Feb. 24, 2001
PORTLAND, Ore. - Santa Clara earned its seventh West Coast Conference title and third in the last four years with its 20th victory of the season, a 73-54 defeat of Portland tonight at the Chiles Center.
Santa Clara improves to 20-6 overall, and ties with Saint Mary's for the regular season league bragging rights, as the Gaels topped LMU tonight 78-69. Both teams finish with 11-3 league marks. Portland finishes the regular season 13-14, 4-10 in WCC play.
Tonight's victory also marks the fourth straight--and seventh season overall--in which Santa Clara has reached the 20-win plateau. The Broncos have also now earned seven regular season league titles, after securing bragging rights in 1991, '92, '93, '94, '98 and '99.
Although the Broncos are tied with Saint Mary's, the Gaels earned the No. 1 seed in next week's conference tournament by sweeping Santa Clara in regular season play. A coin toss determined Loyola Marymount to be the third seed, while Pepperdine, San Francisco, San Diego, Portland and Gonzaga round out the bracket. The WCC tournament will take place March 1-4 in San Diego, Calif.
The Broncos will open the tournament with a rematch of tonight's opponent, Portland. That game will be on Thursday, March 1 at 2:30 p.m. Pepperdine and USF open the tournament at noon, while Saint Mary's and Gonzaga will play at 6 p.m. and LMU will play at host USD at 8 p.m. All games will be played at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.
Semifinal action will take place Friday at 6 p.m. while the finals will be on Sunday, March 4 at 1 p.m.
Three players lead all scorers for tonight's contest against the Pilots. Bronco seniors Jennifer Glysson and Annie Garrison, as well as junior Caroline Gruening, finished with 15 points each. Sophomore forward Julie Butler added 10 points for Santa Clara. Glysson led all defensive efforts with seven rebounds.
Sharon Rissmiller led Portland with 14 points, while Da'Love Woods added 13 points.
A three-pointer by senior Kim Sorenson opened a 22-10 Bronco lead in the first half as the Pilots went more than six minutes without a field goal. Intermission saw a 32-24 lead for the visitors, as Santa Clara shot 59.1 percent from the field.
Sorenson opened the second half with a three-pointer, followed by a steal on the defensive end of the court that ended up as a dish to Glysson for two points as the Broncos extended its lead by as much as 24 points before settling for the 19-point margin.