Women's Basketball Opens WCC Season in the Northwest

Women's Basketball Opens WCC Season in the Northwest

Jan. 4, 2005

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This Week
Santa Clara will open the West Coast Conference season on the road, visiting Gonzaga on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Portland on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs are off to their best start in school history, at 11-2 on the year, including a 6-0 mark on their home court, the new McCarthy Athletic Center. Gonzaga was picked by conference coaches as the favorite prior to the season and are amid a six-game win streak. The Pilots are 5-8 heading into league play.

Three-Point Game
Santa Clara's offense is focused on long ball, as the Broncos are averaging 9.6 three-point field goals made per outing, a .388 clip over 13 contests. Quinn Thomas has made 36 treys at a .360 percentage, and Ashley Graham follows with 35, .486. The Broncos have historically led the West Coast Conference in this category, and last season broke the league season record for threes made during conference play. In November, Santa Clara made 13 three-pointers at Hawaii, tying a program record for a game and setting a Rainbow Wahine Classic new mark. In mid-December, Santa Clara topped that with 14 threes at Wisconsin, also an opponent record for the Badgers. The Broncos matched that effort last Thursday with 14 threes against Portland State.

Nationally Speaking
Santa Clara is averaging an NCAA-best 9.6 three-point field goals per contest. Sophomore guard Ashley Graham is ranked ninth in three-point field goals made per game (2.9) and 24th in percentage (.486). Quinn Thomas is ranked fifth in per game average, with 3.0.

Regarding RPI, which is based on winning percentage, schedule strength and opponent schedule strength, Santa Clara is rated 67th and the WCC is listed 11th.

WCC Coaches Set Predictions in Preseason Poll
Santa Clara was picked by WCC coaches to finish fifth during the 2004-05 regular season, league officials announced in mid-October. Gonzaga was picked as the favorite, receiving seven first-place votes. The Bulldogs return all five starters off a squad that went 18-12 last season, including Ashley Burke and Shannon Mathews, who were selected as two of five "Players to Watch" heading into the season. Pepperdine placed second in the poll. The Waves have captured three of the last five regular season titles and advanced to the WNIT last year. Defending champions Loyola Marymount was listed third, followed by Saint Mary's.

Playing the Nation's Best
The Bronco program is known to play a tough schedule on a regular basis, and this year's is no exception. The Broncos recently faced three top-25 teams in a 15-day span, taking on 13th-ranked Michigan State and No. 3 Georgia at the Rainbow Wahine Classic, and following with a contest against No. 16 Minnesota. Additionally, another non-conference opponent, UW-Green Bay, is receiving votes in the Associated Press poll.

Live on the Internet
Santa Clara's entire schedule returns to the Internet, as a live audio broadcast was available for a fourth season on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. Additionally, Leavey Center contests can be followed online with a live statistical tracker, also located on SCU's official athletic website. By logging on, fans can receive real-time updated statistics direct from the official scoring computer, allowing users to listen to the audio broadcast and keep up with the statistics simultaneously. Anthony Passarelli returns as the voice of the Broncos for a fourth season.

Leading the WCC
Santa Clara leads the league in scoring offense (72.8), three-point field goals made per game (9.6), three-point field goal percentage (.386) and is the only league team with a positive turnover margin (2.69). Individually, Quinn Thomas is third (15.1) in scoring, followed by Ashley Graham in sixth (12.7) and Michelle Cozad in 11th (10.7). Graham is second in three-point field goals made (2.7), three-point field goal percentage (.486) and assist/turnover ratio (1.78), while ranking fourth in field goal percentage (.500) and fifth in assists (3.7). Thomas leads the league in three-point field goals made (2.8), is eighth in assists (2.7) and steals (1.6), and 10th in three-point field goal percentage (.360). Cozad is tops in three-point field goal percentage (.489) and fifth in three-point field goals made (1.7). Kayla Huss is ranked ninth in assists (2.5).

WCC Tournament to Return to Santa Clara
The WCC Championship is returning to the Leavey Center for a second straight season. The 14th annual women's tournament will take place March 3-6. The 2005 edition was originally slated to be held in War Memorial Gym at San Francisco. However, the Dons were unable to host the event due to construction delays on major renovations to the facility. In 2002, the league voted to rotate the championship site regionally. After SCU hosts in 2005, the two-year Bay Area rotation will be complete and the WCC tournament will move to the Pacific Northwest in 2006 and '07. The 2008 and '09 tournaments will be held in Southern California.

A Look Ahead: Broncos Return Home to Open WCC at Leavey
Santa Clara will continue the WCC season next weekend, hosting Saint Mary's on Saturday.

The Broncos are scheduled to make one television appearance this season during the WCC slate. Santa Clara will play at Saint Mary's in a Saturday, February 12 game that will tip-off at 7 p.m., with live coverage by Fox Sports Bay Area.

Season/Game Tickets on Sale
Season and individual game tickets for Santa Clara basketball are on sale through the Department of Athletics' official website SantaClaraBroncos.com, and the athletic ticket office at 408-554-4660, between the hours of 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

In conjunction with its exclusive Internet partner, College Sports Online, the athletic department has developed an online ticket application that provides fans with the ability to purchase season tickets, family plans, individual matches or an all-sports pass via the official athletic website. A basketball season ticket package that includes the 14 home games is available for the adult price of $75 for general admission, while a family plan provides a family of five admission to each game for the low price of $100. Youth (12 and under) and senior (over 65-years-old) season tickets are also available for $40. Single matches are priced at $7 for adult general admission, $5 for youths and seniors and $2 for SCU students as well Bronco Kidz members. Single game team passes are also available for $35.

Breakfast Club
Santa Clara began a new tradition with the first Breakfast Club meeting November 1, a gathering to be held monthly and hosted by Bronco head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. The energized group meetings are held at The Hungry Hound restaurant near campus, with Bento-Jackson briefing the guests on current program events and over a continental breakfast. The final Breakfast Club date is February 7. Cost is $6 per person and the event is held from 7 to 8 a.m. To participate in future Breakfast Clubs, please contact assistant coach Tanya Bauer.

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