February 7, 2012

Big Week For SCU Women's Hoops: Black Out Night Thursday; Alumni/Play4Kay Events Saturday

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara is looking to build on a road win at USF when they host LMU and St. Mary's this week at the Leavey Center. WEAR BLACK for Thursday night's BLACK OUT event and WEAR PINK on Saturday to support breast cancer awareness.

Game Notes - Feb. 9/11, 2012
LMU (7-16; 3-8) @ SANTA CLARA (9-14; 2-8)

Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012 • 7 p.m.
Game #24 • Home Game #13 • Santa Clara, Calif.
Watch Live
| Live Stats

ST. MARY'S (16-8; 7-4)* @ SANTA CLARA

Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012 • 2 p.m.
Game #25 • Home Game #14 • Santa Clara, Calif.
Watch Live
| Live Stats
*SMC will host Portland Thursday, Feb. 9

WEEKLY NOTES

* Santa Clara is led by fourth-year head coach Jennifer Mountain
* The Broncos are coming off a 59-51 road win at USF
* SCU just finished a stretch of playing 5 of 7 on the road
* SCU is 6-6 at home this season; On the road, LMU is 3-6 and SMC is 7-4
* The Broncos 6-1 start was the program's best in over 10 years, but SCU has gone 3-10 following the loss of 6-foot, 4-inch C Ruta Zurauskyte (12.8 ppg/7.8 rpg) to a season-ending injury in mid-December  
* SCU trailed by 12 at halftime and lost to LMU on the road 64-54 Jan. 21
* SMC posted a 20-point win over SCU Jan. 26 in Moraga
* Junior F Lindsay Leo leads the team in scoring (11.9 ppg), rebounds (8.9 rpg), FG% (.565) and blocks (11) in WCC play
* The Broncos rank No. 9 as a team in the NCAA with 7.7 threes made each night
* LMU has won 3 of 5 to move up in the WCC standings after opening conference play 0-6
* The Gaels, who host Portland Thursday, are coming off losses against league favorites Gonzaga (75-70) and BYU (83-47)

BLACK OUT NIGHT - THURSDAY
The game Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. against LMU is BLACK OUT NIGHT. The Broncos will be wearing their new black uniforms and The Ruff Riders will be handing out black t-shirts to students. Everyone in attendance is encouraged to wear black.

PLAY 4KAY - ALUMNI DAY - SATURDAY
The game Saturday, Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. against St. Mary's is a big day for Bronco basketball with lots going on. It is the Play 4Kay game which, in conjunction with the WBCA, supports breast cancer awareness. Fans are encouraged to wear pink. Donations will be accepted at the main gates to the arena. Numerous groups are coming, including SCU alumni. The Broncos will be hosting a gathering and reception in the Locatelli Center after the game.

LIVE COVERAGE
Live pay-per-view video will be streamed online for both games this week on Santa Clara's official athletics website (SantaClaraBroncos.com). Sam Farber (play-by-play) will call all the action courtside from the Leavey Center.

SANTA CLARA
The Broncos (9-14; 2-8 WCC) picked up a much-needed win at USF (59-51) on Saturday. Despite playing close games and leading at the half against then-No. 25 Gonzaga, then-No. 23 BYU and on the road at San Diego last Thursday, the Broncos were having trouble finishing games and went through a 7-game losing streak from Jan. 9 through Feb. 2. Junior F Lindsay Leo (10.4 ppg/7.3 rpg) has arguably been Santa Clara's most valuable player as of late. In WCC games, Leo leads the team in scoring (11.9 ppg), rebounds (8.9 rpg), FG% (.565) and blocks (11). The Broncos can be tough to beat when its offense gets going from the perimeter. Senior G Alyssa Shoji (14.8 ppg) ranks No. 5 nationally in 3PT FG (3.3 per makes game) and No. 6 in 3PT% (42.2). With the help of juniors Meagan Fulps (11.3 ppg) and Ashley Armstrong (7.8 ppg) and sophomore Ricki Radanovich (7.9 ppg), the Broncos rank No. 9 as a team in the NCAA with 7.7 threes made each night.

LMU
The Lions (7-16; 3-8 WCC) have won 3 of 5 to move up in the WCC standings after opening conference play 0-6. Their first WCC win game against Santa Clara (64-54) at home and road wins at Portland (68-60) and USF (62-49) soon followed. Last time out, LMU dropped a 68-59 decision at home to city rival Pepperdine. All-WCC junior G Alex Cowling (22.0 ppg/8.7 rpg) is the league's top scorer. She is pouring in 23.4 points during WCC play. G Hazel Ramirez (10.2 ppg/3.5 rpg) has also picked up her scoring pace, averaging 12.0 points per game in league play. Overall, LMU's offense ranks last in the WCC at 58.2 ppg.

ALL-TIME VERSUS LMU
SCU has enjoyed quite a bit of success over LMU through the years, leading the all-time series 41-19. However, LMU picked up a win over SCU on Jan. 21 in Los Angeles, with junior Alex Cowling scoring 21, which included a key three-pointer late in the game. The Broncos swept the Lions last season, winning 77-73 at the Leavey Center on Jan. 29, 2011. SCU rallied from 17 points down, with Alyssa Shoji, Ricki Radanovich and Ashley Armstrong all finishing in double-figures.

ST. MARY'S
The Gaels (16-8; 7-4 WCC), who host Portland on Thursday, are coming off losses against league favorites Gonzaga (76-70) and BYU (83-47). A stunning loss at USF (66-64) on Jan. 23 came just prior to their 20-point win over Santa Clara, giving SMC a 1-3 record in their last four. Senior G Jasmine Smith (17.0 ppg/3.0 rpg), who originally attended Oregon State, continues to lead the Gaels in most every statistical category, including min. (32.8), 3PT FG (47), steals (34) and FTs (103).

ALL-TIME VERSUS SMC
Santa Clara leads the all time series with SMC, 33-28, but are just 1-10 against the Gaels in the last four seasons. SCU's lone win during that stretch came in the WCC tournament's first round three years ago. Last year the Broncos lost two close games, by nine at home and by five on the road. The Gaels posted a 20-point win over the Broncos on Jan. 26 in Moraga. The Gaels used an 11-0 run late in the first half to break open a close game and lead by 12 at halftime in that win just two weeks ago.

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 (Feb. 6)
Team (WCC) Overall
1. No. 19 Gonzaga (10-1) 21-3
2. BYU (10-2) 22-4
3. San Diego (7-3) 16-6
T4. Saint Mary's (7-4) 16-8
T4. Pepperdine (7-4) 12-10
6. LMU (3-8) 7-16
T8. Santa Clara (2-9) 9-14
T8. San Francisco (2-9) 4-20
9. Portland (1-9) 8-16   

QUOTABLE
"I thought it was a collective team effort," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain after Saturday's win at USF. "We had a little bit of foul trouble in the first half and responded with good energy in the second half and began to shoot the ball much better. I'm proud of the kids because we really needed that one."

FACING TOP TEAMS
Santa Clara has played five teams ranked or listed among the AP's Top 25 this season. WCC members No. 19 Gonzaga (21-3) and BYU (22-4); and non-conference opponents who are all receiving votes: California (17-6), Princeton (15-4) and Fresno State (19-4).  

SANTA CLARA'S SHOJI ONE OF NCAA'S TOP 3-POINT SHOOTERS
From Jan. 3 through Jan. 15, Alyssa Shoji, Santa Clara University's women's basketball point guard, led all NCAA Division I players in three-point shooting. The senior from Bellevue, Wash. averaged 3.9 makes per game at the time, ranking No. 1 nationally in the NCAA and her shooting percentage came in at No. 1 as well (at her current pace both will be new single-season school records).

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.

WCC TOURNAMENT TICKET UPDATE
All-session tickets are sold out.  However, a limited number of single game tickets are expected to be available each morning during the tournament at the Orleans Arena box office.  Any single game tickets available will go on sale at 10 a.m. each day for that day's games.

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