Oct. 17, 2005
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The familiar sounds of sneakers pounding the hardwood and the swishing of nylon nets filled the Leavey Center again this weekend as the defending West Coast Conference Tournament Champion Santa Clara women's basketball team began team practices.
"It's primarily a lot of teaching right now, and us coaches have been very pleased with two things: One, how the returners have come back in pretty good shape and the freshmen have stepped in well and there has not really been a drop-off at all," Head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson said in assessing the first weekend of practice.
The Broncos will hold 26 practice sessions and a Nov. 4 exhibition game against Sonoma State at 6 p.m. before traveling to Athens, Ga. to begin a two-game Southeastern Conference swing against the Georgia Bulldogs on Nov. 18 at 4 p.m. Pacific time.
Season tickets are available by clicking here or by calling the SCU Athletic Ticket Office at 408/554-4660. A number of reserved, general admission and family plan options are available.
Santa Clara returns nearly intact from 2004-05, with four starters and eleven letter-winners returning to a team that finished third in the WCC and just about re-wrote the three-point shooting section of the school record book. The Broncos established new team marks in both three-pointers made (272) and attempted (718) while their three-point shooting percentage was 37.9, good for fourth-best all-time. Individually, Quinn Thomas finished her Santa Clara career as the school's all-time leader in threes made (226) and attempted (611) while junior guard Ashley Graham currently holds the school's highest three-point shooting percentage, shooting 45.7 from the arc heading into this season.
Kayla Huss and Michelle Cozad are back for their senior years to lead the Broncos' prolific back court while forwards Kasey Monteith and Ashley Gonnerman will seek to provide a strong inside presence for Santa Clara.
Adding to the team's depth are 2004-05 WCC All-Freshman team member Chandice Cronk, who averaged 6.3 points per game and shot 34% on threes last year. Yasemin Kimyacioglu, who started 25 games last season, will return to provide a defensive presence while Anna Martin, Tracey Walker, Sara Majors and Lauren Michalski all return eager to make another postseason run.
The team welcomes four newcomers this season as Elizabeth Doran (Corvallis, Ore.), Kimee Goeggel (Chino Hills, Calif.), Claire Goins (Sioux City, Iowa) and Samantha Jonasson (Portland, Ore.) begin their first years on the Mission Campus.
"The freshmen have really blended well and of course they got the nerves out on that first day of practice, but now they're getting better and showing improvement everyday which is tremendous," Bento-Jackson added about her freshman class.
Doran, a 6-0 forward, was a three-time All-State selection for Crescent Valley High School while the 6-0 Goeggel, an All-CIF performer as a senior and a team captain of Brea Olinda High's 2005 CIF runner-up squad, will also play at forward. Goins and Jonasson also come to Santa Clara as forwards, Goins being an All-State and All-Conference honoree in Iowa while Jonasson earned All-League honors as captain of her Clackamas High team which advanced to the second round in the State Tournament last year.
With these four talented newcomers joining a deep group of returners, the Broncos feel that they are on the right track to challenge for a WCC title and build off of the success of last season.
"It was very apparent to us that the returners came back with a very determined, very motivated mentality," added Bento-Jackson. "The returners are kind of leading the way right now, which is what we want, and they are just really showing the younger kids how it's going to be done here and their work ethic has been tremendous."