Gophers rout Santa Clara thanks to huge inside game

David McCoy

Minnesota women’s basketball point guard Shannon Schonrock drained two three-pointers Saturday to move past Lindsay Whalen into third place on the Gophers all-time list.

But Minnesota’s inside game scored 51 of its other 63 points on the way to a 69-42 win over Santa Clara on Saturday at the Leavey Center in Santa Clara, Calif.

Minnesota’s post players combined for 73.9 percent of the team’s total points, led by power forward Jamie Broback with 21.

Minnesota (8-1) opened the game on an 11-2 run in which Broback had nine of the points.

After four points by Liz Podominick, who did not miss a shot on the night and finished with nine, Janel McCarville was in on the next 15 Minnesota points – scoring 11 while grabbing two consecutive steals to assist the other two baskets.

McCarville – who nabbed three steals and led the team with four assists to go along with her 17 points – was in such a groove that she even shot her first career three-pointer.

“I kind of second-guessed myself a little bit,” McCarville said. “I had to look at the ref to make sure both his hands were up.”

Minnesota churned out a 15-0 run near the end of the half and took a 40-19 lead over Santa Clara (3-3) going into the locker room.

Schonrock, who led all guards with eight points, did not take a shot in the first half.

But after McCarville opened the second half with her second block of the night, Schonrock scored the half’s first two points to spark a 9-1 opening run.

Schonrock tied Whalen with 11:02 left in the game and drained her 121st trey with 6:14 left to move into third on the all-time list while giving Minnesota its biggest lead of the game at 67-34.

“To start the game, they were face-guarding me a lot and making it tough to get shots off,” Schonrock said. “But they were only guarding us one on one inside the post, and we were taking advantage of it, so I didn’t need to score.”

Schonrock tied her career high with five rebounds, and shooting guard April Calhoun – who tied a Minnesota-career high with six steals – had five as well.

Minnesota, who never trailed in the game, was stingy on defense. The Gophers held the Broncos to 31 points below their season average and restricted the perimeter-happy team – which averaged 25 three-point attempts per game – to just 3-of-17 shooting from beyond the arc.

That was in large part because of defensive stopper Shannon Bolden, who held Santa Clara’s leading scorer, Ashley Graham, to zero points, while limiting her to only five shots and forcing three turnovers.

“To hold them to 31 points below their average is great,” coach Pam Borton said. “I think that’s because (The Gophers have) embraced that championships are won with defense.”