The Wildcats started off their two-game west coast road trip on a good note, topping Santa Clara 87-75.
The ‘Cats started off cold in the first half, and trailed 39-36 at the half. Nia Coffey brought her usual scoring, but not her typical efficiency. She had 10 points on 3-12 shooting at the break, but in the second half, she returned to her usual self and finished with 23 points and 16 rebounds.
As a team, the ‘Cats broke off an extended 24-10 in the second half that pushed the lead to ten. For the rest of the fourth quarter, they were able to keep the lead in double digits. They outscored the Broncos 51-36 in the second half.
“Defensively we did a much better job,” coach McKeown said. “Then we were able to hit big shots in transition. It was a hard-fought game. I was impressed with Santa Clara.”
Christen Inman quietly had her best scoring day of the season, dropping 22 points on 9-15 shooting. With Coffey struggling in the first half, Inman’s scoring output was key to keeping the ‘Cats competitive in this game.
“Inman found that extra gear in the second half,” McKeown said. “She got out in transition, rebounded, got some offensive putbacks, and made tough shots. She had a big three that I thought was a back-breaker. She’s like a BMW with a lot of different speeds, and today she did a great job.”
Ashley Deary was the main stat sheet stuffer, picking up a season-high 18 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and six steals, despite playing most of the fourth quarter with four fouls. Deary, Inman and Coffey combined for 63 of the ‘Cats 87 points.
“These are seniors. When you go on the road that’s who you want to lean on,” McKeown said.
The ‘Cats will try to extend their winning streak to eight games with their final road non-conference game on Monday at Gonzaga.