Broncos Ring in New Year with Non-Conference Closer

Jan. 1, 2002

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This Week
The Broncos close out the non-conference season on the road, visiting TCU on January 3. With a victory in Forth Worth, Santa Clara will notch its most successful non-conference season in the last 10 years.

Live on the Internet
Santa Clara's contest against TCU can be heard on a live Internet audio broadcast on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. Additionally, all home contests can be followed online with a live statistical tracker, also located on Santa Clara'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. The features were introduced midway through last season and have been enjoyed for the team's entire regular season home schedule. Anthony Passarelli begins his first season as the voice of the Broncos.

Non Conference Success
Currently posting a 10-2 non-conference mark, a win against TCU this week will make the 2001-02 non-conference season the most victorious for the Broncos in the last 10 seasons. Additionally, Santa Clara has posted 11 straight non-losing non-conference seasons and is 94-40 (.701) during that span. Last season, the Broncos went 9-3 and were a part of the WCC's most successful non-conference season ever, 26 games over .500. Santa Clara's most successful non-conference season ever came during the 1990-91 season when the Broncos went 12-2.

Broncos Surpass Century Mark
With SCU's 103-58 victory over CS Northridge last week, the Broncos surpassed the 100-point mark for only the third time in program history. The record was set by the 1997-98 squad in a 111-38 victory over Eastern Washington. The only other occasion that the Broncos have notched at least 100 points occurred in the 1990-91 season, that saw the Broncos top Portland 106-42.

Shooting over the .500 Mark
Santa Clara has shot over .500 from the field in five of its last six halves of play. The team posted a 58.6 percentage in the first half against Temple and followed with an even .500 mark in the second period of the game for a 54.2 percent average. Two nights later, against Portland State, SCU had another hot first half, going 56.7 percent from the field. Last week against CS Northridge, Santa Clara shot halves of 51.4 and 50.0 percent.

Scouting the TCU Horned Frogs
Series Record: First Meeting
TCU Record in 2000-2001: 25-8 (13-3, 1st in Conference USA)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 7/6
Starters Returning/Lost: 2/3
Notable: TCU is 8-3 on the season and coming off a two-point victory over Arkansas on December 29... that win gave head coach Jeff Mittie his 200th career victory... the Lady Frogs will host Montana State on New Year's Day before the Broncos visit.

Spreading the Bronco Offense
Five Bronco players are averaging at least 10 points per contest thus far in the season. Junior forward Julie Butler leads the team with an 11.0 ppg average. Senior guard Caroline Gruening leads the backcourt with a 10.6 average, while junior Tammy Annas, who sees time at multiple positions, is right behind her with a 10.5 ppg mark. Senior guard Becki Ashbaugh and reserve forward Courtney Cushing, a forward, are averaging 10.0 points per contest apiece. As a team, the Broncos are averaging 76.9 points per game.

Gruening from Downtown
Caroline Gruening has made at least one three-pointer in each of the Broncos' 12 games and has shot over .250 from behind the arc in each of those contests. On six of those occasions, Gruening has hit at least three treys, and knocked down four in consecutive games against San Jose State and Stanford. In the team's first two tournaments, she went 8-21, As of late however, she has been making more of them at a higher percentage. During the middle four games of action she combined to shoot 10-17. The last four contests has seen Gruening nail 10-13, making her shots at an 77-percent clip from behind the arc. Overall this season, Gruening is shooting 53.8 percent from the land of plenty (28-52), while only hitting 11-41 from inside the arc.

Cushing Averaging a Point a Minute
Junior Courtney Cushing was sideline the first 10 games of the season after breaking her foot the weekend before the team's exhibition opener, but made her season December 21 against Portland State. Combined with her action last week against CS Northridge, Cushing is coming off the bench and scoring a point a minute. She's notched 20 points as a reserve in 20 minutes of action. Cushing's been accurate too, making 7-9 from the field for a .778 percentage. She's also pulled down nine rebounds.

Up Next: Opening Conference Play
After the holiday, Santa Clara will kick off the West Coast Conference season against Gonzaga and Portland. If the Broncos win this week against CS Northridge and against the Horned Frogs, SCU will have finished the non-conference season with an 11-2 mark... its best record outside the WCC in the last 10 seasons.