Women's Hoops to Face Portland, League-Leading Gonzaga
Feb. 2, 2005
Santa Clara will host its Northwest rivals this weekend at the Leavey Center. Portland (6-14, 1-6) will play on Thursday. Gonzaga (18-2, 7-0) boasts the longest winning streak in the nation, at 14 games, and will face Saint Mary's prior to playing the Broncos on Saturday. The Bulldogs have started WCC Play at 7-0 and have not lost since early December. The SCU Athletic Department will celebrate Women in Sports Day on Saturday, with 60 youths pairing up with Bronco student-athletes to watch the game.
League Race for Second Seed
While Gonzaga has a firm hold on the first place in the WCC, the battle for second place is heated, with three teams tied for second with identical 4-3 marks. Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine and Santa Clara are just one game ahead of San Francisco and Saint Mary's, who are still in the race with 3-4 league records. The prize for the team in second place after the next seven games is the second seed in the WCC Championship, to be held at SCU's Leavey Center the first weekend in March.
Santa Clara's offense is focused on long ball, as the Broncos are averaging 9.1 three-point field goals made per outing, a .388 clip over 20 contests. Quinn Thomas has made 44 treys at a .373 percentage, Ashley Graham follows with 44, .473, and Michelle Cozad is in at 34, .4442. The Broncos have historically led the WCC in this category, and last season broke the league record for threes made during conference play. In November, Santa Clara made 13 at Hawaii, tying a program record for a game and setting a Rainbow Wahine Classic new mark. In mid-December, Santa Clara topped that with 14 at Wisconsin, also an opponent record for the Badgers. The Broncos matched that effort on Dec. 30 with 14 threes against Portland State.
Santa Clara is averaging an NCAA-best 9.1 three-point field goals per contest, and is ranked 12th in accuracy (.388). Sophomore guard Ashley Graham is ranked sixth in percentage (.473) and 17th in three-point field goals made per game (2.7). Quinn Thomas is tied for 14th in per game average, with 2.8.
Regarding RPI, which is based on winning percentage, schedule strength and opponent schedule strength, Santa Clara is rated 101st, second best in the league, and the WCC is listed 13th.
Live Audio & Video on the Internet
Santa Clara's entire schedule returns to the Internet, as a live audio broadcast was available for a fourth 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 can 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 fourth season.
Leading the WCC
Santa Clara leads the league in scoring offense (71.0), three-point field goals made per game (9.1), three-point field goal percentage (.388) and is the only league team with a positive turnover margin (2.2). Individually, Quinn Thomas is fourth (14.9) in scoring, followed by Michelle Cozad in eighth (12.2) and Ashley Graham in 13th (10.9). Graham leads the league in three-point field goal percentage (.473), is second in three-point field goals made (2.3) and assist/turnover ratio (1.81), while ranking fifth in assists (3.4) and field goal percentage (.490). Thomas leads the league in three-point field goals made (2.8), is fourth in steals (2.2), seventh in three-point field goal percentage (.373) and ninth in assists (2.6). Additionally, she is the only guard in the top 15 in rebounding, listed 15th with a 4.6 average. Cozad is third in three-point field goal percentage (.442) and free throw percentage (.820) and sixth in three-point field goals made (1.7). Kayla Huss is ranked sixth in assists (3.3) and third in assist/turnover ratio (1.44).
WCC Tournament to Return to Santa Clara
The WCC Championship is returning to the Leavey Center for a second straight season. The 14th annual women's tournament will take place March 3-6. In 2002, the league voted to rotate the championship site regionally. After Santa Clara hosts in 2005, the two-year Bay Area rotation will be complete and the WCC tournament will move to the Pacific Northwest in 2006 and '07. The 2008 and '09 tournaments will be held in Southern California.
A Look Ahead: Broncos Take to the Road for Three
Santa Clara will play two consecutive weeks on the road, taking on Saint Mary's Feb. 12 and following with the last road trip of the season, visiting Los Angeles for contests against Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount.
The Broncos are scheduled to make one television appearance this season during the WCC slate. Santa Clara will play at Saint Mary's in a Saturday, February 12 game that will tip-off at 7 p.m., with live coverage by Fox Sports Bay Area.
Santa Clara began a new tradition this season with the Breakfast Club, a gathering held monthly and hosted by head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. The energized group meetings are held at The Hungry Hound restaurant near campus, with Bento-Jackson briefing the guests on current program events and over a continental breakfast. The next event will be February 7. Cost is $6 per person and the event is held from 7 to 8 a.m.