February 27, 2001

Women's Hoops heads to San Diego for WCC Tournament

Feb. 27, 2001

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Broncos Earn Seventh Conference Title
Santa Clara (20-6, 11-3 WCC) 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 at the Chiles Center. Santa Clara tied with Saint Mary's for the regular season league bragging rights, as both teams finish with 11-3 league marks. The victory over Portland also marked 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.

The WCC Tournament
The Broncos will have to travel for the chance at the league title this season, as the league is leaving the mission campus for the first time in three years to host its annual basketball showcase. The 2001 WCC women's basketball championships is scheduled to take place this weekend at San Diego's new Jenny Craig Pavilion. Renovations to the Leavey Center prompted the change in venue.

Although the Broncos are tied with Saint Mary's, the Gaels earned the No. 1 seed by sweeping Santa Clara in regular season play. The Broncos will open the tournament against #7 Portland on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. #4 Pepperdine and #5 USF open the tournament at noon, while #1 Saint Mary's and #8 Gonzaga will play at 6 p.m. and #3 LMU will play at host #6 USD at 8 p.m. All games will be played at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. Team will be reseeded for semifinal action, which will take place Friday at 6 p.m. while the finals will be on Sunday at 1 p.m.

History of Success
With an 11-3 WCC mark, Santa Clara recorded a winning record in conference play for the eleventh consecutive year. That's the longest streak in the 16-year history of WCC basketball. No other school has had more than five straight seasons over .500.

Garrison Named Academic All-American
Annie Garrison was named a first team Verizon All-Academic honoree for District VIII, CoSIDA announced Feb. 22. Garrison carries a 3.75 GPA as a dual major in mathematics and computer science and has been the only player to start every game for the Broncos this season while leading the team in scoring and rebounding. The National Verizon Academic All-America team will be announced March. 15.

Garrison, Ashbaugh, Gruening Earn All-WCC Honors
Annie Garrison became only the second player in Santa Clara history to be named a three-time first team All-West Coast Conference member, the league announced Monday morning. Additionally Becki Ashbaugh and Caroline Gruening received honorable mention honors. Garrison joins three-time honoree Melissa King (1991-93) as the only Broncos to earn three consecutive first team league honors and earns the unanimous recognition for the third straight year. Ashbaugh also received honorable mention honors last year while Gruening receives her first recognition from the WCC.

Follow the Broncos Live on the Internet
Santa Clara now offers fans a live Internet audio broadcast on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com for all women's games. It began with the Jan. 2 game against Columbia. Dan Harrington is in his first season as the voice of the Broncos. Additionally, the Broncos' home opener against Maryland on Dec. 27 marked the launching of a new feature that allowed fans to follow each home game with a live statistical tracker. Fans could receive real-time updated statistics direct from the official courtside scoring computer for the team's home contests, allowing users to listen to the audio broadcast and keep up with the statistics simultaneously.

Head Coach Chris Denker
In his first season as head coach, Chris Denker (Oregon '90) is no stranger to Santa Clara basketball. Serving as an assistant coach on Caren Horstmeyer's staff for the last seven years, Denker becomes only the sixth head coach in the 36-year history of the program. Last weekend, the Broncos earned a share of the regular season WCC title with Saint Mary's, making Denker and first year Gael coach Michelle Jacoby the first first-year coaches to win a women's basketball title in the WCC, taking into consideration both rookie head coaches and previously experienced head coaches in their first year with a WCC team. Additionally, the victory over Pepperdine on Jan. 11 made Denker the winningest first-year head coach in SCU history, surpassing 10-year head coach Ken Thompson's first year mark of nine wins in the 1978-79 season. Under Horstmeyer, Denker was the top recruiting and offensive coordinator. His teams amassed a 137-64 (.682) overall record, including a 69-29 (.704) mark in West Coast Conference play. The Broncos have also won three WCC Championships under his watch and advanced to the postseason four times. He inherited a squad that returns 11 letterwinners from a 1999-2000 team that went 21-9 and participated in the Women's National Invitation Tournament. He has also been an assistant coach Idaho State University and South Eugene (Ore.) High School. As a collegiate player, Denker lettered in basketball as a freshman at Boise State University before transferring to Linn Benton Community College the next year. At LBCC, he served as the basketball team captain and earned honorable mention All-League recognition in 1987.