SANTA CLARA, Calif. - New NCAA legislation has
allowed the Santa Clara University women's basketball team to begin
practice earlier this fall and the Broncos have taken advantage of
the extended time. SCU initiated their preseason practice schedule
this week, well over a month prior to opening the season against
Fresno State on November 12.
Under a new NCAA rule for 2010-11, teams can begin practice 40 days before their first game. They still are allowed only 30 practices - the same number they were allotted under the old system.
"The fact that we can get on the floor to implement our offense earlier will be huge for us," says Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "Not only do we have more time to practice but we also have more down time, allowing your body to rest with the added days off."
Mountain – who begins her third year at SCU - is armed with the deepest team she's had since taking over the program in 2008. She's added four newcomers from Bay Area high schools to complement a deep sophomore class and three returning starters. The young group should benefit from the extended preseason camp.
"It allows us to do more team-oriented things earlier. It changed our focus during our individual workouts, because of the quarter system we only had two weeks," said Mountain. "Now we are able to do some more big picture things, implement some changes. Were putting some more creativity into our half-court offense."
"We have more weapons, we're quicker then we've been in the past and more athletic, so we should be able to run a little bit more as well."
The team brings back three returning starters: senior power forward Lena Gipson, junior point guard Alyssa Shoji (pictured) and sophomore shooting guard Meagan Fulps. All three were honored among the league's top players a year ago.
Despite a nagging back injury, which has kept Gipson out of practice this week, expect her to be ready to go when SCU opens the season November 12.
"I think we can play with any team we have on our schedule. We are going to need to perform in pressure moments, that is going to be the key," says Gipson, one of the most prolific rebounders in SCU history. "That's something that held us back last year, giving up some runs, and not responding well when teams went on runs. Those are moments we need to step up and turn close games into our favor."
The bulk of Santa Clara's team is coming off their rookie seasons. The Broncos have seven sophomores and three true freshman on the roster.
"There is a lot of talent in that sophomore class," says Shoji, Santa Clara's floor leader. "There is a big difference, from what I can see, in the competitiveness of that group this year. A lot of those girls experienced the WCC playoffs and know how that felt. Everyone wants to compete."
The Bronco schedule has the team opening up at home against Fresno State University on Friday, November 12, then embarking on a five-game road trip during late November and early December.
Beginning with a home game against the University of the Pacific on Thursday, December 16, Santa Clara will remain in the area, playing at home or against local teams, until the WCC schedule takes the team to Spokane in late January.
"It's been really exciting for us so far. I feel like everyone on this team is so close and that makes such a huge difference on the court," says Shoji. "You can already tell we are playing a lot better together, reading each other well … the chemistry aspect of (practice) has been great."
April 28, 2011 Five SCU Basketball Players Earn WCC Scholar-Athlete Honors
April 4, 2011 SCU Women's Basketball: 2010-11 Season in Review
March 21, 2011 2011 Santa Clara Women's Basketball Golf Tournament
March 17, 2011 SCU Women's Basketball Thanks Its 2010-11 Fans!
March 5, 2011 Portland Stops Santa Clara Women at WCC’s
March 1, 2011 Gipson, Radanovich, Fulps Earn All-WCC Honors
March 1, 2011 Bronco Women Open WCC Tournament Friday at 12 noon
February 28, 2011 On the Court with Women’s Basketball Assistant Tamara Inoue
February 26, 2011 Seniors Lead Santa Clara in Malibu, Broncos to Play Dons at WCC’s
February 25, 2011 Santa Clara Women Overtake LMU, 56-49
February 22, 2011 SCU Women Head to Los Angeles, Play at LMU and Pepperdine
February 22, 2011 Alyssa Shoji Talks About Season, Upcoming WCC Tournament
February 19, 2011 Broncos Celebrate Senior Night in Style, Beat Pilots 77-55
February 17, 2011 No. 25 Zags Surge Past Bronco Women
February 16, 2011 Senior Night, ‘Pink Zone’ This Week in SCU Women’s Hoops
February 12, 2011 Slow Start Dooms Santa Clara in Loss to USD
February 11, 2011 Gaels Outlast Broncos in Tight Game at McKeon Pavilion
February 9, 2011 ‘Big Games’ On Tap for Santa Clara Women’s Basketball
February 9, 2011 Bronco Women's Basketball to Host FREE Clinic Friday, Feb. 18
February 7, 2011 Lena Gipson Named the WCC Player of the Week
February 5, 2011 Santa Clara Women Drop Dons, Improve to 4-4 in WCC
February 2, 2011 Bronco Women Face Dons Saturday at Leavey Center
January 29, 2011 Santa Clara Rallies for WCC Win, Beating LMU 77-73
January 28, 2011 Pepperdine Women Win at Santa Clara, 69-49
January 26, 2011 Bronco Women Host Waves, Lions This Week
January 25, 2011 ‘Go Green,’ Recycle with SCU Basketball Thursday Night
January 22, 2011 Pilots Escape with Home Win Over Broncos
January 20, 2011 Bronco Women Fall to Zags, Play at Portland Saturday
January 17, 2011 Road Games at GU, Portland Next for Women's Hoops
January 15, 2011 Late 3s Sting Santa Clara in Loss to SMC
January 14, 2011 Streaking Broncos Deny Toreros, 62-57
January 11, 2011 WHITE OUT, Alumni Reunion Part of WCC Home-Opening Weekend
January 8, 2011 Santa Clara Routs USF to Win Third Straight
January 4, 2011 The Art of Rebounding: SCU’s Lena Gipson Ranks No. 10 Nationally
January 2, 2011 Santa Clara Overcomes Slow Start to Beat Rival SJSU
January 1, 2011 City Rivalry Game SCU-SJSU Women Sunday at 2 p.m.
December 30, 2010 Fulps, Shoji Lead Santa Clara to Overtime Win at Cal Poly
December 28, 2010 Santa Clara Suffers Road Loss at UC Davis
December 24, 2010 Top Teams in Big West Next for Bronco Women
December 22, 2010 Oregon Women Too Much for Santa Clara
December 20, 2010 Santa Clara's Lena Gipson Named WCC Player of the Week
December 19, 2010 Santa Clara Wins Again, Tops Seattle 63-60
December 18, 2010 Santa Clara Women to Host Seattle U, Oregon
December 17, 2010 Lena Gipson Leads Santa Clara Women Past Pacific
December 13, 2010 Broncos Fall to Thunderbirds in Cedar City, 80-67
December 8, 2010 SCU Travels to Cedar City, Will Play Southern Utah Monday
December 7, 2010 Women's Basketball Shines During Academic Finals
December 5, 2010 High-Octane Hornets Top Broncos 78-65
December 5, 2010 BAWSI Night Will Bring Big Crowd to Leavey Center Sunday
December 2, 2010 Hot Shooting Puts Wichita State Past Santa Clara
November 30, 2010 South Dakota Surges Past SCU at the DakotaDome
November 29, 2010 SCU in Snowy South Dakota, Will Play Coyotes and Shockers
November 24, 2010 CSU Bakersfield Outlasts Santa Clara, 66-53
November 23, 2010 Video Feature on Santa Clara's Lena Gipson
November 22, 2010 ‘Runners Offer Tough Test for Santa Clara Tuesday Night
November 21, 2010 ESPN Ranks Bronco Recruiting Class Among Nation’s Best
November 19, 2010 VIDEO: Broncos Working Hard During Extended Road Trip
November 19, 2010 Santa Clara To Webcast Men’s & Women’s Basketball Games For Free
November 19, 2010 Colorado Defeats Santa Clara in Boulder, 71-57
November 17, 2010 Northern Colorado Holds Off Santa Clara Women, 65-57
November 16, 2010 SCU Women Travel to Colorado, Face Bears and Buffs
November 12, 2010 Women's Basketball Falls to Fresno State 74-54
November 10, 2010 Women's Basketball Announces 2011 Signees
November 9, 2010 Women's Basketball Defeats Sonoma State in Exhibition Play
November 8, 2010 Santa Clara Women's Basketball Opens Season This Week
November 5, 2010 Impact Player: Lindsay Leo Debuts for Santa Clara Tuesday
November 1, 2010 VIDEO: SCU Women's Basketball 'Be Part of it!'
October 27, 2010 Lena Gipson Named Among WCC's Best Players
October 8, 2010 Broncos Getting a Jump on Fall Practice, Open Season Nov. 12
August 18, 2010 SCU Women's Basketball 2010-11 Schedule Announced
August 17, 2010 A Quick Conversation with SCUs Becca Thomas
August 3, 2010 SCU Bronco Season Tickets On Sale Now!
July 29, 2010 Santa Claras Newest Basketball Players Arrive on Campus
June 15, 2010 SCU Girls Basketball Camp Fast Approaching