Women's Basketball Opens Season at Minnesota Tournament

Nov. 12, 2001

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This Week
The Broncos open the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 17, against the University of the Utah at the Sheraton Four Points Classic, hosted by the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The home opener will take place Tuesday, Nov. 27, a 6 p.m. start against San Jose State.

Season Openers
This year's season opener against No. 24 Utah marks the fourth season opener on the road for the Broncos in the last five seasons. Last year's home win over Pacific marked the eighth season-opening victory for the Broncos in the last 10 years and 22nd overall in 38 seasons.

Non Conference Success
With a 9-3 non-conference mark last season, Santa Clara has posted 10 straight non-losing non-conference seasons and is 84-38 (.689) during that span. The Broncos were also a part of the WCC's success last season, as the league marked its most successful women's basketball non-conference season ever, 26 games over .500.

Scouting the Utah Utes
Series Record: Utah leads 4-0
First Meeting: 1979 - Utah won (69-60) Dec. 18 in Santa Clara
Last Meeting: 1986 - Utah won (68-55) Dec. 20 in Santa Clara
Utah Largest Margin of Victory: 42 on Dec. 13, 1985 (89-47) in Salt Lake City
Notable: The Utes went 2-0 during exhibition season... the team returns three starters from a 2001 squad that posted the most wins (28) in Utah basketball history... those Utes also went undefeated in the Mountain West Conference and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

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.

Up Next: Seattle Tournament
Most of the Broncos will be returning home next weekend when Santa Clara visits Seattle, Wash., for the Seattle Times Husky Classic, hosted by the University of Washington. With eight players on the roster from Washington, and one each from Oregon and Alaska, SCU will have a home crowd of sorts on hand as the Broncos open against Princeton on Nov. 23 and face the winner of the Washington/Northeastern contest the following night.

Live on the Internet
Santa Clara's regular season opener against Utah on November 16 can be heard on a live Internet audio broadcast on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. Additionally, all home games 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 schedule. Anthony Passarelli begins his first season as the voice of the Broncos.

Season/GameTickets On Sale
Season and individual game tickets for Santa Clara Volleyball 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. Season and individual match ticket packages are also available through the athletic ticket office, open between the hours of 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Exhibition Wrap Up
Caroline Gruening scored 17 points to lead the Santa Clara University women's basketball team to a 79-65 exhibition victory over the Bay Area Pro-Am to open the 2001-2002 season November 1 at the Leavey Center.

"This year's team is a little bit different than last year's, so we're trying to get a feel for them," head coach Chris Denker said. "They're fun and they're good in the open court, so we wanted to push it a little bit if we could. We've been working really hard defensively, but our opponent tonight exposed us a little bit. The Pro-Am team has crafty, experienced players and it took a while for our young players to understand that. Coming from high school, this is a little different, but late in the game, I felt like we rebounded better and got our transition game going."

The Broncos saw four players reach double figures, including a 16-point performance by Becki Ashbaugh and 14 by Julie Butler. The game also saw the return of Tammy Annas, who finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. Annas redshirted the 2000-01 season after tearing her left ACL just four days before practices were to begin, but was a starter as a sophomore. Debuting in Bronco uniforms tonight were Kayla Huss and Quinn Thomas in the backcourt, and Kim Butler-Julie's younger sister-at forward. Other top performances include seven assists by Ashbaugh and eight rebounds by Kendra Rhea.

Butler scored 24 points to lead Santa Clara to a 95-78 exhibition victory over the KSC Szekszard of Hungary to close the exhibition season November 8. Five Broncos reached double figures, including a 16-point performance by Huss. Ashbaugh and Thomas added 13 points each while Annas added 10.

The teams exchanged baskets quickly after tipoff, but KSC was able to take a four-point lead early on. Still down by four 19-23, the Broncos went on a 13-0 run, including two of the team's six first-half three-pointers en route to a 47-36 halftime edge. In the second half, a steal by Thomas was converted into a quick lay-up that pushed the Broncos ahead by 20, at 68-48 midway through the second period. On a down note, the Broncos committed 36 turnovers.

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 20-8 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.

Leander Joins Coaching Staff
Former California standout Jennie Leander joined the Bronco coaching staff as a third assistant this season. She will help coach the post players and will also handle team equipment and travel while carrying a large responsibility in coordinating program summer camps and other fundraising activities. Leander joined Santa Clara after playing professionally with the DKSK team in Miskolc, Hungary. She was the team's starting forward during this past spring season, and averaged 12.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Collegiately, Leander was a four-year starter and three-year captain for the Bears. A two-time first team Pac-10 All-Academic honoree, she started 106 of 109 contests in her career and is among Cal's all-time leaders in several categories, including seventh in career rebounds (790) and 10th in career scoring (1,144), field goal percentage (.484) and blocks (52). Leander graduated in 2000 with a degree in mass communications and began working on a master's this fall in Santa Clara's Counseling, Psychology and Education degree program.