December 17, 2002

Women's Hoops Returns to Leavey for Two Contests before Holiday Break

Dec. 17, 2002

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This Week
The Santa Clara University women's basketball team beings a three-game home streak tonight at the Leavey Center. The Broncos will host the Loyola Ramblers of Chicago at 7p.m. on Tuesday and take on the Pacific Tigers on Saturday at 2 p.m. before breaking for the holidays. The squad will regroup at Leavey on Dec. 28, hosting Arkansas State, also at 2 p.m. That contest is the first of a triple-header with the men's team famed Cable Car Classic.

Thomas Named WCC Player of the Week
Quinn Thomas was named the West Coast Conference's Player of the Week for her performance this past weekend against Oregon, leading the Broncos with a career high 24 points and their first win against the Ducks in 17 years. Thomas led the Broncos to an 88-79 win at Oregon, their first victory over the Ducks since the 1984-85 season. The Kent, Wash., native scored a career-high 24 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. Thomas played the full 40 minutes and grabbed five boards and two steals to complete the all around performance. As a freshman, Thomas was a solid contributor, chipping in 4.5 ppg and 3.3 rpg off of the bench. This season, with the graduation of the Broncos 2001-02 starting backcourt, Thomas has made a smooth transition from the bench to the starting lineup. Through the Broncos first seven games, Thomas is averaging 11.3 ppg and 4.1 rpg. She leads the team in made three-point field goals (.452) and is second on the team in steals.

The league honor marks Thomas' second in her career. Last season, Thomas became the only freshman in the league to earn the weekly honor, doing so on January 14, leading the Broncos to WCC victories over Gonzaga and Portland. She had a perfect night against the Bulldogs, scoring a team-high 19 points on 7-of-7 shooting from the floor and 5-of-5 from three-point land, tying a school record. Thomas added five rebounds and three steals to the game. In the win over the Pilots, Thomas was 8-of-14 from the field and 5-of-10 from behind the arc. She posted a game-high 22 points and added five boards and four steals.

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.

Scouting the Loyola Ramblers
Series Record: First Meeting
Loyola Record in 2001-02: 15-14 (8-8, t4th, Horizon League)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 8/5
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/1

Scouting the Pacific Tigers
Series Record: Santa Clara leads 19-15
First Meeting: 1974-75 - SCU won 38-24
Last Meeting: 2001 - SCU won (70-61) on Dec. 12 in Stockton
UOP Largest Margin of Victory: 32 on Feb. 2, 1980 (75-43) in Stockton
SCU Largest Margin of Victory: 21 on Dec. 7, 1984 (68-47) in Santa Clara
Pacific Record in 2001-02: 19-11 (12-4, t2nd, Big West)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 10/3
Starters Returning/Lost: 3/2
Notable: Pacific is 2-6 overall and is led by first-year head coach Craig Jackson... the Tigers have lost five straight and nine of the last 10 meetings to the Broncos... junior center Gillian d'Hondt was named the Big West Conference Player of the Week on Monday... Pacific will face three top-10 ranked programs during its non-conference schedule.

Up Next: Broncos Break for Holidays
Santa Clara will return to the mission campus after the holidays for a Saturday, Dec. 28 contest against Arkansas State at the Leavey Center. Tip off is scheduled for 2 p.m. The contest is the first of three slated for that Saturday, as the men's team will concluded action in the prominent Cable Car Classic later that evening. With just one day's rest, Santa Clara will close out the calendar year at San Jose State on Dec. 30.

Thomas Leads the Backcourt
Sophomore Quinn Thomas has stepped into the starting lineup and has helped fill the void created by the graduation of All-WCC standouts Becki Ashbaugh and Caroline Gruening. Thomas, the only freshman to garner WCC Player of the Week honors last season, has more than doubled her scoring output (from 4.5 ppg to 11.3), while boosting her rebounding average and field goal percentage.

Non-Conference Success
With a 10-3 non-conference mark last season, Santa Clara has posted 11 straight non-losing non-conference seasons and is 94-41 (.696) during that span. Santa Clara's most successful non-conference season ever came during the 1990-91 season when the Broncos went 12-2.

A Change of Scenery
After opening the 2000-01 season by playing its first four home games off campus, the basketball program returned to a revamped Leavey Center to complete the season. Formerly known as Harold J. Toso Pavilion, Leavey is in the second phase of a two-year reconstruction effort that is transforming the building into one of the finest sports venues of its size on the West Coast.

Began in March, the second phase of progress in the Leavey Center will cost an estimated $14 million and will included a complete reconstruction of the east side of the building. In June, staff members moved into new department offices, while the student-athletes were treated to a new weight room, academic center, team room, press center and video control room. Fans will see a new upper level seating and a suite that overlooks the court-a 43,000-square-foot addition spanning four stories of the University's 25-year-old sports complex.

A joint effort between project contractor Devcon Construction and architect Ellerbe Becket provided a four-story wall that allowed competition and day-to-day operations to continue during construction over the last two seasons. Devcon, located in Milpitas, was the general contractor for both Phase I and II. Ellerbe Becket of San Francisco, which worked with Esherick, Homsey, Dodge and Davis of San Francisco on Phase I, is the architect for Phase II. The original center was designed by architects Albert A. Hoover and Associates of Palo Alto, Calif., and built in 1975.

The first phase, which was highlighted by the removal of the famous "bubble" roof in April 2000, required SCU coaches and administrators to move into temporary quarters. At the completion of $11.75 million Phase I renovation in January 2001, Leavey had a new roof surrounded by spectacular 23-foot glass walls, a new floor, new bleachers and a new suspended scoreboard. The constructed caused the volleyball program to relocate for one season and moved two exhibition basketball contests and two regular season games to nearby Bellarmine College Prep.

Season/Game Tickets on Sale
Season and individual game tickets for Santa Clara 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 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.

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. Beginning in 2004, the league will rotate the championship site regionally, visiting the Bay Area through 2005, the Northwest through 2007, and Southern California through 2009.