SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Returning home for the sixth matchup between the two schools, Santa Clara women's basketball (12-10, 4-5 WCC) fell to BYU (15-6, 6-2 WCC) by a final of 65-48. Santa Clara returns to the court next week for a two-game road trip to LMU on Thur., Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. and San Francisco on Sat., Feb. 9 at 2 p.m.
"We didn't make jump shots," said Bronco head coach Jennifer Mountain. " We had open looks. I thought our bigs did a good job, but our guards [didn't shoot well] in the first half."
Santa Clara was led on offense by Ruta Zurauskyte who had her fourth double-double of the season with 10 points on 4-11 shooting and 10 boards. Ricki Radanovich scored nine points on 3-7 shooting while Meagan Fulps had eight points behind two from deep. As a team the Broncos shot 31.0% (18-58) from the field and 4-12 from deep.
BYU's Haley Steed led all scorers with 17 points on 6-13 shooting and 3-7 from three. Steed had three boards and six assists as well. Keilani Unga led the Cougars with seven rebounds while scoring 13 points on 4-8 shooting. Stephanie Vermunt Seaborn added five assists and nine points. The Cougars shot 36.7% (22-60) from the field and 7-23 from beyond the arc.
BYU went on a 10-0 run over 2:27 after Santa Clara scored the first bucket of the game to go up 10-2 at the 15:46 mark. Steed knocked down two threes and a jumper to fuel the run and get BYU on top early. Raquel Avila ended the run with a runner in the lane at 15:18 that made the score 10-4.
The Cougars got their lead up to double-digits at 17-7 on a three from the left side by Stephanie Seaborn with 10 and a half minutes left in the first half.
Steed came off a screen to hit a jumper from the elbow for her game-high 10th point of the game with 8:26 left in the first half. Leo answered at the other end with a layup but Kim Beeston hit a high-arcing three to push the Bronco deficit to 13 at 24-11 heading into the under-eight media timeout.
A jumper by Jennifer Hamson and two free throws by Beeston put BYU on a 7-0 run over 2:18 that made the score 28-11 Cougars. Leo put an end to the run with a transition layup with 4:41 remaining in the half.
With just under a minute remaining in the first half, Zurauskyte was fouled and knocked down two free throws to make the score 30-17 BYU, the halftime score.
The Broncos struggled from the field in the first half, shooting just 23.3% (7-30) and 0-4 from three. Zurauskyte led the team with six points and seven rebounds on 2-8 shooting. Leo scored five points with one board while Ricki Radanovich had two steals and two rebounds.
BYU shot 34.4% (11-32) from the field and 4-14 from deep. Steed led the way for the Cougars with 12 points on 5-8 shooting and 2-5 from beyond the arc. Beeston added seven points on 2-8 shooting. Hamson and Unga each had a team-high four first half rebounds while scoring two and four points, respectively.
The Broncos came out of halftime and cut the lead to single-digits, 30-21, three minutes into the second half on buckets by Leo and Zurauskyte. BYU, however, answered back with a pair of free throws and a three from Steed that put the Cougars back up 35-21 heading into the first media timeout of the second half.
BYU went on a 10-0 run over a minute behind seven consecutive points from Unga to get the lead out to a game-high 22 points at 51-29 with 9:09 remaining in regulation.
Radanovich hit a baseline jumper to end the run at 8:52 and hit a deep two the next trip down the floor. Her two free throws on the ensuing possession made the score 53-35 BYU with 6:57 left in the game.
The Broncos went on a 12-0 run over two and a half minutes. The run was capped with a three from the left corner by Radanovich. The run got the deficit down to single-digits, 56-47, 2:54 remaining. During the run, BYU missed all five of its field goal attempts.
BYU was able to connect on its free throw shots down the stretch to seal the 65-48 victory.