Jan. 27, 2004
Santa Clara (6-12, 2-3) returns to the road for three away games, starting with a trip this weekend to the Northwest to take on Gonzaga (11-7, 4-1) and Portland (7-11, 2-3). The Bulldogs host the Broncos on Thursday, while the Pilots will do the same on Saturday. Both contests tip off at 7 p.m. in their respective venues.
Scouting the Gonzaga Bulldogs
Series Record: SCU leads 25-9
First Game: Gonzaga won (59-45) on Jan. 16, 1988 in Spokane
Last Game: Santa Clara won (60-59 OT) on March 8, 2003 in San Diego
Largest SCU Margin of Victory: 44 on Jan. 10, 1997 (84-40) in Santa Clara
Largest Gonzaga Margin of Victory: 26 on Feb. 3, 1989 (72-46) in Spokane
Gonzaga Record in 2002-03: 18-12 (9-5)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 12/1
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/1
Notable: Gonzaga is riding a seven-game home win streak at the Kennel as is currently leading the WCC race with two other programs.
Scouting the Portland Pilots
Series Record: SCU leads 20-18
First Game: Santa Clara won (62-59) on Jan. 5, 1987 in Santa Clara
Last Game: Santa Clara won (79-69) on March 1, 2003 in Portland
Largest SCU Margin of Victory: 64 on Jan. 31, 1991 (79-53) in Portland
Largest Portland Margin of Victory: 26 on Jan. 13, 1996 (69-43) in Portland
Portland Record in 2002-03: 11-17 (5-9)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 7/4
Starters Returning/Lost: 3/2
Notable: Khalila O'Rielly-Williams leads the conference in scoring and has four double-doubles this season.
Thomas' Three-Point Perfection
Although the Broncos have used seven different starting lineups, the most frequent combination includes four freshmen. Sunday's contest against Saint Mary's will see a similar lineup across the court, as the Gaels have been starting three newcomers in their opening lineup.
Graham Accurate from Behind the Arc
Freshman guard Ashley Graham opened her collegiate career with a 2-14 mark from three-point range. She's found her touch since then and enters the week with a 44.7 percent accuracy from behind the arc, ranking her 13th nationally.
On the other hand, Santa Clara was 3-0 in away contests to open the season for the first time in five years, topping Pacific, Sacramento State and Nevada. The last time this happened, the Broncos defeated Fresno State, San Jose State and Denver to open the 1998-99 season. SCU is now 5-4 on the road and is one of two conference schools with a winning road record, joining LMU.
A Fountain of Youth
Santa Clara is one of the top 15 youngest women's basketball teams that is taking the court this season. With six freshmen, two sophomores, three juniors and two seniors, the Broncos' average age is 19.4 years heading into the season.
Santa Clara's victory over San Francisco on Jan. 10 marked the fifth straight West Coast Conference opener the Broncos have won. Regarding home league openers, SCU increased that streak to eight on Thursday night, with another victory over the Dons.
Santa Clara's loss to UW-Green Bay marked only the third season-opening loss for the Bronco program in the last 13 years. It also broke a streak of five-straight season-opening victories. The Sunday contest was also the first season in the last six that the Broncos have opened their season at home.
In the WCC Statistics
Santa Clara leads the league in three-point field goals made per game (6.83), three-point field goal percentage (.354) and three-point field goal defense (.300), while ranking second in field goal percentage (.409). Individually, Ashley Graham leads the league in three-point field goal percentage (.447), and is third in three-point field goals made (1.89) and six in assists (3.33). Quinn Thomas is tops in three-point field goals made (2.21), seventh in percentage (.348) and 12th in scoring (10.1). Ashley Gonnerman is ranked sixth in free throw percentage (.750) and 15th in rebounding (4.9).
A Look Ahead: Broncos Remain on the Road
Santa Clara will continue the West Coast Conference season on the road, visiting San Diego next week. The Broncos will then play five of their last six contests at the Leavey Center.
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 third season.
More Media Coverage
The University's student radio station, KSCU 103.3 FM, is scheduled to air the entire women's home WCC schedule.
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 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.