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Gonzaga women turn back Santa Clara, 63-51

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Jill Barta had her seventh double-double of the season and Gonzaga defeated Santa Clara 63-51 on Saturday to remain undefeated through two games in West Coast Conference women’s basketball.

Barta scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Zykera Rice joined her in double figures with 10 points and Chandler Smith had nine.

Gonzaga (9-4, 2-0 WCC) led 30-18 at halftime and quickly extended its lead in the third quarter.

Rice opened the half with four-straight points and Barta hit a 3-pointer for a 37-21 lead. Shortly thereafter Gonzaga went on a 9-0 run to take a 41-21 lead with six minutes left in the quarter.

“Today was a grinder,” Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier said. “We had a hard time getting into a rhythm. Our defense really carried us for most of the game. Over the course of the season, you have to adapt to different teams and I’m happy that we were able to find a way against a tough Santa Clara team, on the road, today.”

Three players scored in double figures for Santa Clara (4-9, 0-2) and no other player scored more than four points. Morgan McGwire scored 14 points, Kyla Martin 12 and Charise Holloway 10.

Gonzaga will return home to face Pepperdine, also 2-0 in conference play, at 6 p.m. on Thursday.