Santa Clara Keeps Rolling, Knocking Off Unbeaten UC Davis 81-78
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Carondelet High School alumna Ricki Radanovich had a career-high 20 points, making six 3-pointers to help Santa Clara defeat reigning Big West Conference Champions UC Davis 81-78 Monday night.
Santa Clara (5-1) made 14 three-pointers, one shy of a Leavey Center record. The Broncos are off to their best start since 2001-02. Alyssa Shoji and Meagan Fulps added four 3s each for SCU. The Broncos committed just 11 turnovers and were able to break open a close game to lead by 12 with 5:02 left.
"This was an absolutely great team win. We had multiple people make big plays and big shots," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "We talked about playing against Davis and this type of defense and we knew we were going to get some open looks from the three and you have to be ready to pull the trigger. I basically gave them the green light. If you are in range and on balance, let it fly. We had kids make huge shots."
UC Davis (5-1) countered with 12 treys of their own, but it was not enough to stay unbeaten. The Aggie backcourt combination of Hannah Stephens and Hana Asano combined for 24 points and eight assists.
The Aggies led by six at halftime, 36-32, but triples from Fulps and Shoji immediately after the break tied the game at 38. There was seven ties and seven lead changes in a game in which both teams moved the ball extremely well. Forty-two of the game's 57 field goals came via an assist.
Radanovich's breakaway lay up with 10:06 left sparked a decisive 17-4 SCU run, which included two of her six threes and points from Shoji, Fulps, junior center Ruta Zurauskyte and freshman guard Nici Gilday.
Shoji finished the game with 14 points and six assists. Zurauskyte had 18 points and 13 rebounds while Fulps added 15 on 4 of 7 shooting from long range.
"I am really, really proud of our (players)," said Mountain. "(UC Davis) is a good program. That is a team that will win the Big West most likely. They are a program that has had a ton of success and we have not played them well in the past. To come tonight and stay committed to what we were trying to do and finish it off by making plays was big."
Trailing by seven with 2:11 remaining, UC Davis cut the deficit to four on a three-point basket by Courtney French.
Clinging to a three-point lead with one minute to play, Gilday stepped up and made a 12-foot jumper from the right elbow to make it 78-73 and Shoji dropped in two clutch free throws on Santa Clara's next possession to make it a four-point game with 27 seconds left.
Santa Clara finishes its early-season stretch of playing 5 of 6 at the Leavey Center by going 5-0 on its home floor. Next up is four-straight on the road, including games this week at CS Northridge (Thurs., Dec 1) and at UC Irvine (Sat., Dec. 3).