Defense Lifts Women's Basketball Over Illinois-Chicago

Defense Lifts Women's Basketball Over Illinois-Chicago

CHICAGO – Santa Clara women's basketball picked up its first road win of the season Saturday afternoon with a 45-36 victory at Illinois-Chicago.

The Broncos (2-3) defense was strong from the opening tip, forcing 21 Flames (2-2) turnovers while picking up eight steals. Illinois-Chicago was held to just 25.9-percent shooting from the floor and 15.4-percent from beyond the arc.

Santa Clara shot just 28.6-percent from the field, but helped make up for it at the free throw line, going 17-for-20. The Flames were just 4-for-7 from the charity stripe.

Back-to-back layups for Brittany Byrd, the second coming with 6:25 to go in the fourth quarter, cut the Santa Clara lead to 35-33. Catera Ethridge, who was 1-for-10 from the field and 0-for-8 from beyond on the arc, had two looks from deep to put the Flames on top but both were off the mark.

Kyla Martin and Dru Toleafoa responded with 3-pointers that stretched the Bronco lead and Morgan McGwire hit four straight from the charity stripe to ice the game for Santa Clara in the final 28 seconds.

Martin led all scorers with 13 points and had four assists. Toleafoa knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and scored 10 while McGwire scored eight and had a game-high eight boards.

Byrd finished the day with eight points to tie with Gabryelle Johnson and Teodora Zagorac for the team-lead.


  • Santa Clara is now 1-0 all-time against Illinois-Chicago.
  • The 36 points allowed was the fewest against a Division I opponent since allowing 33 to UC Santa Barbara Nov. 20, 2014 and the fewest on the road since also allowing 36 at Pepperdine Jan. 17, 2013.
  • The Broncos never trailed after tying the game at 2-all with 7:32 to go in the first quarter. They led for over 33 minutes with Illinois-Chicago holding a lead for just 37 seconds.
  • Santa Clara held a 33-30 edge in rebounds.
  • The Broncos had nine assists on 12 made baskets.

"The team played really hard today and did a good job of playing together to get a great road win. We all believe in our defense and it's given us a chance in these last few games while we're trying to find some offensive rhythm. We have to have some people step up a little bit more and we have to take care of the ball better to give ourselves a chance to score. That will come as we find our rhythm."

Head coach Bill Carr

Santa Clara returns home to play San Jose State Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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