Dec. 8, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's basketball team looks to bounce back into the win column this Saturday night as the squad does battle with the Fresno State Bulldogs at 7 p.m. in the Leavey Center. With only one contest this week, the Broncos will aim to grab some momentum heading into a busy three-game week beginning Tuesday.
The Broncos (4-4) are coming off of a tough week which saw them drop a pair of contests on the road, first an 88-56 setback at No. 15 Stanford last Wednesday, followed by a tough 79-67 loss at CS Northridge on Saturday.
Despite the setbacks, the Broncos got solid offensive production from standout guards Ashley Graham and Chandice Cronk, who are among the top scorers in the West Coast Conference. Cronk leads the WCC with 17.0 points a game, while Graham is fifth with 14.6 points a game. Together, the backcourt tandem sits 1-2 atop the WCC's three-point shooting list, as Cronk leads the way with 50.9% shooting from behind the arc, and Graham is next at 45.8%. Their performances are a major reason why the Broncos lead the WCC in scoring (70.6 ppg) and three-point shooting (44.3%).
Saturday's contest also marks Santa Clara head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson's sixth time opposing her alma mater. Bento-Jackson is 0-5 against the Bulldogs, the team she starred for in basketball and softball, and helped lead to the 1990 WNIT.
Fresno State (4-3), representing the Western Athletic Conference, will head into the Leavey Center Saturday night to conclude a week that began with a 77-62 loss at No. 16 California Thursday night. The Bulldogs started 2006-07 in successful fashion, opening the year with three straight wins, including a 61-51 upset of then-No. 18 BYU. After dropping their next two contests, Fresno State bounced back by defeating their second ranked team of the year last Friday night, upsetting No. 25 Texas Tech 74-65 at the Save Mart Center.
The Bulldogs are led offensively by senior guard Chantella Perera's 15.5 points a game, while she also adds 5.8 rebounds per contest. Guard Jasmine Marshall leads the squad with 6.6 rebounds a game, while center Jenny Thigpin is behind her with 6.2 boards a game.
The Broncos are 13-20 all-time against the Bulldogs, dating back to the 1977-78 season. Fresno State has won the last five meetings between the schools, with SCU's last victory coming in 2001-02 with a 75-65 in Fresno. The Bulldogs won last year's meeting, 64-46, at the Save Mart Center in Fresno.