SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara women's basketball picked up a tight 77-73 win over Missouri State, who received votes in the latest AP poll, Saturday afternoon at home.
The Broncos (5-1), off to their best start since beginning 2011-12 6-1, got a big game from Ashlyn Herlihy who scored a game-high 24 points, one off her career-high, on 8-for-10 shooting from the floor and was 4-for-5 from beyond the arc.
"It's nice to see Ashlyn get her rhythm," Santa Clara head coach Bill Carr said. "I knew it was coming at some point since she's been shooting better in practice, but to do it in a game like that is really impressive."
After Tia Hay knocked down one of two from the free throw line with 19 seconds left to make it 75-73, Syndey Manning got a good look at a 3-pointer that would have given the Lady Bears (1-3) the lead but it was off the mark. Lexie Pritchard grabbed a tough board before knocking down two free throws on the other end to ice it.
Hay finished the day with eight points but added a season-high seven assists and four steals as well. Lauren Yearwood also had a big day with a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) while adding four blocks.
Missouri State stayed in the game thanks to outscoring Santa Clara 25-14 in points off turnovers.
A trio of Lady Bears scoring in double-figures with Shameka Ealy's 15 leading the way. Brice Calip (11) and Alexa Willard (10) were the other two and Danielle Gitzen, the lone senior on the team, added a game-high nine assists.
A 7-0 run in the fourth gave Missouri State a game-high three-point lead with five minutes to go, the Broncos came back and a 3-pointer from Emily Wolph with 3:08 to go gave Santa Clara the lead for good at 72-71.
"We've been a team that's a little streaky," Carr said. " We'll make a run and then let them come back but then make another run. We've got to clean that up so we can hold off somebody and keep a lead."
Wolph finished the game with 11 points and dished out six assists.
Also stepping up for Santa Clara despite playing just five minutes in the previous four games was Tamia Braggs. Braggs scored 10 on 5-for-7 shooting from the field.
"Tamia came in today and gave us a huge spark," Carr said. "I'm really proud of her because she hasn't been playing a ton lately but came in and took an opportunity and seized it."
Once again Santa Clara shared the ball well, collecting 23 assists on 28 made baskets while shooting 50-percent from the field.
"Passing is a big part of what we do," Carr said. "There were times when we got a little fast and tried to make a home run play when we could have brought it back out but we want to be aggressive and we want to share the ball because we feel like we have more people that can score."
HIGHLIGHTS | The Broncos dished out the basketball like Turkey Day leftovers on Saturday - including Emily Wolph's 3-pointer to put Santa Clara up for good in a victory over Missouri State! #StampedeTogether #SCUBroncos pic.twitter.com/N1auoeUgAe— Santa Clara Women's Basketball (@Santaclarawbb) November 25, 2018
- Santa Clara is now 1-0 all-time against Missouri State.
- The Broncos used the same starting lineup (Wolph, Hay, Jimenez, Herlihy, Yearwood) for the sixth consecutive game.
- It's the best start for Santa Clara since beginning 2011-12 6-1.
The Broncos stay at home and take on CSUN Friday at 4 p.m.
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