Women's NIT Preview
March 12, 2001
Broncos Say Aloha to Mainland, Head to Hawaii for WNIT First Round
Santa Clara (20-7) will head to the Women's National Invitation Tournament for the second straight year, and will face Hawaii in the first round of this year's draw. The Broncos, who have now reached the postseason four consecutive years, will play in Honolulu at the Wahine's Stan Sheriff Center on Thursday, March 15. Game time has been set for 9 p.m. PST.
"We're very excited about continuing our season," head coach Chris Denker said. "It's a testament to our seniors that they've made it to four straight tournaments."
In fact, the selection to the WNIT marks the first time in Bronco history that a class will have advanced to four straight postseasons, as seniors Kristin Franklin, Annie Garrison, Jennifer Glysson and Kim Sorenson will be making the historic appearance. The quartet advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 1998 and '99 in addition to last season's WNIT berth.
Santa Clara won the WNIT in its first appearance back in 1991, defeating Indiana in the championship game. The Broncos are 3-1 all-time at the Invitational, the only loss to Southern California 71-64 in the first round of last year's draw.
Santa Clara WNIT All-time Results
Amarillo Civic Center, Amarillo, Texas
Santa Clara 81, Notre Dame 65
Santa Clara 58, Kansas 57
Santa Clara 71, Indiana 68
Toso Pavilion, Santa Clara, Calif.
USC 71, Santa Clara 64
Scouting the Hawaii Wahine
Series Record: Hawaii Leads 4-1
First Meeting: 1982 - SCU won (65-57) Nov. 20 in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Last Meeting: 1996 - Hawaii won (61-52) Dec. 15 in Honolulu
SCU Largest Margin of Victory: 8 on Nov. 20 (65-57) in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Hawaii Largest Margin of Victory: 25 on Dec. 19, 1988 (94-69) in Santa Clara
Notable: Hawaii is 23-7 on the season and will be making their second straight WNIT appearance... reached the championship match of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament, falling to Texas Christian 66-58... four Wahine members were named to the All-WAC Team, led by first-team member Crystal Lee, a 5-11 forward... additionally, April Atuaia was named the league's freshman of the year.
Advancing in the WNIT
The winner of the Santa Clara/Hawaii match will play the winner of the Oregon State/Brigham Young contest. The second round match will take place on March 17-19. The quarterfinals will be March 20-22, with the final four teams meeting for the semifinal game March 23-25 and the final on March 27-28. The event involves 32 teams in a single elimination format. All games, including the semifinals and championship, will be hosted by participating schools at their home facility.
The WCC in the Postseason
While Saint Mary's received the WCC's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, no conference squads were selected as at-large bids, the first time in four years this has occurred. However, in addition to Santa Clara in the WNIT, Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine also received invitations. The Lions will host UNLV while the Waves will play at Arizona. All three WNIT games will be played Thursday.
Broncos Gather as a Team to Watch NCAA Selection Show
Santa Clara gathered as a team on Sunday in hopes of hearing that it would be heading to the big dance known as the NCAA Tournament, but the Broncos were not a part of the announced 64-team field.
"We're still really excited to get a chance to keep playing," senior Annie Garrison said. "There's a lot of teams that don't even get to play after their conference tournament. Last year we didn't perform as we would have liked. I think we'll be more prepared this year and hopefully advance."
Follow the Broncos Live on the Internet
During the regular season, Santa Clara offered fans a live Internet audio broadcast on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com for all women's regular season games. It began with the Jan. 2 game against Columbia. Dan Harrington completed 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. Tune in to www.uhathletics.hawaii.edu for the Broncos' contest this Thursday.
The Starting Lineup
Santa Clara returns two starters from last season in Annie Garrison and Becki Ashbaugh. While Garrison has started all 27 contests for the Broncos this year, an ankle sprain prevented Ashbaugh from starting at California, marking the first time in her career that she has not started, ending a 64-game streak. Caroline Gruening, a former walk-on now on scholarship, has also started all but one game. Jennifer Glysson and Kim Sorenson complete a solid starting group that is 12-3 together on the season. Tammy Annas, a starting forward last year and projected to be an integral part of this year's lineup, is out for the season recovering from surgery after tearing an ACL in her left knee in an October pick-up game.
Bronco Probable Starting Lineup
No. Pos. Name Yr. Ht. PPG RPG
32 F Jennifer Glysson Sr. 6-0 8.6 6.8
14 C Annie Garrison Sr. 6-3 12.2 7.6
3 G Becki Ashbaugh Jr. 5-5 9.4 5.2 apg
11 G Caroline Gruening Jr. 5-7 10.1 2.2
23 G Kim Sorenson Sr. 5-9 6.8 3.1
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.