Jan. 15, 2008
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's basketball team returns to the road to continue West Coast Conference action against Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine. The Broncos and Lions face off on Thursday, Jan. 17 at the Gersten Pavilion in Los Angeles, Calif. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m. SCU then battles the Waves on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. in Malibu, Calif.
Santa Clara's seven game win streak was snapped on Saturday when the Broncos fell, 74-71, in a hard-fought battle to the Gaels of Saint Mary's in the conference opener. Jen Gottschalk and Sara Majors each compiled double-doubles, while Chandice Cronk and Tracey Walker posted double-figure performances as well.
The Broncos enter the week with an 11-4 overall record and a 0-1 mark in WCC action. Only one point separates team leaders Gottschalk and Cronk. Gottschalk averages 17.1 points per game and Cronk posts 17.0 points per game. Gottschalk is also first on the squad with 111 total rebounds and a 7.4 rebounding average.
The Lions enter Thursday's game with a 9-8 overall record. LMU opened conference play with a 1-1 weekend, posting a 73-71 victory over Portland on the road. Renahy Young led all players with 20 points, while Jenna Sybesma registered 18 points and Lisa Helmers added 11 points. Valerie Ogoke was the team's rebounding leader with eight boards, while Sybesma was the most consistent from the field (8-for-11).
On the season, Amanda Decoud is the only Lion to average double-figure points (10.1 per game). Meanwhile, Ogoke averages 8.1 rebounds per game and 7.0 points per game.
Thursday's meeting marks the 51st meeting in the series. Santa Clara owns an all-time record of 37-13; however Loyola Marymount has won the last four contests and the last four meetings in Los Angeles.
The Waves will look to snap their eight-game drought as they enter the week with a 5-10 overall record and a 0-2 WCC mark. In their last outing, Pepperdine was edged 60-56 by Portland. Miranda Ayim registered a game-high 17 points, while Daphanie Kennedy added 14 points. Teiosha George led all players with 13 rebounds.
Overall, Kennedy and Ayim lead the team's scoring efforts, averaging 16.3 and 12.3 points per game respectively. Ayim also owns a team-best 7.8 rebounding average.
Saturday's meeting is the 54th contest in the all-times series in which Santa Clara owns a slight 28-25 edge. Last season, the Broncos went 1-1 against the Waves.
The Broncos return to the Leavey Center to host San Diego and San Francisco. Santa Clara and USD battle on Thursday, Jan. 24, while the Broncos and Dons face off on Saturday, Jan. 26. Tip off for both contests is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Broncos posted a season-best seven game win streak in the latter half of the non-conference schedule the Broncos entered the WCC portion of their schedule. Despite the bump in the road, the win streak was the longest in non-conference play since the 1999-00 season, when the Broncos started off the year 9-0.
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 11-4 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.
The last the time Broncos lost their conference opener was in the 2005-06 season. Yet, SCU went on to post an 11-3 conference mark to take home the regular season crown and advance to the WNIT First Round. The previous season the Broncos dropped their opener to Gonzaga and went on to win the WCC Tournament and participated in the NCAA Tournament.
Just 366 days after her 30 point career-high performance against Gonzaga (Jan. 11, 2007), last season, Gottschalk did it again. The senior forward led all players with 30 points against Saint Mary's Saturday night. Gottschalk also set a career high for field goals attempted (23) and 3FG attempted (9), while tying her personal best three field goals made.
In The WCC:
The Broncos continued to hold onto the No. 1 spot in the conference in field goal offense and defense as well as three-point field goal percentage. SCU also moved into first place in scoring defense this week.
Individually, Gottschalk and Cronk are ranked third and fourth respectively in scoring, while Gottschalk is fifth overall in rebounding. Walker is third overall in assists per game, while Gottschalk is third in steals. Meanwhile, Cronk holds onto the No. 2 spot in 3FG made.
In The Nation:
As a team, Santa Clara is ranked in all the statistical categories. SCU's highest rankings are:
3FG per Game - No. 2
3FG PCT - No. 8
Assists per game - No. 21
Free-Throw PCT - No. 32
Field-Goal PCT - No. 35
Individually, Cronk and Elizabeth Doran have earned the Broncos highest rankings. Doran is ranked No. 18 in three-point field goal percentage, while Cronk is No. 19 in three-point field goals per game. Gottschalk rejoins the group in points per game this week (No. 66).