Streaking SCU Broncos Host Big West Champs UC Davis Monday Night

Game Notes (PDF Format)
2011-12 Season Photo Galleries

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -
The Santa Clara University women's basketball team is 4-1 for the first time since 2001-02. Unbeaten UC Davis is up next on Monday Nov. 28, 2011 at the Leavey Center in Santa Clara. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m.

Game Notes - Nov. 28, 2011
UC DAVIS (5-0) @ SANTA CLARA (4-1)
Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 • 7 p.m.
Game #6 • Home Game #5  • Santa Clara, Calif.
Live Video | Live Stats

WEEKLY NOTES
* Santa Clara is led by fourth year head coach Jennifer Mountain
* The Broncos are wrapping up a stretch of playing 5 of their first 6 at home
* SCU is off to its best start since beginning the year 4-1 in 2001-02
* The Broncos are 4-0 at home
* All-WCC senior G Alyssa Shoji is averaging 17.6 ppg and is shooting 59.5 percent from 3-point range
* Shoji recently eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau and 200 3PT FG mark
* Junior C Ruta Zurauskyte is averaging a team-best 8.2 rpg (4.4 offensive)
* Junior G Meagan Fulps matched a career-high with 30 points and set an SCU record by making 17 FT's in the season-opening win over CSUB
* Junior G/F Ashley Armstrong made a game-winning 3-pointer with 6.2 seconds left to allow SCU a victory over Southern Utah last week
* ESPN ranked SCU's current recruiting class of freshmen No. 56 nationally
* Starting posts Zurausykte and Armstrong have filled in nicely for the departed graduate Lena Gipson, the Broncos' record-setting forward, who is now playing professionally in Europe
* SCU lost @ UC Davis 70-54 last season (Dec. 28, 2010)
* The Aggies went 24-9 last season and won the Big West Tournament title

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.

SANTA CLARA
Fourth-year head coach Jennifer Mountain and her staff has the Broncos off to a terrific start this season. After losing star forward Lena Gipson to graduation, the Broncos have seen 6-foot 4-inch junior center Ruta Zurauskyte develop into a legitimate low-post threat. Zurauskyte, the Lithuanian native, has posted back-to-back double-doubles. Her emerging play, along with junior classmate Ashley Armstrong, has complemented an accomplished group of returning guards, headlined by senior All-WCC honoree Alyssa Shoji. The Broncos tied for fourth in the WCC last March, going 11-19 overall and 6-6 at home. SCU is already 4-0 at home this season and enters the week with more wins than any other team in the WCC.

UC DAVIS

The Aggies are one of the best teams in the Big West Conference and are 5-0 on the year after beating USF Tuesday, Nov. 22. Long-time Aggies assistant coach and former standout player, Jennifer Gross, has taken over as head coach following the retirement of Sandy Simpson. Gross inherits a team that went 24-9 last season, won the Big West Tournament title and advanced into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. The Aggies have used a balanced scoring attack and a stingy defense to post wins over Washington (69-68), San Jose State (80-60) and Wichita State (62-47), among others, thus far in 2011-12.

ALL-TIME VERSUS UCD

The Broncos are 9-11 all-time against the Aggies.  However UCD is currently on a three game winning streak. SCU's last win came during the 2005-06 campaign. In the last two seasons, the Broncos have suffered losses of 16 and 18, and have struggled to find an answer to the Aggies defense.  Last year, the Broncos were forced into 34 turnovers and made only 2 of 22 three's attempted and lost at Davis 70-54.

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)

LAST TIME OUT

Alyssa Shoji scored a game-high 23 points and the host Broncos received seven second-half points from Aragon High School graduate Arteivia Lilomaiava to overcome a slow start and beat Long Beach State 73-63 Monday night.

Santa Clara (4-1) has won all four of their home games and look to make it five-straight when the team returns to action at home next Monday against Big West favorites UC Davis.

Long Beach State (1-3) scored the game's first 15 points. The 49ers had led by scores of 15-0, 17-1 and 19-3 before Shoji made the first field goal for SCU 7 minutes and 20 seconds in. However, once Santa Clara got going, the Broncos closed out the game on a 70-44 run.

QUOTABLE

"This (season start) is huge for us," said SCU head coach Jennifer Mountain following the win over LBSU. "I feel like the program is taking a turn for the best. We have been working hard as a (coaching) staff and the benefits are paying off, winning games we should win."

"Every year we have gotten better and better," said senior guard Alyssa Shoji on the state of the program. "I am so excited to have played for JMO [head coach Jennifer Mountain] and to be part of this program, which just keeps getting stronger."

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's undoubtedly been one of the best shooters in the WCC over the past three seasons.

SCU'S RUTA ZURAUSKYTE NAMED TO JESUIT HONOR ROLL
After setting new personal best's of 21 points and 13 rebounds against Southern Utah (Nov. 18) and scoring 18 with 9 rebounds against Northern Colorado (Nov. 16), Santa Clara junior center Ruta Zurauskyte was named to the Jesuit Women's Basketball Honor Roll for the week of 11/14 through 11/20.

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 have taken advantage of starting the new season playing five of six on their home floor at the Leavey Center, and bring a perfect 4-0 home mark into Monday's game with UCD.

FULPS MAKES 17 FREE THROWS - SETS ALL-TIME RECORD
Junior guard Meagan Fulps established a new SCU school record by making 17 of 20 free throws in the Broncos' season-opening victory over CSU Bakersfield (Nov. 11). The 17 makes was a new record, breaking the previous mark of 15 set by Bronco legends Melissa King '93 and Christine Silvernail '94.

PRINCETON START TIME MOVED UP TO 5:30 P.M.
The starting time for Santa Clara University's women's basketball game scheduled for Monday, December 19, 2011 against Princeton University has been moved up to 5:30 p.m. PST. The game will take place at Santa Clara University's Leavey Center, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara campus. The game was originally scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

BRONCOS INK WASHINGTON'S KATIE HAWKINS TO NLI
Santa Clara University has received a National Letter of Intent from Katie Hawkins, a 5-foot-10 guard from Snohomish, Wash. and senior at Glacier Peak High School. Hawkins can really distribute the basketball, dishing out 4.2 assists per game last season, while averaging 12.5 points. ESPN.com writes 'Uncommon size and skill-set combination makes Hawkins not only a big point guard, but a player who can handle the other perimeter positions and provide a low-post element to each. At the point, she can make all the passes, including putting the ball on a laser from 3/4 court.' Hawkins was a First Team 3A All-WesCo league honoree last season. She led Glacier Peak to a 15-11 overall record and an appearance in the 2011 Washington State tournament at the Tacoma Dome. As a sophomore, Hawkins stepped up and was instrumental to the Grizzlies run in the district playoffs.

SCU'S LENA GIPSON SIGNS PRO CONTRACT
Record-setting SCU 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, going independent in football and joining 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 MWC regular season title and advanced to the final 16 of the 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.

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