Jan. 28, 2010
SPOKANE, Wash. - Santa Clara University Head Women's Basketball Coach Jennifer Mountain returned to her alma mater, Gonzaga University, a program she helped build into one of the nation's best teams as the Zags' top assistant coach for seven seasons.
Mountain recruited most every player on the floor for both teams. Her Broncos boast two of the league's top young guards in Meagan Fulps and Alyssa Shoji, and second-year recruit Lena Gipson - the WCC rebounding leader - but the retooling Broncos were beaten soundly by the Zags, 81-43.
Gonzaga (17-4; 6-0 WCC) has now won 16-straight at home and improves to 88-16 versus WCC opponents since 2002. 6-foot-2 senior forward Heather Bowman - who established a new WCC career scoring record earlier this season - finished with 12 points Thursday, needing just five more to become GU's all-time leader.
Three-point baskets by Shoji and Ashley Armstrong kept Santa Clara (3-18; 1-5 WCC) close in the early going, trailing 17-12 at the 12:41 mark after the Zags opened the game making 6 of 8 shots to establish a quick nine-point lead.
The GU advantage was 11 when Courtney Vandersloot came up with one of her seven steals, leading to a transition basket to push the lead to 13 at the half's midway point. GU had 10 first-half steals. Vandersloot entered the game No. 2 nationally in steals per game (3.9).
GU led at halftime 43-20. The Bulldogs finished the game with 17 steals and forced SCU into 26 turnovers. Vandersloot scored a game-high 19 points and had eight assists. Tiffanie Shives made three 3s and All-WCC forward Vivian Frieson added 11 points and eight rebounds.
The Broncos would trail by 44 in the second half, the team's largest deficit of the season and the 38-point loss is by far its worst loss since losing 91-51 at Minnesota on December 16.
Shoji led all SCU scorers with nine points. Gipson had a season-low three points and five rebounds.
Santa Clara visits the University of Portland Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. The game can be heard live on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com.