March 6, 2001
A Look Ahead to the NCAA Championships
Santa Clara (20-7 overall, 11-3 WCC Co-Champions) will gather as a team this Sunday to find out if it will be heading to the big dance known as the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA selection show will air Sunday, March 11, announcing the 64-team field at 2 p.m. PST. If the Broncos hear their name, it will mark the third berth into the Championship in the last four years. Here's a look at some of the factors the NCAA selection committee will take into consideration this week...
Against the Top 10
The Broncos are 1-0 vs. Top-10 opponents this season after defeating Texas Tech in December. A look at the national polls will show that ranked teams such as Louisiana Tech (0-2), Villanova (0-3), Rutgers (0-4) and Louisiana State (0-6) couldn't even accomplish a top-10 win. 13th-ranked Utah didn't even compete against a top-10 team this season.
Against the Top 50
In addition to the victory over the Lady Raiders, Santa Clara has also defeated Loyola Marymount, twice. A look at the Broncos' record vs. Top 100 teams will show a 6-5 mark, with two wins over defending conference champion Pepperdine and one win over the Pac-10's California. Two of the team's losses were to top-25 ranked teams, while the other three were to teams ranked in the top 50 nationally.
As the Big Dance draws near, many websites are simulating the RPI rankings the NCAA uses to determine at-large tournament bids at the end of the year. Santa Clara is ranked 45th in Massey's poll, 46th according to TeamRankings.com, 48th in the Power Rankings, 55th according to Jerry Palm, and 56th in both the College Basketball News and CollegeRPI.com listings. As a league, the West Coast Conference ranks strongly in the Power Rankings, Jerry Palm and CBN polls, as it is ranked eighth in all three.
Broncos Earn Seventh Conference Title
Santa Clara earned its seventh West Coast Conference title and third in the last four years with its 20th victory of the season, a 73-54 defeat of Portland at the Chiles Center. Santa Clara tied with Saint Mary's for the regular season league bragging rights, as both teams finish with 11-3 league marks. The victory over Portland also marked the fourth straight--and seventh season overall--in which Santa Clara has reached the 20-win plateau. The Broncos have also now earned seven regular season league titles, after securing bragging rights in 1991, '92, '93, '94, '98 and '99.
It means a lot to the Broncos to secure a conference championship in a strong basketball league. The WCC has sent four teams to the postseason in each of the last three years, while in addition to SCU, Saint Mary's and Pepperdine have also secured four straight 20-win seasons.
Broncos Receive Seven Votes in AP Rankings
Although Santa Clara remains unranked in both major polls, the Broncos received a season-high seven votes in the Feb. 12 edition of the Associated Press' Top 25 after sweeping Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine on the road. An upset of No. 10 Texas Tech earned the Broncos votes in the AP and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls for the first time this season. Santa Clara received four votes in the AP listing while gaining one vote in the ESPN poll that week. In a Women'sCollegeHoops.com poll, the Broncos are ranked 46th.
Four Starters Earn WCC All-Academic First Team Honors
Annie Garrison, Kim Sorenson, Becki Ashbaugh and Caroline Gruening were named to the WCC's All-Academic first team. It marks the second straight year of such honors for Garrison and Ashbaugh. Garrison is carrying a 3.75 GPA into the spring quarter, while dual majoring in mathematics and computer science. Ashbaugh currently has a 3.64 GPA in operation management and information systems. First-time honorees Gruening and Sorenson carry a 3.77 GPA in combined sciences and a 3.40 GPA in marketing, respectfully.
Broncos Secure 11th Straight Win Season
The Broncos recorded the 11th-straight winning season for the program and 17th overall in 37 years. Additionally, with the victory against Portland to close the regular season, the Broncos reached the 20-win plateau for the fourth straight season and seventh time overall. With an 11-3 WCC mark, Santa Clara recorded a winning record in conference play for the eleventh consecutive year. That's the longest streak in the 16-year history of WCC basketball. No other school has had more than five straight seasons over .500.