Women's Basketball Takes on Portland in the First Round of the West Coast Conference Tournament on Thursday in Las Vegas
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – After finishing the regular season with the No. 6 seed, Santa Clara women's basketball will head to Las Vegas for the West Coast Conference Tournament. The Broncos will face Portland on Thur., March 7 at 2:30 p.m.
Santa Clara ended the regular season with a pair of losses at Saint Mary's and vs. San Diego to put its record of 14-15 overall and 6-10 in conference. Portland went 10-19 in the regular season and was 5-10 in WCC play.
Earlier this year Santa Clara took down Portland 59-58 on the road but fell to the Pilots 71-68 at home. All-time the Broncos are 34-28 vs. Portland.
You can follow all of the action, with links to video and live stats, on the WCC website. The Broncos' game vs. Portland will also be broadcast live on BYUtv and online as part of the WCC Digital Network. John Nash (play-by-play) will call the action courtside from the Orleans Arena.
"The neutral site puts everybody in the same boat," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain about the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas. "The tournament atmosphere is amazing and the size of the venue is perfect for women's basketball. The conference does a great job putting a class tournament on. You get that little bit of a different feel and everybody gets excited for that since it's a new season and everyone is 0-0 again. Anything can happen, especially in our conference you see top teams get beat. We're going to go in trying to do some damage."
Santa Clara is shooting 39.1 percent from the field and 31.3 percent from beyond the arc. Meagan Fulps, a 2012-13 All-WCC Honorable Mention selection, leads Santa Clara with 10.9 points per game on 34.0 percent shooting and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc. Fulps added 3.1 rebounds per game while dishing out 2.1 assists per game and making 1.4 steals per game. Ruta Zurauskyte is tops on the team with a 50.0 percent mark shooting while scoring 10.3 ppg and leading the team with 7.3 rpg. She averages 1.0 blocks per game as well. Ricki Radanovich leads the WCC with 63 threes made while scoring 10.3 ppg. She also leads the team with 1.8 steals per game. Raquel Avila leads the team with 3.0 apg while adding 4.4 ppg and 1.4 spg. Nici Gilday has continued to show a well-rounded game by averages 7.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.5 spg and 1.1 spg.
Lindsay Leo, who went down with a season-ending knee injury in early February, was named All-WCC on March 5. She was leading the Broncos in rebounding at 7.1 rpg when she suffered a season-ending knee injury in early February. Leo scored 9.7 ppg on 41.2 percent shooting from the field and led Santa Clara in free throw shooting with a 81.5 percent mark. She also led the team with 43 blocks, 2.2 per game, and placed No. 5 on the single-season blocks list. She finished her career with 113 blocks, good for second all-time at Santa Clara.
"We have the pieces to go down there and be successful," said Mountain. "We need to be consistent which has been our biggest challenge all year long. Against San Diego we had our defensive intensity the first 20 minutes but we didn't have it in the second half. If we go down there and we play solid, we have a great chance to do some damage."
Portland took down Fresno State, Nevada and Oregon at home while dropping games at Seattle, vs. Washington and vs. Seattle. As a team Portland shoots 37.4 percent from the field and 30.1 percent from three.
Kari Luttinen leads the Pilots with 12.3 ppg while grabbing 4.3 ppg and making 1.9 spg. Amy Pupa leads Portland with 8.0 rpg and scored 5.3 ppg. Pupa also averages a team-high 1.2 bpg. Ellen Nurmi has hit a team-best 42 threes while scoring 8.2 ppg. Jasmine Wooton leads the Pilots with 3.0 apg and 9.0 ppg. Cassandra Thompson is shooting a team-high 44.9 percent from the field while scoring 7.8 ppg and bringing down 6.0 rpg.
"They've changed their lineup quite a bit," said Mountain. "I'd say the key matchup for us is going to be Annika Holopainen and Ellen Nurmi. They really hurt us the last time we played them at our place. We've got to make sure we slow them down in transition because they do like to get out and run. We cannot give open jumpers like we did. We've also got to do a good job on Amy Pupa. Her numbers may not be huge but she has been a problem for us in the past. They've got a lot of people that do certain things. Kari Luttinen is coming off the bench now but still playing a lot of minutes. We certainly can't let her get going because she's their leading scorer and does a lot for them so it's going to be a combination of a lot of different people."