SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Coming off two close games, including one in overtime, Santa Clara women's basketball plays two games this week at the Leavey Center. The Broncos face San Francisco State on Wed., Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. and UC Santa Barbara Sat., Nov. 23 at 5:30 p.m. Last week Santa Clara fell to San Jose State and UC Riverside in overtime to move to 0-3 on the young season.
The biggest area the Broncos need to address is defense. They are scoring 81.0 points per game but conceding 88.0.
"We need to move our feet and keep our hands off of opponents," said Mountain. "We're bailing people out on shot attempts. Our opponents are going to the free throw line twice as much as we are. We need to play better defense collectively. We've been getting better but it's not quite where we need it."
Santa Clara has led at the half in each of its first three games but has allowed runs in the second half that have been too much to overcome. Mountain has seen this and knows the team needs to increase its intensity out of the locker room.
"We've had trouble in the first four or five minutes of the second half," said Mountain. "We need to keep that defensive intensity for 40 minutes. We've talked about how we've won the first 20 minutes but haven't come out with that same level of effort to start the second half."
As a team Santa Clara is shooting 42.7% (91-213) from the field and 75.0% (48-64) from the charity stripe. The Broncos have outrebounded opponents 152-127, 8.3 per game, and have picked up 63 assists to opponents' 35.
"We're doing a really nice job of sharing the basketball," said Mountain. "We have more assists than we've ever had at this point. It's not an issue of scoring the basketball. Our tempo has been good and our post play has been good. We have a good balance inside and out and we just need to keep that going."
Nici Gilday leads Santa Clara with 21.0 points per game and 34.3 minutes per game. Gilday has added 5.0 rebounds per game while shooting 46.4% from the field. Vanessa Leo leads the team with 8.3 rpg while scoring 11.7 ppg on 54.2% shooting. Marie Bertholdt leads the team in shooting percentage with a 72.7% mark and is tied with Leo in free throw percentage at 81.8%. Montana Walters leads the Broncos with 5.7 assists per game in 28.0 mpg. Walters is scoring 8.0 ppg with 3.0 rpg. Jo Paine is scoring 10.0 ppg and pulling in 5.0 rpg while shooting 47.6% from the field. All 11 players that have appeared in a game for Santa Clara this season are averaging at least 10.7 mpg.
Santa Clara is 8-7 all-time vs. San Francisco State and 4-3 at home. The last meeting was a 75-69 exhibition win in 2007-08 at the Leavey Center.
"They're going to push the ball and have a couple people who can really score," said Mountain. "Katie Batlin is a transfer that was a Division I player and can do some things for them. They're going to play zone for part of the game and we will have to do a good job of moving the ball. It's really going to be about us though. It's about us playing good defense and playing for 40 minutes. We've done a good job on the boards but we have to keep our opponents off of the free throw line."
San Francisco State enters the week with a 2-0 mark in 2013-14. The Gators have topped Pacific Union 76-45 at home and Menlo College 66-58 on the road. They Gators are outscoring teams by 19.5 ppg and outrebounding opponents by 8.0 rpg. San Francisco State is shooting 36.1% (48-133) from the field but just 19.4% (6-31) from deep.
Katie Batlin leads the team with 16.5 ppg on 44.4% (12-27) shooting. Batlin is averaging 8.5 rpg, 5.5 steals per game and 4.5 apg. Brianna Harden has a team-high 9.0 rpg while scoring 10.5 ppg on 36.8% (7-19) shooting. Lauren Varney scores 10.0 ppg with 4.0 rpg. The Gators have seven players averaging double-digit minutes with Batlin leading the way with 36.0 mpg.
Santa Clara is 2-4 all-time vs. UC Santa Barbara with the last meeting coming in 2008-09. The Broncos dropped the game at Santa Barbara 55-37. The last meeting at the Leavey Center was a 95-82 Gaucho win in 2007-08. The Broncos are 2-1 vs. the Gauchos at home.
UC Santa Barbara is 1-1 in 2013-14 with a loss last week at home to Arizona 51-49. The Gauchos have outscored teams 125-105 and out rebounded opponents 74-67.
Nicole Nesbit leads the team with 17.5 ppg and 4.5 apg while adding 4.0 rpg. Nesbit is shooting 48.4% (15-31) from the floor and 40.0% (2-5) from deep. Destini Mason is second on the team with 13.0 ppg and has added 5.0 rpg. Mi'Chael Wright leads the team with 6.5 rpg and is scoring 4.0 ppg. Jasmine Ware has scored 6.0 ppg and added 2.0 spg.