March 16, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University women's basketball team (20-10) will head to the Women's National Invitation Tournament for the third time in four seasons, and will face Fresno State in the first round of this year's draw. The Broncos, who have now reached the postseason six consecutive years, will play the Bulldogs at the North Gym on Friday, March 21. Game time has not been set.
The game will feature two first-year head coaches, in Santa Clara's Michelle Bento and Fresno State's Stacy Johnson-Klein. Additionally, Bento is a 1992 graduate of Fresno State, and as a player, led the Bulldogs to an appearance in the WNIT in 1990.
Santa Clara won the WNIT in its first appearance back in 1991, defeating Indiana in the championship game. The Broncos are 3-2 all-time at the Invitational, falling to Southern California in the first round of the 2000 draw and to Hawaii in 2001.
Fresno State is 19-12 on the season, reaching the championship match of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament, falling to sixth-ranked Louisiana Tech 88-57. Senior forward Omelogo Udeze is an All-WAC Second Team honoree and leads the Bulldogs in scoring (12.9 ppg) and rebounding (9.0 rpg). Additionally, FSU forward Tiffany Simon earned a spot on the All-WAC Defensive Team.
Fresno State leads the all-time series against the Broncos 16-13, including a victory over Santa Clara earlier this season. The Bulldogs spoiled Santa Clara's home opener with a 62-55 victory on December 4 at the Leavey Center. Lindsay Logan led Fresno State with 20 points, while Udeze pulled down 11 rebounds.
The winner of the Santa Clara/Fresno State match will play the winner of the Oregon State/UNLV contest. The second round match will take place March 22-24. The quarterfinals will be March 25-27, with the final four teams meeting for the semifinal game March 29-31 and the final on April 2-4. The event involves 32 teams in a single elimination format. All games, including the semifinals and championship, will be hosted by participating schools at their home facility.
Santa Clara WNIT All-time Results
Amarillo Civic Center, Amarillo, Texas
Santa Clara 81, Notre Dame 65
Santa Clara 58, Kansas 57
Santa Clara 71, Indiana 68
Toso Pavilion, Santa Clara, Calif.
USC 71, Santa Clara 64
Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu, Hawaii
Hawaii 73, Santa Clara 57