January 11, 2011

WHITE OUT, Alumni Reunion Part of WCC Home-Opening Weekend

Game Notes in PDF Format
Interview with sophomore Lindsay Leo

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Having played 10 of 15 on the road, the streaking Bronco women's basketball team returns home for their West Coast Conference opener Thursday night against San Diego. Bay Area rival St. Mary's follows Saturday afternoon. A series of events and promotions surround the weekend games.

Game Notes Week #11 - January 9-16, 2011
SAN DIEGO @ SANTA CLARA

Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011 • 7 p.m.
Game #16 • Home Game #6 • Santa Clara, Calif.
Live Video | Live Stats

ST. MARY'S @ SANTA CLARA – 'White Out Night'

Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 • 2 p.m.
Game #17 • Home Game #7 • Santa Clara, Calif.
Live Video | Live Stats

LIVE COVERAGE

Both games can be seen live on SantaClaraBroncos.com - FREE of charge. The three-camera production features play-by-play audio from Michael Spero, who will be courtside at the Leavey Center. Live stats will accompany the video feed on SantaClaraBroncos.com.

GAME PROMOTIONS

THURSDAY: Post-game autographs with the players, Bronco Bingo and honorary coach Marlene Bjornsrud of BAWSI will be on the bench.

SATURDAY: Part of the WCC's "Be A Part of It" series. WHITE OUT the Leavey Center, fans are encouraged to wear white. An IPOD will be raffled away for FREE, among other prizes. Local teams from the National Junior Basketball (NJB) will be on hand and former Bronco soccer star Kathy Kale, who currently works in the SCU Alumni office will be on the bench as the team's honorary coach.

ALUMNI NIGHT

Former Bronco players will on hand for Saturday's game against SMC. There will be a post-game reception at the new Paul L. Locatelli, S.J., Student Activity Center. For more information contact the WBB office at 408-554-5018.

GAME NOTES

  • Santa Clara is led by third year head coach Jennifer Mountain
  • The Broncos enter the week having won three straight and 5 of 7
  • SCU is 2-3 at home this season
  • The Broncos are returning home after playing 4-straight on the road
  • Santa Clara is coming off a 69-50 win over USF on the road
  • Lena Gipson is nine rebounds away from 800 for her career and seven points shy of 1,000
  • Gipson ranks No. 11 nationally in rebounding (11.0 pg)
  • Junior guard Alyssa Shoji has posted back-to-back career-high 6-assist games 
  • San Diego has lost three straight after starting the season 9-3
  • The Toreros scored just 52 and 53 points, losing twice on their home floor last weekend
  • Santa Clara shocked USD at the WCC Tournament last season, upsetting the Toreros 68-67 in the first round in Las Vegas
  • WEAR WHITE to Saturday's game with SMC as part of 'White Out Night' at the Leavey Center
  • The Gaels split two WCC games last weekend in Moraga, beating Pepperdine 72-68 on Saturday
  • St. Mary's was 12-2 in the WCC last season and 21-10 overall, they are picked ro finish 2nd in the WCC this season
  • SMC will play at USF Thursday prior to facing SCU Saturday
  • All-WCC post player, SMC's Louella Tomlinson leads the nation in blocks (5.2 pg)
  • UP NEXT: The Broncos' WCC schedule takes the team to the Northwest next week to play at Gonzaga (Thursday, Jan. 20) and Portland (Saturday, Jan. 22)

SANTA CLARA
The Broncos (5-10; 1-0 WCC) and league-favorite Gonzaga each own a WCC-best 3-game winning streak heading into the second weekend of conference play. Third year head coach Jennifer Mountain's team is young, in fact 10 of the Broncos' 12 available players are underclassmen. Rookie guard Ricki Radanovich and sophomores Meagan Fulps, Ashley Armstrong and Lindsay Leo are playing key roles in helping SCU win 5 of 7. SCU shot a season-best 54 percent from the field and won easily on the road 69-50 last weekend at USF. All-WCC senior forward Lena Gipson made all eight of her shots and classmate Kathy Willinsky scored 12 and had 7 rebounds. It was a noticeable team effort Saturday, with seven players providing six or more points. Other recent wins included beating local rival SJSU and Cal Poly over the winter holiday.

QUOTABLE

"We played well at times at the beginning of the season but were not able to get wins on the road," said Mountain when questioned about her team's midseason turnaround. "Right now we are playing with a lot of confidence, winning close games, being in tight situations and coming out on the right end of it. We have momentum but every single night in the WCC is a battle."

SAN DIEGO

The Toreros (9-6; 0-2 WCC) began the season 9-3, which included a four-game winning streak in late December. Since, USD has dropped three in a row, losing to Pepperdine (69-52) and Loyola Marymount (70-53) at home to open league play. High-scoring guard Dominique Connors is averaging 14.9 points per night, fifth-best among all WCC players. Teammates Sam Child (12.0 ppg), Morgan Woodrow (10.9 ppg) and Emily Hatch (10.6 ppg) are also averaging double-figures, giving head coach Cindy Fisher a balanced offensive attack. Fisher has used the same starting lineup in all 15 games. USD is 3-1 on the road, having played 10 of their 15 thus far at the JCP in San Diego.

SERIES WITH USD
The Broncos stunned the Toreros in the first round of the WCC tournament last year, 68-67. The Broncos received 21 points and 10 rebounds from Lena Gipson in that win, with Maggie Goldenberger making a last-second jumper to win it for SCU. The Broncos lead the all-time series 31-26. USD won both regular season meetings last season, including a 60-44 decision at the Leavey Center, a game SCU led by five at halftime.
 
ST. MARY'S

The Gaels (9-8; 1-1 WCC) are picked to finish second in the WCC this season, after an impressive 12-2 league campaign a year ago. SMC played a challenging schedule leading up to conference, losing at California (89-63), Nebraska (64-63), UCLA (75-59) and at home Oregon (100-71). Jasmine Smith is the team's leading scorer at 16.9 points per game and Louella Tomlinson (5.2 blocks per game) continues to be one of the best shot-blockers in NCAA history. The Gaels are going to play at USF Thursday before facing Santa Clara. SMC has won 4 of 5, splitting home games with LMU (L, 65-53) and Pepperdine (W, 72-68) last weekend. 
 
SERIES WITH SMC
Santa Clara holds the all-time edge in the local rivalry, 27-24. But the Gaels have won 7 of 8, including two wins last season. St. Mary's scored 19 unanswered points in the second half to win going away in Moraga last year. The latest meeting, which was at the Leavey Center on Feb. 4, 2010, was close. Santa Clara fought their way back into a game they trailed 16-0 after the opening six minutes, but SMC held on to win 69-62.

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)

WCC STANDINGS
Team - WCC - Overall

Loyola Marymount - 2-0 - 8-8
Gonzaga - 1-0 - 13-4
Santa Clara - 1-0 - 5-10
Pepperdine - 1-1 - 10-6
St. Mary's - 1-1 - 9-8
Portland - 0-1 - 9-7
San Francisco - 0-1 - 3-12
San Diego - 0-2 - 9-6

BREAK OUT GAME
Santa Clara played its most complete game to-date, doing it on the road, beating league rival San Francisco Saturday at War Memorial Gym, 69-50. It was the West Coast Conference opener for both teams. Leading by nine at halftime, Lena Gipson and Alyssa Shoji scored on the first two possessions following the intermission, allowing Santa Clara to open up a 20-point lead midway through the second half. Santa Clara (5-10; 1-0 WCC) has won three straight and five of seven.

"We came out with energy in both halves, defensively especially. I also thought we did a great job of being patient at both ends of the floor," said SCU head coach Jennifer Mountain. "We shared the ball really well, probably the best we have all year long. I was really impressed with the effort tonight."

LENA GIPSON APPROACHES 800 REBOUND MARK, RANKS No. 11 NATIONALLY

Santa Clara's Lena Gipson is just nine rebounds away from reaching 800 for her career. Only two players in program history have reached the 800 milestone. She enters the week leading the WCC and ranking No. 11 among all NCAA players with an average of 11.0 per night.

"A lot of planning and calculating," says Gipson, who at 6-foot tall is rarely the biggest player on the court. "I think a lot of basketball is mental. Being aware of what is going on in the play; reading your teammates and the opponents in the flow of the game. I know when the three-point shooters are going to shoot. I look at that a lot to get early position and push some of the bigger players out further."

ALYSSA SHOJI AMONG ALL-TIME BEST IN 3s
Junior guard Alyssa Shoji has moved into 5th place in program history with 151 career 3s. Shoji, who set the school record for minutes played in a season a year ago, led all WCC players with 84 three-pointers made as a sophomore. She can move into fourth place all-time at SCU with eight more. Her 1.9 three-pointers per game average this year ranks 3rd in the league.

ESPN RANKS SCU RECRUITING CLASS AMONG NATION'S BEST

Next year's incoming class for the Santa Clara University women's basketball program has been ranked No. 56 nationally by ESPN HoopGurlz. The Broncos and third-year head coach Jennifer Mountain announced the signing of four outstanding high school players during November's early signing period last week:  

Nici Gilday of San Jose, Calif. (Presentation HS)
Vanessa Leo of San Jose, Calif. (Archbishop Mitty HS)
Colleen Rooney of Centennial, Colo. (Regis Jesuit HS)
Tyler Woods of Corona, Calif. (Centennial Corona HS)

"All four of our future Broncos fit the mold of what Santa Clara is all about.  They are extremely bright young women who value education and grasp what it means to be a Bronco both on and off the court.  They are great role models and will represent Santa Clara with respect and class at all times.  I am very excited about them joining us next year and having the chance to coach them," said Mountain.

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).

DID WE MENTION IT'S FREE?
In conjunction with the West Coast Conference, fans can watch a three-camera broadcast for every basketball home game and all conference road games this season FREE of charge on SCU's official athletics website (SantaClaraBroncos.com). Additionally, Santa Clara's Michael Spero (play-by-play) will call selected non-conference road games, also FREE.

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 boasts 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.

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 doubledoubles on the year, which ranked No. 23 among all NCAA players.

WCC TOURNAMENT RETURNS TO VEGAS
The West Coast Conference will return to Las Vegas in 2011 for the Zappos.com WCC Basketball Championships on March 4-7. In July 2009, the WCC and Orleans Arena announced a three-year contract extension that would keep the Basketball Championships at the Orleans Arena through 2012. The 2010 Zappos.com WCC Basketball Championships was another successful tournament, selling out for the second consecutive year. This year's tournament will feature the same format as the previous two years, with a combined total of 14 men's and women's games over four days. Tickets for the event are now on-sale.

TICKETS
Buy tickets online via (SantaClaraBroncos.com), or visit the Leavey Center ticket office (500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, Calif.) or by calling directly at 408-554-4660.