SANTA CLARA, Calif. – In the finale of a four-game homestand, Santa Clara women's basketball beat Pacific 68-51 Saturday afternoon in Leavey. The Broncos held the Tigers to just 16 first half points, the lowest total by Pacific in an opening half this season.
Santa Clara (12-13, 7-7 WCC) played with urgency from the opening tip, especially on the defensive end. The Broncos forced 19 Pacific (9-16, 5-9 WCC) turnovers and collected 11 steals.
"We had good energy on a Saturday afternoon," Santa Clara head coach Bill Carr said. "We were dialed-in and made it hard for them by getting them out of their rhythm. They got some open shots that they usually make and they didn't but that's caused sometimes by your energy."
The Broncos also had a strong day on the offensive end of the floor. On the day, they had 19 assists on 23 made baskets.
"That means the ball is moving and everyone cares about the team scoring more than the individual scoring," Carr said. "Our execution is better. The confidence in what we're doing is going up. Our offense is feeding off our defense. We're doing a really good job and getting some run outs to help."
Santa Clara took control with an 18-2 run over the final three minutes of the first quarter and two and a half minutes of the second to take a 25-10 lead. Marie Bertholdt scored 11 points during the run including a pair of 3-pointers. Pacific didn't make a field goal for almost 10 minutes during the stretch and were 0-for-9 from the floor with eight turnovers.
Wolph led all scorers with 20 and knocked down five 3-pointers to lengthen her lead in the WCC in that category. Bertholdt scored 15 with four assists and Morgan McGwire had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Taylor Berry and Lori Parkinson, the other two starters, both scored nine.
"That kind of balance means we're learning to pass the ball," Carr said. "More importantly it means we're learning where our teammates are and when they need to get it. We're getting a little bit more confident on offense because of it."
An 8-0 run by the Tigers over a minute and a half in the third quarter got the game within 40-26. The run started with back-to-back 3-pointers by Ameela Li and Emily Simons.
Santa Clara brought in their reserves for the final four minutes of action and Pacific responded with a 14-5 run to close out the game. GeAnna Luaulu-Summers led the way with 10 points and a pair of 3-pointers during the stretch.
Luaulu-Summers led Pacific with 19 points on 7-for-15 shooting from the field but was just 2-for-9 from beyond the arc. Li added 11 points and no other Tiger scored more than three.
The Broncos held the Tigers to just 21.4 percent shooting in the first half and 2-for-14 from beyond the arc.
"I was happy to see us come out strong today," Carr said. "We bounced back at USF Thursday after a tough loss to Gonzaga and equally as well bounced back today from a win Thursday. That's growth."
Santa Clara kicks-off a three-game road swing Thursday at 7 p.m. at Pepperdine.
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