Jan. 9, 2008
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's basketball team opens West Coast Conference play this week as it hosts the Gaels of Saint Mary's on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m.
SCU pushed its non-conference win streak to seven games Friday night as the Broncos defeated the Roadrunners of Bakersfield 78-75 at the Leavey Center. Chandice Cronk led the game with 28 points, while Elizabeth Doran added 16 points and Sara Majors chipped in with 11 points. Jen Gottschalk pulled down a team-best eight rebounds, while Tracey Walker and Majors dished out a game-high five assists.
The Broncos enter Saturday's game and the conference portion of their schedule with an 11-3 record. Seniors Cronk and Gottschalk lead the team in scoring, posting 17.5 and 16.1 points per game, respectively. Gottschalk is also first on the squad with 99 total rebounds and a 7.1 rebounding average.
The Gaels enter Saturday's contest with an even 8-8 overall record and 12 days off from competition. Saint Mary's also rides a 2-0 win streak into the weekend. In their last outing, the Gaels defeated the Northern Colorado Bears 73-62. Serena Benavente led the team with 15 points, while Louella Tomlinson and Lauren Shaughnessy added 10 points and six rebounds each.
Overall, Jontelle Smith is Saint Mary's leading scorer as she averages 16.4 points per game, while Tomlinson has registered 201 points thus far. Shaughnessy is the team's rebounding, assists and steals leader with 89 boards (5.6 per game), 48 assists and 33 steals.
Saturday's meeting marks the 50th contest between Santa Clara and Saint Mary's. The Broncos lead the all-time, 30-19. Last season, SCU went 1-1 against SMC.
The Broncos return to the road next week as they continue West Coast Conference action against the Lions and Waves. Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount face off on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. at Gersten Pavilion. SCU and Pepperdine will then battle on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. at Firestone Fieldhouse.
The Broncos enter the WCC portion of their schedule with a season-best seven game win streak. For the first time under the direction of Michelle Bento-Jackson, the Broncos went undefeated (6-0) in the month of December, which included victories over Pacific, San Jose State and a 50-point rout of Cal State Fullerton. The 11-3 start to the 2007-08 season marks Santa Clara's best start since the 2001-02 season under the tutelage of Chris Denker. The Broncos went 9-5 in WCC play that season, advanced to the championship game of the conference tournament and participated in the NCAA Tournament.
Seniors Cronk, Gottschalk and Walker are no strangers to the Santa Clara career records lists as each are ranked in one or more categories. Gottschalk entered the all-time rebound average list this season and is currently tied for 10th with 5.8 rebounds per game. She is also tied for the No. 9 spot in career field goal percentage (.509).
Cronk moved into two new categories this week as she is now tied for seventh all-time in field goals and claims the No. 10 spot overall in field goal attempts. Cronk is also ranked first in three-point field goals made, second in 3FG attempts and 3FG percentage, sixth in points, seventh in scoring average, eighth in free throw percentage and 10th all-time in minutes played.
Meanwhile, Walker moves up one spot to No. 6 all-time with 159 steals. She is also eight assists away from claiming the No. 10 spot on the career assists list.
The Broncos bench players have made key contributions to the team's success thus far this season. Most recently, SCU's bench helped the Broncos sustain its large margin of victory against Fullerton on Dec. 31. Claire Goins, Kathy Willinsky, Maggie Goldenberger, Nicole Gall and Kimee Goeggel combined for 34 of the Broncos 88 points and 15 of their 36 rebounds. They compiled a .619 field goal percentage and were perfect from the charity stripe (5-for-5).
Freshman forward Willinsky saw her first taste of collegiate action against the Titans of Fullerton on Dec. 31. The 6-1 Las Vegas native, posted two points and a rebound for the Broncos, with her lone jumper giving Santa Clara their largest lead of the game, 55-points, with 3:45 remaining.
In The WCC:
The Broncos remain in the No. 1 spot in the WCC as they enter conference play this week. As a team, Santa Clara continues to own the No. 1 spot in three-point field goal percentage and field goal percentage.
Individually, Cronk made the largest move this week as she is now ranked second in the conference in scoring. Cronk also holds onto her No. 2 spot in three-point field goals made and is now fifth in three-point field goal percentage. Also making a jump this week was junior Doran who traded places with freshman Gall for the No. 2 spot in three-point field goal percentage.
Gottschalk dropped one spot to No. 5 in scoring and remains in the No. 7 spot in rebounding. She is also fifth in free throw percentage this week. Walker holds onto her top 5 rankings in assists and steals, while Majors remains at the No. 5 spot in assists and No. 10 in defensive rebounds.
In The Nation:
As a team, Santa Clara is ranked in all the statistical categories. SCU's highest rankings are:
3FG per Game - No. 3
3FG PCT - No. 3
Field-Goal PCT - No. 26
Assists per game - No. 29
Free-Throw PCT - No. 32
Won-Lost PCT - No. 40
Individually, Cronk and Doran have earned the Broncos highest rankings. Doran is ranked No. 12 in three-point field goal percentage, while Cronk is No. 12 in three-point field goals per game.
The Broncos hold an all-time mark of 264-140 (.653) in games held at the Leavey Center, dating back to the Toso Pavilion days in 1979-80. Since going 6-8 at home in the 1995-96 season, the Broncos have only had one sub-.500 season at home since then, when the injury-ravaged 2003-04 team went 3-13. This season the Broncos are 6-1 at home and last year's Broncos went 7-7 at the Leavey Center. Three times in program history SCU has posted unblemished marks at home, going 17-0 in 1990-91, 15-0 in 1997-98, and 12-0 in 2001-02.