Feb. 26, 2008
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's basketball team brings the regular-season to a close this week against Gonzaga and Portland. The Broncos and Bulldogs face off on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m., while SCU will celebrate Senior Day on Saturday, March 1 against Portland. Tip off is scheduled for 2 p.m.
SCU was dealt a 0-2 record last week, falling to San Diego and San Francisco on the road. Tracey Walker led the scoring efforts for the Broncos averaging 16.5 points per game. Jen Gottschalk led the team in rebounding for the week with 6.0 boards per game. Gottschalk, Sara Majors and Claire Goins were all 50.0% from the field.
The Broncos begin the final week of the 2007-08 regular season with an 18-9 overall record and a 7-5 West Coast Conference record. Of the Broncos active players, Gottschalk continues to leads the team in scoring and rebounding averaging 15.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.
Head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson and Santa Clara will send out their three graduating seniors in style this Saturday against Portland. Playing in their final game at the Leavey Center are Walker and Gottschalk, and supporting the team from the bench is the team's leading scorer Chandice Cronk (who was sidelined for the remainder of the season at the beginning of the month).
Cronk has been a fixture of the Broncos back court since her freshman season. The Wasilla, Alaska native became the 17th Bronco to compiled 1,000 career points against Washington State this season and is ranked fourth all-time with 1,346 career points. She also set a new Santa Clara all-time high for career three point field goals with 244. As a junior, Cronk shattered the West Coast Conference and Santa Clara's single season three-point field goal tally with 94 and finished the season ranked third in the nation in three-point field goals made. This season, she posted a career-high 33 points against Sacramento State and tied her career-best 10 field goals against Portland on January 30. Despite missing the second half of league play, Cronk is still ranked fourth overall in the WCC in scoring and second in three-point field goals made. She was also named one of the WCC's players of the week in late January.
Gottschalk rejoined the Broncos after a two-year hiatus and is one of the Broncos most indispensible players. A native of Littleton, Colorado and an all-conference selection, she leads this year's active players in both scoring and rebounding. Gottschalk enters the week ranked in the top 10 all time in scoring average and career rebounding average. This season, she tied her career-high 30 points against Saint Mary's on January 12 and pulled down a personal best 15 rebounds against San Diego on January 24. Gottschalk is ranked seventh in scoring and fifth in rebounding overall in the WCC.
Walker is SCU's third and final graduating senior. Hailing from San Jose, she has been an integral part of the Broncos back court for the last four years. She enters today's contest ranked in the top 10 career assists and steals list at Santa Clara and leads the Broncos this season in both of those categories. Walker also ranks third in the West Coast Conference in assists and ninth in steals. She compiled a career day against Pepperdine on February 14, with 27 points, 10 field goals and five three-point field goals. On Saturday, she starts in her 118th game on the Mission Campus, which ties her with all-time leaders Becki Ashbaugh and Ashley Graham.
The Bulldogs enter Thursday's contest with a 20-7 overall record and an 11-1 WCC mark, which makes Gonzaga this year's regular season champions. Last week, the Bulldogs defeated the Pilots of Portland 87-67 on the road. Heather Bowman led all players with 20 points and 10 rebounds. On the season, Bowman averages 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
Santa Clara leads the all-time series with a 27-17 record. The two teams last met on Feb. 2 in Spokane, Wash., when the Zags defeated the Broncos 88-52.
The Pilots begin the week at Saint Mary's with a 15-12 overall record and a 5-7 WCC record. Portland fell to Gonzaga last week with a score of 87-67. Leading the Pilots efforts was Rachel Warren with 15 points. On the season, Laiken Dollente is the lone Pilot to average double-figures in scoring with 14.2 points per game. Warren is second on the team with 9.0 points and a team-best 6.3 rebounds per game.
Santa Clara leads the all-time series against Portland. 28-20. The two teams last met on Jan. 30 in Portland when Cronk scored a last minute three-pointer to give the Broncos a 61-58 victory.
Santa Clara travels to San Diego next week for the 2008 West Coast Conference Championship. Please check www.SantaClaraBroncos.com for bracket information.
Seniors Cronk, Gottschalk and Walker are no strangers to the Santa Clara career records lists as each are ranked in one or more categories. This week, Walker moves up in all-time games played. She is now tied for third after seeing action 116 career contests.
In The WCC:
The Broncos holds onto second place in the conference standings this week. SCU continues to hold onto its No. 1 spot in field goal defense. For the complete list of top-10 rankings, see page 3.
In The Nation:
As a team, Santa Clara is ranked in all the statistical categories. SCU's highest rankings are:
Free-Throw PCT - No. 32
3FG per Game - No. 5
3FG PCT - No. 44
Assists per game - No. 32