Santa Clara Women's Basketball Opens Season This Week
Following a home exhibition contest against Sonoma State Tuesday night, Santa Clara officially opens its 2010-11 season against Fresno State Friday, November 12 at 8:15 p.m. Both games will be played at Santa Clara's Leavey Center, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara campus.
SANTA CLARA VS. SONOMA STATE
Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010 • 7:00 p.m. PT
EXH #1 • Santa Clara, Calif.
Live Video | Live Stats
SANTA CLARA (0-0) VS. FRESNO STATE (0-0)
Friday, Nov. 12, 2010 • 8:15 p.m. PT
Game #1 • Home Game #1 • Santa Clara, Calif.
Live Audio | Live Stats
A FREE live video broadcast of Tuesday night's game will be available on Santa Clara's official athletics website (SantaClaraBroncos.com). On Friday a FREE audio broadcast will be offered. Additionally, free live scoring for both games can be accessed on (SantaClaraBroncos.com). Michael Spero (play-by-play) will call the action courtside from Santa Clara.
* Santa Clara is led by third-year head coach Jennifer Mountain
* The Broncos advanced into the WCC tournament semifinals last season
* SCU was picked to finish seventh in the eight-team WCC
* SCU returns three All-WCC players (G Alyssa Shoji, G Meagan Fulps and F Lena Gipson)
* The Broncos will play five straight on the road following the game with Fresno State
* Lena Gipson was named to the 2010-11 All-WCC preseason team
* Gipson's 16 double-doubles last season ranked No. 23 in the NCAA
* Junior guard Alyssa Shoji led the team in scoring (13.7 ppg) last year
* Shoji led the WCC in 3-point shooting (84) and ranked 35th nationally last season
* Sophomore guard Meagan Fulps (11.2 ppg) was the WCC's top scoring freshman last year
* Sophomore guard Ashley Armstrong (5.4 rpg) was the league's top freshman rebounder in 2009-10
* Santa Clara has four newcomers – all from Bay Area High Schools
* The Broncos beat Div. II Sonoma State 73-43 last season at the Leavey Center
* Last year's game vs. SSU was the first-ever between Santa Clara and Sonoma St.
* The Seawolves were 11-16 a year ago
* Fresno State is coming off its best season in program history at 27-7
* Under coach Adrian Wiggins Fresno State has won 20+ games in four of the last five years
* High-scoring seniors Jaleesa Ross (17.4 ppg) and Hayley Munro (11.7 ppg) return for FSU
* FSU is the preseason favorite to win the WAC
* NEXT UP: Santa Clara will play @ North. Colorado and @ Colorado next week
The Broncos are aiming for marked improvement in the third-year under head coach Jennifer Mountain. The 2009-10 team finished WCC play with just one league win but shocked the league by winning twice at the postseason tournament in Las Vegas, becoming the first No. 8 seed in tournament history to reach the semifinals. Mountain has three legitimate scoring threats in guards Alyssa Shjoji and Meagan Fulps, along with power forward Lena Gipson. The Broncos play five of their first six games on the road, including trips to Colorado and South Dakota later this month. Historically, Santa Clara has been one of the top teams in the WCC, having made 11 postseason (NCAA/WNIT) tournament appearances and winning eight WCC titles. The last time SCU went to the NCAA tournament was in 2005.
The Division II Seawolves played Santa Clara at the Leavey Center last season, losing 73-43 on November 9, 2009. This past Friday, Sonoma State dropped an exhibition game at USF 61-34 at War Memorial Gym in San Francisco. SSU was 11-16 overall last season under long-time head coach Mark Rigby. Three returning starters comeback from that team, including senior Oly Larkin from Branham High School in San Jose. Larkin averaged 7.4 points per game last season for a Seawolves team that scored just 53.1 points per game. Only three players on Sonoma State's roster are 6-foot or taller.
Fresno State has made three straight NCAA tournaments and for the first time in school history, the Bulldogs received an at-large berth to the tournament a year ago. Under coach Adrian Wiggins Fresno State has won 20+ games in four of the last five years. Fresno State won the regular season Western Athletic Conference (WAC) title - running the table (16-0) against WAC opponents during the regular season. In fact, FSU is coming off its best season in history, winning 27 games. Senior Jaleesa Ross poured in over 17 points per game last season. Ross and classmate Hayley Munro (11.7 ppg last year) are a big reason FSU is picked to win the WAC again this year. FSU averaged 72.9 points per game a year ago and made over 300 triples.
HEAD COACH JENNIFER MOUNTAIN
'JMO' became the eighth Santa Clara head women's basketball coach in April 2008. She came to the Mission Campus after serving seven seasons as the top assistant coach at Gonzaga, where she helped the Bulldogs to four-straight WCC regular season championships and one tournament crown. Her Santa Clara team ended the 2009-10 season in grand fashion at the 2010 WCC tournament in Las Vegas, winning twice to become the first No. 8 seed in tournament history to advance into the semifinals. It was the second-straight year Mountain's teams peaked when it mattered most. In her first year at Santa Clara, Mountain guided the Broncos into the WCC tournament quarterfinals. "Jen understands what Santa Clara is all about," said SCU Athletic Director Dan Coonan. "It's about competitive basketball but it's about so much more than that. Educating men and women for competence, conscience, and compassion -- that's what Santa Clara really stands for. We believe that and live that here. I think Jen is the perfect person who embodies those kinds of values."
The Jen Mountain File:
• Head Coach - Santa Clara University (2008-pres.)
• Assistant Coach- Gonzaga University (2001-08)
• Boys Head Coach - St. George's School (1994-2001)
• Amateur Player - Gonzaga University (1987-91)
Inside Santa Clara's state-of-the-art Leavey Center, fans can watch the Bronco women's basketball team for the low price of $50 for a season ticket. Youth and seniors can buy season tickets for $25. Additionally, the Santa Clara 'Family Plan' offers five tickets to every home game for just $100, where a family of five can watch every SCU women's basketball game all season long!
Single-game tickets start at $7 for adults and $5 for youth and seniors. 'Bronco Kidz' and OSHER members receive $2 admission, while RUFF RIDERS and faculty and staff get in FREE. Special group rates are also available. Buy tickets online via (SantaClaraBroncos.com) by clicking here, or visit the Leavey Center ticket office (500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, Calif.) or by calling directly at 408-554-4660.
BAY AREA BRONCOS
When Jennifer Mountain was hired as Santa Clara University's women's basketball head coach in April of 2008, the program was void of a single player from a Bay Area High School. This season SCU's roster will boast four Bay Area players. All three of the Broncos' incoming freshmen starred at local high schools: sophomore transfer Lindsay Leo (Archbishop Mitty), Ricki Radanovich (Carondelet), Iman Scott (Archbishop Mitty) and Arteivia Lilomaiava (Aragon).
"There is a tremendous amount of local talent and it's a crucial element to our recruiting," says Mountain. "It's going to help with the level of our program, local pride and our fan base."
SANTA CLARA WOMEN'S HOOPS ON YOUTUBE!
Check out the latest videos and features on the Broncos on the team's official YouTube page (youtube.com/scuwbb).
"What is fun about the off-season is that you get to focus on what you want," said Santa Clara's Alyssa Shoji this summer. "It is the time for you to improve the parts of your game that you want to. For me, I am focusing a lot on improving my mid-range game as well as being more aggressive at getting to the rim. I think these things will help add to my game. Last year I relied a lot on my outside shooting but if I can add these things I will be more versatile."
LENA GIPSON NAMED PRESEASON ALL-WCC
Lena Gipson was named to the 2010-11 West Coast Conference Preseason All-Conference Team. Gipson, a senior power forward from Hanford, Calif., is one of the most prolific rebounders in Santa Clara University history. She was one of ten players recognized on the team, which was released along with the preseason coaches' poll. Santa Clara was picked to finish seventh in the eight-team league. Gipson was named an All-WCC First Team player last season after averaging a double-double (12.6 ppg/10.0 rpg) and collecting 16 double-doubles on the year, which ranked No. 23 among all NCAA players.
FREE GAME BROADCASTS ON SANTACLARABRONCOS.COM
In conjunction with the West Coast Conference, Santa Clara is pleased to announce that most home games and all conference road games this season will be broadcast FREE of charge on SCU's official athletics website (SantaClaraBroncos.com). Additionally, Santa Clara's Michael Spero (play-by-play) will call selected road games, offered online as FREE audio broadcasts. Please refer to the online schedule for broadcast availability.
NCAA ALLOWS EARLY PRACTICES
New NCAA legislation allowed the Broncos to begin practice earlier this fall and SCU took full advantage of the extended time. SCU initiated their preseason practices October 4, well over a month prior to opening the season against Fresno State on November 12. Under a new NCAA rule for 2010-11, teams can begin practice 40 days before their first game. They still are allowed only 30 practices - the same number they were allotted under the old system.
"It allows us to do more team-oriented things earlier. It changed our focus during our individual workouts, because of the quarter system we only had two weeks," said Jennifer Mountain about the new legislation. "Now we are able to do some more big picture things, implement some changes. We're putting some more creativity into our half-court offense."
SETTING THE STANDARD
The Broncos are setting the standard for community service and academic achievement within the framework of intercollegiate athletics. Jennifer Mountain's student-athletes owned a combined grade point average of 3.42 in 2009. The program's commitment to the Jesuit calling of community service takes the team and its players to a pair of local elementary schools each week as part of the Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative (BAWSI), which offers the players an opportunity to influence the lives of young female athletes. The team has been given the 'Best of BAWSI Award' and also a ceremonial 'Key to the City' from the mayor of Sunnyvale for their community service efforts.
Additionally, the coaching staff has taken the initiative to team up with over 15 community organizations, creating unique game day sponsorships and developing the 'Bronco Community Challenge,' which uses SCU basketball as the venue to strengthen the sense of community in the South Bay. Also during the 2009-10 season, Mountain's team initiated a fund-raising drive which helped collect $4,200 for the American Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund.