For its first win of the season following an 0-3 start, San Jose State women's basketball beat Santa Clara 75-64 in a rivalry game known as the "Clash of the County" on Sunday.
Leading the Spartans in scoring, Dezz Ramos scored 30 points in her second straight game scoring in the 30s and dished out a season high nine assists. Rachol West had season highs of 13 points, five rebounds, and three assists. MyMy Ladd and Jasmine Smith led in rebounds with eight each; Ladd reached a new season high in single-game rebounding. San Jose State committed a season low 10 turnovers, while Santa Clara committed 21, the most for any opponent this season.
For the Broncos, Morgan McGwire had 22 points and eight rebounds. Marie Bertholdt had 13 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists. Lori Parkinson had eight points and 12 rebounds. Santa Clara returns four starters from last year's team that went 23-9 and made the WNIT. Santa Clara's starting five included three players with six-foot heights compared to just one six-foot starter for Pacific on Friday.
Jamie Craighead, head coach for San Jose State, credited the few turnovers, improved free throw shooting, guard play, and defense for contributing to the win.
"It was really important that we can mix up our defenses," said Craighead. "...We mixed in our man enough that I didn't think they'd get too comfortable with our matchup zone," added Craighead.
The first quarter ended with a 14-13 San Jose State lead and 9-2 turnover ratio favoring San Jose State, but Santa Clara out-shot San Jose State 43% to 25% from the field. Paris Baird set up the first score by either team with a steal in the paint, and Ladd made the assist to West for a three-pointer. Santa Clara took a 13-10 lead after a McGwire free throw, but San Jose State left the first quarter with a lead thanks to two free throws by freshman Taylor Turney after being fouled on a three-point attempt and a jumper by Ramos.
San Jose State expanded its lead to 18-13 early in the second quarter thanks to two Ramos jumpers. Then inside the eight-minute mark, Baird swatted the ball away from Bertholdt and hit a layup in transition for a 20-13 San Jose State lead. Ladd later hit a layup for a 23-15 San Jose State lead, but Santa Clara responded with an 8-0 run to tie the game thanks to three-pointers by Emily Wolph and Naomi Jimenez and two free throws by Bertholdt. Santa Clara could not take a lead, however. In the final minute of the first half, Ladd got an offensive rebound off a Ramos missed three and passed the ball to a wide-open Andrea Kohlhaas, who hit a three that put San Jose State up 30-25, which would be the halftime score.
Santa Clara responded with nine unanswered points to start the third quarter and led 34-30 with 7:31 to go, as San Jose State missed its first four field goals of that quarter. However, Ramos stopped the bleeding by hitting a jumper to cut the deficit to 34-32 and later got a steal from Ladd breaking up a pass to Taylor Berry. With the assist from Ramos, West hit a three to take the lead back, 35-34. Santa Clara had one-possession leads for around two and a half minutes before Baird tied the game at 42 with a three-pointer with just over three minutes to go. Berry missed a free throw, and West and Baird followed up with two more three-pointers to expand San Jose State's lead to 48-43. Ramos heaved a cross-court assist for a West layup with 36 seconds to go that put San Jose State up 52-45, but Wolph kept Santa Clara in the game by hitting a layup with five seconds left and cutting San Jose State's lead to 52-47 after three quarters.
Closing out the game, San Jose State turned up the intensity in the fourth quarter. With possession off an offensive foul by McGwire, Ramos hit a jumper that put San Jose State up 56-49 with just under nine minutes to go. Gennett gave San Jose State its first double-digit lead of the season, 61-51, with her first three-pointer of the game.
Although San Jose State never trailed again, Santa Clara still battled late in the fourth quarter. Parkinson hit a layup and the and-1 free throw to pull Santa Clara within 67-60 with 2:11 remaining. Santa Clara applied a full-court press on the ensuing inbounds, and Berry eventually got the backcourt steal from Ramos. Baird appeared to block a shot by Bertholdt but was called for the foul, and the free throws were good and cut the San Jose State lead to 67-62.
"We set up a press break, and once we set up a press break, they didn't get another turnover on us," said Craighead.
That was the closest Santa Clara would get; in the final two minutes, Ramos and West went a combined eight-for-eight from the free throw line, and West had two defensive rebounds and a steal.
West said that it was important to make her defensive plays in the closing minutes.
"They were right under the basket, so if we wouldn't have got[ten] them, they probably got the rebound and a putback, and that could've changed the entire game," explained West.
This game marks the first meeting between the two schools since the 2013-14 season, Jamie Craighead's first at San Jose State and Jennifer Mountain's last at Santa Clara. That game was a 97-93 road win for San Jose State. The series was not played during JR Payne's two seasons as Santa Clara head coach; Bill Carr became Santa Clara head coach this year after Payne took the job at Colorado. This win shrinks Santa Clara's lead in the all-time series to 24-23; since the 2009-10 season, San Jose State has won four of the last six contests.
San Jose State travels to Hawaii for the Thanksgiving break to play in the Rainbow Wahine Showdown hosted by the University of Hawaii. Starting on Friday, San Jose State will play host Hawaii, as well as power conference opponents Mississippi State and Oregon. After that invitational, the team has a home game on Dec. 3 against another WCC opponent from the Bay Area, Saint Mary's.