Women's Hoops Closes Regular Season with Undefeated Home Schedule on the Line
Feb. 19, 2002
Santa Clara returns home to close the regular season, hosting Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine. The Thursday contest against the Lions is also "Take a Kid to the Game Night", where youth will be admitted for $2 with an adult. A win here would break a three-way tie for third place, that SCU currently shares with USF and LMU. On Saturday, the team's two seniors, Caroline Gruening and Becki Ashbaugh, will be honored while also celebrating Fan Appreciation Day.
Protecting the Home Court
Santa Clara is the only league team undefeated at home this season. The Broncos boast a 10-0 record at the Leavey Center, including a double-overtime victory over Saint Mary's on January 31. SCU will put its win streak on the line again this Thursday.
Ashbaugh Reaches for Bronco First: 600 Assists
Washington native Becki Ashbaugh will break the school record for career assists with her first on Thursday night against LMU. Her ninth and final assist last weekend at Saint Mary's tied her with Jennifer Lucas' (1986-89) 591 mark. If Ashbaugh registers nine assists the remainder of the season, she will become the first Bronco to notch 600 in a career and only the third in WCC history. On Feb. 9, her free throw with six seconds remaining against Gonzaga made her only the 13th Bronco to reach the 1,000 point marker, making Ashbaugh the Bronco ever to notch 1,000 point and 500 assists in a career. She currently has 1,025 points and surpassed the 500 assist marker to open conference play. In the WCC, she ranks third all time in assists and is only the second to reach both marks, joining Anja Bordt of Saint Mary's, who notched 1,710 points and 654 assists from 1988-91.
Up Next: 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.
Broncos Buck Preseason Predictions
Despite returning two starters from the 2001 regular season West Coast Conference championship women's basketball team, and a third starter from two seasons ago-and having never finished lower than third in league play in the last 10 years-Santa Clara was picked to finish fifth in a poll by league coaches, the conference announced earlier this season.
With two games left in the season, the Broncos have a chance for second place and a high seed in the WCC Tournament.
Scouting the Loyola Marymount Lions
Series Record: SCU leads 30-6
First Game: Santa Clara won 75-32 on Dec. 14, 1984 in Los Angeles
Last Game: Santa Clara won 75-58 on Jan. 26, 2002 in Los Angeles
Largest SCU Margin of Victory: 44, twice, last on Feb. 13, 1998 (93-49) in Santa Clara
Largest LMU Margin of Victory: 10 on Jan. 22, 2000 (82-72) in Los Angeles
LMU Record in 2000-2001: 21-10, (10-4, t-3rd in West Coast Conference)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 9/5
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/1
Notable: LMU is currently tied with the Broncos for third place in the WCC... the Lions held both of their opponents last week to under 50 points...
Scouting the Pepperdine Waves
Series Record: SCU leads 23-14
First Game: Pepperdine won 71-52 on Dec. 14, 1978 in Malibu
Last Game: Pepperdine won 70-60 on Jan. 25, 2002 in Malibu
Largest SCU Margin of Victory: 26 on Jan. 16, 1998 (76-50) in Malibu
Largest Pepperdine Margin of Victory: 19 on Dec. 14, 1978 (71-52) in Malibu
Pepperdine Record in 2000-2001: 20-11, (10-4, t-3rd in West Coast Conference)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 9/3
Starters Returning/Lost: 3/2
Notable: Pepperdine claimed at least a share of the WCC's regular season title last weekend and can clinch the crown outright with one win in their final two games... the title is the Waves' third in the last four seasons... Pepperdine share the 1999 title with the Broncos....
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.
In the WCC Statistics
Santa Clara leads the league in six categories: scoring offense (76.0 ppg), scoring margin (+6.9), field goal percentage (.432), three-point field goal percentages (.371), three-point field goals made (6.76) and assists (17.6). The Broncos are second in free throw percentages (.745). Individually, Becki Ashbaugh is tops in assists (6.88) and second in free throw percentage (.884). Caroline Gruening is second in three-point percentage (.445) and fourth in three-point field goals made (2.12). Kendra Rhea is ranked sixth in rebounds (6.6).
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 37-16 (.711) 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.