SCU Women Travel to Colorado, Face Bears and Buffs

Lena Gipson (Mike Rasay Photo)

Santa Clara's Ruta Zurauskyte and Meagan Fulps return to Colorado
Game Notes (PDF Format)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Bronco women's basketball team begins a five-game road swing this week in the state of Colorado. First up will be Big Sky Conference member the University of Northern Colorado Wednesday, followed by a date with the University of Colorado at Boulder.

SANTA CLARA @ NORTHERN COLORADO
Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010 • 7:05 p.m. MT
Game #2 • Road Game #1 • Greeley, Colo.
Live Video
| Live Stats

SANTA CLARA @ COLORADO

Friday, Nov. 19, 2010 • 7:00 p.m. MT
Game #3 • Road Game #2 • Boulder, Colo.
Live Video/Audio
| Live Stats

LIVE COVERAGE
Wednesday's game with Northern Colorado will be broadcast online, FREE of charge courtesy of BigSkyTV (BigSkyTV.org). For Friday's game in Boulder, FREE audio will be streamed on CUBuffs.com, but does require listeners to sign up for a login and password. To watch Friday's game online, the video requires a monthly subscription, which can also be purchased on CUBuffs.com. Live stats will be available for both contests.

WEEKLY NOTES

• Santa Clara is led by third-year head coach Jennifer Mountain
• SCU is coming off a 74-54 season-opening loss to WAC Champs Fresno State
• The Broncos will play six of their next seven on the road
• SCU was picked to finish seventh in the eight-team WCC
• SCU returns three All-WCC players (G Alyssa Shoji, G Meagan Fulps and F Lena Gipson)
• Sophomores, G Meagan Fulps (Highlands Ranch) and C Ruta Zurauskyte (Regis Jesuit) both attended high school in Colorado
• Gipson was named to the 2010-11 All-WCC preseason team
• Gipson's 16 double-doubles last season ranked No. 23 in the NCAA
• Shoji led the team in scoring (13.7 ppg) last year
• Shoji led the WCC in 3-point shooting (84) and ranked 35th nationally last season
• Fulps (11.2 ppg) was the WCC's top scoring freshman last year
• Sophomore guard Ashley Armstrong (5.4 rpg) was the league's top freshman rebounder in 2009-10
• SCU has played Colorado once, losing in a neutral site game to the Buffs in Dec. of 1987
• SCU has never faced Northern Colorado
• UNC transitioned from Division II into Division I in 2005
• Northern Colorado is 46-75 under fifth-year head coach Jamie White
• Twice in four years under White, UNC has finished a Div. I-best 14-16, including last season
• Both UNC and Colorado beat Div. II Regis University (UNC winning 65-53 and CU 76-38)
• CU's Linda Lappe is the youngest head women's basketball coach at a BCS conference school
• Lappe is a Colorado alumnus (2002) and former team captain for the Buffs
• Lappe inherits a team that went 13-17 overall last season and 3-13 in the Big 12
•  Colorado was picked to finish last in the Big 12 preseason coaches' poll
• UP NEXT: Santa Clara will have just one game Thanksgiving week, a road date @ Cal State Bakersfield Tuesday, Nov. 23

SANTA CLARA
The Broncos dropped their season-opener to Fresno State - the defending WAC Champions - 74-54 Friday at Santa Clara's Leavey Center. The Broncos were just 2-for-19 from the 3-point stripe and shot 35.6 percent on the night. Look for last season's WCC three-point leader Alyssa Shoji to shoot better than her 1-for-8 performance from long range and All-WCC teammate Meagan Fulps to improve on her 0-for-7 night from beyond the arc. Led by third-year head coach Jennifer Mountain, SCU advanced into the WCC tournament's semifinals last season after a disappointing regular season within conference play, winning once in 14 tries. Santa Clara expects to be better than their 5-27 season a year ago. The reason for optimism begins with All-WCC returners Lena Gipson, Shoji and Fulps, and the addition of four new players, all from Bay Area high schools.

NORTHERN COLORADO

The Bears enter the week 1-1, having split home games with South Dakota (L, 62-57 OT) and Air Force (W, 79-56). The game with Santa Clara will be UNC's fourth straight on its home floor at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion, which includes an exhibition win over Regis University. The Bears were 6-10 last season in the Big Sky Conference and 14-16 overall. Returning starter, sophomore forward Lauren Oosdyke, had 19 points and nine rebounds in the team's opener against South Dakota and 15 and 7 in the win over Air Force. Oosdyke is one of three returning starters for fifth-year head coach Jaime White. The only newcomer making a marked impact early on is freshman guard and starter D'shara Strange (5.0 ppg/6.0 rpg).

COLORADO

The Buffs begin the week 1-0 after soundly beating Division II in-state foe Regis University 76-38. First-year head coach Linda Lappe is a Colorado alumnus ('02) and is the youngest head women's basketball coach at a BCS conference school and aims to bring the CU program back to national prominence. Lappe was an All-Big 12 Conference player at CU during the team's run to four-straight NCAA tournaments from 2001-04, including an Elite 8 appearance in 2002. CU is picked to finish last in the Big 12, according to the preseason coaches' poll. Senior guard Brittany Spears was named a preseason honorable mention all-league player. CU's game with Santa Clara marks the beginning of an extended homestand for the Buffs, who will play seven straight at home from Nov. 19 through Dec. 8. Colorado will play at Denver Tuesday, November 16.

HEAD COACH JENNIFER MOUNTAIN
'JMO' became the eighth Santa Clara head women's basketball coach in April 2008. She came to the Mission Campus after serving seven seasons as the top assistant coach at Gonzaga, where she helped the Bulldogs to four-straight WCC regular season championships and one tournament crown. Her Santa Clara team ended the 2009-10 season in grand fashion at the 2010 WCC tournament in Las Vegas, winning twice to become the first No. 8 seed in tournament history to advance into the semifinals. It was the second-straight season Mountain's teams peaked when it mattered most. In her first year at Santa Clara, Mountain guided the Broncos into the WCC tournament quarterfinals. "Jen understands what Santa Clara is all about," said SCU Athletic Director Dan Coonan. "It's about competitive basketball but it's about so much more than that. Educating men and women for competence, conscience, and compassion -- that's what Santa Clara really stands for. We believe that and live that here. I think Jen is the perfect person who embodies those kinds of values."

The Jen Mountain File:
• Head Coach - Santa Clara University (2008-pres.)
• Assistant Coach- Gonzaga University (2001-08)
• Boys Head Coach - St. George's School (1994-2001)
• Amateur Player - Gonzaga University (1987-91)

LAST TIME OUT

Sophomore Meagan Fulps led the Broncos with 12 points and three rebounds but it was not enough to defeat Fresno State Friday night at the Leavey Center with the Bulldogs winning 74-54. Hayley Munro finished the night with 17 points and six rebounds to lead the Bulldogs. Santa Clara shot just 35.6 percent from the floor, including 10.5 percent from beyond the arc. Lena Gipson finished the night with 10 points and eight rebounds and Lindsay Leo added eight points and six rebounds. Kathy Willinsky added 11 points and grabbed three rebounds. Marinique Arnold and Jaleesa Ross, who finished with 12 and 10 points respectively, also led the Bulldogs.

SCU INKS FOUR TO NLI'S

Santa Clara women's basketball announced its early period signing class on November 10, 2010: Nici Gilday of San Jose, Calif. (Presentation HS); Vanessa Leo of San Jose, Calif. (Archbishop Mitty HS); Colleen Rooney of Centennial, Colo. (Regis Jesuit HS); and Tyler Woods of Corona, Calif. (Centennial Corona HS). "All four of our future Broncos fit the mold of what Santa Clara is all about.  They are extremely bright young women who value education and grasp what it means to be a Bronco both on and off the court.  They are great role models and will represent Santa Clara with respect and class at all times.  I am very excited about them joining us next year and having the chance to coach them," said Bronco head coach Jennifer Mountain.

BAY AREA BRONCOS

When Jennifer Mountain was hired as Santa Clara University's women's basketball head coach in April of 2008, the program was void of a single player from a Bay Area High School. This season SCU's roster will boast four Bay Area players. All three of the Broncos' incoming freshmen starred at local high schools: sophomore transfer Lindsay Leo (Archbishop Mitty), Ricki Radanovich (Carondelet), Iman Scott (Archbishop Mitty) and Arteivia Lilomaiava (Aragon).

"There is a tremendous amount of local talent and it's a crucial element to our recruiting," says Mountain. "It's going to help with the level of our program, local pride and our fan base."

QUOTABLE

"I am so excited," said Colorado native Meagan Fulps about returning to her home state to play this week. "I have a lot of friends that go to CU and Northern Colorado, so my friends will come out to the game, my dad is going to be there, my brother is flying in for the game. Actually, my high school team is coming and (Ruta's). So it will be really great to have friends and family out there supporting us."

SANTA CLARA WOMEN'S HOOPS ON YOUTUBE!

Check out the latest videos and features on the Broncos on the team's official YouTube page (youtube.com/scuwbb).

LENA GIPSON NAMED PRESEASON ALL-WCC
Lena Gipson was named to the 2010-11 West Coast Conference Preseason All-Conference Team. Gipson, a senior power forward from Hanford, Calif., is one of the most prolific rebounders in Santa Clara University history. She was one of ten players recognized on the team, which was released along with the preseason coaches' poll. Santa Clara was picked to finish seventh in the eight-team league. Gipson was named an All-WCC First Team player last season after averaging a double-double (12.6 ppg/10.0 rpg) and collecting 16 double-doubles on the year, which ranked No. 23 among all NCAA players.

FREE GAME BROADCASTS ON SANTACLARABRONCOS.COM
In conjunction with the West Coast Conference, Santa Clara is pleased to announce that most home games and all conference road games this season will be broadcast FREE of charge on SCU's official athletics website (SantaClaraBroncos.com). Additionally, Santa Clara's Michael Spero (play-by-play) will call selected road games, offered online as FREE audio broadcasts. Please refer to the online schedule for broadcast availability.

SETTING THE STANDARD
The Broncos are setting the standard for community service and academic achievement within the framework of intercollegiate athletics. Jennifer Mountain's student-athletes owned a combined grade point average of 3.42 in 2009. The program's commitment to the Jesuit calling of community service takes the team and its players to a pair of local elementary schools each week as part of the Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative (BAWSI), which offers the players an opportunity to influence the lives of young female athletes. The team has been given the 'Best of BAWSI Award' and also a ceremonial 'Key to the City' from the mayor of Sunnyvale for their community service efforts.

Additionally, the coaching staff has taken the initiative to team up with over 15 community organizations, creating unique game day sponsorships and developing the 'Bronco Community Challenge,' which uses SCU basketball as the venue to strengthen the sense of community in the South Bay. Also during the 2009-10 season, Mountain's team initiated a fund-raising drive which helped collect $4,200 for the American Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund.