Nov. 29, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's basketball team will look to continue its best start to a season since 2001-02 this week as the squad hits the road for a pair of games. The 4-2 Broncos, fresh off of wins at Boise State and at home over Washington State last week, head a half-hour up the road Wednesday night with upset on their minds as they will battle the No. 15 Stanford Cardinal, before heading south for a 2 p.m. contest Saturday at CS Northridge.
Junior forward Jen Gottschalk continued her strong return to the Broncos last week by averaging 14.3 points and 10.3 rebounds a game over the three contests. Gottschalk posted her first career double-double last Monday at Boise State, notching career-highs with 17 points and 12 rebounds in SCU's 67-65 win. She came back Saturday to match her rebounding total, and added 16 points for her second double-double in Santa Clara's 80-72 victory over Washington State.
Guards Chandice Cronk and Ashley Graham remain hot on the outside, with Cronk averaging a WCC-leading 18.2 points on the season, including 21 points against the Cougars on Saturday, her fourth 20-point scoring performance in six games this season. Graham averages 13.7 points a game and leads SCU in three-point shooting with a 51.6% success rate from beyond the arc, including a perfect 5-for-5 effort Wednesday against No. 22 BYU.
No. 15 Stanford (2-3), representing the Pacific-10 Conference, comes into Wednesday's game having dropped three of its last four following a season-opening 88-61 win over Loyola Marymount. The Cardinal's three losses have all come to ranked teams, losing 55-52 to then-No. 24 BYU on Nov. 13, then this past weekend on the road dropping a 77-60 decision to No. 4 Tennessee and suffering a 74-69 loss to no. 8 Georgia. Stanford is led by the play of 2006 All-Americans Candice Wiggins (17.2 ppg) and Brooke Smith (15.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg), while Kristin Newlin (7.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg) provides depth on the boards for the Cardinal.
Stanford leads the all-time head-to-head series 26-11 over Santa Clara, and has won 30 of the last 35 meetings dating back to 1968-69. The teams last met in the 2005 NCAA Tournament First Round, with Stanford winning 94-57 in Fresno.
The Matadors (2-4) enter Saturday's contest on a three-game slide, having dropped contests to Colorado, Saint Mary's, and Alabama after winning two of their first three. CS Northridge will open this week with a Nov. 28 game at home against the Pepperdine Waves before closing things out by hosting the Broncos.
Overall, the Broncos are a perfect 6-0 in head-to-head meetings with the Matadors, including a 96-77 win at the Leavey Center last season, on Dec. 28.
Santa Clara will return home to begin a two-game stand next Saturday, Dec. 9, with a 7 p.m. game against Fresno State. The stand will conclude Tuesday, Dec. 12, with a 7 p.m. contest against Pacific.