SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Looking to get back to .500 in conference play, Santa Clara women's basketball travels to LMU to take on the Lions at 7 p.m. on Thur., Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. Last week Santa Clara fell at San Diego and vs. BYU. They are now 12-10 overall and sit in sixth place in the West Coast Conference with a 4-5 record.
All-time the Broncos are 43-19 vs. LMU, having won the previous five meetings.
"We did a really nice job on [Hazel Ramirez and Alex Cowling] in our first matchup this year," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "[Raquel Avila] did a really nice job of containing Ramirez in the first game this season. Cowling hit some shots down the stretch but we held her way under her average. If we can do a good job on those two and then make sure the supporting cast doesn't have a great night, we'll be in good shape."
As a team Santa Clara is shooting 39.4 percent (495-1257) from the field and 31.5 percent (112-356) from deep. Ricki Radanovich leads the Broncos in points per game (11.5), three point field goal percentage (34.9%), threes made (52), threes attempted (149), field goals made (86), minutes played (703) and steals (45). She also leads the WCC in threes made per game at 2.4 and is 10th in ppg. Meagan Fulps scores 10.7 ppg while bringing down 3.3 rebounds per game. Ruta Zurauskyte is tops on the Broncos with 7.2 rpg and scores 9.8 ppg. Zurauskyte leads the team with a 49.7% (85-171) field goal percentage. Lindsay Leo adds 9.7 ppg and 7.1 rpg while blocking 2.2 shots per game. Her 2.2 bpg leads the WCC and is 26th in the country. Leo leads the team and the conference in free throw shooting with a 81.5 percent (44-54) mark. Nici Gilday comes off the bench to chip in 7.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg and 2.7 assists per game.
"Playing a solid game will probably be our biggest challenge," said Mountain. "Getting our confidence back offensively is going to be important for us and so will getting it done on the road. Anytime you travel it makes it a little bit more difficult. We have to handle their pressure."
LMU is coming off of losses at Gonzaga 79-57 and at Portland 65-63. The Lions enter the match-up with an 8-14 overall record and a 2-7 mark in conference. They are 7-3 on their home court but 0-10 on the road. LMU has taken down Long Beach State, Oregon State, Pepperdine and San Francisco while falling to No. 19 UCLA, Cal Poly and Wyoming. Santa Clara and LMU have played just one common non-conference opponent, Long Beach State, and both teams picked up a win.
As a team LMU shoots 37.0 percent (557-1504) from the field but just 27.0 percent (79-293) from beyond the arc. The Lions take care of the ball with a 0.9 assist/turnover ratio that is third in the conference. They are also second in the WCC with a +4.3 turnover margin, three and a half more than the third team on the list.
"A lot of their success taking care of the basketball has to do with Ramirez," said Mountain. "Hazel and Rocky are a really good matchup. They're both so similar in size and speed. I think Hazel a lot of times has a speed advantage over people so we'll have to keep her under control."
Alex Cowling leads the team and is third in the conference with 15.4 ppg on 42.0% (123-293) shooting from the field. She is second on the team with 7.1 rpg and second with 1.9 apg. Hazel Ramirez is second on the Lions with 12.9 ppg while dishing out a team-best 5.1 apg and hitting 30 threes. Her 5.1 apg is second in the WCC behind Haley Steed of BYU. Mackenzie Kerins leads LMU with 7.3 rpg while scoring 7.2 ppg on 46.5% (73-157) shooting.
"Our inside people have a size advantage over them," said Mountain. "I also think we have more depth than they do. They really have two people that are scoring the ball for them. We have a little bit more confidence than they do right now, however they are playing a little better than they were early in the season."