SCU Women’s Basketball Preps for 2011-12 Season-Opener

Head Coach Jennifer Mountain on WCCSports.com

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -
Following a home exhibition against Sonoma State Tuesday, Nov. 8, the Santa Clara University women's basketball team officially opens its 2011-12 campaign against CSU Bakersfield Friday, Nov. 11 at 5 p.m. Both games will be played at Santa Clara's Leavey Center, 500 El Camino Real on the Santa Clara campus and aired live on SantaClaraBroncos.com.

Game Notes Week #1 - Nov. 6-12, 2011
SONOMA STATE @
SANTA CLARA (exhib.)
Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 • 7 p.m.
Exhibition #1 • Santa Clara, Calif.
Live Stats

CSU BAKERSFIELD (0-0)
@ SANTA CLARA (0-0)
Friday, Nov. 11, 2011 • 5 p.m.#
Game #1 • Home Game #1  • Santa Clara, Calif.
Live Video | Live Stats

# First part of a SCU basketball doubleheader (men will play UC Merced at 7:30 p.m.)

LIVE COVERAGE

A live pay-per-view video broadcast of Friday night's game will be available on Santa Clara's official athletics website (SantaClaraBroncos.com). John Nash (play-by-play) will call the action courtside from the Leavey Center. A season pass is available for $49.95 or single games can be viewed for $9.95. Additionally, SCU will offer FREE live stats for both home games this week courtesy of StatBroadcast.

TICKETS
Season tickets start at just $40 for youth/seniors and $50 for adults.  Single-game tickets start at just $5. For the best value, purchase a Family Plan for $100. The Family Plan includes two adult and three youth tickets to each and every home game. Tickets are available for purchase online at SantaClaraBroncos.com/buytickets or by calling the ticket office directly at 408-554-4660.

WEEKLY NOTES

* Santa Clara is led by fourth-year head coach Jennifer Mountain
* The Broncos were 11-19 last season (6-6 at home)
* SCU was picked to finish eighth in the expanded nine-team WCC
* SCU returns All-WCC guards: Alyssa Shoji, Meagan Fulps and Ricki Radanovich (pictured)
* ESPN ranked the Broncos incoming class of new freshmen No. 56 nationally
* The Broncos will play five of their first six regular season games at home
* Alyssa Shoji was named to the 2011-12 Preseason All-WCC team
* Shoji needs just 60 more points to reach 1,000 for her career 
* Meagan Fulps is the team's top returning scorer (11.6 ppg) last year
* The Broncos must fill the void left by record-setting graduate Lena Gipson, who is now playing professionally in Europe
* The Broncos beat Div. II Sonoma State 73-43 two years ago in the regular-season opener and 62-49 last season in exhibition action
* The two recent games vs. SSU were the first-ever between SCU and Sonoma St.
* CSU Bakersfield has a new head coach, alumnus Greg McCall
* The Roadrunners went 22-12 last season and played in the WBI postseason tournament under former head coach Tim La Kose, who is now at SJSU
* Despite beginning its program in 2001, CSUB has a rich tradition, reaching the Div. II tournament in every year of its existence before moving to Div. I in 2007
* NEXT UP: A road game @ Fresno State (Nov. 13), then home games with Northern Colorado (Nov. 16) and Southern Utah (Nov. 18)

SANTA CLARA

The Broncos are aiming for continued improvement after finishing in a tie for fourth in the WCC last March. Fourth-year SCU head coach Jennifer Mountain has three legitimate scoring threats in guards Alyssa Shoji, Meagan Fulps and Ricki Radanovich, while also adding a class of incoming freshmen that ESPN tabbed as one of the nation's best. The team's schedule sets up well, as the Broncos play five of their first six games at home. Mountain is in the process of returning Santa Clara to national prominence. Historically, SCU has been one of the top teams in the WCC, having made 11 postseason (NCAA/WNIT) tournament appearances and winning eight WCC titles. The last time SCU went to the NCAA tournament was in 2005.

SONOMA STATE
The Division II Seawolves have played at Santa Clara's Leavey Center in each of the last two seasons, losing 73-43 on Nov. 9, 2009 and 62-49 on Nov. 8, 2010. SSU won its home exhibition Oct. 28 against basketball newcomer's Cal State San Marcos 69-68. SSU was 9-18 overall last season under long-time head coach Mark Rigby. SSU returns its top returning scorer, Jaclyn Bisordi (10.3 ppg), and rebounder, Aly Conway (6.9 rpg).  True freshman Travis Newman led the team with 12 points in their exhibition win over San Marcos. Archbishop Mitty graduate, freshman Desirae Sanchez, is on the roster but did not play in their opener.

ALL-TIME VERSUS SSU
Santa Clara's two recent games versus Sonoma State were the first-ever on record between the two schools. Meagan Fulps scored a game-high 18 points in last season's 62-49 exhibition win. Fulps, Alyssa Shoji, Telisha Anderson, Lena Gipson and Lindsay Leo were the SCU starters in that game. Santa Clara shot 40.7 percent from the field, including 55.6 percent from beyond the arc. Two years ago, the Broncos dominated the Seawolves in SCU's official season-opener 73-43.

CSU BAKERSFIELD
The Roadrunners will be playing their season-opener as well Friday night. Like Santa Clara, CSUB plays a home exhibition against Fresno Pacific on Tuesday. Assistant coach Greg McCall was elevated to head coach following Tim La Kose's move to San Jose State this offseason. The Roadrunners have been terrific during the program's brief history, which began in 2001. CSUB reached the Div. II tournament in every year of its existence before moving to Div. I in 2007. They return three starters from its 22-12 squad from last season. However, CSUB was beatable on the road, going 7-8 away from home, compared to their 12-3 mark at home.

ALL-TIME VERSUS CSUB
The Broncos are 1-3 all time against CSUB and 1-1 at home - all of the games have been close. SCU's last win over the Roadrunners came in 2007-08 at the Leavey Center, the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Last season, the Broncos suffered their worst loss of the series, dropping a 66-53 decision on the road.  Alyssa Shoji and Meagan Fulps combined to score 25 of the team's 53 points last year in Bakersfield.

HEAD COACH JENNIFER MOUNTAIN
'JMO' became the eighth Santa Clara University head women's basketball coach in April 2008. Mountain led the Broncos to a top-tier finish in the WCC standings in 2010-11 and for the third-straight year won at least one postseason game at the conference tournament. Her SCU teams have showed marked improved in her three seasons thus far. Mountain 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 WCC tournament crown. "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)

STRONG FINISH TO THE 2010-11 SEASON

The Santa Clara women's basketball team climbed up the league standings in 2010-11, finishing in a tie for fourth after winning 4 of 7 WCC games at home and winning 11 games overall. Jen Mountain's team closed out the season with a 9-9 record in their last 18 games, including winning back-to-back WCC games twice and beating rival USF at the WCC tournament in March.

FINAL 2010-11 WCC STANDINGS

No. 8 Gonzaga $ (14-0/31-5)
Saint Mary's % (10-4/19-13)
Pepperdine % (9-5/18-12)
Portland (6-8/16-15)
Santa Clara (6-8/11-19)
Loyola Marymount (5-9/11 18)
San Diego 5-9/17-14
San Francisco 1-13/4-25

# Rankings by ESPN Coaches Poll
! NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
^ WNIT First Round


ALYSSA SHOJI NAMED ONE OF WCC'S BEST PLAYERS
Santa Clara University senior guard Alyssa Shoji was named a preseason All-West Coast Conference player. The final-year Bronco from Bellevue, Wash., is Santa Clara's lone senior and starting point guard who played more minutes per night (34.8) than any other player in the WCC last season. She enters her senior year needing just 60 more points to reach 1,000 for her career (only 19 players in SCU history have reached this milestone). Additionally, Shoji is on pace to become Santa Clara's all-time leader in 3-point baskets made. She's undoubtedly been one of the best shooters in the WCC over the past three seasons.

2011-12 PRESEASON ALL-WCC TEAM

Player School Yr. Pos.

Dominique Conners San Diego Sr. G
Alex Cowling Loyola Marymount RS-Jr. G/F
Natalie Day Portland Sr. G/F
Jazmine Jackson Pepperdine Sr. G
Katelan Redmon Gonzaga Sr. G/F
Kristen Riley BYU Sr.  F
Alyssa Shoji Santa Clara Sr. G

Jasmine Smith Saint Mary's RS-Sr. G
Kayla Standish Gonzaga Sr. F
ReZina TecleMariam Portland Sr. G

2011-12 WCC PRESEASON POLL

Team (First Place Votes)

Gonzaga (8) 64
BYU (1) 52
Pepperdine 50
Loyola Marymount 36
Saint Mary's 34
Portland 32
San Diego 26
Santa Clara 22

San Francisco 8

QUOTABLE
"Every year I feel like I get sharper and have a better understanding of the game," said junior Ashley Armstrong, who has proven to be one of the most productive rebounders on the SCU roster. "I think in the last two years I have become increasingly more versatile and can play a little post as well as guard. I am particularly proud of my shooting percentage and rebounding. I strive to be the solid player who makes hustle plays and smart decisions."

ESPN RANKS RECRUITING CLASS NO. 56 NATIONALLY

The Bronco program is welcoming in one of the nation's top recruiting classes, according to ESPN.com. The class includes guards Nici Gilday and Tyler Woods along with frontcourt players Vanessa Leo (sister of current SCU teammate Lindsay Leo) and Colleen Rooney.

FAVORABLE EARLY-SEASON SCHEDULE
A year ago, SCU posted a winning record against WCC teams on its home floor and tied for fourth in the league standings. The Broncos are set to begin the new season by playing five of six on their home floor at the Leavey Center. For the complete 2011-12 schedule CLICK HERE.

SCU ALUMNA LENA GIPSON SIGNS PRO CONTRACT

Record-setting Santa Clara University women's basketball alumna Lena Gipson '11 has signed a contract to play professionally in the Southern European island country of Malta. Gipson will be playing for Hibernians Medsea and former men's Italian National Team Head Coach Bruno Di Pietrantonio.

"My time at Santa Clara, as well as at the other universities that I've played at, and believing through injury, has reaffirmed the thought that through hard work and determination anything is possible," said Gipson. "Do not be discouraged, do not let yourself be deterred; if you set your mind to it you can achieve goals that you had never thought possible."

Gipson had been told that she wouldn't even be able to play recreational basketball after a major knee injury during her senior year of high school at San Joaquin Memorial near her hometown of Hanford, Calif.

WCC WELCOMES BYU
Brigham Young University has left the Mountain West Conference for the 2011-12 season, go independent in football and join the West Coast Conference in all other sports, most notably men's and women's basketball. The Cougars return seven letterwinners from a team that won its third and final Mountain West Conference regular season title and advanced to the final 16 of the postseason WNIT last season.

WCC TOURNAMENT RETURNS TO VEGAS
The West Coast Conference will return to Las Vegas in 2012 for the Zappos.com WCC Basketball Championships February 29 through March 5. The #8 and #9 seeds will compete in the opening rounds to determine who will advance to the next round of the tournament. The #5 seed will then compete against the winner of the opening round. Waiting for the winners in the quarterfinals will be the #3 and #4 seeds, who will have first round byes. The winners of the quarterfinal match-ups will go head-to-head with the #1 and #2 seeds, who will have byes through the first two rounds of the tournament. Tickets are on sale now.