January 9, 2012

Broncos-Toreros to Play Monday Night in Santa Clara

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Fresh off a 15-point victory over Portland, the Santa Clara University women's basketball team wraps up its three-game WCC-opening homestand Monday night against San Diego. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at SCU's Leavey Center.

Game Notes - Jan. 9, 2011
SAN DIEGO (10-3; 1-0 WCC) @ SANTA CLARA (8-7; 1-1 WCC)
Monday, Jan. 9, 2012 • 7 p.m.
Game #16 • Home Game #10  • Santa Clara, Calif.
Watch Live
| Live Stats

WEEKLY NOTES
* Santa Clara is led by fourth year head coach Jennifer Mountain
* SCU is 6-3 at home, including a 78-63 win over Portland Thursday
* USD is 10-3 overall and beat SMC 77-60 Saturday in their WCC opener
* The Broncos are scoring 73.3 ppg, while the Toreros boast the WCC's best defense, allowing just 55.7 each night
* Alyssa Shoji leads all NCAA players in 3s (3.9 pg) and 3PT % (53.2)
* Shoji made five 3s in Thursday's win over Portland and broke Santa Clara's all-time career 3PT record of 244 in the process
* Junior F Lindsay Leo has been terrific since SCU lost its 6-foot 4-inch starting center Ruta Zurauskyte to injury in mid-December. Leo is averaging 15.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game since Dec. 13
* As a team, Santa Clara ranks third in the NCAA in three-point field goal percentage (40.2) and eighth with 8.2 threes per game
* San Diego is holding its opponents to 33.4 % shooting from the field, which ranks among the nation's top 20 defenses
* The Toreros are also out-rebounding opponents by 7+ boards per game
* No. 17 Texas Tech edged San Diego 58-57 on Dec. 30 in the championship game of USD's holiday tournament at the JCP
* SCU is 19-9 all-time versus USD at the Leavey Center. The Broncos beat the Toreros 62-57 last season in Santa Clara 

LIVE COVERAGE
A live pay-per-view video broadcast will be available on Santa Clara's official athletics website (SantaClaraBroncos.com). Sam Farber (play-by-play) will call the action courtside from the Leavey Center. Additionally, free live stats will be available online as well.

TICKETS

Season tickets start at just $40 for youth/seniors and $50 for adults.  Single-game tickets start at just $5. For the best value, purchase a Family Plan for $100. The Family Plan includes two adult and three youth tickets to each and every home game. Tickets are available for purchase online at SantaClaraBroncos.com/buytickets or by calling the ticket office directly at 408-554-4660.

SANTA CLARA
The Broncos (8-7; 1-1 WCC) bring a winning record and some momentum into Monday night's game with the Toreros. Santa Clara is scoring more points than ever in the three-plus years of Jennifer Mountain's tenure as head coach. The 78 points SCU put up against Portland on Thursday was the most for the Broncos in a WCC regular season game since 2007. SCU is one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country, thanks to the dangerous backcourt combination of senior G Alyssa Shoji (17.2 ppg), G Meagan Fulps (12.1 ppg) and G Ricki Radanovich (8.1 ppg). Junior F Lindsay Leo (10.1 ppg/6.9 rpg) pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds against Portland and has scored in double-figures in six-straight games, filling the void in the paint left by injured starting C Ruta Zurauskyte (12.8 ppg/7.8 rpg). Bench production from junior G Telisha Anderson and F Arteivia Lilomaiava gave Santa Clara a big boost Thursday night for a Bronco team that used just seven players against Pepperdine on Dec. 31. Monday's game with USD wraps up a three-game WCC-opening homestand for SCU. Next up  is a trip to Malibu to play Pepperdine on the road Saturday, Jan. 14.

SAN DIEGO
Picked seventh in the WCC's preseason coaches poll, the Toreros (10-3; 1-0 WCC) are looking more like one of the league's top teams instead. After a one-point loss to No. 17 Texas Tech on Dec. 30, USD went on the road and beat an 11-4 St. Mary's team 77-60. Senior All-WCC guard Dominique Conners (16.2 ppg) is approaching the 1,500-point milestone. She currently ranks third all-time at USD in career scoring. However the Toreros defense has been the story this season, limiting opponents to a WCC-leading 55.7 points per game. USD has won five of six and will open up a four-game WCC homestand Thursday night against LMU.

ALL-TIME VERSUS USD
The Broncos split their two games against the Toreros last season and own the all-time series edge 32-27.  SCU is 2-5 against San Diego under Jennifer Mountain, which included a buzzer-beating WCC tournament victory two years ago. In fact, the recent matchups between the Broncos and Toreros have been very close, with two of the last three being decided by five points or less. Meagan Fulps had 16 points in the 62-57 win last season at the Leavey Center.

SCU'S JENNIFER MOUNTAIN ON WCC-LIVE MONDAY
The West Coast Conference will feature its women's basketball coaches with weeky live-chats on WCCsports.com. Each week throughout the conference season, head to the WCC's website for an exclusive live-chat with a different WCC women's basketball head coach. Next up is Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain on Monday, January 9 at 12 p.m. PT.

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)

2011-12 WCC STANDINGS (Jan. 3)
Team (WCC) Overall
1. Gonzaga (3-0) 14-2
2. San Diego (1-0) 10-3
T3. St. Mary's (3-1) 12-5
T3. BYU (3-1) 14-3
T3. Pepperdine (3-1) 8-7
6. Santa Clara (1-1) 8-7
7. San Francisco (1-3) 3-14
T8. Portland (0-4) 7-11
T8. LMU (0-4) 4-12

LAST TIME OUT
Alyssa Shoji scored 19 points, and made five threes, en route to breaking the all-time school record for 3-pointers in a career as Santa Clara posted a 78-63 West Coast Conference victory over visiting Portland on Thursday night.
 
Santa Clara (8-7; 1-1 WCC) was terrific in the second half, getting contributions from a number of different players to turn an 11-point halftime deficit into a 15-point win. Lindsay Leo had 16 points and a career-high 17 rebounds for the Broncos, who also received 18 points from Meagan Fulps and 15 from Ricki Radanovich.

Portland (7-10; 0-3 WCC) had led 43-32 at halftime, getting a season-high 20 points from Cassandra Brown.

"I really thought our second half, and the defensive effort especially, was tremendous," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "We talked about it at halftime. We talked about not giving up the points we've been giving up and we stuck to that, only allowing 20 points in the second half."

SANTA CLARA'S SHOJI IS NCAA'S TOP 3-POINT SHOOTER
Alyssa Shoji, Santa Clara University's women's basketball point guard, is currently leading all NCAA Division I players in three-point shooting. The senior from Bellevue, Wash. has made 54 threes this season, shooting 51.9 percent from beyond the arc.

Her average of 3.9 makes per game ranks No. 1 nationally in the latest NCAA statistical rankings and her shooting percentage comes in at No. 2 (at this pace both would be new single-season school records). Shoji is enjoying an outstanding senior year, scoring 17.1 points per contest while distributing 3.6 assists and shooting 96.1 percent from the free throw line.

SHOJI SHATTERS ALL-TIME 3-POINT RECORD
Alyssa Shoji, SCU's All-WCC senior guard from Bellevue, Wash., broke SCU's all-time 3-point shooting record of 244 set by Chandice Cronk '08 when she made five 3s on Thursday, Jan. 5 against Portland. Shoji is leaving quite a mark on the Bronco record book, ranking among SCU's all-time top 10 in points, assists, 3s, FT% and minutes. She is on pace to establish new single-season program records in 3s and 3PT % this season. 

BRONCOS APPROACH ROAD SCORING RECORD
Santa Clara's 96 points in its 20-point win over Sacramento State Dec. 22 was a season-high and most since Dec. 28, 2005. The point-total was also the second-highest on the road in school history, approaching the all-time road scoring record of 99 set in 1991 at Portland. The 96 points was the seventh-most in school history overall.

6-1 START FOR SANTA CLARA IS BEST IN OVER 10 YEARS
Fourth-year Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain and her Broncos got off to a 6-1 start this season, the program's best since SCU went 9-0 to open the 1999-2000 campaign. The team scored over 80 points per game during that stretch, which ranked among the NCAA's leading offenses. Five of those wins came on their home floor at Santa Clara's Leavey Center.

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 SCU legends Melissa King '93 and Christine Silvernail '94.

SCU'S RUTA ZURAUSKYTE NAMED NATIONAL PLAYER OF WEEK

Following a 33-point, 13-rebound performance at UC Irvine (Dec. 3) and a 17-point effort in a victory at Cal State Northridge (Dec. 1), Santa Clara University junior Ruta Zurauskyte was named Jesuit Basketball's National Player of the Week. Zurauskyte posted four double-doubles this season and her 33 points vs. UC Irvine tied for the seventh-best single-game scoring night in Santa Clara history.

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.

ESPN RANKS SCU RECRUITS AMONG BEST
The Bronco program is welcoming in one of the nation's top recruiting classes, according to ESPN.com., who ranked the class No. 56 nationally. 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.

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 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
1. No. 8 Gonzaga $ (14-0/31-5)
2. Saint Mary's % (10-4/19-13)
3. Pepperdine % (9-5/18-12)
T4. Portland (6-8/16-15)
T4. Santa Clara (6-8/11-19)
T6. Loyola Marymount (5-9/11 18)
T6. San Diego 5-9/17-14
8. San Francisco 1-13/4-25

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