March 10, 2002

Women's Hoops on Rocky Mountain High

March 10, 2002

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The Big Dance Starts in Boulder
Santa Clara advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last five seasons with its selection to the 2002 Championships. As the West Region's 11th seed, Santa Clara will open the tournament against sixth-seeded Louisiana State. The game will air live on ESPN2 at 8:36 p.m. PST on Friday, March 15 at the Coors Event Center. The Broncos earned one of 33 at-large bids and will travel to the University of Colorado in Boulder, the host of the first two rounds. The winner of that contest will face the winner of the Colorado-Southern game in the second round for the right to advance to the Sweet 16.

Scouting the LSU Lady Tigers
Series Record: First Meeting
2001-02 Record: 17-11, (8-6, t4th in Southeastern Conference)
Notable: LSU is 17-11 on the season and advanced to the Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship final with a one-point upset over Tennessee.

Scouting the Colorado Buffaloes
Series Record: Colorado leads 1-0
The Meeting: CU won 60-49 at the Golden Bear Classic (Berkeley, Calif.) Dec. 19, 1987
2001-02 Record: 21-9, (11-5, 3rd in Big 12)
Notable: Colorado is making its 10th appearance in the big dance and is the West Region's third seed... the Buffaloes are ranked 10th in the current AP poll... Colorado is one of seven Big 12 teams in the tournament.

Scouting the Southern University Jaguars
Series Record: First Meeting
2001-02 Record: 26-4, (17-1, 1st in Southwestern Athletic Conference)
Notable: Southern is one of six teams making its first trip to the NCAA Tournament with this year's appearance... advanced by winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament.

Join the Broncos in Boulder -- Ticket Information
Tickets will go on sale at 8 a.m. on Monday. Orders can be placed online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone through TicketMaster at 303-830-8497. Walk-up sales will be available at all front range TicketMaster outlets and the University of Colorado Athletic Ticket Office, located between games 4 and 5 of Folsom Stadium. General Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for youths. Reserved seating and All-Session tickets are also available.

The Rest of the Tournament Bracket
The 64-team field competing for the 2002 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship was announced Sunday by the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee. Connecticut (33-0) tops the bracket as the overall No. 1 seed. Oklahoma (27-3), Duke (27-3) and Vanderbilt (27-6) round out the remaining three No. 1 seeds. Thirty-one conferences were granted automatic bids and the remaining 33 teams were selected at-large. The SEC placed the most teams in the championship bracket with eight, followed by the Big 12 with seven and the Big Ten with six.

Continuing Through the NCAA Championship
The tournament continues through the West Regional, held March 23 and 25 at Boise State University. Then it's on to the Final Four, hosted this year by UT San Antonio at the Alamodome on March 29 and 31. The semifinal games begin March 29, with the championship slated for a 5:30 p.m. start on March 31. The title contest will air live on ESPN.

It Truly is March Madness
Chris Denker has more on his mind than just leading the Broncos in his first NCAA Tournament game as a head coach. He and his wife Gisette are having their first child on Thursday by Caesarian section, a boy they plan to name Christopher Quinn. The proud papa will only have a few moments to welcome his son into the world, as he will catch up with his team later that afternoon in Boulder.

Colorado Connections
No team member was more excited to see the Broncos heading to Boulder than Colorado native Jennifer Bradley. A junior reserve from nearby Arvada, Bradley prepped at Arvada West HS. But she's not the only Bronco with Colorado ties. Assistant coach Benita Martin played at Colorado, earning honorable mention All-Big Eight accolades in 1990 while helping the Buffaloes to a perfect 17-0 conference record and a No. 9 national ranking. Additionally, junior Kendra Rhea and sophomore Jennie Rondel have family in the state, while sophomore Alex Gientke was born in Lakewood.

The WCC in the Postseason
Santa Clara's at-large selection marked the fifth time since 1994 that the West Coast Conference has had two teams in the big dance. Pepperdine, the West Region's eighth seed, earned the WCC's automatic bid by winning the league championship. Saint Mary's and San Francisco are expected to receive invitations to the WNIT, marking the second straight year the league has sent four teams to the postseason. The Gaels will visit Oregon while the Dons will host USC. All three WNIT games will be played Wednesday.

Among the Best in the Nation
Santa Clara is ranked 18th nationally in three-point field goals per game (6.8), 21st in three-point field goal percentage (.375), 22nd in scoring offense (76.0), and 34th in free throw percentage (.742). Individually, Becki Ashbaugh is ranked sixth in assists per game (7.3) and 17th in free throw percentage (87.5) and Caroline Gruening is ranked eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.459).

Live on the Internet
Santa Clara's NCAA Tournament games can be heard on a live Internet audio broadcast on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. Anthony Passarelli is in his first season as the voice of the Broncos. During the regular season, all home contests were followed online with a live statistical tracker, also located on Santa Clara's official athletic website. By logging on, fans could 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.

In the Rankings
Although the Broncos are not ranked in the top 25 polls, the team received votes in the first seven weeks after topping two top-25 teams in its first four games. Santa Clara peaked with 12 votes in the AP poll and nine in the USA Today/ESPN listing while the Broncos' RPI ranking topped at eighth nationally by CollegeRPI.com. This week, the Broncos are 41st in the CollegeRPI listing. As a conference, the WCC is ranked seventh by CollegeRPI.com. SCU is also rated 39th in the WBCA Summerville RPI listing.