SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Returning home, Santa Clara women's basketball faces Portland and Gonzaga at the Leavey Center this week. The Broncos host the Pilots at 7 p.m. on Thurs., Jan. 8 and the Bulldogs at 2 p.m. on Sat., Jan. 10. Last week Santa Clara fell at BYU and San Diego. The Broncos are 5-8 on the year and 0-4 in the West Coast Conference.
Santa Clara is being outscored on the season by an average of 68.7-67.2 but outrebounding opponents 44.5-39.5. The Broncos are shooting 38.2% (316-828) from the field, 29.6% (53-179) from three, and 70.3% (189-269) from the free throw line.
Nici Gilday leads Santa Clara with 18.7 points per game, 35.3 minutes per game, 25 threes made, 73 threes attempted, 34% three-point percentage, 89 field goals, 222 field goals attempted, and 88% shooting from the free throw line. Gilday adds 3.2 rpg and 1.1 spg. Marie Bertholdt leads the team with 7.7 rpg, 51 free throws made, and 62 free throws attempted. She is second on the team with 9.6 ppg and adds 1.2 spg as well. Raquel Avila is tops on the Broncos with 3.9 agp while scoring 5.1 ppg and adding 2.7 rpg. Maddison Allen leads Santa Clara with 1.9 bpg to go with 4.8 ppg and 4.7 rpg.
Santa Clara is a 35-30 all-time vs. Portland and 19-12 at the Leavey Center with the first meeting coming in 1986-87. Last season the both teams won on their home floor with the Broncos taking a 69-62 win at Leavey.
"Portland is led by several really good seniors who have a lot of WCC experience," said Santa Clara head coach JR Paye. "They have some good athleticism and will be hard to contain. It is essential that we contain penetration because if they can collapse the defense, it will be hard to help and recover out to their great shooters."
Portland is 2-12 on the season and 0-3 in conference play. They are 1-5 on the road and have lost six in a row. The Pilots two wins have come vs. Utah and Portland State. Last week they lost at Gonzaga.
The Pilots are being outscored 74.4-61.0 and outrebounded 39.7-35.8. They are shooting 39.8% (305-767) from the field, 34.4% (76-221) from three, and 71.8% (168-234) from the free throw line.
Cassandra Brown leads the team with 17.3 ppg on 47.5% (84-177) shooting. She also leads the team from behind the arc, going 33-75, for a 44.0% shooting mark. Brown is second on the team with 6.0 rpg and adds 1.1 spg and 1.2 apg. Kari Luttinen is second in scoring with 12.6 ppg while adding 3.4 rpg. She is tied with Brown for the team-lead in steals. Jasine Wooton scores 10.2 ppg with 3.5 rpg and leads the team with 3.8 apg. Cassandra Thompson grabs a team-best 6.4 rpg while scoring 8.1 ppg. Sara Zaragoza leads the Pilots with 25 blocks on the year.
Santa Clara is a 27-31 all-time vs. Gonzaga and 16-13 at the Leavey Center with the first meeting coming in 1987-88. Gonzaga has won the last 17 meetings between the two programs. The last Bronco with in a 74-52 win Feb. 2, 2006 in Santa Clara.
"Gonzaga is good from top to bottom," said Payne. "They are long and athletic and have players that can score the ball at every single position on the floor. They continue to be pretty dominating in WCC play and it will take our best effort to compete both Thursday as well as Saturday."
Gonzaga is 10-4 on the season and 3-0 in conference play. They are 3-1 on the road and riding a four-game winning streak. Last week they took down Portland at home.
The Bulldogs are outscoring opponents 69.6-58.8 on the season and outrebounding teams 41.6-33.2. They are shooting 41.4% (326-788) from the field, 33.5% (82-245) from three, and 77.4% (240-310) from the free throw line.
Sunny Greinacher leads the team with 13.8 ppg on a team best 47.1% (72-153) shooting from the field. She adds 6.1 rpg and 1.8 apg. Keani Albanez is second on the team with 11.8 ppg while pacing the team in threes made (25) and attempted (78). She adds a team-high 3.0 spg and 1.5 apg. Lindsay Sherbert (10.8) and Elle Tinkle (10.1) round out the double-digit scorers for Gonzaga. Shelby Cheslek is tops on the team with 9.3 rpg while scoring 7.9 ppg. Georgia Sitrton's 3.3 apg leads the Zags and she scores 4.5 ppg as well.