SWX - Gonzaga women easily defeat Santa Clara - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Gonzaga - Basketball

Gonzaga women easily defeat Santa Clara

(SWX) (SWX)

by Gonzaga Athletics

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Gonzaga University women's basketball team extended its winning streak to eight games with an 81-43 victory over visiting Santa Clara University Thursday evening in front of 2,419 fans at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs, also a perfect 12-0 at home, improved their overall record to 17-4 and are now 6-0 in the West Coast Conference.

"First of all, Coach Jennifer Mountain is doing a great job with that group at Santa Clara," said head coach Kelly Graves of the former Zag player and assistant coach, now the head coach with the Broncos. "I just think they struggled against our size tonight though. Our defensive effort was great and the first 30 minutes was pretty impressive basketball by us."

The Bulldogs forced the Broncos to turn the ball over 13 times in the opening 20 minutes and held them to just 7-of-27 shooting (25.9 percent). Gonzaga itself hit 17-of-38 (44.7 percent) from the floor, including 5-of-11 from beyond the 3-point arc, two shy off Santa Clara's field goal total. Junior Courtney Vandersloot and classmate Janelle Bekkering led the charge for GU in the first half, scoring 12 and eight points, respectively. Vanderslooot hit 5-of-9 from the floor, while Bekkering was a perfect 3-of-3, including hitting both 3-point attempts.

Gonzaga really turned things on after SCU's Ashley Armstrong hit a 3-pointer to put the Zags lead at 17-12 at the 12:41 mark. After Armstrong's 3-pointer, the Bulldogs did not allow the Broncos to score in their next 17 possessions. Santa Clara went 0-11 during this stretch, which spanned eight minutes, and turned the ball over six times. GU capitalized, pushing its lead to 17 at 29-12 with 4:46 left before halftime.

 

 

The Bulldogs went into the locker room up 23 as they finished the half on an 8-0 run, capped off on a 3-pointer by sophomore Kayla Standish.

"The last 10 minutes of the first half and the first eight minutes of the second half is where I thought we played our best tonight," stated Graves.

Gonzaga quickly turned its 23 point lead into a 40 point advantage less than eight minutes into the final half. The Zags, scoring at a feverishly fast pace, hit nine of their opening 12 attempts, including 4 of 5 3-pointers and held the Broncos to five points, to gain the impressive 65-25 edge with 12:56 left in the contest.

The Zags largest lead of the game was 44 at 71-27 at 9:34 after a steal by junior Tatriana Lorenzo and lay-in by senior Vivian Frieson.

All 14 players saw action for Gonzaga, with 10 scoring at least two points.

"Everybody got to play and perform tonight and that is always nice," explained Graves. "To get a contribution for each and every player speaks volume for our team."

The Zags hit 43.2 percent (32-of-74) of their shots, including 42.9 percent (9-of-21) of their 3-point attempts and was 72.7 percent (8-of-11) at the free throw line. They handed out 20 assists on their 32 buckets, forced the Broncos to turn the ball over 26 times, and scored 28 points on those miscues.

Vandersloot finished the games as the leading scoring, finishing with 19 points. She also had eight assists and seven steals. Bowman added 12 points and Frieson finished with 11 points, eight boards, three steals and two assists.

Santa Clara had no player crack double-digits. Alyssa Shoji was their leading scorer with nine points.

Gonzaga resumes West Coast Conference play Saturday when it welcomes the University of San Francisco to the McCarthey Athletic Center. The game is set to tip at 2 p.m.

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