Jan. 6, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - West Coast Conference action gets underway this weekend for the Broncos as they head up to the Pacific Northwest to open things up with the Gonzaga Bulldogs Friday night. The 8 p.m. tip-off from Spokane will be televised in the Bay Area on Fox Sports Net and is a much-anticipated rematch of last season's WCC Tournament title game, in which Santa Clara upset Gonzaga 77-66 to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.
The Broncos (6-7), picked to finish third in the WCC in a preseason poll, head into "The Kennel" having won four of their last five and averaging 78.3 points a game, 15th in the nation. December's WCC Player of the Month, Michelle Cozad, leads the conference in scoring (18.7 ppg), rebounding (9.6 rpg) and three-pointers made (39) while Ashley Graham's WCC-best 52.0% accuracy from behind the arc adds to Santa Clara's offensive firepower.
Santa Clara will look to continue their winning ways in WCC play, as the team has finished at or above .500 15 times in 19 seasons of conference play. The Broncos own an all-time mark of 171-105 (.620) in WCC play, including six regular season and three conference tournament titles.
Gonzaga (5-10), picked to finish second in the same poll, will be looking to exact a measure of revenge from last season's title game. The Bulldogs are coming off of a tough non-conference schedule which saw them face such nationally-ranked opponents as Maryland, Michigan State and Tennessee. Offensively the team is led by the play of Stephanie Hawk (12.9 ppg and 6.1 rpg) and Anne Bailey (10.7, 6.0).
Following Friday night's shootout the Broncos will travel south to close out the first weekend of conference action against the University of Portland Sunday afternoon. Tip-off against the Pilots is set for 2 p.m.