SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Wrapping-up the nonconference portion of its schedule, Santa Clara women's basketball topped Georgia State by a final of 87-68. The win puts the Broncos at 4-7 overall while the Panthers are now 4-8.
Santa Clara returns to the floor Mon., Dec. 30 at 7 p.m. vs. San Francisco in the West Coast Conference opener for the Broncos.
"I thought we had absolutely great patience on offense tonight," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "We also had a balanced inside-outside attack and made that extra unselfish pass which got us good looks. We were also able to knock down shots, which was important. Georgia State threw a couple of things at us and I thought out players adjusted really well and executed our game plan."
Santa Clara shot 51.6% (32-62) from the field and 27.3% (3-11) from three. The Broncos had 47 rebounds, 19 assists, 15 turnovers, five blocks and two steals. Ruta Zurauskyte led the offense with 24 points on 9-12 shooting and 6-6 from the free throw line with six rebounds and three blocks. Nici Gilday scored 18 points with four assists while Marie Bertholdt was 5-5 from the field for 14 points and added a team-high eight rebounds. Raquel Avila added 13 points with four assists.
Georgia State shot 34.7% (26-75) from the field and 28.6% (4-14) from three. The Panthers had 33 rebounds, 11 assists, nine turnovers, one block and seven steals. Ashlee Cole led the offense with 14 points on 5-11 shooting. Kendra Long and Kayla Nolan each scored 11 points while Long added four assists and five rebounds.
Georgia State went on a quick 6-0 run on a pair of threes over 36 seconds to get out on top by four at 16:33. Avila ended the run on the next Bronco possession with a three of her own to make the score 10-7.
The Broncos used the three to propel themselves onto an 8-0 run over 1:38 to get out on top for the first time at 14-10. A beautiful pass by Katie Hawkins found Gilday on the fast break for a three-point play. The Panthers ended the run with a jumper by Brittany Logan but Santa Clara came right back with a bucket of its own.
Georgia State went 2-12 from the field during a six-minute stretch in the first half with three turnovers. Santa Clara used the opportunity to extend its lead to eight points at 22-14.
With Santa Clara up seven, Nolan drove to the lane and drew contact for a three-point play. The Panthers put on full court press and forced a turnover that led to a free throw by Haley Gerrin to cut the Bronco lead to 27-24 with 6:24 remaining in the half.
After a timeout to game plan against the press, Zurauskyte took a nice pass from Paine for an easy layup. Georgia State responded with a wide-open layup on the other end.
The Bronco's went on an 8-0 run over 2:11 to get on top by double-digits for the first time at 38-28. Georgia State went 0-5 from the field during the stretch. Hawkins made a nice move in the lane to connect on a three-point play and spark the run and Zurauskyte went 4-4 from the charity stripe. Cole finally ended the run with a short jumper at the two-minute mark.
Gilday completed a three-point play and the Broncos went into a press that forced a turnover, which got Bertholdt an easy layup off an assist from Hawkins. The teams exchanged free throws and the Broncos forced a traveling call to get the ball with four seconds remaining but couldn't convert and took a 48-34 lead into halftime.
Santa Clara shot 56.7% (17-30) from the field and 40.0% (2-5) from three in the first half. The Broncos had 19 rebounds, 11 assists, six turnovers, three blocks and two steals. Zurauskyte led the offense with 12 points on 3-5 shooting and 6-6 from the free throw line. Avila scored nine points with two assists while Paine added four assists and Bertholdt had five rebounds.
Georgia State shot 36.8% (14-38) from the field and 25.0% (2-8) from three in the first half. The Panthers had 18 rebounds, six assists, six turnovers, and four steals. Gerrin led the offense with 11 points on 5-9 shooting and four rebounds. Cole scored eight points while Long scored seven.
After two free throws for the Panthers at 15:12, Paine nailed a three from the corner to start a 7-0 run over a minute. Georgia State was 0-4 from the field during the run and the Broncos were out on top by 20 for the first time. Brittany Logan made a short jumper to finally end the drought for the Panthers.
After Cole hit a wide-open jumper at 8:36 from the right corner for the Panthers, Santa Clara went on a 6-0 run to get out on top 81-53. Leo hit two from the free throw line after a nice offensive rebound and Gilday finished a fast break layup as well as hitting a jumper.
With under three minutes remaining Santa Clara started to put in its reserves and Courtney Lisowski, Shelby Swofford, and Taylor Williams all got in the game. All three attempted at least one shot but none scored.
Georgia State went on a 9-0 run over the final two and a half minutes to get the lead under 20 at 87-68. The Broncos went 0-5 from the field with five turnovers during the stretch but held on for the win.
Game Notes: Attendance was 394 … Friday was the Barefoot Coaching Game where Santa Clara's coaches coached in their bare feet in support of Soles 4 Souls. There were collection bins throughout Leavey for lightly used shoe donations. … Georgia State swapped out its entire lineup twice … This was the largest margin of victory for Santa Clara this season. The previous high was 10 vs. San Francisco State (67-57).