Feb. 19, 2003
Santa Clara returns home this weekend 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.
The Race is On
With just two weekends left in the West Coast Conference season, the Broncos need some help to capture their eighth league crown. Pepperdine currently has a two-game advantage on Santa Clara and will have to lose twice while Santa Clara wins out its schedule for a chance to share the conference title. After only winning two league games in the last two years, Gonzaga is currently in third, just one game behind SCU. Pepperdine and Santa Clara have shared a part of, or won outright, the WCC title the past five seasons.
Scouting the San Francisco Dons
Series Record: SCU leads 32-29
First Game: Santa Clara won 47-23 in 1964-65
Last Game: Santa Clara won 57-41 on Jan. 25, 2003 in San Francisco
Largest SCU Margin of Victory: 27, on Feb. 3, 1999 (91-64) in San Francisco
Largest USF Margin of Victory: 37 on Dec. 1, 1979 (74-37) in San Francisco
USF Record in 2002-03: 9-15, (4-6, t4th in West Coast Conference)
Notable: The Dons are 6-6 on the road, but have not won at Leavey since 1997... Carey Sauer recently became only the 15th Don to reach the 1,000-point plateau... Mary Jane Krueger has posted three straight double-doubles.
Scouting the Saint Mary's Gaels
Series Record: SCU leads 26-16
First Game: Santa Clara won 75-32 on Jan. 6, 1979 in Santa Clara
Last Game: Santa Clara won 82-71 on Jan. 24, 2003 in Moraga
Largest SCU Margin of Victory: 43 on Jan. 6, 1979 (75-32) in Santa Clara
Largest SMC Margin of Victory: 26 on Jan. 20, 1989 (90-64) in Moraga
SMC Record in 2002-03: 10-13, (3-7, 8th in West Coast Conference)
Notable: Saint Mary's is 1-4 on the road this season... Triola Jackson has a league-leading 12 double-doubles on the season.
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.
Leading the WCC
Santa Clara leads the West Coast Conference in five categories: field goal percentage (.460), assists (18.52), scoring margin (+9.0), field goal percent defense (.367) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.89), while ranking second in six other categories: scoring offense, free throw percentage, 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 six players averaging six 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 11 of their last 14. Santa Clara received eight votes in this week's listing from the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Top 25 Coaches' Poll. SCU received 16votes in the Feb. 4 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.
Up Next: Broncos Close Out Regular Season
Santa Clara will take its longest road trip of the conference season as its final outing of the regular season schedule. The Broncos will visit Gonzaga on Thursday, Feb. 27 and then close out play at Portland on Saturday, March 1. The Bulldogs have been the surprise of the WCC this season, and are currently in third place.
Unbeatable at Leavey vs. the WCC
With Santa Clara's victory over Gonzaga on Feb. 1, the Broncos have now won 37 of its last 40 regular season home league contests played in Leavey, dating back to the last five-plus seasons. The Broncos will look to close out that mark with two more wins this weekend.
Senior Julie Butler leads the conference in field goal percentage, with a 51.9 percentage, while sophomore Kayla Huss is tops in the league in three-point field goal percentage, with a 44.9 percent mark, and second in assists, with 5.27 per game. Just counting WCC contests, senior Julie Butler leads in field goal percentage, with a 57.8 percent mark, while Huss is tops in dishing the rock, averaging 5.70 assists per game. Sophomore Quinn Thomas leads the league in three-point field goals made, averaging 2.60 per outing.
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.