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Game Notes Week #18 - Feb. 28-Mar. 7, 2011
2011 Zappos.com WCC Championships
Orleans Arena (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Friday, March 4
#8 San Francisco vs. #5 Santa Clara - 12 noon
#7 San Diego vs. #6 LMU - 30 min. after Game 1
Saturday, March 5
#8 USF/#5 SCU vs. #4 Portland – 12 noon
#7 LMU/#6 USD vs. #3 Pepperdine - 30 min. after Game 1
Sunday, March 6
5/8/4 vs. #1 Gonzaga – 11 a.m.
6/7/3 vs. #2 St. Mary's - 30 min. after Game 1
Monday, March 7
Women's Championship – 12 noon (ESPNU)
Santa Clara Finishes Regular Season Tied for Fourth in WCC
The Santa Clara University women's basketball team has finished the regular season tied for fourth in the WCC standings and enter the WCC tournament as the league's fifth seed. SCU and eighth-seeded USF will play the tournament's opening game Friday, March 4 at 12 noon.
In addition to Santa Clara broadcaster Michael Spero bringing you live audio on SantaClaraBroncos.com for every Bronco women's game at this year's tournament, BYUtv/ESPN3.com/ESPN Full Court will be televising all eight opening round and quarterfinal games on Friday and Saturday. The best way to access those live video links is via WCCSports.com. The semifinal games will be streamed in WCCSports.com and the final will be televised live on ESPNU and streamed on ESPN3.com.
Santa Clara is led by third year head coach Jennifer Mountain
In two seasons Mountain is 3-2 at the WCC tournament
After a slow start, the Broncos (10-18; 6-8 WCC) are 8-8 since Dec. 30
2010-11 All-WCC honors: F Lena Gipson (First Team), G Ricki Radanovich (Freshman Team), G Meagan Fulps (Honorable Mention)
Lena Gipson ranks No. 11 nationally in reb. (10.9) and double-doubles (15)
The Broncos shocked the league in 2010 by becoming the first No. 8 seed in tournament history to win twice and advance into the semifinals
SCU upset San Diego (68-67) and Portland (74-61) at the WCC's in 2010
Meagan Fulps did not play in the WCC tournament last season (INJ)
Guards Alyssa Shoji (54), Megan Fulps (42) and Ricki Radanovich (51) rank in the WCC's top 10 in 3s made
Senior starter Kathy Willinsky is from Las Vegas and attended Bonanza HS
Kathy Willinsky, Lena Gipson and Becky Goll are SCU's final-year players
Santa Clara's last WCC Tournament title was in 2004-05
SCU has never lost to USF at the WCC tournament (4-0)
In 8 of the last 9 years the Broncos have won at least one game at the tournament
The Broncos (10-18; 6-8 WCC) have rebounded nicely from an 0-8 start to play .500 basketball since Dec. 30. The league's coaches projected SCU to finish seventh in the standings, but outstanding play from senior forward Lena Gipson (13.5 ppg/10.9 rpg) and the perimeter threat of its three-guard backcourt (Alyssa Shoji-Meagan Fulps-Ricki Radanovich) propelled Santa Clara into a tie for fourth in the standings. Santa Clara swept USF by scores of 69-50 and 70-62 and drilled its possible second round opponent, Portland, 77-55, two weeks ago at the Leavey Center in Santa Clara. On the big stage at the Orleans Arena one year ago, Santa Clara played its best basketball of the season, upsetting San Diego and Portland to make it all the way into the semifinals.
This year's Bronco team is much improved from a year ago, going 4-3 versus the WCC on its home floor and picking up some conference wins on the road, most recently beating LMU in Los Angeles last Thursday. Lena Gipson is arguably the best post player in the conference and Alyssa Shoji, Meagan Fulps and Ricki Radanovich are dangerous shooters. If the Broncos shoot the three-ball at a higher percentage than their opponents, the team is 10-3.
The team's bench production, or lack thereof, is alarming. In Saturday's loss at Pepperdine, Santa Clara's reserves were out scored 32-6. Lena Gipson and the backcourt starters account for 70 percent of the team's scoring.
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 year 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)
Santa Clara's History in the WCC Tournament
The Broncos are 21-14 all-time in the WCC tournament since its inception in 1992. SCU has won the tournament twice (2005 and 1998). In 8 of the last 9 years, the Broncos have won at least one game at the tournament, winning twice and advancing into the semifinals in 2010. Spanning 19 years, SCU has never been a No. 5 seed and just four times has the team been seeded lower than fourth. SCU is 4-0 all-time against USF at the WCC tournament, the last meeting coming in the first round in 2008.
Recent Tournament Results
2010 (#8 Seed)
W, #5 San Diego 68-67 ... SCU's Maggie Goldenberger makes buzzer-beating jump shot
W, #4 Portland 74-61 ... Lena Gipson scores 23 points and has 15 rebounds (three shy of a tournament record)
L, #1 Gonzaga 87-47 ... GU breaks open one-point game midway through first half
2009 (#8 Seed)
W, #5 St. Mary's 82-55 ... SCU has five players in double-figures, led by Lena Gipson's 19
L, #4 LMU 71-60 ... Seniors Elizabeth Doran and Sara Majors combine for 31 points for SCU
2008 (#2 Seed)
W, #7 USF 89-84 ... SCU rallies from behind, senior Jen Gottschalk scores career-high 31
L, #3 San Diego 72-66 ... Broncos lose close game in tournament semifinals
Gipson, Fulps, Radanovich Earn All-WCC Honors
Santa Clara women's basketball players Lena Gipson, Ricki Radanovich and Meagan Fulps received All-West Coast Conference honors as announced by the league office. Lena Gipson a senior forward from Hanford, Calif. and San Joaquin Memorial High School was named First Team All-WCC for the second consecutive season. She currently ranks No. 11 among all NCAA players in both rebounds (10.9 pg) and double-doubles (15). Gipson will go down in the SCU record books as one of the most prolific scorers and rebounders in program history. True freshman guard Ricki Radanovich, a local player from Diablo, Calif. and Carondelet High School was named to the league's All-Freshman Team. Radanovich has started in 23 straight games and is playing nearly 30 minutes per night. She has made 51 three-point field goals, which ranks sixth in the WCC. Sophomore shooting guard Meagan Fulps garnered All-WCC recognition for the second straight year, being named an Honorable Mention. Fulps led the Broncos in scoring for much of the season and spanning two years on the Mission Campus she has started in 50 of 53 games.
"Going into the tournament we have every right to be confident in our ability to perform well," said senior forward Lena Gipson. "We have a really positive outlook. Right now we are playing extremely confident basketball, especially compared to how we started off the season. I think though, that we still have more room to improve, do more, and do things that people have not seen. But compared to how we did start we are playing very well together, trusting each other more and trusting ourselves more."
"Last year we were a really young team," said SCU point guard Alyssa Shoji when asked about this season's turnaround. "Although I would still say we are still VERY young, considering we only have three upperclassmen including myself, I feel like we have come a long way. I think getting those two wins in the WCC tournament last year really boosted our confidence and showed what we are capable of. This year we have a lot more confidence and have really gelled as a team. Our team chemistry is great and that is a big part of our success."
Gipson Finishes with Terrific Month of February
Senior forward Lena Gipson was terrific in the month of February, averaging 19.4 points and 12.3 rebounds to lead the Broncos to a tie for fourth in the final regular season league standings. Gipson had a double-double in 5 of the 7 games during the month, shot 54 percent from the field and scored 20+ points five times. She also made 40 of 54 free throws (74 percent). She began February with a 21-point, 16-rebound effort in a win over USF (Feb. 5). She then had 17 points and 15 rebounding at St. Mary's (Feb. 10). She eclipsed the 900-rebound plateau for her career against No. 23 Gonzaga (Feb. 17). On senior night two days later vs. Portland (Feb. 19), Gipson made 9 of 12 shots, finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds in a 77-55 SCU victory. She was named to the Jesuit Basketball Honor Roll in February and was named the WCC Player of the Week (Feb. 6).
SCU 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).
One Shy of a School Record
Lena Gipson's 22 rebounds Dec. 20 against Pacific was one shy of a Santa Clara school record. She has three different 20-rebound games a Bronco.
Shoji Among All-Time Best in 3s
Junior guard Alyssa Shoji has moved into 4th place in program history with 177 career 3s. Shoji, who set the school record for minutes played in a season a year ago, led all WCC players with 84 three-pointers made as a sophomore.
Gipson Reaches 900 Rebounds
Lena Gipson's 21-point, 12-rebound effort against Portland (Feb. 19) put her past the 900-rebound mark for her career, ranking second all-time. She also ranks among the program's top 10 in scoring average, field goals, FG percentage and blocks – doing so in just two-plus seasons. In 46 years of women's basketball tradition at Santa Clara, Gipson is just one of two players to have scored 1,000+ points and totaled 900+ rebounds.
Did We Mention It's FREE?!
In conjunction with the West Coast Conference, fans were able to watch a three-camera broadcast for every basketball home game and all WCC road games this season FREE of charge on SCU's official athletics website (SantaClaraBroncos.com).
Lena Gipson Named WCC Player of the Week (twice)
Santa Clara University senior forward Lena Gipson has been named the WCC 'Player of the Week' twice this season. In a Feb. 5 victory over USF, 70-62, Gipson scored a then-season-high 21 points and totaled 16 rebounds. She was 6 of 12 from the field against the Dons and 9 of 10 from the line. It was her fourth-straight double-double at the time and 11th of the year. Back on Dec. 20, Gipson was named the WCC POW after a 22-rebound performance against Pacific. She is now a three-time All-WCC honoree.
ESPN Ranks SCU Recruiting Class Among Nation's Best
Next year's incoming class for the Santa Clara University women's basketball program has been ranked No. 56 nationally by ESPN HoopGurlz. The Broncos and third-year head coach Jennifer Mountain announced the signing of four outstanding high school players during November's early signing period last week:
Nici Gilday of San Jose, Calif. (Presentation HS)
Vanessa Leo of San Jose, Calif. (Archbishop Mitty HS) - sister of current SCU Bronco Lindsay Leo
Colleen Rooney of Centennial, Colo. (Regis Jesuit HS)
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 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 boasts four Bay Area players. All four of the Broncos' new players 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.