November 29, 2011

Road Games in Southern Calif. Next for 5-1 Santa Clara Women

Game Notes (PDF Format)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -
Off to a 5-1 start (5-0 at home) the Santa Clara University women's basketball team will now play four-straight on the road, beginning with a trip to Southern California to face CSU Northridge on Thursday night at 7 p.m. and UC Irvine Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.

Game Notes - Nov. 29-Dec. 3, 2011
SANTA CLARA (5-1) @ CSU NORTHRIDGE (4-2)
Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011 • 7 p.m.
Game #7 • Road Game #2  • Northridge, Calif.
Listen Live on SantaClaraBroncos.com
Live Audio

SANTA CLARA @ UC IRVINE (2-5)
Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 • 4 p.m.
Game #8 • Road Game #3  • Irvine, Calif.
Listen Live on SantaClaraBroncos.com

Live Audio

WEEKLY NOTES

* Santa Clara is led by fourth year head coach Jennifer Mountain
* The Broncos are off to their best start since going 9-0 in 1999-00
* SCU is 5-0 at home and 0-1 on the road (losing at Fresno State Nov. 13)
* SCU is scoring 78 pts per night (17 more than last year's average of 61)
* All-WCC G Alyssa Shoji is ranked No. 2 nationally in 3PT FG per game (4.3)
* C Ruta Zurauskyte ranks among WCC leaders at 9.0 rpg (4.5 offensive)
* G Ricki Radanovich is coming off a career-high 20-point game against UCD
* The Broncos made 14 three-pointers in Monday's win over UCD
* CSUN is 4-2, which includes wins over WCC team's USF and LMU
* CSUN has already matched last season's win total (4-26/4-12 Big West)
* CSUN is led by senior C Jasmine Erving (15.2 ppg/10.7 rpg)
* UCI is 2-5, coming off a 57-54 neutral court win over Weber State
* WCC member Portland beat UCI 56-64 at the Chiles Center on Nov. 13
* UCI has only played one of their seven games at home this season

LIVE COVERAGE
A live pay-per-view audio broadcast of both games will be available on Santa Clara's official athletics website (SantaClaraBroncos.com). Sam Farber (play-by-play) will call the action courtside from Southern California. Additionally,  both CSUN and UCI will offer online audio feeds as well as live stats.

SANTA CLARA
The Broncos (5-1) are red hot, having won four straight heading into this week's road trip to Southern Calif. Road games at CSUN and UCI will test a Santa Clara team that is scoring 78 points per game, making over eight three-pointers a night and shooting 44 percent from the field as a team. Point guard Alyssa Shoji has been terrific as the team's lone senior, leading a group that undoubtedly has more depth than any Bronco team during Jennifer Mountain's three-year tenure on the Mission Campus. 6-foot, 4-inch  junior center Ruta Zurauskyte has emerged as one of the best post players in the WCC, averaging 9.0 rebounds (4.5 on the offensive end). SCU enter the trip with more wins (5) than any other WCC team – not bad for a team picked to finish eighth in the expanded nine-team league.

CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
The Matadors (4-2) are much improved as well this season. Following a 4-26 first-year under head coach and UCLA alumnus Jason Flowers, CSUN opened the year by beating San Francisco 67-59 and LMU 79-62 on the road. Losses at Oregon State 83-63 and Washington 73-63 followed, but CSUN bounced back with a couple wins over Colgate 71-60 and West Virginia 48-47 at their own Woodland Hills Holiday Inn Thanksgiving Classic. Jasmine Erving (15.2 ppg/10.7 rpg) – the reigning Big West Conference Player of the Week - may be the best post player SCU has faced thus far in 2011-12.

ALL-TIME VERSUS CSUN
The Broncos are 6-1 all-time against the Matadors, but CSUN claimed the most recent meeting, a 79-67 home loss for SCU at the Leavey Center in 2006-07.  This will be the first SCU-CSUN meeting for SCU under current Bronco head coach Jennifer Mountain.

UC IRVINE
The Anteaters (2-5) finished the 2010-11 season 15-15 overall. This season the Big West Conference coaches projected UCI to place sixth in the nine-team league. UCI suffered four-straight losses to begin the season, including road setbacks at Portland 64-56 and CSU Bakersfield 104-92. Junior forward Jazmyne White is leading the team with a 12.9 points per game average and ranks among the national leaders in FG% (58.8).

ALL-TIME VERSUS UCI
The Broncos are 7-4 all time against the Anteaters with their most recent meeting coming in the 2005-06 season. Santa Clara won that game 99-71 at home.

HEAD COACH JENNIFER MOUNTAIN
'JMO' became the eighth Santa Clara University head women's basketball coach in April 2008. Mountain led the Broncos to a top-tier finish in the WCC standings in 2010-11 and for the third-straight year won at least one postseason game at the conference tournament. Her SCU teams have showed marked improved in her three seasons thus far. 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 WCC regular season championships and one WCC tournament crown. "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
"Every year we have gotten better and better," said senior guard Alyssa Shoji on the state of the program. "I am so excited to have played for JMO [head coach Jennifer Mountain] and to be part of this program, which just keeps getting stronger."

BRONCOS CAPITALIZE ON EARLY-SEASON HOME SCHEDULE
A year ago, SCU posted a winning record against WCC teams on its home floor and tied for fourth in the league standings. That momentum carried over into the new season, with the Broncos winning all five of their early-season home games. Wins against CSU Bakersfield (Nov. 11), Northern Colorado (Nov. 16), Southern Utah (Nov. 18), Long Beach State (Nov. 21) and UC Davis (Nov. 28) at the Leavey Center has SCU off to a perfect 5-0 start at home and a 5-1 overall record.

2011-12 WCC STANDINGS (Nov. 29)
1. Santa Clara (5-1)
2. San Diego (4-1)
3. Portland (5-2)
4. Gonzaga (3-1) 
5. BYU (4-2)
T6. Pepperdine (3-3)
T6. St. Mary's (3-3) 
T8. San Francisco (1-5)  
T8. LMU (1-5)

ALYSSA SHOJI NAMED ONE OF WCC'S BEST PLAYERS
Santa Clara University senior guard Alyssa Shoji was named a preseason All-West Coast Conference player. The final-year Bronco from Bellevue, Wash., is Santa Clara's lone senior and starting point guard who played more minutes per night (34.8) than any other player in the WCC last season. She's undoubtedly been one of the best shooters in the WCC over the past three seasons.

SCU'S RUTA ZURAUSKYTE NAMED TO JESUIT HONOR ROLL
After setting new personal best's of 21 points and 13 rebounds against Southern Utah (Nov. 18) and scoring 18 with 9 rebounds against Northern Colorado (Nov. 16), Santa Clara junior center Ruta Zurauskyte was named to the Jesuit Women's Basketball Honor Roll for the week of 11/14 through 11/20.

ESPN RANKS RECRUITING CLASS NO. 56 NATIONALLY
The Bronco program is welcoming in one of the nation's top recruiting classes, according to ESPN.com. The class includes guards Nici Gilday and Tyler Woods along with frontcourt players Vanessa Leo (sister of current SCU teammate Lindsay Leo) and Colleen Rooney.

FULPS MAKES 17 FREE THROWS - SETS ALL-TIME RECORD
Junior guard Meagan Fulps established a new SCU school record by making 17 of 20 free throws in the Broncos' season-opening victory over CSU Bakersfield (Nov. 11). The 17 makes was a new record, breaking the previous mark of 15 set by Bronco legends Melissa King '93 and Christine Silvernail '94.

PRINCETON START TIME MOVED UP TO 5:30 P.M.
The starting time for Santa Clara University's women's basketball game scheduled for Monday, December 19, 2011 against Princeton University has been moved up to 5:30 p.m. PST. The game will take place at Santa Clara University's Leavey Center, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara campus. The game was originally scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

BRONCOS INK WASHINGTON'S KATIE HAWKINS TO NLI
Santa Clara University has received a National Letter of Intent from Katie Hawkins, a 5-foot-10 guard from Snohomish, Wash. and senior at Glacier Peak High School. Hawkins can really distribute the basketball, dishing out 4.2 assists per game last season, while averaging 12.5 points. ESPN.com writes 'Uncommon size and skill-set combination makes Hawkins not only a big point guard, but a player who can handle the other perimeter positions and provide a low-post element to each. At the point, she can make all the passes, including putting the ball on a laser from 3/4 court.' Hawkins was a First Team 3A All-WesCo league honoree last season. She led Glacier Peak to a 15-11 overall record and an appearance in the 2011 Washington State tournament at the Tacoma Dome. As a sophomore, Hawkins stepped up and was instrumental to the Grizzlies run in the district playoffs.

SCU'S LENA GIPSON SIGNS PRO CONTRACT
Record-setting SCU women's basketball alumna Lena Gipson '11 has signed a contract to play professionally in the Southern European island country of Malta. Gipson will be playing for Hibernians Medsea and former men's Italian National Team Head Coach Bruno Di Pietrantonio.

"My time at Santa Clara, as well as at the other universities that I've played at, and believing through injury, has reaffirmed the thought that through hard work and determination anything is possible," said Gipson. "Do not be discouraged, do not let yourself be deterred; if you set your mind to it you can achieve goals that you had never thought possible."

Gipson had been told that she wouldn't even be able to play recreational basketball after a major knee injury during her senior year of high school at San Joaquin Memorial near her hometown of Hanford, Calif.

WCC WELCOMES BYU
Brigham Young University has left the Mountain West Conference for the 2011-12 season, going independent in football and joining the West Coast Conference in all other sports, most notably men's and women's basketball. The Cougars return seven letterwinners from a team that won its third and final MWC regular season title and advanced to the final 16 of the WNIT last season.

WCC TOURNAMENT RETURNS TO VEGAS
The West Coast Conference will return to Las Vegas in 2012 for the Zappos.com WCC Basketball Championships February 29 through March 5. The #8 and #9 seeds will compete in the opening rounds to determine who will advance to the next round of the tournament. The #5 seed will then compete against the winner of the opening round. Waiting for the winners in the quarterfinals will be the #3 and #4 seeds, who will have first round byes. The winners of the quarterfinal match-ups will go head-to-head with the #1 and #2 seeds, who will have byes through the first two rounds of the tournament. Tickets are on sale now.

STRONG FINISH TO THE 2010-11 SEASON
The Santa Clara women's basketball team climbed up the league standings in 2010-11, finishing in a tie for fourth after winning 4 of 7 WCC games at home and winning 11 games overall. Jen Mountain's team closed out the season with a 9-9 record in their last 18 games, including winning back-to-back WCC games twice and beating rival USF at the WCC tournament in March.

FINAL 2010-11 WCC STANDINGS
No. 8 Gonzaga $ (14-0/31-5)
Saint Mary's % (10-4/19-13)
Pepperdine % (9-5/18-12)
Portland (6-8/16-15)
Santa Clara (6-8/11-19)
Loyola Marymount (5-9/11 18)
San Diego 5-9/17-14
San Francisco 1-13/4-25

# Rankings by ESPN Coaches Poll
! NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
^ WNIT First Round