Oregon Awaits Santa Clara Tuesday Night
Nov. 22, 2009
SANTA CLARA (1-2) @ OREGON (2-0)
Tuesday, November 24 - 7 p.m.
Mac Court (9,087) - Eugene, OR
LIVE AUDIO: SantaClaraBroncos.com
GAME #4: Santa Clara's tough non-conference schedule takes the team to Eugene, Oregon for a Tuesday night game against the Ducks. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at UO's Mac Court.
TV/RADIO/INTERNET: Live audio will be available on Santa Clara's official athletics website (SantaClaraBroncos.com). Sam Farber (play-by-play) will call the action courtside from Eugene.
# Jennifer Mountain is in her second season as Santa Clara head coach
# 12 of the Broncos' 16 players are underclassmen
# SCU played Iowa and UCLA tough in the first half last week in Iowa City
# The Broncos easily defeated Sonoma State 73-43 in its season-opener
# Six SCU freshmen made their collegiate debuts vs. Sonoma State
# Lena Gipson was named to the All-Tournament team at Iowa's Hawkeye Challenge
# Gipson - one of the WCC's premier players - led the league in rebounding (9.9) last season
# Both Gipson and guard Alyssa Shoji have scored in double-figures in all three games
# Shoji ranks among the WCC's best players in assists and 3PT FG
# Freshman starter Ashley Armstrong is averaging 6.3 rebounds per game
# Lena Gipson's 307 rebounds last season was the 5th-best total in WCC history
# Freshman Meagan Fulps was Colorado's 2009 5A `Player of the Year'
# Guard Becky Goll suffered a season-ending injury in SCU's exhibition win over Cal State Monterey Bay
# Oregon is 2-0, scoring 86 points per game in wins over EWU and Montana
# Long-time college, NBA and WNBA coaching veteran Paul Westhead has taken over the Oregon program
# Westhead coached the Phoenix Mercury to a WNBA championship in 2007
# Oregon was 9-21 last season, 7th in the Pac-10
# Santa Clara has won eight WCC Championships (last in 2006)
# The Broncos have been to six NCAA Tournaments and the WNIT five times
# SCU prides itself on its community service activities and academic excellence, spending time each week mentoring young girls at local elementary schools. The team GPA last season was 3.14.
# UP NEXT: Santa Clara will return home and begin a four-game homestand Sunday, November 29th against Utah, followed by games with UC Davis, South Dakota and CSU Bakersfield.
SANTA CLARA: The Broncos are a very young team, having just two seniors on its roster. After scoring 73 points in a season-opening win over Sonoma State, Santa Clara managed just 51 points against Iowa and UCLA - a stark contrast to Oregon who has scored 86 in its two games. Second-year head coach Jennifer Mountain is armed with one of the league's best post players in Fresno native Lena Gipson. Sophomore guard Alyssa Shoji is establishing herself as one of the WCC's top guards. Senior forward Maggie Goldenberger and freshman guard Ashley Armstrong are emerging as key contributors for the Broncos, who are trying to rebound from a 4-27 season a year ago. However, SCU did finish the year strong, posting a blow-out win in the first round of the 2009 WCC Tournament before falling in the quarterfinals.
OREGON: Paul Westhead - who was an assistant coach for the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder last season - has taken over a program that went 9-21 last season and finished seventh in the Pac-10. He has the Ducks off to a 2-0 start, beating Eastern Washington at home 86-48 and winning on the road at Montana 86-81. Westhead's up-tempo style saw Oregon score 109 points in two exhibition wins. Nicole Canepa came off the bench to score a game-high 18 points in Missoula. Starting forward Amanda Johnson scored 17 and pulled-down 15 boards.
"Oregon's going to really push it up the floor," said Santa Clara Head Coach Jennifer Mountain. "They tend to get shots up within 10-15 seconds going off the shot clock."
QUOTABLE: "We played two big schools this past weekend and didn't have the outcome we had wanted," said senior forward Maggie Goldenberger. "But the freshmen got of a taste of how physically teams play and what the talent is going to be like at this level."
LAST TIME OUT: Santa Clara University power forward Lena Gipson was honored as an all-tournament player at the 2009 KCRG-TV9 Hawkeye Challenge, hosted by the University of Iowa. Despite Gipson's 18 points and 10 rebounds, Santa Clara (1-2) dropped Sunday's game to UCLA 77-51. As they did against Iowa on Saturday, SCU played well in the first half against UCLA. Alyssa Shoji's three-pointer in the closing moments before the break made it 28-24. Shoji finished with 10 points and four assists Sunday. She made five 3s in Santa Clara's two games in Iowa City. UCLA (1-1) set a new Hawkeye Challenge tournament record by shooting .636 (7-11) from three-point range against the Broncos. Erica Tukianen tied tournament records for three-pointers made (5) and three-point percentage (.714). Tukianen led four Bruins who posted double figures in scoring, finishing with 21.
HEAD COACH JEN MOUNTAIN: Jennifer Mountain became the eighth Santa Clara head women's basketball coach in April 2008. Mountain came to the Mission Campus after serving seven seasons as the top assistant coach at Gonzaga, where she helped the Bulldogs to four-straight West Coast Conference regular-season championships and one WCC Tournament crown. The Santa Clara women's basketball team ended the 2008-09 season on a strong note as the Broncos advanced to the quarterfinals of the WCC Tournament after impressively defeating Saint Mary's 82-55. While at Gonzaga, Mountain helped turn the Bulldogs from a 2-12 WCC team in 2001-02 to four-time regular-season champions. Gonzaga advanced to the NCAA Tournament once and twice advanced to the Women's NIT, and in 2005 garnered the school's first national ranking. From 1994-2001, she served as the head boys' basketball coach at Saint George's School in Spokane, where they compiled a 134-62 overall record. A native of Portland, Ore., Mountain scored 1,422 points in her playing career at Gonzaga, where she was a three-time All-WCC honoree.
"Everyone talks about the first year being a transition year, but I almost feel like we are in our second transition year," said Mountain, who took over the SCU program in April of 2008. "We don't have a lot of returners with experience but we have so much more depth than last year. We are definitely more athletic, with a number of people that can make plays and make things happen for us."
GIPSON AMONG WCC ELITE: Santa Clara University junior Lena Gipson (Hanford, Calif./San Joaquin Memorial HS) was one of just 11 players recognized league-wide on the 2009-10 All-West Coast Conference preseason team. Gipson, a 6-foot power forward, was among the NCAA's top rebounders (9.9 per game) a year ago - leading the WCC in rebounding throughout the 2008-09 season. Gipson also led the Broncos in points (13.6 per game), steals (46) and blocks (18).
"I am really honored to be considered as a top player," said Gipson. "However, the team I'm most concerned with is the Santa Clara women's basketball team. We have a realistic chance of competing with every team in the WCC, but it's going to take 40 minutes of commitment from everyone each night. That is our focus right now."
FRESH FACES: Santa Clara has welcomed seven true freshmen to the Mission Campus - in fact, 12 of the team's 16 players are underclassmen. SCU is expecting a major contribution from Colorado's 2009 Class 5A `Player of the Year,' 5-foot-7 combo guard Meagan Fulps (Littleton, Colo./Highlands Ranch HS). Fulps led Highlands Ranch High School to three-straight Colorado state championship titles.
`Fulps, 6-foot-4 center Ruta Zurauskyte (Siauliai, Lithuania/Regis Jesuit [Colo.]), three-time all-state guard Ashley Armstrong (Reno, Nev./Bishop Manogue HS) and Southern California recruits' Telisha Anderson (Stanton, Calif./Magnolia HS), Noe Viloria (Garden Grove, Calif./Huntington Beach HS) and Becca Thomas (Riverside, Calif./Redwood HS) all begin their first seasons as collegiate players.
"I am really proud of the class we've brought in," said Jennifer Mountain. "We're much better than we were last year. We're different. I think we will be quicker, more athletic. Now we have an inside-outside game, so people won't be able to hone in on Lena (Gipson). That should open up things, allowing her to do a bit more."
NEW COACHES: Second-year Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain has added two new assistant coaches to her 2009-10 staff. Former WNBA player and assistant coach at UC Santa Barbara Evan Unrau was hired in June of 2009. Her focus is on the development of SCU's post players. Marissa White, a 2004 graduate of Chico State, was added to Mountain's coaching staff in July of 2009. White was a standout player at Chico State and went on to spend three seasons working with the University of the Pacific's program as the Coordinator of Women's Basketball Operations.
`NO-KNEE': Santa Clara star forward Lena Gipson has undergone five unsuccessful knee surgeries since tearing her ACL early in her senior season at Fresno's San Joaquin Memorial High School. To this day she plays without an ACL in her left knee. Gipson originally attended Arizona State University before transferring to Fresno City College, where she was an All-America player as a redshirt freshman prior to attending Santa Clara.
IN THE COMMUNITY: Santa Clara University has a unique relationship with the community in the Bay Area. Through its affiliation with BAWSI (Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative), the Broncos have been afforded the opportunity to aid in the development of young girls as individuals and athletes. BAWSI is a public benefit, nonprofit corporation with a mission to create programs and partnerships through which women athletes bring health, hope and wholeness to our community. Bronco student-athletes spend time each week mentoring young girls at local elementary schools.
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: The Bronco program has a storied tradition of academic excellence in its 45 seasons of sponsoring women's basketball. Highlighted by 16 West Coast Conference All-Academic honorees, the Broncos have received numerous academic honors for their hard work both on and off the court. The team GPA last season was 3.14.
WCC 2010 ZAPPOS.COM BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS (LAS VEGAS, NV): Tickets for the 2010 Zappos.com West Coast Conference Men's and Women's Basketball Championships at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas are now on sale. The championships will span 4 days - March 5-8, 2010 - and include 14 men's and women's games, with tickets starting at less than $10 per game. The 2009 WCC Basketball Championships were the most highly anticipated championship event in Conference history, reaching a sell out two weeks prior to the tournament last March. The event set championship records for single session attendance (7,845) and overall championship attendance (33,320).
SANTA CLARA'S 'FASTBREAK CLUB' TO HOLD LUNCHEONS: The Santa Clara University women's basketball team, in conjunction with Mondo Burrito, will host a monthly luncheon featuring the team's coaches and players. Part of the program's 'Fastbreak Club,' the events are designed to offer fans and community members an inside look at the latest news and happenings within the Broncos' program. Dates: December 9th (Wednesday, 12 p.m.); January - TBA; February TBA. To RSVP for the luncheon call Blake Malcolm at 408-554-5018.
NEXT HOME GAME: The Broncos' home-opener is set for Sunday, November 29 against the University of Utah at 2 p.m.
RECENT RESULTS/UPCOMING GAMES:
W, 78-59 - CAL STATE MONTEREY BAY (exhib.) (11/3)
W, 73-43 - SONOMA STATE (11/7)
L, 67-51 - @ Iowa (11/14)
L, 77-51 - vs. UCLA (11/15)
@ Oregon (11/24)
vs. UTAH (11/29)
vs. UC DAVIS (12/3)
TICKETS: The SCU athletics department is offering a series of ticket specials for the 14-game home schedule. Season ticket packages start at just $50 for adults and $25 for youth and seniors. Season ticket reserved seating is new for 2009-10 and is being offered at the low price of $75 for the entire season. To purchase tickets or for more information contact 408-554-4660.