Feb. 5, 2002
Although Santa Clara will be on the road this week, with 10 of its 14 rostered players from the Northwest, the games against Portland and Gonzaga should contain Bronco-friendly fans. SCU will play at Portland on Thursday, followed by a Saturday night contest at Gonzaga. The game against the Pilots will be broadcast on local cable ASCN.
Welcome to "Washington South"
With eight players on this year's roster from the state of Washington, the mission campus is becoming known as "Washington South." The Broncos returned five of the six Washington natives from last season in senior Becki Ashbaugh of Bellevue, junior Tammy Annas of Enumclaw, sophomore Jennie Rondel of Kirkland, junior Julie Butler of Tacoma and junior Courtney Cushing of Brush Prairie. The addition of an entire recruiting class, in three incoming freshman, complete this season's contingent from the Evergreen State: Kim Butler of Tacoma, Quinn Thomas of Kent and Kayla Huss of Everett.
Ashbaugh Ready for Bronco First: 1,000 Points, 500 Assists
Washington native Becki Ashbaugh is 26 points away from become the first Bronco ever to notch 1,000 point and 500 assists in a career. She hit the later milestone to open conference play, and currently has 555. She has 36 to go before tying current career leader Jennifer Lucas' (1986-89) 591 mark. In the WCC, she ranks fourth all time in assists and once she reaches 1,000 points, will become only the second to reach both marks, joining Anja Bordt (SMC, 1998-91, 1,710 pts, 654 asts).
Gruening Named WCC Player of the Week
Caroline Gruening was named the WCC's Player of the Week for her performance this weekend, as her three-point shooting put the Broncos in the win column twice. In the double-overtime victory over the Gaels, she posted a career-high 25 points on 7-13 from the floor and 9-9 from the charity stripe. Her three-pointer, with 38 seconds remaining in the final period, sealed the victory for SCU's first double-overtime contest. Two nights later, Gruening did it again, this time a 65-64 victory over the Dons with a three-point score with one minute remaining in regulation. For the weekend, she averaged 17 points, shooting 50 percent from the field, 33 percent from beyond the arc and 100 percent from the free throw line. She added six rebounds, five assists and two steals to her performance.
Live on the Internet
Santa Clara's league contests can be heard on a live Internet audio broadcast on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. Additionally, all home contests can be followed online with a live statistical tracker, also located on Santa Clara's official athletic website. By logging on, fans can receive real-time updated statistics direct from the official scoring computer allowing users to listen to the audio broadcast and keep up with the statistics simultaneously. The features were introduced midway through last season and have been enjoyed for the team's entire regular season home schedule. Anthony Passarelli begins his first season as the voice of the Broncos.
Among the Best in the Nation
Santa Clara is tied for 19th nationally in free throw percentage (.751), 23rd in three-point field goals per game (6.9), ranked 26th in three -point field goal percentage (.391) and ranked 34th in scoring offense (75.4). Individually, Becki Ashbaugh is ranked 24th in assists per game (6.1) and 27th in free throw percentage (86.8).
Scouting the Portland Pilots
Series Record: SCU leads 18-17
First Game: Santa Clara won 62-59 on Jan. 5, 1987 in Santa Clara
Last Game: Santa Clara won 73-68 on Jan. 12, 2001 in Santa Clara
Largest SCU Margin of Victory: 64 on Jan. 31, 1991 (79-53) in Portland
Largest Portland Margin of Victory: 26 on Jan. 13, 1996 (69-43) in Portland
Portland Record in 2000-2001: 14-15, (4-10, 7th in West Coast Conference)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 9/2
Starters Returning/Lost: 2/3
Notable: Portland is 10-10, 2-5 on the season after opening its schedule with six straight wins... will play without Ashlee Giles, who tore her ACL and MCL in the first four minutes of the SCU game on Jan. 12... Tammy Standish is third in the WCC in total scoring, averaging 14.7 points per game.
Scouting the Gonzaga Bulldogs
Series Record: SCU leads 22-8
First Game: Gonzaga won 59-45 on Jan. 16, 1988 in Spokane
Last Game: Santa Clara won 99-69 on Jan. 10, 2001 in Santa Clara
Largest SCU Margin of Victory: 44 on Jan. 10, 1997 (84-40) in Santa Clara
Largest Gonzaga Margin of Victory: 26 on Feb. 3, 1989 (72-46) in Spokane
Gonzaga Record in 2000-2001: 5-23, (0-14, 8th in West Coast Conference)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 6/5
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/1
Notable: Gonzaga opened the year with its best start in seven seasons, but is currently 10-11, 1-6... Jessica Malone leads the league in three-point field goals made, averaging 3.27 per contest... she's also second in scoring, with a 15.6 ppg mark.
Three-Point Touch against Gonzaga
Santa Clara seems to have the long-distance touch whenever it faces Gonzaga at home. On Jan. 10, Quinn Thomas was a perfect 5-of-5 from three-point range-tying a school record-and led Santa Clara to 11 three-point field goals, two short of the school record, set against Gonzaga at home during the 1999-2000 season. That mark surpassed the next best shooting night from three-point land, 10 vs. Gonzaga last season at the Leavey Center. Individually, Thomas matched guard Becki Ashbaugh's 5-of-5 performance as a sophomore against the Bulldogs two seasons ago.
Spreading the Bronco Offense
Four Bronco players are currently averaging at least 10 points per contest thus far in the season. Tammy Annas leads the team with a 11.5 ppg average. Julie Butler is right behind her with a 11.0 mark, while Becki Ashbaugh has a 10.7 average and Caroline Gruening has a 10.6 season mark. As a team, the Broncos are averaging 75.8 points per game to lead the league.
In the WCC Statistics
Santa Clara leads the league in four categories: scoring offense (75.8 ppg), scoring margin (+9.0), field goal percentage (.432) and defensive rebounds (+28.2). The Broncos are second in three-point field goal percentages (.370), free throw percentages (.750) and assists (17.19). Individually, Becki Ashbaugh is tops in assists (6.38) and second in free throw percentage (.872). Caroline Gruening is third in three-point percentage (.429) and fourth in three-point field goals made (2.00). Kendra Rhea is ranked sixth in rebounds (6.9) while Julie Butler is 10th at 5.9.
Up Next: Continuing Conference Play
Santa Clara remains on the road next week and will face USF and Saint Mary's. The game against the Gaels will be shown live on TV on Fox Sports Bay Area.
Game Tickets On Sale
Individual game tickets for Santa Clara's TWO remaining home contests are on sale through the school's official website www.SantaClaraBroncos.com and the athletic ticket office at 408-554-4660. In conjunction with Student Advantage's FANSonly Network, the athletic department has developed an online ticket application that provides fans with the ability to purchase season tickets, family plans, individual games or an all-sports pass via the official athletic website. Tickets are also available through the athletic ticket office, open from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Head Coach Chris Denker
In his first season as head coach, Chris Denker (Oregon '90) led the Broncos to a share of the regular season WCC title with Saint Mary's. The championship made 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 league squad. 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. Now in his second season with a 36-13 (.735) career mark, Denker was no stranger to Santa Clara basketball. Serving as an assistant coach on Caren Horstmeyer's staff for the last seven years, 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 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.
The WCC Basketball Championship
For the second consecutive year, the Broncos will have to travel for the chance at the league title. Last season, the West Coast Conference left the Mission Campus for the first time in three years to host its annual basketball showcase, as the 2001 WCC Women's Basketball Championships took place last March at San Diego's Jenny Craig Pavilion. Renovations to the Leavey Center prompted the change in venue, but the Toreros did such a good job hosting, the 2002 tournament is returning to the JCP. The tournament will take place February 28 through March 4, with the women's semifinal games beginning March 1 at 6 p.m., with the championship slated for a 2:30 p.m. start on March 3. The title contest will air live on Fox Sports West, KRON and Action Sports. Santa Clara is offering a Super Pass that will allow admission to all the men's and women's games with seating located in the Broncos' section for $65. Please visit www.SantaClaraBroncos.com or call 408-554-4660 to order tickets.