SPOKANE, Wash. – In a showdown of two first place teams, Santa Clara women's basketball fell at Gonzaga 51-39 Thursday night in what turned out to be a defensive struggle.
Both teams had problems from the floor for most of the night. Santa Clara (9-9, 4-3 WCC) shot just 30 percent and was 3 of 18 from behind the arc. Gonzaga (14-4, 5-2 WCC) fared even worse, shooting 29 percent and 7 of 26 from 3-point land.
The Broncos again struggled with turnovers, committing 26 and being outscored 26-5 in points off turnovers. They also were outrebounded on the offensive end 18-10 and were outscored 20-5 in second chance points.
The game was close until Gonzaga pulled away in the third quarter with an 11-0 run over three minutes to take a 43-30 lead. Jill Barta scored all 11 points behind a pair of 3-pointers and two trips to the foul line. Santa Clara struggled the entire quarter, going just 1 of 9 from the field and turning the ball over eight times.
Barta led all scorers with 17 points on 5 of 11 shooting from the field and was 3 of 4 from beyond the arc. Elle Tinkle added 13 points and led the Bulldogs with nine rebounds. Emma Stach added 12 points.
Santa Clara made a push in the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to single-digits but Stach answered with a 3-pointer and Gonzaga went on an 8-0 run to put the game away.
Lori Parkinson led the Broncos with 14 points and grabbed six rebounds. Emily Wolph scored 13 and Morgan McGwire added 10 rebounds to go with six points.
With the Broncos in control and on top 21-13, Gonzaga closed the first half on an 11-3 run to tie the score at 24-all. The Zags got a pair of 3-pointers from Emma Stach and Elle Tinkle added one of her own.
Santa Clara didn't score for the final 3:24 of the first half and Gonzaga didn't hit a field goal for the final 2:27. The Zags shot just 27 percent from the floor in the first half and were 4 of 15 from behind the arc.
The Broncos continue their road trip Saturday at 2 p.m. at Loyola Marymount as they go for the season sweep of the Lions.
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