SANTA CLARA, Calif. – No. 25 Gonzaga used an 18-4 run to break open a two-point game with 8:46 remaining in the first half and went on to beat Santa Clara 93-65 Thursday night at the Leavey Center.
Santa Clara (8-17; 4-7 WCC) received a team-high 21 points from senior Lena Gipson (one shy of a career-high) and freshman Ricki Radanovich scored all 10 of her points in the first half, helping the Broncos hang with the five-time defending WCC champs through the first 12 minutes.
Gonzaga (23-4; 11-0 WCC), who entered the game leading the NCAA in scoring at 84.8 points per night, connected on 35 of 62 three-pointers and shot 56 percent overall from the field as a team. Courtney Vandersloot had 24 points, distributed 11 assists and had seven rebounds; she is the nation's assist-leader.
Santa Clara's offense was clicking in the early going, with Radanovich and Gipson combining for 14 points in the first four ½ minutes. The Broncos and Bulldogs were tied at 15 five minutes in.
The Broncos made 9 of their first 15 shots (60 percent) and after Alyssa Shoji and Radanovich made 3s, SCU trailed by just one, 22-21, at the 11:45 mark of the first half.
Shoji finished with 14 points on 4 of 5 shooting from 3-point range.
The Zags were red hot from the field as well, connecting on 12 of 17 attempts (70 percent) to begin the game. Vandersloot had 16 points in the first half for GU and Kayla Standish, Katelan Redmon and Janelle Bekkerling each had 10.
GU outscored SCU 23-8 over the final eight minutes of the first half to take control and lead 53-35 at the break.
Santa Clara will play at Portland Saturday, Feb. 19 at the Leavey Center. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. Gipson and senior classmate Kathy Willinsky will be honored in a pre-game ceremony.
Saturday marks the final home game of the 2011 season for SCU as the Broncos will play at LMU (Thursday, Feb. 24) and at Pepperdine (Saturday, Feb. 26) prior to the WCC tournament (Mar. 4-7) in Las Vegas.