SANTA CLARA, Calif. – With the regular season in the rearview mirror, Santa Clara women's basketball heads to Las Vegas for the West Coast Conference Tournament. The seventh-seeded Broncos will face the 10th-seeded Portland Pilots on Thurs., March 5 at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv and TheW.tv. Spencer Linton and Kristen Kozlowski will have the call from the Orleans Arena. The winner will take on No. 2 seed San Diego Friday at 2 p.m. Last week Santa Clara lost at Pacific and Saint Mary's. They finished the regular season 10-17 overall and 5-13 in conference action.
"I love how the WCC does their tournament with all the teams, men and women together," said Santa Clara head coach JR Payne. ""It creates a March Madness feel even though it's still conference play. People say anything can happen in March, which is true. We're really excited to go."
Santa Clara is being outscored on the season by an average of 69.3-66.6 but outrebounding opponents 41.1-37.6. The Broncos are shooting 39.1% (652-1666) from the field, 29.9% (113-378) from three, and 71.6% (380-531) from the free throw line.
Nici Gilday, a First Team All-WCC selection, leads Santa Clara with 19.2 ppg on 39.6% (177-447) shooting from the field. She is tops on the team in threes made (66), attempted (188), three point percentage (36.5%), and steals (1.6). Gilday leads the nation in free throw shooting (94.2%) and is first in the conference in minutes per game (35.0). She adds 2.9 rpg and 1.5 apg. Marie Bertholdt leads the team with 7.5 rpg and is second in scoring with 9.8 ppg. She is shooting 47.8% (88-184) from the field and leads the team in free throws attempted (121). Raquel Avila is tops on the team with 3.5 apg while scoring 5.1 ppg and grabbing 2.3 rpg. Maddison Allen is averaging a team-high 1.2 bpg and scoring 3.8 ppg to go with 3.7 rpg.
Santa Clara is 37-30 all-time vs. Portland with the first meeting coming in 1986-87. The Broncos won both games vs. Portland this season by finals of 83-68 and 64-55.
Portland is 4-25 on the season and 2-16 in WCC play. Last week they lost at BYU and at San Diego. Their lone two conference wins came on the same weekend vs. LMU and Pepperdine at home.
"Right now we're really preparing for Portland," said Payne. "They're a great team with a really talented group of seniors. I'm sure those seniors will be anxious to keep their season going. We have a lot of work to do to get ready for them."
The Pilots are being outscored 73.8-63.9 and outrebounded 37.9-34.8. They are shooting 41.1% (656-1596) from the field, 37.1% (179-483) from three, and 75.1% (362-482) from the free throw line.
Cassandra Brown leads Portland with 17.7 ppg on 46.0% (176-383) shooting from the field. She also leads the team in threes made (72), attempted (162), and percentage (44.4%). She is adding 6.4 rpg as well while shooting 87.4% (90-103) from the free throw line. Kari Luttinen is scoring 14.2 ppg with 3.7 rpg and 1.5 apg. Luttinen has hit 50 threes and adds 1.4 spg. Jasmine Wooton chips in 11.6 ppg with a team-best 3.4 apg and 3.4 rpg. Cassandra Thompson leads the Pilots in rebounding with 6.6 rpg and scores 8.8 ppg. Thompson averages 1.4 apg as well.