April 24, 2005

Women's Hoops Celebrates Season at Annual Banquet

April 24, 2005

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Senior guard Quinn Thomas was named the team's Most Valuable Player, one of many awards handed out at the Santa Clara University women's basketball annual banquet Saturday evening at Fiorillo's Restaurant.

Third-year head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson hosted the affair, set to honor the team's graduating senior and to thank the Bronco fans and supporters for a memorable season, which included a West Coast Conference Championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Thomas, a three-time All-WCC honoree, received the top honor as voted by her teammates. The Kent, Wash., native became only the 14th player in Bronco history to reach 1,000 career points and closed her career with 1,089. She led the WCC in three-point field goals made per game (2.6), and ranked second in steals (2.3), fifth in three-point field goal percentage (.367), sixth in scoring (13.6) and eighth in assists (2.7). She was also the only guard listed in the top 15 in the league for rebounding, ranking 11th with a 5.0 average. A threat on the perimeter, Thomas ranked 13th nationally in three-pointers made, as the team averaged almost nine per contest to ranked third best in the NCAA. On of her top season highlights was a 33-point effort at UW-Green Bay in which Thomas netted seven threes.

"Quinn led our team in so many different aspects, and I'm not just talking about what can be read on a stats sheet," Bento-Jackson said. "She provides so many intangibles... she put the entire team on her back and led us to victory. It's been a journey to see the growth within her both on and off the court. She has a bright future ahead of her. We wish her the best of luck."

"My family has made me who I am today. There's not enough words to thank them for their love and support," Thomas said later in the evening, as she and was recognized as the team's graduating senior. "My teammates are my sisters and I wish I could have more years to play with them. I'll be their biggest fans in the coming seasons."

Red-shirt junior guard Michelle Cozad was named the team's Best Offensive Player. The scorer from nearby Stockton led the league in free throw percentage (.843) and ranked second in three-point accuracy (.443). She was fifth in three-point field goals made per game (1.7) and listed seventh in scoring (13.1). Reaching double figures in scoring on 20 occasions, Cozad peaked during the postseason was named the WCC Tournament's MVP for her efforts. In the NCAA first round, she came off the bench against Stanford and led the team with 23 points and a team-high six rebounds.

"Michelle can just flat-out score; she's a scoreboard changer and makes an immediate impact whenever she steps on the court," Bento-Jackson said. "She gets the job done in so many aspects of the game."

Sophomore guard Anna Martin was named the team's Best Defensive Player while also receiving the Christine Silvernail Award. The Oregon City, Ore. Native saw action in 29 games, including an outstanding performance at LMU, where she hit three three-pointers in 90 seconds to spark a Bronco rally. The Christine Silvernail Award is a recognition given to the athlete that "best embodies what it means to be a Bronco." The award was established in 2000, in honor of Silvernail, the 1994 WCC Player of the Year, after she passed away as a result of a car accident.

"Anna did whatever was asked of her, including playing out of position, which can be a very difficult task," Bento-Jackson said. "She has a true passion for defense and takes great pride in stopping her opponent."

Freshman Tracey Walker was named the team's Most Improved Player, while fellow freshman Chandice Cronk received the Coaches Award.

"Tracey has taken great strides in the past seven months, realizing previously-untapped potential as the season progressed," Bento-Jackson said. "As for Chandice, the coach-ability she displayed every day in wanting to be the best player she could be stands out in our minds."

The four-hour event ended with a 20-minute highlight video that captured the team's season.

2004-05 Santa Clara Basketball Awards

Award Recipient
Most Valuable Player Quinn Thomas
Most Outstanding Offensive Player Michelle Cozad
Most Outstanding Defensive Player Anna Martin
Most Improved Player Tracey Walker
Coaches Award Chandice Cronk
Christine Silvernail Award Anna Martin