SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Santa Clara women's basketball went on the road and kept its offense going in a 77-68 win over San Diego Thursday night, securing the No. 7 seed in the upcoming West Coast Conference Tournament.
After scoring 106 points against Portland in their last game, the Broncos (13-15, 6-11 WCC) shot 54.2-percent from the field and went 20-for-22 from the charity stripe en route to scoring 75-plus points in consecutive games for the first time this season. The shooting percentage was the highest of the season against a Division I opponent.
"The girls are understanding that if we can get stops and rebound the ball, we can get in the open court," Santa Clara head coach Bill Carr said. "We have some people that are good on the move and feeling more comfortable. We have to tighten up some things on offense, including the half court, because in the tournament, things tend to slow down and the games become grinders."
Santa Clara led by just one at the half but a big third quarter saw the lead grow to double-figures for the first time on an and-one from Naomi Jimenez with 1:31 on the clock.
Earlier in the quarter, the Broncos used a 6-0 run to stretch their lead to a then-game-high seven when Lauren Yearwood's jumper made it 41-34. Emily Wolph knocked down a pair of free throws and Tia Hay made a jumper during the run as well.
"Tonight, especially in the second half, we got a few stops in a row and it led to us getting out on the break, which allowed us to put pressure on them," Carr said. "We're becoming a lot better at that and we made some big plays in the half court."
Hay led the way with 23 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the field and was 9-for-10 from the free throw line. Wolph scored 14 with Lindsey VanAllen adding 12 and Yearwood scoring eight.
"The key tonight was that we had a number of people step up and make plays in different ways," Carr said. "You need the ball to move to score 77 points and that's how you get three players in double-figures."
The Toreros (8-20, 1-16 WCC) managed to cut the deficit to 71-66 after a pair of free throws from Madison Pollock at the 1:44 mark of the fourth quarter but would get no closer.
Pollock finished with a game-high 27 points on 11-for-19 shooting and added seven rebounds. Patricia Brossman added a double-double (16 points/10 rebounds) and Oakry chipped in 10 points.
Oakry knocked down a 3-pointer to give her team a 28-26 lead in the second quarter but Santa Clara responded with a 7-0 run, started by a triple from Charise Holloway, that put Santa Clara on top for good.
After a slow start on offense, Wolph got the team going with a couple of 3-pointers and Hay followed with an old fashioned three-point play.
- Santa Clara is now 35-41 all-time against San Diego.
- With one block, Lauren Yearwood now has 72 on the year, good for second on the Santa Clara single-season list and No. 8 on the career list. She is two blocks away from setting the single season Bronco record.
- The Broncos used the same starting lineup (Hay, Wolph, Jimenez, Herlihy, Yearwood) for the 10th consecutive game.
- Santa Clara was without Joeseta Fatuesi because of injury for the second straight game.
- There were 11 lead changes, all in the first half.
The Broncos wrap-up the regular season Saturday at 1 p.m. at BYU.
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