Santa Clara University senior guard Caroline Gruening of Juneau broke two West Coast Conference tournament records and tied two others Friday night to lead the Broncos to an 87-84 victory over St. Mary's in the WCC semifinals in San Diego.
The victory sends the Broncos into today's 1:30 p.m. championship game against top-seeded Pepperdine, which beat San Francisco 84-77 in Friday's other semifinal.
Gruening broke the individual game records for points scored with 34 and for 3-point field goals made with eight. She also tied the records for field goals made with 11 and free throw percentage with a perfect 4-for-4 performance.
After missing her first shot, Gruening made her next 11 shots in a row before finishing the game with three misses.
Besides her WCC tournament records, Gruening also set a school record for most 3-point goals made and tied for the school's second-highest individual score in a game with 34 points. Earlier this season, Gruening established her previous single-game high with 24 points.
In Friday's game, Gruening got Santa Clara back into the game as St. Mary's jumped out to an 18-point lead early in the half.
Gruening made seven of eight shots from the floor in the first half and scored all of her points in the game's first 30 minutes. When Santa Clara fell behind by 18, Gruening sparked an 18-7 run by the Broncos and hit a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer that brought her team to within five points.
The victory gives Santa Clara a 21-8 overall record, the fourth time in the past five years the Broncos have reached 21 victories in a season. St. Mary's fell to 16-12 with the loss.
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