MORAGA, Calif. – Wrapping-up its regular season road schedule, Santa Clara women's basketball fell to Saint Mary's by a final of 65-56. With the loss the Broncos are 14-14 overall and 6-9 in WCC play while Saint Mary's is now 19-8 overall and 11-4 in conference play.
Santa Clara will finish the regular season with Senior Day vs. San Diego on Sat., March 2 at 1 p.m.
"Our defensive intensity wasn't there that whole first half the way we needed it to be," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "We did not do a good job of guarding Mauldin and that hurt us. We also have to do a better job of getting into a better flow offensively earlier in the game. We have to have that intensity for two halves which we didn't do today."
The Broncos were led on offense by Nici Gilday and her 13 points on 5-8 shooting. Raquel Avila tied a career-high with 12 points and added three rebounds. Meagan Fulps scored five points and had five steals, three assists and two boards. Ruta Zurauskyte led the Broncos with six boards while scoring three points. Santa Clara shot 39.6 percent (19-48) from the field and 8-23 from deep.
Danielle Mauldin led all scorers with 19 points on 7-11 shooting and grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds. Morgan Hatten scored 17 points on 6-7 shooting including 4-5 from deep. Kate Gaze scored four points and had four steals. The Gaels shot 43.6 percent (24-55) from the field and 6-15 from three.
Fulps picked up where she left off last week by knocking down a three less than a minute into the game to get Santa Clara on the board and give the Broncos an early 3-2 lead.
Avila put the Broncos back on top 7-6 with 15:45 left when she blew past her defender and made a layup from the right side.
Saint Mary's went on an 11-0 run over 5:20 to move on top 23-13 with 8:06 left in the opening half. During the run, Mauldin scored four points on a jumper and a pair of free throws. The run ended when Gilday made a layup to get the score to 23-15 in favor of Saint Mary's.
Saint Mary's continued to build its lead as Hatten knocked down a three from the top of the key to put the Gaels up 12 at 29-17 but Brooke Gallaway answered with a three of her own with 3:44 remaining.
Gilday cut the Saint Mary's lead to 10 at with 21 seconds remaining in the half but Hatten answered with a jumper at the other end to send the teams to the locker rooms with the score 36-24 Gaels.
Santa Clara shot 38.1 percent (8-21) from the field and 2-9 from deep in the first half. Gilday led the way with eight points on 3-4 shooting and grabbed two rebounds. Ricki Radanovich added four points and three assists while Zurauskyte had a team-high three first half rebounds while scoring two points. Fulps scored three points and had three steals in the opening half.
Hatten continued her hot shooting right out of half time as she knocked down a three from the left corner to push the Saint Mary's lead to 15 points. The next trip down the floor Mia Greco hit another three, this one from the right side, to put the Gaels on a 6-0 run to start the half.
Avila answered with a three at the other end as the shot clock was expiring and Radanovich nailed one as well but Saint Mary's kept scoring inside and the score was 46-30 at the 16:45 mark.
Saint Mary's got the lead out to 20 points for the first time when Mauldin hit two free throws to make the score 52-32 at the 13:34 mark.
Gilday hit a three at 10:47 to cut the Bronco deficit to 18 and Ashley Armstrong stepped to the line where she knocked down two free throws to make the score 55-39 with just over 10 minutes remaining in regulation.
A jumper by Gilday and a layup by Avila at 5:43 cut the deficit to 12 points and caused Saint Mary's to call a 30-second timeout. The Broncos 6-0 run over three and a half minutes ended when Hatten knocked down a three from the top of the key.
The Gaels got back on top by 17 with an 8-3 run over 2:20 that was capped by two free throws from Greco. Armstrong ended the run with a layup off of an offensive rebound to make the score 65-50 with just over two minutes remaining.
Santa Clara got the deficit to single digits at eight points with an 8-0 run over 1:45 behind threes from Brooke Gallaway and Armstrong but the Gaels held on to seal the win.