Jan. 24, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's basketball team will hit the road for a pair of WCC contests looking to continue the momentum built up last weekend with wins over first-place Loyola Marymount and then-second-place Pepperdine. The Broncos will face the San Francisco Dons in a 7 p.m. tip-off Thursday night before flying south to San Diego for a 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon contest against the Toreros.
The Broncos, behind the exceptional performances of players like Michelle Cozad, Kasey Monteith and Chandice Cronk last weekend, collected a pair of wins that vaulted them into a tie for third place in the WCC standings, only 1½ games behind conference-leading LMU. Cozad, who averaged 27.0 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals in the victories, earned her fifth WCC Player of the Week honor of the season, while Monteith tied a pair of career-highs with 16 points and nine rebounds in Saturday's win over the Lions. Cronk poured in 19 points in Thursday's victory over the Waves.
Standing in Santa Clara's way this Thursday night are the USF Dons (6-12, 2-3 WCC), coming off of a Pacific Northwest split which saw them defeat Portland 57-54 Thursday before falling 54-42 to Gonzaga Saturday night. The Dons are led offensively by the 12.2 points and 4.9 rebounds a game of Dominique Carter and the 6.6 rebounds per game of Nickie Warren.
"As much as this past weekend was a huge weekend for us, it was just two ball games, and we are very aware of that," said head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. "Our focus is strictly on USF right now, we know its going to be a challenge for us going on the road for these next two games. USF is going to be tough competition for us and we have to prepare as we always do for this week."
Saturday afternoon the Broncos will face the San Diego Toreros (6-12, 1-4 WCC). The Toreros suffered a sweep last weekend at the hands of the WCC's Pacific Northwest schools. USD fell 81-66 at Gonzaga Thursday night before being handed a 65-54 defeat by Portland at the Chiles Center Saturday afternoon. This Saturday's contest will be the second of the season between SCU and USD, with the Toreros having captured the first meeting on Jan. 14 by a score of 85-70. San Diego is led by Tiara Harris' 12.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
"We will definitely be ready come Saturday," said Bento-Jackson. "This road trip is different for us, going from USF to San Diego, and most importantly, looking back to our first matchup with San Diego, it was a lack of defense on our part and it was a very disappointing loss. We definitely have tried to fix things in those areas and we hope to do that Saturday when we face San Diego."
This weekend provides a solid opportunity for the Broncos to entrench themselves further into the first division of the conference, and it begins in War Memorial Gym Thursday night at 7 p.m. Santa Clara fans can follow the action live on Gametracker.