The Broncos win vs. LSU was the program's first vs. an SEC school since a 58-53 win on Dec. 14, 1996 vs. Mississippi at the Wahine Invitational in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Broncos are 3-1 on the year.
"We had a rare opportunity to play against a power conference team at a neutral site," said Santa Clara head coach JR Payne. "We felt very prepared and had a lot of time to game plan. We executed that game plan very well. A couple of the players that really stood out were Nici who scored really well and Maddie who had a big night with a lot of rebounds and blocked shots."
Santa Clara is outscoring opponents by an average of 68.0-55.2 and outrebounding teams 44.2-32.5. The Broncos are shooting 45.1% 997-215) from the floor, 33.3% (17-51) from three, and 73.5% (61-83) from the free throw line.
Nici Gilday leads the Broncos with 15.5 points per game on 42.6% (20-47) shooting from the field and 45.0% (9-20) from deep. She is adding 3.0 rebounds per game to go with 1.3 assists per game and 1.0 steals per game. Marie Bertholdt leads the team with 8.0 rpg and is adding 7.5 ppg on 47.6% (10-21) shooting. Maddison Allen scores 6.0 ppg on a team-high 75.0% (9-12) shooting from the floor with 3.0 rpg. Raquel Avila leads the Broncos with 4.5 apg and scores 3.5 ppg while Emily Wolph adds 3.3 apg and 5.5 ppg.
Santa Clara is 10-3 all-time vs. Cal Poly with the first meeting coming in 1971-72. The Broncos are 5-1 vs. the Mustangs in the Leavey Center. The last meeting was a 73-65 win in San Luis Obispo on Dec. 30, 2010. The last meeting in the Leavey Center came on Dec. 22, 2009 when the Mustangs took down the Broncos 63-55.
Cal Poly is 3-3 on the season and 1-1 on the road. Last week they fell to Pepperdine and Dartmouth at home before bouncing back with a win vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christie. The Mustangs are outscoring teams 68.7-68.5 and being outrebounded 40.3-39.8. They are shooting 39.6% (155-391) from the field, 28.7% (31-108) from deep, and 60.2% (71-118) from the free throw line.
"It's always more about us than our opponent," said Payne. "Cal Poly is a well-balanced team with a fabulous point guard. They are well-coached and well disciplined and it's going to be a good challenge for us."
Ariana Elegado leads the Mustangs with 13.5 ppg on 32.6% (28-86) shooting from the field and 30.8% (12-39) from three. She also leads the team with 3.7 apg while chipping in 3.0 rpg and 1.0 spg. Hanna Gilbert is scoring 11.0 ppg on a team-best 58.5% (30-51) mark from the field. She adds 6.3 rpg, second on the team. Kristen Ale is the third double-digit scorer, with 10.7 ppg and 3.2 apg. Taryn Garza leads the Mustangs with 8.2 rpg and adds 7.2 ppg.
"It's going to be different for us to play at elevation on Colorado and keeping our legs fresh in back-to-back games is going to be something we have to work at," said Payne. "It'll be important to play everyone as much as we can. It will also be good to have a quick turn around as preparation for the conference tournament."
Santa Clara is 10-13 all-time vs. UC Davis with the first meeting coming in 1968-69. The last meeting was a 75-70 loss last year in Santa Clara.
Davis is 3-2 on the season and 1-0 away from home. Last week they took down Utah Valley and Pacific at home. They opened the season vs. No. 1 UConn. The Aggies have been outscored 68.6-61.4 and outrebounded 42.0-32.6. They are shooting 43.3% (109-252) from the field, 37.9% (36-95) from three, and 65.4% (53-81) from the free throw line.
The Aggies are led by a trio of double-digit scorers. Sydnee Fipps leads the team with 15,8 ppg on 50.9% (27-53) shooting and 38.1% (8-21) shooting from deep. She adds 4.4 rpg and 1.8 spg. Alyson Doherty scores 11.5 ppg on 39.5% (17-43) shooting and leads the team with 8.8 rpg. She adds 3.0 apg, 1.0 spg, and a team-high 2.3 bpg. Kelsey Harris is averaging 10.2 ppg on 48.4% (15-29) shooting and leads the team with a 51.7% (15-29) mark from three. Celia Marfone is tops on the team with 3.0 apg and scores 6.2 ppg.
This will be the first meeting between Santa Clara and Air Force.
Air Force is 1-4 this year and 1-1 at home. Last week they fell at SIUE and at Army. The Falcons have been outscored 77.5-56.2 and outrebounded 49.0-33.2. They are shooting 33.3% (69-207) from the field, 28.6% (16-56) from three, and 68.3% (71-104 from the free throw line.
The Falcons are led by Jimi Blagowsky who is scoring 12.3 ppg on 30.4% (14-46) shooting with a team-high five threes made. She is adding 3.3 rpg and a team-high 2.0 spg. Madeleine Philpot leads the team with 5.3 rpg and is adding 6.5 ppg. Cortney Porter scores 6.5 ppg and is averaging 4.3 apg to lead the team. Lindsay Leiws (9.8 ppg) and Missy Byrd (9.3 ppg) are second and third on the team in scoring and add 3.5 rpg and 4.5 rpg, respectively.