Nov. 26, 2002
The Santa Clara University women's basketball team continues its season-opening road trip with a visit to College Station, Texas, to take part in the Whataburger Classic, hosted by Texas A&M. The Broncos won their fifth straight season opener last week in Pennsylvania. Santa Clara will open this weekend's tournament against Arkansas-Little Rock.
Live on the Internet
Santa Clara's entire schedule returns to the Internet, as a live audio broadcast will be available for a third season on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. Additionally, Leavey Center contests can be followed online with a live statistical tracker, also located on SCU's official athletic website. By logging on, fans 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. Anthony Passarelli returns as the voice of the Broncos for a second season.
In the Rankings
Although the Broncos are not ranked in the top 25 polls yet, the team did receive seven votes in the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Top 25 Coaches' Poll. Santa Clara is also ranked nationally by CollegeRPI.com.
With its victory over Lehigh to open the season, Santa Clara has now won its last five season-openers. The game also marked the fifth season opener on the road for the Broncos in the last six seasons. Additionally, the win marked the 10th season-opening victory for the Broncos in the last 12 years and 24th overall in 40 seasons.
With a 10-3 non-conference mark last season, Santa Clara has posted 11 straight non-losing non-conference seasons and is 94-41 (.696) during that span. Santa Clara's most successful non-conference season ever came during the 1990-91 season when the Broncos went 12-2.
Scouting the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans
Series Record: First Meeting
Notable: UALR is 0-2 this season with a three-point loss at Mississippi Valley State and a one-point defeat to Maryland-Eastern Shore... Darci Cassidy led the Trojans with a 22-point average during opening weekend, including a perfect 11-11 from the free-throw line against MES.
Scouting the Texas A&M Aggies
Series Record: Series tied at 1-1
First Meeting: 1990 - SCU won (76-63) Dec. 17 in Santa Clara
Last Meeting: 1996 - A&M won (77-72) Jan. 6 in Santa Clara
SCU Largest Margin of Victory: 13 on Dec. 17, 1990 (76-63) in Santa Clara
A&M Largest Margin of Victory: 5 on Jan. 6, 1996 (77-72) in Santa Clara
Notable: A&M lost its season opener by six points to Northwestern State... Kim Moore led the Aggies with a 13-point, 13-rebound performance.
Scouting the Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne Mastodons
Series Record: First Meeting
Notable: IPFW is 1-1 on the season and will face Ferris State before traveling to Texas A&M.
Up Next: Home Opener
Santa Clara will open the 2002-03 season at the Leavey Center on Wednesday, December 4 against first-year head coach Michelle Bento's alma mater, Fresno State. The Broncos went 12-0 on their home court last season and will look to continue the streak. Santa Clara will travel to Tulsa, Okla. for a Saturday contest against the University of Tulsa in continuing non-conference action.
Last Week: Broncos Win 5th Straight Season Opener
For Michelle Bento's first game as Santa Clara's coach, it doesn't get more heart-stopping than the 64-63 win tonight at Stabler Arena against Lehigh. The Broncos could only watch as Lehigh freshman guard Dawn Gorynski missed back-to-back free throws with just 11.3 seconds on the clock then withstood a late Mountain Hawk offensive flourish to earn their fifth-straight season-opener. Whitney Sutak led Santa Clara with a 16-point, 8-assist and 8-rebound effort while taking over the point guard duties for the Broncos.
The Broncos overcame a sluggish first half in which they committed 13 fouls and 12 turnovers. Lehigh outscored SCU 14-2 in the first half from the free throw line and enjoyed an 18-4 advantage in charity attempts in the first stanza. Santa Clara recorded a 34-31 halftime edge, largely due to a defensive effort that limited the Mountain Hawks to just 30.8 percent shooting from the field.
SCU stretched the lead in the second half to as many as 11 points before the Mountain Hawks mounted a comeback. Julie Butler committed her fourth foul of the game and Ann Tierney connected on both charity shots to bring Lehigh to within one point before the Broncos went on a 17-7 run to make the score 56-45 with 8:15 remaining. Lehigh then went on a 14-0 run of their own started by back-to-back three-point field goals. The Hawks claimed their first lead of the game at 57-56 with 5:22 left in the game. The two teams traded baskets and SCU led by as many as three points in the final minutes before a jumper by Tierney brought Lehigh to within one at 64-63 with :57 seconds remaining. The Mountain Hawks missed two jumpers and two free throws in the final minute and the Broncos held on for the win.
Temple clearly had revenge on their minds as they applied perimeter defensive pressure and limited the Broncos to a poor outside shooting performance in a 65-54 win over Santa Clara Sunday afternoon at the Liacouras Center. The Broncos were led by Tammy Annas' 18 points, while Kendra Rhea scored 17 and grabbed eight rebounds. Temple was led by Tynechia Pam's 14 points, all scored in the first half of the game. SCU defeated the Owls 86-66 last December at the Leavey Center. Tonight's win was Temple first against Santa Clara in three total meetings between the two teams all-time. Temple's perimeter defensive pressure and rebounding on the offensive end were keys to the game as the Owls out-rebounded the Broncos by a 19-11 margin on the offensive end. SCU committed 27 turnovers and shot 22.2 percent from beyond the three-point arc.
After Santa Clara took a one-point, 26-25 lead into halftime, the Owls limited the Broncos to just two baskets in the first 3:37 of the second half and led by as many as five points during an 8-2 run. Temple stretched the lead to 11 at 43-32 on back-to-back baskets by Candice DuPree and a jumper by Ari Moore. Annas and Kim Butler then combined to score 10 straight to push the Broncos back to within one point at 43-42 with 9:40 remaining on the clock. SCU then went scoreless for 3:00 until Butler connected on a putback under the basket to bring SCU to within five at 49-44 with 6:40 remaining. The Broncos then allowed Temple to go on an 8-0 run over the next 3:30 to grow its lead to nine points at 57-48 before a media timeout stopped the clock with just 3:07 left in the game. The two teams traded baskets before Whitney Sutak and Annas connected on back-to-back layups to bring SCU within five at 59-54. Temple then outscored the Broncos 6-0 in the final minute.
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.
Head Coach Michelle Bento
Santa Clara appointed Mountain View, Calif., native Michelle Bento as the seventh head coach in the school's 38-year women's basketball history in June. Bento recently completed her fourth season on the women's basketball coaching staff at Syracuse under veteran coach Marianna Freeman and was recently promoted to Associate Head Coach. A 10-year coaching veteran, Bento served as the program's recruiting coordinator as well as worked with the Orangewomen perimeter players and opponent scouting. In her four seasons at Syracuse, Bento coached two perimeter players who were invited to the WNBA pre-draft camp and one player who was invited to the USA Junior World Championship trials in Colorado Springs, Colo. Additionally, Bento's most recent recruiting class was ranked 15th by All-Star Girls Reports. Bento, who helped guide the Big East Conference all-star team to a 6-0 record in a summer tour of Germany in 2001, inherits a program that went 21-10 last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in five seasons. A 1992 graduate of Fresno State with a degree in physical education, Bento spent the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons as an assistant coach at her alma mater. As a player, Bento helped the Bulldogs to an appearance in the NIT in 1990, and was team captain and MVP of the 1991 squad. In addition, Bento played on the Fresno State softball team, and was named to the College World Series All-Tournament team in 1992. In the spring of 2000, Bento was invited to the WNBA Pre-Draft Camp in Chicago.
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. Beginning in 2004, the league will rotate the championship site regionally, visiting the Bay Area through 2005, the Northwest through 2007, and Southern California through 2009.