Jan. 5, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's basketball team will begin defense of its WCC regular-season title this Sunday afternoon, traveling to Moraga to battle the Saint Mary's Gaels in a 2 p.m. contest at McKeon Pavilion. Both teams carry momentum into Sunday's game, with the Gaels on a four-game winning streak, and the Broncos victorious in their past two.
Santa Clara (8-7) got back to its winning ways last week with a pair of wins over Toledo and San Jose State. Point guard Ashley Graham was named the WCC Co-Player of the Week after averaging 16.5 points and 5.5 assists a game last week, as well as shooting 55.0% from the floor and an incredible 64.7% (11-of-17) from behind the arc.
Fellow guard Chandice Cronk continues to lead the WCC in scoring with 17.2 points a game, and tops the entire nation with 56 three-pointers. Cronk's 47.1% success rate from behind the arc is also tops in the conference.
Forward Jen Gottschalk returned to full-time action last week, and showed that she is back to form by scoring nine points and pulling down seven rebounds last Saturday night at San Jose State. Gottschalk is the team's leading rebounder, grabbing 5.6 boards a game.
The Broncos are 192-172 overall in WCC competition, and since the 1990-91 season, have finished over .500 in WCC play in 15 of the last 16 seasons.
Saint Mary's (6-7) heads into the WCC season on a four-game winning streak, having extended their run with a 95-73 win over the Toledo Rockets on Dec. 30. The Gaels are riding a wave of momentum after a 2-7 start, and are led offensively by WCC Co-Player of the Week Jontelle Smith, who averages 11.4 points a game, and Maija Lahde's 10.0 points and team-leading 5.8 rebounds per game.
The Broncos hold a 29-18 edge over Saint Mary's in the all-time series between the two schools. Last season, Santa Clara swept the season series, capturing a 69-57 win at home on Feb. 9, before heading to Moraga on Feb. 15 and coming away with a 64-62 decision.