January 30, 2014 in Sports

Gonzaga women drub Santa Clara

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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(Full-size photo)

Scrapping its way out of an early deficit, the No. 22 Gonzaga women’s basketball team turned on the jets Thursday night and raced away for a dominating 89-37 victory over the visiting Santa Clara Broncos.

The game marked the ninth time this season the Bulldogs (19-3, 9-1), which coach Kelly Graves has called his best defensive team, has held an opponent at or less than 47 points. And it was the fifth time Gonzaga has held opponents to 40 points or less.

“I thought tonight was a really good, all-around effort,” Graves said. “We made it difficult for them to find any kind of rhythm. That was as good a defensive effort as we’ve had.”

Graves always compliments the defensive efforts of 6-foot-5 center Shelby Cheslek. But the sophomore from Pullman played her best offensive game of the year and scored a game-high 14 points, with seven rebounds and a block.

“I’m really proud of her,” Graves said of Cheslek. “She always brings it on the defensive end. She’s capable offensively. It was great to see her so aggressive.”

With guards Haiden Palmer and Jazmine Redmon shooting passing lanes, the Zags raced on fast breaks from one Santa Clara (7-14, 3-7) possession to the next. As a team, Gonzaga scored 42 points off turnovers.

Add to that the rediscovered shooting touch of Keani Albanez, who scored 13 points, and the Zags put on a show.

During one fast break, Albanez hit a 3-pointer on the run, which helped to bury Santa Clara in a flurry of points.

“I’ve been kind of a slump lately,” Albanez said. “But being home was definitely a positive vibe. It’s a good, fun feeling. Once we got that transition game going, it shows how successful we can be.”

The Zags started the game trailing 6-3 until Albanez hit her first of three 3-pointers. Gonzaga then went on a merciless 39-11 run to end the first half.

Redmon, who continues to nurse a bum ankle, scored 12 points and Palmer scored 10. Kiara Kudron grabbed three offensive rebounds and scored eight points.

Shaniqua Nilles also came off the bench for seven points and Chelsea Waters and Danielle Walter both had six.

“I was really proud of our bench,” Graves said. “When we can bring in athletes with length and kids with skill off the bench, it can wear a team down and it did.”

The domination continued into the second half, with the defense holding Santa Clara to 20 points compared to Gonzaga’s 44.

The defense of Gonzaga did not allow any Santa Clara players to score in double figures. Ruta Zurauskyte and Arteivia Lilomaiava both scored a team-high eight points.

Gonzaga stays at home to play at 2 p.m. Saturday against San Francisco.

“There was a stretch early in the second half where we were as good as we’ve been,” Graves said. “We had steals, transition and 3s off transition. We’ve had our issues offensively. It was nice to see us get it going.”

(22) Gonzaga 89, Santa Clara 37

Santa Clara (7-14, 3-7)—Gilday 3-12 0-0 6, Bertholdt 0-0 0-0 0, Avila 0-2 0-0 0, Paine 3-8 2-4 8, Zurauskyte 2-5 0-0 4, Walters 0-2 0-0 0, Radanovich 0-1 0-0 0, Hawkins 0-2 4-4 4, Lisowski 0-0 0-0 0, Gallaway 0-2 2-2 2, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Lilomaiava 4-5 0-0 8, Scott 0-1 1-2 1, Leo 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 14-45 9-12 37.

Gonzaga (19-3, 9-1)—Palmer 5-12 0-0 10, Greinacher 2-6 0-0 4, Albanez 5-7 0-0 13, Redmon 5-8 2-3 12, Cheslek 5-10 4-4 14, Waters 2-4 2-2 6, Walter 3-4 0-0 6, Sullivan 0-0 1-2 1, Nilles 1-4 4-4 7, Kudron 2-5 4-4 8, Golden 0-0 2-4 2, Tinkle 1-2 2-3 4, Sherbert 0-6 2-4 2. Totals 31-68 23-30 89.

Halftime—Gonzaga 45-17. 3-Point Goals—Santa Clara 0-5 (Radanovich 0-1, Gilday 0-1, Paine 0-1, Walters 0-2), Gonzaga 4-15 (Albanez 3-5, Nilles 1-4, Palmer 0-1, Walter 0-1, Sherbert 0-4). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Santa Clara 24 (Bertholdt, Gallaway 4), Gonzaga 49 (Kudron 8). Assists—Santa Clara 7 (Avila, Gallaway, Gilday, Hawkins, Lisowski, Paine, Walters 1), Gonzaga 16 (Redmon 6). Total Fouls—Santa Clara 25, Gonzaga 14.


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