SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Getting set to finish the regular season, Santa Clara women's basketball hosts LMU Thurs., Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. and Pepperdine Sat., March 1 at 2 p.m. on Senior Day. Last week the Broncos fell at Pacific before upsetting Saint Mary's 89-83 on the road. The split has Santa Clara at 9-18 overall and 5-11 in conference play.
"We put together a complete game at Saint Mary's," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "Defensively we played well and on offense we shared the ball a lot. We had people make big plays and big shots. The team competed really hard and kept we kept our composure at the end of the game. When we made mistakes, we responded really well and the competitiveness in our kids really came out."
"This group of seniors has a little bit of everything," said Mountain. "Ricki has been a starter since she's been a freshman, Ruta has given us some big minutes, and Arteivia has been fantastic her senior year. Shelby was a walk on and Iman has had to deal with injuries so it's sort of the total package. I love every single one of them. It's been a great four years and we're going to miss them. We've been blessed to have a great group of young women that will leave here with a legacy and then go on to do great things as Broncos later in life."
Santa Clara is averaging 66.4 points per game and is shooting 41.6% (625-1504) from the field. The Broncos are shooting 30.2% (120-398) from deep and 76.2% (422-554) from the free throw line. They are averaging 37.6 rebounds per game, 13.9 assists per game, 20.1 turnovers per game, 6.2 steals per game, and 2.7 blocks per game.
Nici Gilday leads the Broncos with 15.7 ppg on 40.6% (146-360) shooting from the field. Gilday adds 3.0 rpg while playing a team-high 33.1 minutes per game. She also leads the team in free throw percentage with an 88.6% mark while leading in makes (101) and attempts (114). Over the course of four games, Gilday made 26 straight from the free throw line, including 13-13 at LMU. Vanessa Leo is ties for second on the team with 4.6 rpg while scoring 6.1 ppg on 41.1% (60-146) shooting. Ruta Zurauskyte has seen action in all 27 games, 53.5% (85-159) from the floor, third in the conference. Zurauskyte leads the Broncos with 23 blocks.
After missing 14 games with a broken wrist suffered in practice, senior guard Ricki Radanovich returned to the floor vs. Pacific and immediately made her presences felt. Radanovich scored 11 points on 4-6 shooting and 2-4 from deep with two steals and a rebound.
Radanovich is averaging 5.6 ppg and 2.8 rpg while hitting 14 threes, already fourth on the team. She has added 17 assists, five blocks, and 10 steals as well.
Of the 135 starts for Santa Clara in 2013-14, 65 have been made by true freshmen. Jo Paine from Oregon City, Ore., Montana Walters, also from Oregon City, Ore. and Marie Bertholdt of Alameda, Calif. have started 27, 11, and 24 games, respectively.
Paine has started every game and is second on the team with 10.3 ppg and 4.6 rpg. She had her first career double-double at Pepperdine on Jan. 2 when she set career highs with 28 points and 14 rebounds. Paine is shooting 45.7% (101-221) from the floor and leads the team in threes made and three-point percentage at 37.1% (33-89).
Walters has started 11 games and averages 2.8 apg while scoring 7.2 ppg. She is adding 2.1 rpg and has hit 29 threes. Walters set a career-high on Feb. 15 with 20 points at San Francisco. She nailed a three to give Santa Clara the lead with time winding down and iced the game with two free throws. A week later she set a new career-high with 26 points at Saint Mary's in the Broncos upset of the Gaels on the road. She drained five threes and added seven assists.
Bertholdt has started the last 24 games and has played in all 27. She is averaging 6.8 ppg and a team-high 5.5 rpg while shooting 52.4% (55-105) from the floor. She set a career-high with 10 rebounds at Pepperdine on Jan. 2 and followed it up with 10 more at LMU on Jan. 4. Bertholdt is second on the team in free throws made (73) and attempted (92), good for a 79.3% mark from the charity stripe.
Santa Clara is 44-20 all-time vs. LMU and 10-7 at the Leavey Center The first meeting came in 1984-85. Earlier this season the Broncos took down the Lions 69-65.
The Lions enter the week with an overall record of 8-19 and a 5-11 mark in conference. LMU is just 2-10 away from home this season and will be fighting with the Broncos for seeding in the upcoming WCC Tournament. Last week the Lions lost to San Diego and BYU at home.
"LMU is playing really well right now," said Mountain. "They're really good on the boards and have a point guard that pushes the tempo. She's a crafty kid that causes teams trouble. We need to do a great job on defense like we did this weekend and compete for 40 minutes on that end. In the past, LMU has done a good job of taking away our post players so it's important that we stay composed and have a good balanced inside-outside attack."
LMU is averaging 70.9 ppg and is shooting 39.2% (689-1759) from the field. The Lions are shooting 30.4% (146-480) from deep and 74.9% (390-521) from the free throw line. They are averaging 40.5 rpg, 14.7 apg, 17.7 tpg, 7.9 spg, and 3.6 bpg.
Hazel Ramirez leads LMU with 15.1 ppg on 33.3% (125-341) shooting from the field with 29 threes. Ramirez leads the conference with 6.1 apg and is adding 2.9 rpg to go with 1.8 spg. Deanna Johnson is scoring 13.7 ppg on a team-best 35.8% (24-67) shooting from deep. She has started just 12 of 16 games this season. Mackenzie Kerins is fourth in the conference in rebounding with 9.3 rpg and is adding 7.6 ppg on 47.1% (90-191) shooting from the field.
Santa Clara is 32-34 all-time vs. Pepperdine and 18-13 at the Leavey Center The first meeting came in 1978-79. Earlier this season the Waves took down the Broncos 100-93 in double overtime.
The Waves enter the week with an overall record of 5-22 and a 1-15 mark in conference. Last week Pepperdine fell at home to San Diego and BYU.
"The Pepperdine game is a revenge game as far as I'm concerned," said Mountain. "They're struggling a little bit to get wins but they have athletes that can make plays. I expect out kids to come out and play hard on senior day. Again, we've got to come out and defend. If we do that and take it to them offensively, we'll be in great shape."
Pepperdine is averaging 64.6 ppg and is shooting 39.1% (635-1624) from the field. The Waves are shooting 33.6% (124-369) from deep and 71.6% (350-489) from the free throw line. They are averaging 37.2 rpg, 12.7 apg, 11.1 tpg, 6.6 spg, and 2.1 bpg.
Bria Richardson leads Pepperdine with 16.9 ppg but has played in just 17 games. Richardson adds 2.6 spg and 3.7 rpg while shooting a team-high 44.2% (110-249) from the field. Ea Shoushtari is tops on the team with 6.9 rpg and is scoring 11.0 ppg. Shoushtari also leads the Waves in threes made with 52 and assists with 3.1 apg. Keitra Wallace is averaging 12.7 ppg and has hit 112 free throws. She is grabbing 4.6 rpg along with adding 2.9 apg.