December 15, 2011

Bring Books to Donate! SCU Women's Basketball Hosts SJSU and Princeton

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Broncos return home where they are 5-0 this season, hosting city rival San Jose State at 5 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. The game with the Spartans is the second part of a basketball doubleheader at the Leavey Center on Saturday, as the Bronco men host Pacific at 2 p.m. Then, reigning Ivy League Champions Princeton visit the Leavey Center for a game Monday at 5:30 p.m.

Game Notes - Dec. 17 & 19, 2011
SAN JOSE STATE (1-8) @ SANTA CLARA (6-4)
Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011 • 5 p.m.#
Game #11 • Home Game #6  • Santa Clara, Calif.
Watch Live | Live Stats

PRINCETON (7-3)* @ SANTA CLARA
Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 • 5:30 p.m.
Game #12 • Home Game #7  • Santa Clara, Calif.
Watch Live | Live Stats

* Princeton plays at No. 4 Stanford Sat. Dec. 17
# Second part of an SCU basketball doubleheader (men host Pacific at 2 p.m.)

WEEKLY NOTES
* Santa Clara is led by fourth year head coach Jennifer Mountain
* The Broncos began the year 6-1, the team's best start since 2001-02
* SCU is 5-0 at home and 1-4 on the road
* The Broncos were averaging 80 points per game before scoring 58 and 62 in recent losses at Cal and Seattle
* All-WCC G Alyssa Shoji ranks No. 2 nationally in 3PT FG per game (3.9)
* In the latest NCAA rankings the Broncos are No. 8 nationally in 3PT FG per game (8.3) and No. 6 in 3PT% (40.3)
* Lindsay Leo (pictured) matched a career-high with 14 points in Seattle on Tuesday
* Santa Clara defeated SJSU last season 44-37 at the SJ Event Center
* SJSU is 1-8 in its first year under former CSUB head coach Tim La Kose
* Princeton won Ivy League Championships in 2010 & 2011
* NEXT UP: Thursday afternoon @ Sac St. Dec. 22 prior to the holiday break

LIVE COVERAGE
A live pay-per-view video 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 Santa Clara.

BRING BOOKS TO DONATE!
The Santa Clara women's basketball team is spearheading the Bronco Book Drive, which aims to collect books for donation to ReadingTree.org. Fans are asked to bring any type of book to the upcoming games against San Jose State (Dec. 17) or Princeton (Dec. 19). Donations will be accepted at the main entrances to the Leavey Center.

FREE YOUTH CLINIC! - SCU Basketball Fan Appreciation Clinic
Friday, December 16 (7 p.m. - 8 p.m.)
Leavey Center, 500 El Camino Real; Santa Clara Campus
Open to boys and girls ages 5 to 13

SANTA CLARA
The Broncos (6-4) got off to a 6-1 start and won all five of its early-season home games before going 1-3 on their recent road swing. However, fourth-year SCU head coach Jennifer Mountain has reason to remain optimistic. She's armed with her deepest and most talented team since she took over the program four years ago. Mountain and her staff brought in a nationally ranked recruiting class over the offseason and have developed PG Alyssa Shoji into one of the nation's top guards. Shoji ranks No. 2 in the NCAA in 3PT FG per game (3.9) and is on pace to break the school's all-time 3-point record. Shoji and her backcourt teammates G Meagan Fulps (12.7 ppg) and G Ricki Radanovich (40% 3PT shooter) have allowed SCU to make over eight 3s per game, which ranks the Broncos among the NCAA's best shooting teams. SCU is also hoping 6-foot, 4-inch junior C Ruta Zurauskyte (12.8 ppg) will bounce back from a two-game scoreless stretch. Zurauskyte had led the WCC in rebounding through the season's first eight games, but has not scored and has totaled just six rebounds in Broncos' last two outings.

SAN JOSE STATE
The Spartans (1-8) hired Tim La Kose as head coach during the offseason and he inherited a team that went 2-27 a year ago. La Kose had done a remarkable job at CSU Bakersfield, leading the Roadrunners to a 22-12 record last season. His current Spartan team has three senior starters, including the WAC's leading scorer, Brittany Johnson (18.4 ppg). Newcomer Ta'Rea Cunnigan is scoring 10.4 point per game and leads the WAC in steals. The Spartans are coming off an 85-55 loss at Cal State Northridge, the same Northridge team SCU defeated 90-72 on December 1.

ALL-TIME VERSUS SJSU
The Broncos are 18-2 in the last 20 meetings between the two local rivals, with the teams having met annually in all but one season since 1975-76. More recently, SCU is 2-1 under current head coach Jennifer Mountain and 6-1 in their last seven meetings.  Last year the Broncos were victorious on the road in a defensive battle that ended with a final score of 44-37.  The Broncos, trailing 35-31, went on a 9-0 run late in the game to take the lead and eventually the game from the home team with Ricki Radanovich scoring a season high 19 points.  

PRINCETON
The Tigers (7-3) are back-to-back Ivy League Champions and have received Top 25 votes this season in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll. Princeton is limiting opponents to 56.5 points per game. The Tigers are coming off a 78-67 home loss to No. 21 DePaul and will play at No. 4 Stanford on Saturday prior Monday's game with SCU. Danville, Calif. native and Monte Vista High School graduate Niveen Rasheed leads Princeton in scoring (17.4 ppg). The junior forward is also pulling down 9.0 rebounds per night.

ALL-TIME VERSUS PRINCETON
Santa Clara is 1-1 all time against the Tigers of Princeton University.  The last time they met was ten years ago during the 2001-02 season on a neutral floor at the Seattle Times Husky Classic hosted by the University of Washington. The Broncos won that game 80-52. The other meeting came in Santa Clara on Dec. 18, 1993, a 59-56 Tigers win.

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)

LAST TIME OUT
Santa Clara received 22 points from All-WCC senior guard Alyssa Shoji who prepped at Washington's Issaquah High School, but host Seattle University won its fourth-straight, 80-62.

Santa Clara (6-4) entered the game with one of the NCAA's best offenses, but its defense allowed 75-plus points for the seventh time this season. The Broncos' road record drops to 1-4.

Seattle (6-4) – coached by longtime University of Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini – beat Portland 69-55 Sunday at the Connolly Center. The Redhawks' winning streak is the team's longest since transitioning to Division I three years ago.

2011-12 WCC STANDINGS (Dec. 14)
Team (Overall)

1. BYU (9-2)
T2. Gonzaga (7-2)          
T2. San Diego (7-2)
T4. Santa Clara (6-4)
T4. St. Mary's (6-4)
6. Pepperdine (5-4)              
7. Portland (5-6)
8. LMU (4-7)
9. San Francisco (1-10)

QUOTABLE
""Alyssa (Shoji) came out and scored the ball, but we did not have an inside presence," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain after Tuesday's loss in Seattle. "(Post play) is something we went to in the beginning of the game but it just wasn't there. Linsday (Leo) came in and did a good job. Ruta (Zurauskyte) just hasn't brought it the last two games. She has been a little bit ill the last couple of days but we all have to play sick now and then. We certainly can't use that as an excuse. As a group our post play just was not good enough."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.