Nov. 25, 2005
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Following an encouraging two-game road trip that saw them take the eighth-ranked team in the nation to the limit, the Santa Clara women's basketball team returns to the Mission Campus to open its home slate against a pair of fellow 2005 NCAA Tournament participants in Kansas State on Saturday afternoon and Central Florida on Monday night.
If one thing can be said about the Broncos of 2005-06 it is that they have not skipped a beat when it comes to putting the ball in the hoop. Santa Clara dropped 13 three-pointers on No. 8 Georgia last Friday before adding another 12 at Alabama Monday. Michelle Cozad led this scoring barrage by tying a career-high with 34 points against the Lady Bulldogs before posting 15 against the Crimson Tide. For her efforts she was named the WCC's Co-Player of the Week.
Kayla Huss scored 18 at Georgia while Ashley Graham put up 18 against Alabama, demonstrating that the Broncos can still score in bunches, and despite two losses on the trip, their ability to put up points and contain some of the nation's best players at Georgia shows that they are more than ready heading into this weekend.
"They definitely know what to expect now, obviously opening up the season with No. 8 Georgia and Alabama, two high-caliber teams in the No. 1 women's basketball conference in the country," said head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. "Our team is used to playing the big games such as those, we took a lot from the two games last weekend and for the most part we are very pleased with how we played for this season. We will take what we learned and we will incorporate it into our game against Kansas State on Saturday."
The Wildcats of Kansas State are coming off of a season-opening 91-55 win over Detroit on Nov. 20. Freshman JoAnn Hamlin led all scorers with 24 points while junior Twiggy McIntyre and freshman Shalee Lehning came off the bench to add 19 and 13 points to the effort, respectively.
Central Florida (1-1) will head into the Leavey Center Monday night after taking part in the Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic at St. Mary's. Last weekend the Golden Knights split a pair of matches, defeating Florida A&M 62-54 before falling 77-63 to West Virginia.
The Golden Knights are paced by junior guard Francine Houston, who averaged 16.5 points over the two games last weekend, and senior guard Celeste Hudson, the team's leading returning scorer, averaging 11.2 points last season.
"We have always been a pretty good team on the road, but its always nice to play on your home court in front of your home fans," Bento-Jackson noted on the Broncos' home-court advantage. "I definitely think that our girls eager to open up the home season with Saturday's game against Kansas State."
Santa Clara opens up the 2005-06 home slate Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. against the Wildcats. Tickets are available by calling (408) 554-4660.