Women's Hoops Returns Home to Close Out First Half of League Play

Jan. 28, 2003

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This Week
Santa Clara returns home to close out the first half of conference play, hosting Portland and Gonzaga at the Leavey Center. Both games start at 7 p.m. The Thursday game against the Pilots is "Future Bronco Night," where any youth wearing a basketball jersey will receive admission for just $2. The Saturday contest against the Bulldogs will have two celebrations: "Women in Sports Night" and "Alumni Night." The Broncos will celebrate women in sports in honor of National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

Scouting the Portland Pilots
Series Record: Series tied 18-18
First Game: Santa Clara won 62-59 on Jan. 5, 1987 in Santa Clara
Last Game: Portland won 80-73 on Feb. 7, 2002 in Portland
Largest SCU Margin of Victory: 64 on Jan. 31, 1991 (79-53) in Portland
Largest Portland Margin of Victory: 26 on Jan. 13, 1996 (69-43) in Portland
Portland Record in 2001-02: 13-15, (5-9, 6th in West Coast Conference)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 7/7
Starters Returning/Lost: 2/3
Notable: Portland is 8-10 on the season, 2-3 in league action... the Pilots are only 2-7 on the road this year... junior forward Khalila O'Rielly -Williams is just 16 points shy of reaching the 1,000-point plateau.

Scouting the Gonzaga Bulldogs
Series Record: SCU leads 23-8
First Game: Gonzaga won 59-45 on Jan. 16, 1988 in Spokane
Last Game: Santa Clara won 81-75 on Feb. 9, 2002 in Spokane
Largest SCU Margin of Victory: 44 on Jan. 10, 1997 (84-40) in Santa Clara
Largest Gonzaga Margin of Victory: 26 on Feb. 3, 1989 (72-46) in Spokane
Gonzaga Record in 2001-02: 11-18, (2-12, 8th in West Coast Conference)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 6/5
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/1
Notable: Gonzaga 12-8 overall, 3-2 in conference... the Bulldogs' have recorded more WCC wins in the first five games of this season than in all of last year... Santa Clara has won nine straight against Gonzaga.

Unbeatable at Leavey vs. the WCC
With Santa Clara's victory over LMU on Jan. 18, the Broncos have now won 35 of its last 38 regular season home league contests played in Leavey, dating back to the last five-plus seasons.

Rhea Named WCC Player of the Week
Kendra Rhea was named the West Coast Conference's Co-Player of the Week for her performance this past weekend against Saint Mary's and San Francisco, leading the Broncos to two victories with her strong defense against some of the league's best. She shares the honor with Gonzaga's Anne Bailey. Rhea is the second Bronco to be honored this season, as Quinn Thomas received the honors on Dec. 17.

During the two contests, Rhea shot 60 percent from the field, and averaged 12.5 points and 8 rebounds per contest. Additionally, she notched a team-high 12 assists and added five blocks to her totals. Against Saint Mary's, Rhea score 10 of her 12 points in the second half, while holding the Gaels' leading scorer, Triola Jackson, to just one point in the final 20 minutes. Against the Dons, Rhea held their leading scorer, Carey Sauer, to just 2-15 shooting. She held both to six points under their respective averages.

Welcome to "Washington South"
With seven players on this year's roster from the state of Washington, the mission campus is becoming known as "Washington South." The Broncos returned seven of the eight Washington natives from last season in seniors Tammy Annas of Enumclaw, Julie Butler of Tacoma and Courtney Cushing of Brush Prairie, as well as junior Jennie Rondel of Kirkland, and last year's entire recruiting class, Kim Butler of Tacoma, Quinn Thomas of Kent and Kayla Huss of Everett.

In the Rankings: Broncos Receive 11 Votes
Although the Broncos are not ranked in the top 25 polls yet, the team did receive 11votes in the Jan 28 listing from the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Top 25 Coaches' Poll. Santa Clara started the season with seven votes in the first two weeks of that poll and earned one vote each in the Jan. 13 and Jan. 20 polls.

Up Next: Broncos Travel to San Diego to Start Second Half of WCC
Santa Clara will travel south to start the second half of the league season. The Broncos will visit San Diego for a contest against the Toreros. The game will be played at the Jenny Craig Pavilion, host of the 2003 WCC Championship in March.

Road Warriors
After posting a 5-8 recond on the road last season-with five of those losses to WCC teams-the Broncos have shown this year that being away from the comforts of the Leavey Center has been less of an issue. Santa Clara is currently 5-3 on the road this season and won its first two road games of league play. The Broncos will be tested again on Feb. 8 at San Diego. Santa Clara is 0-4 in its last four trips to play the Toreros durinng the regular season.

Sister Act
The Butler sisters, senior Julie and sophomore Kim, are one of three sibling pairs to compete in the West Coast Conference. The Butlers are joined by Loyola Marymount's Bianca and Rachael Ziemann and Portland's Khalila and Cecily O'Rielly-Williams. Additionally, SCU has faced sisters at Texas A&M, San Jose State and Eastern Michigan.

Thomas Leads the Backcourt
Sophomore Quinn Thomas has stepped into the starting lineup and has helped fill the void created by the graduation of All-WCC standouts Becki Ashbaugh and Caroline Gruening. Thomas, the only freshman to garner WCC Player of the Week honors last season, has more than doubled her scoring output (from 4.5 ppg to 10.4), while boosting her rebounding average and field goal percentage. Her success led her to the Dec. 16 WCC Player of the Week honors, the first for any Bronco this season.

Three-Point Threat
Santa Clara is 5-0 when reaching double figures in three-point field goals made. The team is currently hitting .343 from behind the arc. Quinn Thomas is ranked second in the WCC with her .427 accuracy, while backcourt partner Kayla Huss is right behind her with a .425 mark.

Leading the WCC
Santa Clara leads the West Coast Conference in six categories: field goal percentage (.453), free throw percentage (.737), assists (18.83), scoring margin (+9.7), assist-to-turnover ratio (0.92) and field goal percent defense (.354), while ranking second in three other categories: scoring offense, three-point field goals made and defensive rebounds. Santa Clara is one of the conference's most balanced teams, with eight players averaging five or more points per game and three players averaging at least four rebounds per contest.

Season/Game Tickets on Sale
Season and individual game tickets for Santa Clara are on sale through the school's official website www.SantaClaraBroncos.com and the athletic ticket office at 408-554-4660. In conjunction with Student Advantage's Official College Sports Network, the athletic department has developed an online ticket application that provides fans with the ability to purchase season tickets, family plans, individual games or an all-sports pass via the official athletic website. Season and individual match ticket packages are also available through the athletic ticket office, open between the hours of 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

WCC Changes Basketball Tournament Format
The West Coast Conference Tournament will adopt a new format for the 2003 Championship, consisting of an eight-team/ play-in format. Under the new format, the fifth through eighth seeds will compete in the opening round. Waiting for the winners in the quarterfinals will be the third and fourth seeds, who will have first-round byes. The winners of the quarterfinal match-ups will go head-to-head with the top two seeds, who will have byes through the first two rounds of the tournament. "This format places a premium on regular season success and should lead to a very competitive regular season race in 2003." Commissioner Michael Gilleran said. This season's league championship will be held at the Jenny Craig Pavilion on the University of San Diego campus March 6-9.

WCC Championship Coming to SCU in 2004
The WCC Men's and Women's Championships will return to the Bay Area in 2004 and 2005, as announced Wednesday by Commissioner Michael Gilleran. The change is a result of the WCC's decision to rotate the league's premier event between the Bay Area, Pacific Northwest and Southern California, each for a period of two consecutive years.

The 2006 and 2007 tournament will move to the Pacific Northwest before heading to Southern California in 2008 and 2009.

The 2004 WCC Basketball Tournament will be held at the Leavey Center. In 2005, the event will move approximately 50 miles north to the University of San Francisco, where games will be played at War Memorial Gymnasium. This will be Santa Clara's eighth time as host, most recently in 2000, while USF will serve as host for the fourth time.