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No. 18 Gonzaga women top Santa Clara in WCC semis 72-62

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LAS VEGAS – Jill Townsend led a balanced attack with 14 points and 10 rebounds and No. 18 Gonzaga defeated Santa Clara 72-62 in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference tournament on Monday.

Cierra Walker had three 3-pointers in the second half and scored 13 points for the top-seeded Bulldogs (22-3), who will face second-seeded BYU or third-seeded San Francisco on Tuesday. Jenn Wirth added 12 points and Kayleigh Truong 10.

Lindsey VanAllen led fourth-seeded Santa Clara (14-11) with 17 points and Merle Wiehl and Ashlyn Herlihy 16 apiece. The Broncos lost the two meetings in the regular season by 19 and 17 points and have lost 11 straight in the series.

The Bulldogs had a season-high 21 turnovers but shot 61.5% in the second half and had a 39-23 rebounding advantage. Four different players had four assists.

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Gonzaga led 12-6 after a ragged first quarter that saw both teams commit seven turnovers and going 0 for 5 from 3-point range.. The Broncos were 3 of 14, closing 1 of 10.

The Bulldogs were up one and had a 12-0 run in the second quarter before settling for a 29-22 lead at the break.

The game stayed close until a 13-3 surge helped the Zags take a 52-39 lead into the fourth quarter. The Broncs got within six with just under four minutes to play but couldn’t get closer.

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More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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