SPOKANE — Melody Kempton and twins Jenn and LeeAnne Wirth each scored 12 points and the No. 17 Gonzaga women’s basketball team used a big second quarter to defeat Santa Clara 67-50 on Saturday.
Jill Townsend added 10 points for the Zags (18-2 overall, 13-0 West Coast Conference), who have won 17 straight.
Gonzaga, which bolted to a 27-10 lead after one quarter en route to a 71-52 victory in the first meeting between the teams, matched its lowest opening quarter of the season on Saturday for a 12-8 lead.
The teams swapped three-pointers in the first 70 seconds of the second quarter before the Zags took over on both ends, scoring 19 straight to lead 34-11 at the half. Gonzaga was 8 of 14 from the field, with Kempton scoring eight points, while the Broncos missed nine shots and had six turnovers.
Santa Clara (12-8, 8-6), which had won four of its previous five games, made a push in the third quarter, using an 11-0 run to outscore the Zags 24-12. The Broncos pulled to 41-33 on a three-pointer by Lana Hollingsworth to cap the run at the 2:17 mark.
Abby O’Connor answered with a three and Cierra Walker made a pair of free throws for Gonzaga before Santa Clara pulled to 46-35 when Ashlee Maldonado made a layup at the third-quarter buzzer.
Gonzaga quickly regained control, with Jenn Wirth scoring the first points of the fourth quarter and LeeAnne Wirth the next four.
The teams matched up fairly well statistically, except for rebounding where the Zags had a 43-24 advantage. With an 18-5 difference in offensive rebounds and the Zags going plus-5 on turnovers, Gonzaga put up 17 more shots.
Merle Wiehl led Santa Clara with 11 points.
Gonzaga is scheduled to play at second-place Brigham Young on Thursday.