February 22, 2011

SCU Women Head to Los Angeles, Play at LMU and Pepperdine

Game Notes in PDF Format

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -
Santa Clara University's women's basketball team aims to move up in the league standings and earn a first round bye in the upcoming WCC tournament, as the Broncos wrap up the regular season this weekend in Los Angeles with games at LMU (Thursday 7 p.m.) and Pepperdine (Saturday 2 p.m.).

Game Notes Week #17 - Feb. 21-27, 2011
SANTA CLARA @ LMU

Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011 • 7 p.m.
Game #27 • Road Game #15 • Los Angeles, Calif.
Video | Audio | Live Stats

SANTA CLARA @ PEPPERDINE
Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 • 2 p.m.
Game #28 • Road Game #16 • Malibu, Calif.
Video
| Audio | Live Stats

Live Coverage
A FREE video broadcast for both games, along with FREE live scoring can be accessed on LMULions.com and PepperdineSports.com. Michael Spero (play-by-play) will be calling the games live, courtside from Los Angeles via FREE audio on SantaClaraBroncos.com.

Game Notes
Santa Clara is led by third year head coach Jennifer Mountain
Santa Clara (9-17; 5-7 WCC) is coming off a 77-55 win over Portland on Senior Night
LMU (10-16; 4-8 WCC) has lost 8 of 9 after a 3-0 start to WCC play
Pepperdine (16-10; 7-5 WCC) drilled LMU Saturday 67-39 in Malibu
SCU has not swept the LA schools on the road since 2007-08
SCU beat LMU 77-73 at home Jan. 29; lost to Pepperdine 69-49 Jan. 27
Lena Gipson is averaging 15.8 points in WCC play and shooting 55% from the field; Gipson is averaging 20.2 points in the last six games
Gipson eclipsed the 900-rebound plateau Saturday against GU
Santa Clara ranks third in the WCC in 3PT FG, making 6.0 per game
The Broncos made 8 three-pointers against both GU and Portland last weekend
Alyssa Shoji (51), Ricki Radanovich (47) and Meagan Fulps (39) each rank in the WCC's top 10 in 3s made  
SCU is 0-14 when shooting a lower 3PT % than its opponent
UP NEXT: The WCC tournament in Las Vegas, March 4-7

Santa Clara
If the season ended today, the Broncos (9-17; 5-7 WCC) would own the fifth-seed in the WCC tournament and face USF in the first round. Santa Clara will look to improve on that seed and move up into the top four and receive a first-round bye. They have two games to do it, first at LMU, then at Pepperdine. The Broncos have been shooting the ball well lately, connecting on a season-best 51 percent of their shots against No. 25 Gonzaga last Thursday, then following that up with a 47 percent shooting night against Portland Saturday. Despite the consistently terrific play from senior power forward Lena Gipson, the Broncos have not won a game when they shoot poorly from beyond the arc. Junior guard Alyssa Shoji has broke out of an early season shooting slump to make 25 three-pointers in league play – good for second best among all WCC players. The Broncos received just two points from its bench Saturday against Portland, but still won by 22.

LMU
The Lions (10-16; 4-8 WCC) have been in a tailspin after a promising start to the WCC season, which included wins at St. Mary's, San Diego and a home victory against Portland. A big part of the problem has been playing without leading scorer Alex Cowlings (22.5 ppg) and to make matters worse, now Candice Nichols (14.6 ppg) is inactive. Since Jan. 13 the Lions are 1-8 and scoring just 54.4 points per game. LMU was blown out Saturday at Pepperdine 67-39.

Series with LMU
Santa Clara owns the all-time edge 40-18.  The Lions had won five straight prior to SCU's win last month, rallying from 17 points down to beat LMU 77-73 Jan. 29 at the Leavey Center.  The last meeting in Los Angeles was on February 11, 2010, a 73-61 LMU win. Santa Clara played well in the second half of that game, closing within one before the Lions pulled away down the stretch.

Pepperdine
The Waves (16-10; 7-5 WCC) won an overtime game against Portland at home on Jan. 15 and lead the Pilots by one game in the WCC standings heading into the final weekend of play. A win over USF Thursday would assure the Waves a first round bye in the upcoming WCC tournament. Pepperdine is 9-3 at home this season and 4-1 at home vs. the WCC. Pepperdine's defense (60.9 ppg allowed) ranks second best in the league.

Series with Pepperdine
The all-time series is even at 30-30 but the Broncos are looking for its first win over the Waves since an overtime win at the Leavey Center in 2007-08. The Waves routed the Broncos 69-49 last month at the Leavey Center. In the last meeting in Malibu, February 13, 2010, Santa Clara rallied from a game they trailed by 22 but Pepperdine was able to hold on for the win, 65-51. Alyssa Shoji made six 3s and scored a team-high 20 points in that game.

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)

Quotable
"I was really happy for our seniors," said Santa Clara Head Coach Jennifer Mountain after the Broncos beat Portland on Senior Night. "It was a great team effort, with four players in double-figures. We had good inside-outside presence, we attacked the rim. We did a little bit of everything today and did it well."

"Last year we were a really young team," said SCU point guard Alyssa Shoji when asked about this season's turnaround. "Although I would still say we are still VERY young, considering we only have three upperclassmen including myself, I feel like we have come a long way. I think getting those two wins in the WCC tournament last year really boosted our confidence and showed what we are capable of. This year we have a lot more confidence and have really gelled as a team. Our team chemistry is great and that is a big part of our success."

WCC Standings
1. Gonzaga (12-0) 24-4
2. St. Mary's (9-3) 17-10
3. Pepperdine (7-5) 16-10
4. Portland (6-6) 15-12
5. Santa Clara (5-7) 9-17
6. San Diego (4-8) 14-12
7. LMU (4-8) 10-16
8. USF (1-10) 4-21

Final regular season games:
Thursday Feb. 24
Santa Clara @ LMU
USF @ Pepperdine
St. Mary's @ No. 25 Gonzaga
San Diego @ Portland

Saturday Feb. 26
Santa Clara @ Pepperdine
USF @ LMU
San Diego @ No. 25 Gonzaga
St. Mary's @ Portland

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.

Shoji Among All-Time Best in 3s
Junior guard Alyssa Shoji has moved into 4th place in program history with 174 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 Reaches 900 Rebounds
Lena Gipson's 21-point, 12-rebound effort against Portland (Feb. 19) put her past the 900-rebound mark for her career, ranking second all-time with 901. She also ranks among the program's top 10 in scoring average, field goals, FG percentage and blocks – doing so in just two-plus seasons. In 46 years of women's basketball tradition at Santa Clara, Gipson is just one of two players to have scored 1,000+ points and totaled 900+ rebounds.

Gipson Named WCC Player of the Week (twice)
Santa Clara University senior forward Lena Gipson has been named the WCC 'Player of the Week' twice this season. In a Feb. 5 victory over USF, 70-62, Gipson scored a then-season-high 21 points and totaled 16 rebounds. She was 6 of 12 from the field against the Dons and 9 of 10 from the line. It was her fourth-straight double-double at the time and 11th of the year. Back on Dec. 20, Gipson was named the WCC POW after a 22-rebound performance against Pacific. She is a two-time First Team All-WCC honoree.

One Shy of a School Record
Lena Gipson's 22 rebounds Dec. 20 against Pacific was one shy of a Santa Clara school record. She has three different 20-rebound games a Bronco.

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 all conference road games, also FREE.