Dec. 9, 2003
Santa Clara continues the non-conference season with one game this weekend after a week full of fall quarter exams. The Broncos will play at Fresno State (2-3) at the Bulldogs' new arena, the Save Mart Center. The contest will be the second half of a doubleheader with the Bulldogs' men's team.
Scouting the Fresno State Bulldogs
Series Record: Fresno State leads 17-13
First Meeting: 1977-78 - FSU won (62-55)
Last Meeting: 2003- FSU won (87-72) March 21 in Fresno
FSU Largest Margin of Victory: 23 on Dec. 13, 1988 (83-60) in Fresno
SCU Largest Margin of Victory: 36 on Dec. 28, 1997 (86-50) in Santa Clara
FSU Record in 2002-03: 21-13 (11-7)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 8/5
Starters Returning/Lost: 3/2
Notable: Fresno State will play at Long Beach State on Wednesday before hosting Santa Clara on Saturday... the rivalry between these programs has strengthened recently, with the arrival of SCU head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson to the mission campus... Bento-Jackson is a 1992 graduate of Fresno State and faced her alma mater in only her fifth game as a head coach... additionally, Santa Clara's season came to a close last year with a first-round WNIT loss to the Bulldogs... that two-game sweep of SCU last season snapped a five-game losing streak for FSU... junior forward Aritta Lane has led her team in scoring each night out, and averages 16.6 per game.
In the Rankings
The Bronco program is known to play one of the toughest schedules in the country on a regular basis, and this year's line up is no exception. Santa Clara will open its season hosting four teams that are mentioned in the preseason USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches' Poll. It peaked with 10th-ranked Georgia last week, but Oregon is ranked 20th and two other non-conference opponents--UW-Green Bay and BYU--received votes in the opening poll. League opponent Pepperdine is also mentioned in the polls, as the Waves faced three top-25 opponents in their first five games.
Santa Clara is 3-0 in away contests to open the season for the first time in five years. The Broncos defeated Fresno State, San Jose State and Denver to open the 1998-99 season.
After a perfect 12-0 season at the Leavey Center in 2001-02, Santa Clara's three home losses to open the 2003-04 season are not being taken lightly. Defeats to UW-Green Bay, No. 10 Georgia and BYU mark the first time the Broncos have lost three home games to start the season since 1977-78, when SCU finished 4-20. Santa Clara went 0-3 at home to open the year before winning three straight road contests.
A Look Ahead: Non-Conference Battles
Santa Clara returns for a four-game homestand to close the calendar year, hosting 20th-ranked Oregon, Oklahoma State, rival San Jose State and Alabama.