Women's Hoops Faces LMU, Pepperdine in Heated League Race

Feb. 12, 2003

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This Week
Santa Clara remains on the road for two key WCC match ups this week. The Broncos play at Loyola Marymount on Friday, and follow with a game against league-leading Pepperdine on Saturday.

On TV
The Broncos' game against Pepperdine on Saturday will air live on Fox Sports West 2 and Northwest. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. Fox Sports Bay Area will tape delay the showing for 11 a.m. on Sunday. Jim Watson and Krista Blunk will call the game. It will mark the second and final time the Broncos will appear on the big screen during the regular season. Santa Clara appeared on San Diego's local Channel 4 last Saturday.

Scouting the Loyola Marymount Lions
Series Record: SCU leads 32-6
First Game: Santa Clara won 75-32 on Dec. 14, 1984 in Los Angeles
Last Game: Santa Clara won 76-60 on Jan. 18, 2003 in Santa Clara
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 2001-02: 15-13, (7-7, 3rd in West Coast Conference)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 10/2
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/1
Notable: The Lions are 11-11 and will be looking to end a three-game losing streak against the Broncos... LMU is 9-2 at Gersten Pavilion this season.

Scouting the Pepperdine Waves
Series Record: SCU leads 24-17
First Game: Pepperdine won 71-52 on Dec. 14, 1978 in Malibu
Last Game: Pepperdine won 71-65 on Jan. 16, 2003 in Santa Clara
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 2001-02: 23-8, (11-3, 1st in West Coast Conference)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 10/2
Starters Returning/Lost: 3/2
Notable: The Waves are 16-6 overall and hold a two-game lead in the West Coast Conference race.

Leading the WCC
Santa Clara leads the West Coast Conference in and categories: field goal percentage (.459), assists (19.00), scoring margin (+9.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.93), while ranking second in six other categories: scoring offense, free throw percentage, field goal percent defense, three-point field goal percentage, steals, three-point field goals made and defensive rebounds. Santa Clara is one of the conference's most balanced teams, with seven players averaging five or more points per game.

In the Rankings: Broncos Receive 14 Votes
Although the Broncos are not ranked in the top 25 polls yet, the team has been building national recognition while winning 10 of their last 12. Santa Clara received 14 votes in this week's listing from the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Top 25 Coaches' Poll. SCU received 16votes in last week's listing and votes in each of the prior three weeks. The Broncos started the season with seven votes in the first two weeks of that poll. Santa Clara is ranked 48th by WomensCollegeHoops.com.

Live on the Internet
Santa Clara's entire schedule returns to the Internet, as a live audio broadcast will be available for a third season on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. Additionally, Leavey Center contests can be followed online with a live statistical tracker, also located on SCU's official athletic website. By logging on, fans 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. Anthony Passarelli returns as the voice of the Broncos for a second season.

Road Warriors
After posting a 5-8 record on the road last season-with five of those losses to WCC teams-the Broncos have shown this year that being away from the comforts of the Leavey Center has been less of an issue. Santa Clara is currently 7-3 on the road this season and won its first two road games of league play. The Broncos close out league play with five of seven contests away from home.

Up Next: Broncos Return Home for Final Contests
Santa Clara returns home next week to close out the home season. On Thursday, the Broncos host San Francisco. The Department of Athletics & Recreation is hosting "Full Court Press Career Night" in conjunction with the game. Local employers will take part in a career fair. The event is co-hosted by Career Services and the Student-Athlete Leadership Council. On Saturday, the Broncos will honor five seniors playing their last contest at Leavey: Tammy Annas, Jennifer Bradley, Julie Butler, Courtney Cushing and Kendra Rhea. The Athletic Department will also thank fans for a season of support during Appreciation Night.

Final Game Tickets on Sale
Individual game tickets for Santa Clara's final two 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 Official College Sports Network, the athletic department has developed an online ticket application that provides fans with the ability to purchase tickets via the official athletic website. Please call the athletic ticket office, open between 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Statistically Speaking
Senior Julie Butler leads the conference in field goal percentage, with a 50.6 percentage, while sophomore Kayla Huss is tops in the league in assists, averaging 5.40 per game. Just counting WCC contests, senior Kendra Rhea leads in field goal percentage, with a 57.9 percent mark, while Huss is still tops in dishing the rock, averaging 6.12 assists per game. Sophomore Quinn Thomas leads the league in three-point field goals made, averaging 2.62 per outing.

Former Coach's Mark Eclipsed
Former Santa Clara head coach Caren Horstmeyer has held the record for most career WCC wins with 112 since she left the Bronco program for Cal after the 2000 season. Current head coach Jim Sollars of Portland eclipsed that mark with his 113th win on Feb. 8. Current San Francisco coach Mary Hile-Nepfel has 112 while San Diego coach Kathy Marpe has 110. Horstmeyer led the Broncos for 12 years, from 1988-2000 and finished with 221 wins and four NCAA Tournament appearances.

Head Coach Michelle Bento
Santa Clara appointed Mountain View, Calif., native Michelle Bento as the seventh head coach in the school's 38-year women's basketball history in June. Bento recently completed her fourth season on the women's basketball coaching staff at Syracuse under veteran coach Marianna Freeman and was recently promoted to Associate Head Coach. A 10-year coaching veteran, Bento served as the program's recruiting coordinator as well as worked with the Orangewomen perimeter players and opponent scouting. In her four seasons at Syracuse, Bento coached two perimeter players who were invited to the WNBA pre-draft camp and one player who was invited to the USA Junior World Championship trials in Colorado Springs, Colo. Additionally, Bento's most recent recruiting class was ranked 15th by All-Star Girls Reports. Bento, who helped guide the Big East Conference all-star team to a 6-0 record in a summer tour of Germany in 2001, inherits a program that went 21-10 last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in five seasons. A 1992 graduate of Fresno State with a degree in physical education, Bento spent the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons as an assistant coach at her alma mater. As a player, Bento helped the Bulldogs to an appearance in the NIT in 1990, and was team captain and MVP of the 1991 squad. In addition, Bento played on the Fresno State softball team, and was named to the College World Series All-Tournament team in 1992. In the spring of 2000, Bento was invited to the WNBA Pre-Draft Camp in Chicago.

WCC Changes Basketball Tournament Format
The West Coast Conference Tournament will adopt a new format for the 2003 Championship, consisting of an eight-team/ play-in format. Under the new format, the fifth through eighth seeds will compete in the opening round. Waiting for the winners in the quarterfinals will be the third and fourth seeds, who will have first-round byes. The winners of the quarterfinal match-ups will go head-to-head with the top two seeds, who will have byes through the first two rounds of the tournament. "This format places a premium on regular season success and should lead to a very competitive regular season race in 2003." Commissioner Michael Gilleran said. This season's league championship will be held at the Jenny Craig Pavilion on the University of San Diego campus March 6-9.

WCC Championship Coming to SCU in 2004
The WCC Men's and Women's Championships will return to the Bay Area in 2004 and 2005, as announced Wednesday by Commissioner Michael Gilleran. The change is a result of the WCC's decision to rotate the league's premier event between the Bay Area, Pacific Northwest and Southern California, each for a period of two consecutive years.

The 2006 and 2007 tournament will move to the Pacific Northwest before heading to Southern California in 2008 and 2009.

The 2004 WCC Basketball Tournament will be held at the Leavey Center. In 2005, the event will move approximately 50 miles north to the University of San Francisco, where games will be played at War Memorial Gymnasium. This will be Santa Clara's eighth time as host, most recently in 2000, while USF will serve as host for the fourth time.