Jan. 29, 2008
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's basketball team travels north to continue West Coast Conference play against Portland and Gonzaga. The Broncos and Pilots battle on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Chiles Center, while SCU and the Zags face off on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. in Spokane, Wash.
SCU compiled another fantastic 2-0 week in league play as it defeated San Diego and USF at the Leavey Center. Thursday night's decision came down to free throws with one second remaining to give SCU the 66-64 win, while Friday's contest against the Dons found the Broncos in control of the scoreboard for 40 minutes in route to a 57-50 triumph.
The Broncos enter the week with a 4-1 conference record and a league-best 15-4 overall mark. Senior Chandice Cronk averages a team-best 17.2 points per game, while Jen Gottschalk nearly averages a double-double with 16.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
The Pilots enter the week with a 2-3 WCC record and a 12-8 overall mark. Last week, Portland battled its travel partner, Gonzaga, and lost the battle 76-50. Karlie Burris was the only Pilot to reach double-figures with 10 points. On the season, Portland is led by Laiken Dollente, who averages 15.3 points per game. Rachel Warren leads the Pilots rebounding efforts with 6.7 boards per game and is second in scoring with 9.9 points per game.
Wednesday's contest is the 48th meeting between the Pilots and the Broncos in a series in which SCU owns a 27-20 overall record. Under the direction of Michelle Bento-Jackson, the Broncos have compiled a 9-2 record and have won the last seven meetings.
The Zags enter the week on top of the WCC standings with an unblemished 5-0 league record. On the season, Gonzaga is 14-6. In their last outing, the Zags defeated Portland with head coach Kelly Graves earning his 200th career victory. Gonzaga had five players score in double-figures with Heather Bowman leading all players with 18 points. Overall, Bowman leads both the Zags' scoring and rebounding efforts averaging 19.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.
Santa Clara and Gonzaga meet for the 44th time this weekend in a series that dates back to the 1987-88 season. The Broncos own a 27-16 record over the Zags, but have not been victorious at the McCarthey Athletic Center since the 2001-02 season.
The Broncos return to the Leavey Center to host Bay Area rival No. 7/7 Stanford on Tuesday, Feb. 5. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Leavey Center.
Guard Cronk was named the West Coast Conference's Player of the Week it was announced Monday. She enjoyed an outstanding week, propelling the Broncos to a pair of conference wins at home. The senior scored 26 points in Thursday's 66-64 win over San Diego, shooting. 500 (9-for-18) from the field and sinking two free throws with one second on the clock to provide the difference. On Saturday, Cronk pitched in with 15 points, three rebounds and two steals as the Broncos topped San Francisco, 57-50, to improve to 4-1 in WCC play. For the week, Cronk averaged 20.5 points per game, and shot a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe.
Senior Gottschalk led the Broncos last season with three double-doubles. This season, she has more than doubled that number and continues to lead the WCC with eight double-doubles. She has tallied double-figure points in 14 of the Broncos 19 contests this season. Gottschalk is not the lone Broncos compiling double-doubles. Walker and Sara Majors have produced two each thus far this season.
Seniors Cronk, Gottschalk and Walker are no strangers to the Santa Clara career records lists as each are ranked in one or more categories. This week, Walker climbed to the No. 9 overall spot in career assists with 278.
Head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson is now 7 wins shy of reaching the 100 career victories mark. She currently owns a 93-77 record as a head coach.
In The WCC:
The Broncos enter the week in second place in the league standings. SCU is ranked No. 1 in scoring defense, scoring margin, field goal pct defense, 3FG percentage and 3FG made.
Individually, Cronk moved into fourth overall in scoring, while Gottschalk leads the WCC in defensive rebounds and is ranked second in rebounding and fifth in scoring. Walker is third in the WCC in assists and Elizabeth Doran's 3FG percentage is ranked second.
In The Nation:
As a team, Santa Clara is ranked in all the statistical categories. SCU's highest rankings are:
3FG per Game - No. 4
3FG PCT - No. 15
Assists per game - No. 23
Free-Throw PCT - No. 26
Field-Goal PCT - No. 35
Won-Lost PCT- No. 30
Individually, Cronk moved into a new national ranking this week as she is 73rd overall in free throw percentage.