Women's Basketball Wins Exhibition Opener

Nov. 1, 2001

Box Score

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Senior guard Caroline Gruening scored 17 points to lead the Santa Clara University women's basketball team to a 79-65 exhibition victory over the Bay Area Pro-Am to open the 2001-2002 season tonight at the Leavey Center.

"This year's team is a little bit different than last year's, so we're trying to get a feel for them," Santa Clara head coach Chris Denker said. "They're fun and they're good in the open court, so we wanted to push it a little bit if we could. We've been working really hard defensively, but our opponent tonight exposed us a little bit. The Pro-Am pulls together the best girls off of many collegiate teams, and our kids had to understand that they needed to defend every position and a few times we were exploited for easy shots. They're crafty, experienced players and it took a while for our young players to understand that. Coming from high school, this is a little different, but late in the game, I felt like we rebounded better and got our transition game going."

The Bay Area Pro-Am's Reyna Fortenberry led all scorers with 29 points, while the Broncos saw four players reach double figures, including a 16-point performance by senior guard Becki Ashbaugh and 14 by junior forward Julie Butler. Defensively, the visitor's Krista Knapp led all defenders with 11 rebounds.

"I was pleased with several players' performances," he continued. "I thought Julie was steady throughout, Caroline had a really nice game. Becki had her moments, but I don't think it was up to Becki's standards because they're so high, but all-in-all she played pretty good. And I was pleased with our depth. Our freshmen kids are going to be okay. They're still coming, and once we get some kids off of injuries, we'll be fine."

The game also saw the return of junior Tammy Annas, who finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. Annas redshirted the 2000-01 season after tearing her left ACL just four days before practices were to begin, but was a starter as a sophomore.

"Tammy did great," Denker said. "She just has some energy that she gives us. She didn't shoot the ball particularly well, but 8-8 at the line and eight rebounds, all in the second half. That's huge."

Debuting in Bronco uniforms tonight were freshmen Kayla Huss and Quinn Thomas in the backcourt, and Kim Butler--Julie's younger sister--at forward.

"Tonight was pretty exciting, but I was nervous," said Huss, who recorded three points in 11 minutes on the floor. "We played well together, but this game showed we have some things to work on. We're a little rusty, but it was awesome."

Other top performances include seven assists by Ashbaugh and eight rebounds by junior Kendra Rhea.

The Broncos return to the court next Thursday, Nov. 8, with another exhibition game. The contest against the KSC Szekszard team of Hungary is scheduled to tip-off at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

"We're going to work on our defense some more in the next week," Denker said. "Hungary will be taller and more physical. We're going to face a totally different team than we saw tonight. We're also going to work on some individual skills to improve on some weaknesses that showed in this game."

The Broncos open the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 17, against the University of the Utah at the Sheraton Four Points Classic, hosted by the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The home opener will take place Tuesday, Nov. 27, a 6 p.m. start against San Jose State.

Season and individual game tickets are on sale for the 2001-2002 women's basketball seasons through the Santa Clara Athletic Ticket Office by calling 408-554-4660 or by clicking here. Several single game, season, group, team and family plans are available. For a seating map of the newly-renovated Leavey Center, click here.