Zag women roll to win over Broncos
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Courtney Vandersloot can thank Santa Clara coach Jennifer Mountain for much of her success. Vandersloot spent the first year of her career working with the former Gonzaga assistant.
Vandersloot had 24 points and 11 assists, and No. 25 Gonzaga clinched at least a share of its seventh straight conference title with a 93-65 win over Santa Clara on Thursday night.
“She worked with me a lot, especially as a freshman when I came in raw,” Vandersloot said of Mountain. “She helped me a lot, even outside of practice.”
Vandersloot became the fourth player in NCAA women’s Division I history to record 1,000 assists and is 148 points shy of becoming the first with 2,000 points and 1,000 assists.
“I guess it’s that point guard vision,” Vandersloot said. “But it’s also my teammates. We run a system where everybody is in the same spot and I don’t have to guess.”
Kayla Standish added 19 points for the Bulldogs (23-4, 11-0 West Coast Conference), who have won 13 straight and 21 of 22 overall. The Bulldogs, the NCAA’s top scoring team, moved into the Top 25 this week for the first time this season.
“She’s a tremendous passer, always a step ahead,” said Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves, who led the Bulldogs to their first quarterfinals appearance in the NCAA tournament last year. “We’ve been blessed with players who know how to finish.”
Katelan Redmon had 18 points and Janelle Bekkering 17 as Gonzaga beat the Broncos for the 11th straight time. The Bulldogs’ average margin of victory in that span is 25.2 points.
“We want to win the league and we have a nice little run going,” Graves said. “But it’s not the ultimate goal. That’s playing in some games in the NCAA tournament.”
Gonzaga has won 31 consecutive games (including tournaments) over WCC opponents.
Mountain, in her third year at Santa Clara, served as an assistant under Graves for eight years. She was a three-time all-WCC guard with the Bulldogs between 1988-91 and remains on several all-time lists. Earlier this year, Vandersloot moved ahead of her on the school’s all-time list of 3-pointers made.
“She’s one of the best point guards in the country,” said Mountain, who recruited her to Gonzaga. “She’s put in the time and the energy and has expanded her game. It’s nice to see her succeed, but I wish she wouldn’t do so well against us.”
Lena Gipson scored 21 points to lead the Broncos (8-17, 4-7), who have dropped three in a row and seven of the last nine games. Alyssa Shoji added 14 points and Ricki Radanovich 10.
The Bulldogs, who led 53-35 at halftime, have scored more than 100 points five times this year, matching their total from the previous 16 years combined. Gonzaga has reached the century mark seven times as a Division I member, dating to 1986.
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