In Monday’s West Coast Convention Championship semifinal recreation, ladies’s basketball participant Gonzaga defeated the Santa Clara Broncos 72-62 in Las Vegas. The Zags misplaced to Portland within the semifinals final season and took the win the 12 months earlier than, regardless of shedding then sophomore Jill Townsend to a damaged leg and senior guard on the time, Laura Stockton had an ACL tear earlier than falling to BYU within the championship recreation that 12 months.
“As a senior now we have numerous weight right here and we’ve not gained the event since first 12 months, second 12 months was one of many worst weekends of our lives, final 12 months we did. gave up towards Portland so we’re simply attempting to not put that strain on the crew and say it is our final 12 months, ”mentioned senior guard Jill Townsend. “There is no purpose to try this and we’re a aggressive group of athletes from DI and we will need to win each recreation, whether or not it is the primary recreation of the season or this championship.
This event, GU as soon as once more returned to Vegas because the No.1 seed after ending the common season atop the WCC. Santa Clara arrived because the CMC’s fourth-ranked crew as the beginning of the 12 months anticipated to complete low within the convention standings and beat Loyola Marymount within the quarter-finals on Saturday to advance to the Zags on Monday.
The 2 convention opponents have confronted one another twice in the course of the common season main as much as this playoff recreation, with GU profitable each video games by a complete of 36 factors.
Santa Clara was capable of hold GU a lot nearer on Monday all through the semifinals, with the evening’s greatest lead stretching to 13 factors earlier than ending with GU profitable by a 10-point margin. To begin the sport, Santa Clara and GU used a one-on-one defensive method that appeared to offer each groups respective assaults.
The Zags began the sport taking pictures 2-10 from the sector and returned the ball six instances in as many minutes. Nonetheless, GU was capable of preserve the lead he began the sport with and even prolonged it to 12-6 by the point the primary quarter was in place. Santa Clara seemed equally dysfunctional on the offensive finish for the primary couple of minutes of play, as GU’s half-court entice protection pressured three turnovers out of the Broncos within the ultimate 4 minutes of the primary quarter and allowed Santa Clara to complete 1-10 on targets from the sector. to finish the primary body.
“It wasn’t excellent on protection, simply being blissful to come back out with 62 factors and a win is one thing we may do, or we might be within the locker room and acknowledge that we allow them to go an excessive amount of to their tendencies and get them . photographs, ”Townsend mentioned.
A lot of the drought that marked the beginning got here from an incapacity on each side to go three or hit the road. Neither crew was charged with a foul till a minute after the beginning of the second quarter when Santa Clara goalkeeper Lindsey VanAllen fouled GU Kayleigh Truong’s second 12 months, and each groups began. 0-13 deep. The primary knockdown three of the day got here from Ashlyn Herlihy of Santa Clara, who closed the scoring to 15-11 GU with 7:30 left within the half. These three factors had been a part of Santa Clara’s greatest rating of the sport, scoring eight straight factors on the Zags to in the end deliver the Broncos down to 1 at 17-16.
On a steal from Ashley Hiraki of Santa Clara, forcing considered one of GU’s 11 first-half turnovers, Broncos junior guard Merle Weihl received the prospect to finish a fast layup and provides Santa Clara his first advance of the match. Weihl missed out nonetheless, and GU took the sudden break in Santa Clara’s momentum to tip him in his personal favor, indulging in a 12-0 run that included Abby O’s Zags’ high three converts. Connor and the primary double-digit lead of the sport after LeeAnne Wirth reversed back-to-back free throws.
Nevertheless, Santa Clara would not give in fully from there, organising their very own 6-0 run to finish the half and convey it to 29-22 GU. Neither crew shot as deliberate within the first two quarters of motion, as Santa Clara shot a 33.3% FG and GU did solely barely higher with a 35 clip. 5% as a crew.
and GU retired within the first half.
“We wished to grind it within the first 5 minutes and hold going,” GU head coach Lisa Fortier mentioned. “It took us somewhat over 5 minutes, however we knew that we had performed rather well towards Pepperdine and LMU in our final two common season video games and that we wished to proceed the place we left off, however that we might take somewhat extra. minutes to start out.
Santa Clara picked up the second the place they left off within the first, scoring the primary 4 factors. The Zags made considered one of 10 from past the arc within the first half, however switch guard Cierra Walker received right into a flood early within the third quarter, flattening two straight from the depths earlier than giving a pleasant move to Jenn Wirth to maintain GU forward of 39 -34.
Weihl stored Santa Clara within the combine as GU discovered his offensive stride, taking pictures down two threes to maintain tempo with Walker. Walker completed with 13 factors and Weihl with 16 for Santa Clara after each gamers collected two factors every for all the first half.
Far more rhythmically as a unit because the third quarter got here to a detailed, GU ended the interval 8-10 on the courtroom to come back up 52-39 earlier than the ultimate quarter of motion.
“The second half we shot the ball quite a bit higher, we had been 4-8 of three and we received to the free throw line,” mentioned Fortier. “We did numerous good issues within the second half as a result of we weren’t attempting to pressure him and we had been taking part in quite a bit higher as a crew.”
Nonetheless, GU was giving up extra turnovers than the crew was used to, already dropping 18 in fourth place after averaging 14 per recreation all season. VanAllen for Santa Clara made essentially the most of these GU errors, scoring a excessive of 17 factors with 15 approaching within the second half.
The offensive rebound was a strong sequel for GU all the recreation, however the Zags did not actually begin to capitalize on their second-chance factors till the second half. An offensive rebound from junior GU Melody Kempton 4 minutes into the fourth quarter helped put the ball again into the palms of Walker who knocked down a 3 to maintain it ten factors, but it surely was the one rating that broke what may have been a 9-0 run for Santa Clara who discovered the Broncos down by six as they approached the house stretch.
Preventing as time handed, Townsend, who completed the sport with a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double, hit a clutch three after forcing a roll in Santa Clara with 2:45 left, this which helped GU restore an 11-point lead. Though Kaylynne Truong gave up the ball on the following two possessions going up the sector, Santa Clara could not reverse any of her three makes an attempt that would have introduced the Broncos again into the sport.
From there the Broncos should have fouled and GU would go on to win 72-62. With the win, GU advances to the convention championship recreation on Tuesday and can face BYU in hopes of profitable the crew’s first convention title in three years.