Women's Hoops Begins League Season with WCC Favorite

Women's Hoops Begins League Season with WCC Favorite

Jan. 9, 2001

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This Week Santa Clara's women's basketball (9-3) concludes a five-game homestand in the reconstructed Leavey Center as it opens West Coast Conference play with Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. According to a poll by league coaches, the Waves were the preseason favorite, but will be tested by the second-place Broncos on Thursday at 7 p.m. Fans attending the game will receive a free team schedule poster. On Saturday, Santa Clara continues conference action against Loyola Marymount at 7 p.m. That night will be Girl Scout Night, as all uniformed youths will receive free admission. Additionally, all fans attending this contest will receive free team schedule magnets.

Scouting the Opponents Pepperdine is the defending regular season WCC Champions and returned 10 players to a team that has already won 10 games this season, including a two-point victory at Pacific to close non-conference action last weekend. Its five losses include top-ranked Connecticut, USC and Texas A&M. The Waves will be playing without the services of 2000 WCC Player of the Year Rasheeda Clark, who has been out with a knee injury the last six contests. Pepperdine does have four players averaging scoring in double figures, while Nadja Morgan leads the team defensively with 7.8 rebounds. Loyola Marymount is 9-4 on the season and is riding a five-game win streak, including a 64-58 upset of No. 25 Utah in Salt Lake City last week. The Lions also boasts four players averaging scoring in double digits.

Last Time Against These Opponents The Broncos dropped both conference matchups against Pepperdine last season, while splitting the series with LMU, as each team recorded a home victory.

Follow the Broncos Live on the Internet Santa Clara now offers fans a live Internet audio broadcast on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com for all women's home games and a select number of away games yet to be determined. This new feature to the women's program began with the Jan. 2 game against Columbia. Dan Harrington is in his first season as the voice of the Lady Broncos. Additionally, the Broncos' game against Maryland on Dec. 27 marked the first time in the program's history that fans could follow the statistical action live on the Internet. The remaining seven home contests will offer live stats via the web.

Ashbaugh Named WCC Co-Player of the Week Junior point guard Becki Ashbaugh was named the West Coast Conference's co-Player of the Week for Jan. 2, with Saint Mary's Jerkisha Dosty. Ashbaugh averaged 12.3 points and 3.7 assists per game as the Broncos went 2-1 during the extended holiday week. In Santa Clara's upset of No. 10 Texas Tech, Ashbaugh led the team with 17 points, five assists and six rebounds. She was 7-15 from the floor, a perfect 3-3 from behind the arc, and hit the game-winning trey with 39 seconds left on the clock.

In the WCC The Broncos lead the West Coast Conference in most defensive categories, ranking firs in scoring defense, holding opponents to 58.8 points, rebounding defense (32.8), and three-point field goal defense (.264). SCU is second in blocked shots, averaging 3.17 per game and is third in field goal percentage defense (.385). Santa Clara also leads the league offensively, in scoring margin, at +10.4, and in free throw percentage, at .726. Averaging 39.5 rebounds per game is good for the WCC's third best mark, while its rebounding margin of +6.7 is second best. Individually, Annie Garrison leads the WCC in blocked shots (1.75 pg), is fifth in rebounding (7.8) and 12th in scoring (12.2). Julie Butler is tops on both sides of the ball, as she is first in field goal percentage (.617) and seventh in blocked shots (.78). Becki Ashbaugh is second in assists (5.42) and is fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.33. Caroline Gruening is third in three-point field goals made, averaging 1.92 pg. She is also eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.390), 10th in assists (2.83) and 18th in scoring (10.4). Jen Glysson is ranked in four categories, as she is second in field goal percentage (.592) and free throw percentage (.828), ninth in rebounding (7.3) and 20th in scoring (10.0).

Earning Votes in the WCC Preseason Poll Despite a new head coach and the loss of three starters, Santa Clara was the runaway choice to finish second in the conference according to a preseason coaches' poll released Oct. 18. The Broncos picked up 42 points and one first-place vote. Pepperdine was selected to repeat as WCC Champions, garnering 49 points in the poll. The Waves return four starters from a team that went 21-10 last season and earned the school's first NCAA bid. Saint Mary's was picked third, followed by Loyola Marymount in the top half of the standings. Portland was picked fifth, followed by San Francisco, Gonzaga and San Diego.

Non Conference Success With a 9-3 non-conference mark this season, Santa Clara has now posted 10 straight non-losing non-conference seasons and is 84-38 (.689) during that span. The Broncos were also a part of the WCC's success this season and the league marked its most successful women's basketball non-conference season ever, 26 games over .500.

On the Bench Blues With 14 players on the roster, Santa Clara should have an unlimited variety of lineups at its disposal, but early-season injuries kept half the team on the bench. Junior Becki Ashbaugh did not start a game for the first time in her career against California on Dec. 10 while nursing an ankle sprain suffered in a Tuesday practice, but she did play and finished with 12 points in 27 minutes, making eight of 10 free throws at the end of the game to seal the victory. Also returning to the court against the Bears was senior Jen Glysson, who did not play against Oregon after suffering a concussion during the San Jose State game on Nov. 29. She finished with 10 points in 20 minutes against Cal. A CAT scan revealed a cyst in Glysson's sinus cavity, requiring surgery in early January. She is doubtful for the weekend. Sophomore Julie Butler and junior Tammy Annas were injured on the same night--four days before practice started on Oct. 15--20 minutes apart in a pick-up game. Butler broke and tore ligaments in her ankle but has played the last nine games, averaging 16.7 minutes, 7.2 points and 3.8 rebounds. Annas tore her left ACL and has already had surgery. She will miss the entire season. Freshman Alex Gientke saw her first action in all three games in mid December after missing the first six games of the season due to a back injury. Freshman Megan Nelson has yet to play for the Broncos while recovering from a torn ACL suffered while playing high school soccer.

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