‘Big Games’ On Tap for Santa Clara Women’s Basketball

Game Notes in PDF Format

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -
Santa Clara has improved to 4-4 in the West Coast Conference and will play two pivotal road games this week, first at St. Mary's Thursday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. then at San Diego Saturday, Feb. 12 at 2 p.m.

"By winning (Saturday versus USF) we put ourselves in a situation where we wanted to be. We want to be in that top four going into the (postseason) tournament," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "We have a big week coming up. We've got St. Mary's and San Diego on the road, two big games for us."

Game Notes Week #15 - Feb. 7-13, 2011
SANTA CLARA @ ST. MARY'S

Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011 • 7 p.m.
Game #23 • Road Game #14 • Moraga, Calif.
Live Audio | Live Stats

SANTA CLARA @ SAN DIEGO

Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 • 2 p.m.
Game #24 • Road Game #15 • San Diego, Calif.
Live Audio | Live Video | Live Stats

LIVE COVERAGE

FREE live audio will be streamed on SantaClaraBroncos.com. Michael Spero (play-by-play) will be calling both games courtside from McKeon Pavilion and the Jenny Craig Pavilion.  A pay-per-view video broadcast will be offered on SMCGaels.com Thursday. A FREE video broadcast will be streamed on USDToreros.com Saturday.

GAME NOTES

Santa Clara is led by third year head coach Jennifer Mountain
The Broncos enter the week 4-4 in the WCC and fourth in the league standings
Santa Clara is 5-5 at home and 3-9 on the road
The Broncos are 6-4 in their last 10
SMC enters the week (14-10; 6-3 WCC), San Diego is (12-11; 2-7 WCC)
SCU is 8-3 when they shoot a higher 3PT % than opponents (0-11 when they don't)
All-WCC forward Lena Gipson was named the WCC Player of the Week on Monday
Gipson has posted four straight double-doubles and has 11 on the year
Santa Clara and SMC played a close game Jan. 15, with the Gaels winning in the final seconds
UP NEXT: The final two regular season home games are next week, when the Broncos welcome Gonzaga (Thursday, Feb. 17) and Portland (Saturday, Feb. 19)

SANTA CLARA

The Broncos (8-14; 4-4 WCC) are playing well, winning 6 of 10 and moving into the top half of the league standings. Third year head coach Jennifer Mountain is getting major contributions from her three-guard starting backcourt, junior Alyssa Shoji (9.2 ppg), sophomore Meagan Fulps (11.8 ppg) and freshman Ricki Radanovich (7.6 ppg). When the trio helps SCU out-shoot opponents from beyond the arc, the team has won 8 of 11. Senior forward Lena Gipson continues to be a dominant player in the paint, leading the league in rebounds (10.7 rpg) and double-doubles (11). She is coming off a season-best 21-point effort in a 70-62 win over USF Saturday.

ST. MARY'S

Including league-leading Gonzaga, the Gaels (14-10; 6-3 WCC) have become a 'team to beat' in the WCC.  Entering the week in second place at 6-3, SMC has won 6 of 7, including a 58-51 road win at Loyola Marymount last Saturday. All-WCC senior center Louella Tomlinson scored 16 points and had 13 rebounds against LMU. Tomlinson (40 blocks this year) is one of the most accomplished shot-blockers in NCAA history. She was able to hold SCU's Lena Gipson to five points and seven rebounds Jan. 15 at the Leavey Center; definitely a match up to watch on Thursday. The Gaels and fifth-year head coach Paul Thomas won 21 games last season and hosted a WNIT game against Utah.

HISTORY WITH SMC

Santa Clara holds the all-time edge in the local rivalry, 27-25. But the Gaels have won 8 of 9, including a win earlier this year and two 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 Jan. 15, was not decided until the final minute.

SAN DIEGO

The Toreros (12-11; 2-7 WCC) are looking to get things back on track following a disappointing 1-7 record through the first half of the WCC schedule. USD will host San Francisco on Thursday night, a team they beat 72-60 on the road on Jan. 15. USD enters the week 0-5 at home against WCC opponents after playing well at home during the non-conference, owning a 6-1 mark at the JCP on Dec. 28. All-WCC junior guard Dominique Conners scored 25 points on 10-for-13 (.769) shooting from the floor last Friday night for the Toreros during a 77-72 road win at LMU. USD was picked to finish sixth in the league's preseason poll.

HISTORY WITH USD
The Broncos stunned the Toreros in the first round of the WCC tournament last year, 68-67, and the 62-57 win on Jan. 13, 2011 at the Leavey Center made it two-straight over USD. The Broncos received 21 points and 10 rebounds from Lena Gipson in that win at the WCC's last March, with Maggie Goldenberger making a last-second jumper to win it for SCU. The Broncos lead the all-time series 32-26. USD won both regular season meetings last season, including a 60-44 decision at the JCP.

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
Gonzaga 8-0 (20-4)
Pepperdine 6-3 (15-8)
Saint Mary's 6-3 (14-10)
Santa Clara 4-4 (8-14)
Loyola Marymount 4-5 (10-13)
Portland 3-5 (12-11)
San Diego 2-7 (12-11)
San Francisco 1-7 (4-18)

SMITH'S LATE 3 ALLOWED SMC WIN OVER SCU JAN. 15

Santa Clara's Meagan Fulps poured in 30 points but St. Mary's Jasmine Smith made a tie breaking three-pointer with 56 seconds left to lift the Gaels past the Broncos, 77-68, Jan. 15. In an extremely entertaining game at Santa Clara's Leavey Center, the two rivals exchanged leads five times in the final five minutes before Smith put the Gaels up for good in the closing seconds. Smith finished with a team-high 23 points for St. Mary's (11-8; 3-1 WCC) who is picked second behind Gonzaga in the WCC preseason polls. Gael senior center Louella Tomlinson blocked seven shots and Kate Gaze scored 15, including two pivotal 3s late in the second half.

SCU BEAT USD JAN. 13 FOR SEASON'S BEST FOUR-GAME WIN STREAK

The Santa Clara University women distributed a season's high 17 assists, scoring in the paint and from the perimeter to win their fourth straight, beating San Diego 62-57 Jan. 13 in West Coast Conference play at the Leavey Center. Senior forward Lena Gipson eclipsed the 1,000-point and 800-rebound milestones for her career, scoring a team-high 19 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. Santa Clara (6-10; 2-0 WCC) has won four straight and 6 of 8. Sophomore guard Meagan Fulps provided key baskets for the Broncos and finished with 16 points. Alyssa Shoji had six assists for the third-consecutive game and Ricki Radanovich added four steals.

LENA GIPSON NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Feb. 6)

Santa Clara University senior forward Lena Gipson posted her fourth-straight double-double and 11th of the year, in Saturday's 70-62 victory over San Francisco. The league honored Gipson as the West Coast Conference 'Player of the Week.' Gipson scored a season-high 21 points and totaled 16 rebounds. She was 6 of 12 from the field and 9 of 10 from the line. She has led the WCC in rebounding all season and ranks among the NCAA's top 20 in both rebounds and double-doubles. It marks the second time this season Gipson has earned the league's Player of the Week award. She is a two-time First Team All-WCC honoree.

QUOTABLE

"They are sharing the ball better and getting to the basket more than they have in the past, looking to create not only more shots for themselves but for other people," said Jennifer Mountain of SCU's guard play on Saturday versus USF.

"A lot of planning and calculating," says Lena Gipson, who at 6-foot tall is rarely the biggest player on the court but leads the league in rebounding. "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 4th place in program history with 164 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.

GIPSON JUST SECOND IN SCU HISTORY TO HAVE 1,000 PTS/800 REB
In 46 years of women's basketball tradition at Santa Clara, just one other player has scored 1,000 points and totaled 800 rebounds. On January 13, 2011, in a victory over San Diego, Lena Gipson reached both those career milestones on the same night, scoring a season-high 19 points, allowing SCU the victory and a 2-0 start to league play. She ranks second all-time in rebounds, rebounding average; also ranks among the program's top 10 in scoring average, field goal percentage and blocks – doing so in just two-plus seasons.

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).

FULPS, LEO FEATURED ON 'ROAD TO VEGAS' SERIES
The WCC's Road to Las Vegas is available on-demand on WCCsports.com. The Jan. 26 edition featured Santa Clara's Lindsay Leo and Meagan Fulps, in the '60 Seconds With' segment. New episodes of The Road to Las Vegas premiere Wednesdays on WCCsports.com, and can be viewed any time on-demand.

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.

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.

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.

GIPSON NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Dec. 20)
Santa Clara University senior power forward Lena Gipson was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week, as announced by the league office on Monday, Dec. 20. Gipson had 22 rebounds and scored the go-ahead basket with just over one minute left to lift Santa Clara past Pacific Thursday night at the Leavey Center, 52-47. Her 22 rebounds was one shy of a Santa Clara school record. The senior from Hanford, Calif. leads the WCC in rebounding and ranks among the nation's leaders. It was her third 20-rebound game of her Bronco career.

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.