SANTA CLARA, Calif. – No. 15 Gonzaga was too much for Santa Clara women's basketball Thursday night in Leavey Center as the Zags came away with a 74-61 win.
The game was close through a quarter and a half but after the Broncos (11-15, 4-11 WC) drew even at 23-all, Gonzaga (23-3, 12-2 WCC) went on an 11-0 run over the next four minutes. Jenn Wirth scored five points during the run, including the final bucket to make it 34-23 at the 2:38 mark.
"I thought we got off to a good start emotionally and physically we were ready to play," Santa Clara head coach Bill Carr said. "We had a few too many lulls where they capitalized and were able to spread the score out a little bit."
Wirth finished the game with 12 points and eight rebounds. Zykera Rice led all players with 15 points and nine rebounds while adding four assists and Laura Stockton scored 13 with seven assists and five rebounds.
Ashlyn Herlihy started the second half with the first five Santa Clara points, with her layup at 7:53 in the third quarter getting her team within 40-32 but the Broncos would never get that close again.
Herlihy scored a team-high 13 points and added six rebounds to go with two assists. Tia Hay scored 12 with six assists and Lauren Yearwood scored nine with five blocks.
Against the league's top-defense the Broncos took care of the ball, committing just three turnovers in the first 15 minutes.
"Early on we took care of the ball and for most of the game we did," Carr said. "We had some untimely turnovers that led to runouts and easy baskets. When you play a team like that it doesn't help."
A 12-2 stretch for Gonzaga in the third quarter stretched the lead to a game-high 18 at 52-34.
The Broncos finished the game on a 7-0 run behind all five of Erica Meyer's points, including a tough and-one.
- Santa Clara is now 29-40 all-time against Gonzaga.
- With five blocks, Lauren Yearwood now has 69 on the year, good for second on the Santa Clara single-season list and No. 7 on the career list. She is five blocks away from setting the single season Bronco record.
- The Broncos used the same starting lineup (Hay, Wolph, Jimenez, Herlihy, Yearwood) for the eighth consecutive game.
- Santa Clara had 19 assists on 25 made baskets.
Santa Clara welcomes Portland Saturday at 2 p.m. for Senior Day. The Broncos will honor Andraya Flor, Charise Holloway, and Dru Toleafoa in a pregame ceremony.
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