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No. 16 Gonzaga women handle Santa Clara, earn best start in program history

UPDATED: Thu., Jan. 16, 2020

Staff and wire reports

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Jill Townsend scored 13 points and grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds for her second career double-double, and No. 16 Gonzaga cruised to its 15th straight victory, 67-52 over Santa Clara on Thursday night.

The victory marked the best start in school history for the Bulldogs (17-1, 6-0 West Coast Conference). Last season they suffered a second loss in their 18th game.

LeeAnne Wirth scored 12 points while twin sister Jenn Wirth added eight points and eight rebounds. Melody Kempton had 11 points off the bench.

Gonzaga scored the first five points of the game, Kempton had five points in a late 7-0 run and Townsend knocked down a 3-pointer with 12 seconds to go for a 21-18 lead after one quarter.

Santa Clara was 8 of 11 in the first quarter but went 10 of 33 after that and was buoyed by a game-closing 10-0 run. The Broncos ended up 22 points below their season average.

Tamia Braggs scored 10 points for the Broncos (8-9, 2-4), who were outrebounded 43-26.

Gonzaga had 22 offensive rebounds, which turned into a 25-6 difference in second-chance points. The Zags also dominated in the paint, outscoring Santa Clara 38-20.

The Bulldogs finish their trip to the Bay Area on Saturday at last-place San Francisco (7-11, 0-6). Gonzaga also maintained a two-game lead in the conference standings over BYU. The Cougars topped Pacific 76-66 in ovetime Thursday.

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