SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Looking to finish with the fifth-seed heading into the West Coast Conference Tournament in Las Vegas next week, Santa Clara women's basketball will travel to Saint Mary's on Thur., Feb. 28 a 7 p.m. game. Senior Day for Santa Clara will be Sat., March 2 vs. San Diego. The Broncos will honor Meagan Fulps, Lindsay Leo, Telisha Anderson, Ashley Armstrong and Noe Viloria.
The Broncos fell to Gonzaga last week before topping Pepperdine 64-52 on Feb. 23. Santa Clara is 14-13 overall with a 6-8 mark in conference play.
Earlier this season the Gaels came to Santa Clara and left with a 56-50 victory. All-time the Broncos are 33-30 vs. Saint Mary's.
Last week senior guard Meagan Fulps came out of a tough stretch of shooting to lead the Bronco offense. Fulps averaged 19 points per game while shooting 50.0 (13-26) percent from the field and 52.9 (9-17) percent from deep. She added 3.5 rebounds per game, 1.5 steals per game and 1.0 assists per game.
Against Gonzaga Fulps dropped 15 on 4-6 from three while grabbing three boards and making two steals.
Her biggest game came vs. Pepperdine on Feb. 23 when she hit five first-half threes and finished the game with 23 points. Her five threes made tied a career high. Fulps was 8-18 from the floor and 5-11 from downtown and helped the Broncos to a 64-52 win over the Waves.
"I'm thrilled for Meagan because it's something she's been pressed with these last couple months," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "To see her in the last few games get more comfortable and get her shot to fall a little bit is great for us. More importantly, though, it's great for her to finish off strong and hopefully she can keep that going in the next couple weeks."
Santa Clara shoots 38.8 percent from the field and 31.2 percent from three-point range. Fulps leads the team in scoring with 11.0 ppg. She adds 3.3 rpg, 2.1 assists per game and 1.3 spg. Ruta Zurauskyte is second on the team in scoring at 10.4 ppg and leads the team with 50.0 percent shooting. Zurauskyte leads the Broncos with 7.2 rpg and is averaging 1.1 blocks per game. Ricki Radanovich averages 10.3 ppg and has hit a WCC-high 60 threes. Radanovich also leads the Broncos with 1.9 spg while grabbing 2.7 rpg and dishing out 2.4 apg. Raquel Avila leads the team with 3.1 apg while scoring 4.1 ppg. Nici Gilday has shown a complete game, averaging 7.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.6 apg and 1.1 bpg.
The Gaels shoot 38.9 percent from the field as a team and 32.6 percent from downtown. They outrebound opponents by 8.3 rebounds per game which is tops in the conference. Saint Mary's also has the second-best field goal defense in the WCC, limiting opponents to 37.8 percent from the field.
"The key matchup is going to be Jackie Nared," said Mountain. "She can score for them and is a very good basketball player. Danielle Mauldin is going to be a huge matchup as well because of her ability to rebound and she is playing much better on the offensive end."
Jackie Nared leads the WCC in scoring with 17.0 ppg on 39.4 percent shooting. Nared pulls down 9.0 rpg, second in the WCC, and dishes out 2.1 apg to go with 1.3 spg. Danielle Mauldin scores 13.2 ppg on 47.6 percent shooting and leads the conference with 10.4 rpg. Kate Gaze averages 11.8 ppg and shoots 39.9 percent from the field and 36.4 from beyond the arc. Gaze averages 2.4 rpg and is second on the team with 2.9 apg. Morgan Hatten leads the Gaels with 3.1 apg and scored 6.7 ppg but shoots just 27.9 percent from the floor. Hatten adds 1.0 spg and 6.4 rpg.
In the first matchup of the season, Santa Clara head Nared to just nine points on 2-9 shooting from the floor.
"We put a lot of ball pressure on [Nared] last time we played," said Mountain. "I thought our hedges and out ability to defend the on-ball was a key for us. We just made her take tough shots and didn't give her open looks which is important."
Mauldin also scored nine points on 3-8 shooting but pulled down 12 boards, including five on the offensive end.
"We are going to have to be physical with Mauldin," said Mountain. "We're going to have to do our work early because we'll probably end up with someone a little smaller on her at times. That person is going to have to dig deep and do a good job of being physical down low. We're also going to have to match her intensity level on the boards. Three quarters of rebounding is just heart."