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Gonzaga easily dispatches Santa Clara 71-52

A 19-2 run in the fourth quarter put the game away.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 09 West Coast Women’s Tournament - Portland v Gonzaga Photo by Robert Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Playing in the home of the Santa Cruz Warriors on a somewhat neutral floor thanks to COVID restrictions in Santa Clara County, the Gonzaga women continued their WCC dominance with a 71-52 win over the Santa Clara Broncos to remain undefeated in conference play.

Jill Townsend scored 20 points on 9-12 shooting to lead Gonzaga’s efforts while Jenn Wirth wasn’t too far behind with 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. Merle Wiehl matched her counterpart in Townsend as she led Santa Clara in scoring with 20 points on 9-10 shooting, but was the only Bronco to score in double figures.

Gonzaga used its suffocating defense and a scorching offense that shot 12-14 from the field to blitz the Broncos to build a 27-10 lead by the end of the first quarter. Jenn Wirth and Jill Townsend each nearly outscored Santa Clara during that quarter as they finished with nine points apiece.

It looked like another rout was on, but the Broncos settled into the game while Gonzaga’s offense cooled off after its torrid start. The two teams played to an essential draw over the second quarter to reach the midpoint of the game with a 40-25 scoreline in favor of the Zags.

Santa Clara continued to chip away at its deficit, and looked to be setting up an exciting finish when they cut Gonzaga’s lead to 10 points with nine minutes left in the game. From that point on, however, it was all Gonzaga as they launched a 19-2 run over the next six minutes to take a 71-44 lead to put the game away.

The Broncos may have scored the final eight points of the game to take some of the sting out of the final scoreline, but there’s no doubt as to which team was superior on this night and has been through the first three weeks of the WCC schedule.

Much to the dismay of the rest of the WCC, Gonzaga appears to have finally found its groove. Whether the Zags can keep building on its tremendous form will be a fun question to watch play out over the coming weeks.