February 8, 2005

Women's Basketball Visits Saint Mary's on Saturday

Feb. 8, 2005

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This Week
Santa Clara will visit Saint Mary's in continuing West Coast Conference action this weekend. Both teams are 3-3 in their last six games, and SCU won the first meeting between these teams by a 70-47 score. Additionally, Santa Clara leads the all-time series 21-16. During conference play, Saint Mary's is 2-2 at McKeon Pavilion and Santa Clara is 2-2 on the road. The contest will play a pivotal role as the teams fight for position in the league standings. SCU is currently tied with Pepperdine for third, just one game ahead of both Saint Mary's and San Francisco.

On TV
The Broncos' only scheduled television appearance this season is set for this Saturday night. Santa Clara will play at Saint Mary's in a contest that will tip-off at 7 p.m., with live coverage by Fox Sports Bay Area.

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 five teams in the mix as the league season heads into its final three weeks. Loyola Marymount is in second with a 6-3 mark, just one game ahead of both Santa Clara and Pepperdine. San Francisco and Saint Mary's are also still in the race, with 4-5 marks. The prize for the team in second place after the next five games is the second seed in the WCC Championship, to be held at SCU's Leavey Center the first weekend in March.

Three-Point Game
Santa Clara's offense is focused on long ball, as the Broncos are averaging 8.8 three-point field goals made per outing, a .377 clip over 22 contests. Quinn Thomas has made 44 treys at a .373 percentage, Ashley Graham follows with 45, .469, and Michelle Cozad is in at 40, .430. 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.

Nationally Speaking
Santa Clara is averaging 8.8 three-point field goals per contest, third best in the NCAA, and is ranked 16th in accuracy (.377). Sophomore guard Ashley Graham is ranked fifth in percentage (.469) and Quinn Thomas is tied for 12th 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 104th, 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 is 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 (71.6), three-point field goals made per game (8.8), three-point field goal percentage (.377) and is the only league team with a positive turnover margin (2.7). Individually, Quinn Thomas is fourth (14.9) in scoring, followed by Michelle Cozad in seventh (12.7) and Ashley Graham in 13th (10.8). Graham leads the league in three-point field goal percentage (.469), is second in three-point field goals made (2.3) and assist/turnover ratio (1.69), while ranking fifth in field goal percentage (.494) and sixth in assists (3.3). Thomas leads the league in three-point field goals made (2.8), is fourth in steals (2.2), fifth in three-point field goal percentage (.373) and ninth in assists (2.6). Additionally, she is the only guard in the top 10 in defensive rebounding, listed ninth with a 3.9 average. Cozad is third in three-point field goal percentage (.430) and free throw percentage (.833) and fifth in three-point field goals made (1.8). Kayla Huss is ranked fifth in assists (3.4) and third in assist/turnover ratio (1.5).

WCC Tournament Returns 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.

After a two-year experiment with the same format that the men currently use, the WCC will use the traditional No. 1 seed vs. No. 8 seed format for the women's championship. All eight WCC schools will play on the first day of the tournament with 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6 and 4 vs. 5 match-ups. The women will play the first round on March 3 with a day off on March 4. Play will resume with the semifinals on March 5 and the championship game on March 6.

All-session tickets are on sale now through each WCC institution's ticket office. Please note that any remaining single-session tickets will not go on sale until the Monday prior to the tournament. A Women's All-Session General Admission Pass is $40, and a single session pass is $12. Students and Youths will be admitted to a single session for only $5, and students of WCC institutions can watch a single game for $5.

A Look Ahead: Broncos Visit SoCal in Continuing League Play
Santa Clara has just four more games in the WCC schedule. Next week will take the Broncos to Southern California for key matches against Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount, two teams the Broncos are battling with for second place in conference standings. Santa Clara will close the home season the following week, hosting San Francisco and San Diego.