SANTA CLARA, Calif. – On the first day of the Radisson Chatsworth Thanksgiving Basketball Classic, Santa Clara women's basketball topped CSU Northridge by a final of 66-61. The win puts the Broncos at 2-4 while the Matadors are now 2-4 as well.
Santa Clara returns to the floor tomorrow, Sun., Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. vs. Hampton in the championship game of the tournament.
"I'm really, really proud of our kids because this wasn't one of our best ballgames but we grinded it out and found a way to win," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "In the second half we got the ball inside and found a little bit of composure, which is what we needed the whole game. Down the stretch we made some big plays."
Santa Clara shot 42% (23-55) from the field and 33% (4-12) from deep. The Broncos had 35 rebounds, 15 assists, 22 turnovers, and six steals. They were 16-17 from the charity stripe as well. Ruta Zurauskyte led the offense with 13 points on 5-7 shooting with three rebounds. Marie Bertholdt scored 12 with a team-best six rebounds while Jo Paine added 11 points.
"The play inside really brought us back in the second half," continued Mountain. "Arteivia, Ruta and Marie really did a good job getting to the line. Nici made a shot off an inbounds with the shot clock winding down. Everyone contributed and that's what we needed, a team win."
Northridge shot 40% (23-57) from the field and 14% (3-21) from three. The Matadors had 35 rebounds, 13 assists, 26 turnovers, two blocks and 12 steals. Ashlee Guay led all scorers with 17 points on 5-13 shooting and four rebounds. Lister scored 11 with three boards and three assists while Thielges had a game-high seven rebounds to go with 10 points.
Right out of the first media timeout, with the score 4-2, the Broncos turned the ball over and it led to a break away for Ashlee Guay who was fouled on the shot and knocked down both free throws. Paine answered on the other end with a three from the left corner and Montana Walters hit a three of her own on the ensuing possession to make the score 8-6 Santa Clara.
Northridge went on a 10-0 run over 5:30 to get out on top 16-8. The run was capped with a three from Lister. Santa Clara ended the run at the 9:11 mark on a pair of free throws by Vanessa Leo to make the score 16-10. Santa Clara was 0-6 from the field with three turnovers during the run.
With the shot clock winding down, Walters hit a three to get Santa Clara within three points. The bucket sparked an 8-0 run over 1:53 that put Santa Clara on top 18-16 with 5:56 remaining in the half.
Lister hit a three from the top of the key with just over three minutes remaining to put Northridge back on top 29-26 but Leo responded with a little hook in the lane to make it a one point game again.
Paine hit a shot to make the score 33-30 Matadors heading into the final possession of the half but a backcourt violation gave Santa Clara the ball with 1.1 seconds remaining. The Broncos were unable to convert and the teams went to the locker rooms with the score 33-30 Northridge.
Santa Clara shot 39% (12-31) from the field and 50% (3-6) from three in the first half. The Broncos had 19 rebounds, nine assists, 11 turnovers, and three steals. Paine led all scorers with 11 points on 5-6 shooting while adding a rebound and a steal. Walters scored six on two threes with two rebounds and assists. Bertholdt led the team with four rebounds.
Northridge shot 44% (12-27) from the field and 17% (2-9) from deep in the first half. The Matadors had 17 rebounds, nine assists, 13 turnovers, one block and seven steals. Guay led the offense with 10 points on 6-6 shooting from the free throw line. Thielges scored eight points and grabbed a team-high four rebounds.
With 14:45 remaining in the second half, Guay stole a pass and went all the way to the hoop for the easy layup to put Northridge on top 43-36. A layup inside by Camille Mahlknecht prompted Santa Clara to take a 30 second timeout.
Zurauskyte made a layup in the paint and on the next possession was fouled in the act to head to the line. She knocked down both to get Santa Clara within five at 47-42 with 10:47 remaining. After a Northridge bucket, Zurauskyte scored again for her sixth straight Bronco point.
With seven and a half minutes remaining in the half, Zurauskyte scored again in the lane and the Bronco defense forced a turnover to give the Broncos a chance to make it a one-possession game.
Janae Sharpe converted a three-point play to put the Matadors back on top by seven but Katie Hawkins answered. Arteivia Lilomaiava hit a jumper two possessions later to once again get Santa Clara within one possession.
Bertholdt stepped to the line for a one-and-one with 3:20 remaining. She knocked down both shots to make it a one-points game at 59-58. Hawkins gave Santa Clara the lead a minute later on a three-point play in the lane. It was the first lead for Santa Clara since 3:42 in the first half.
Gilday hit a jumper from the baseline off an inbounds pass to put Santa Clara up 63-61 with under a minute remaining. A miss on the other end gave the Broncos the ball and with 30 seconds remaining they called a 30 second timeout to set up the offense. Walters stepped-up and hit a three from the top of the key to give Santa Clara the five-point lead with just 14.3 left in regulation.
Northridge missed a three and the ball went out to Santa Clara with four seconds remaining. The Broncos were able to run out the clock for the 66-61 win.