Road Games in Berkeley and Seattle Next for Santa Clara Women

Game Notes (PDF)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -
Santa Clara wraps up a four-game road trip with games at Cal on Saturday and at Seattle Tuesday. The Broncos recently traveled to the Los Angeles area where they split a games at CSUN and UC Irvine. SCU entered the week 6-2 and leading the WCC in scoring at 80 points per game.

Game Notes - Dec. 10 & 13, 2011
SANTA CLARA (6-2) @ CALIFORNIA (6-2)*

Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011 • 2 p.m.
Game #9 • Road Game #4  • Berkeley, Calif.
Listen Live on SantaClaraBroncos.com

SANTA CLARA @ SEATTLE (4-4)*

Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011 • 7 p.m.
Game #10 • Road Game #5  • Seattle, Wash.
Live Stats | Live Video

*Cal plays at St. Mary's Thurs., Dec. 8 | Seattle hosts Portland Sun., Dec. 11

LIVE COVERAGE
A live pay-per-view audio broadcast of Saturday afternoon's game at Cal will be available on Santa Clara's official athletics website (SantaClaraBroncos.com). John Nash (play-by-play) will call the action courtside from Berkeley. Seattle will offer a pay-per-view live video stream and live stats on its official athletic website.

WEEKLY NOTES

* Santa Clara is led by fourth year head coach Jennifer Mountain
* The Broncos began the year 6-1, the team's best start since 2001-02
* SCU is 5-0 at home and 1-2 on the road
* The Broncos lead the WCC in scoring at 80 points per game 
* Last season the team scored 61 points per game
* C Ruta Zurauskyte leads the WCC in rebounding 9.0 rpg (4.6 offensive)
* Zurauskyte named the National Player of the Week by Jesuit Basketball|
* All-WCC G Alyssa Shoji is ranks No. 3 nationally in 3PT FG per game (3.9)
* Cal is 4-0 at home, beating teams by 25 ppg at Haas Pavilion
* Freshman Reshanda Gray is leading Cal in scoring (12.5 ppg); Gray is the former Los Angeles City Player of the Year & U-18 National Team member
* It's been 10 years since SCU and Cal last met (a Bronco road win in 2001-02)
* Seattle has played 6 of its 8 games at home and has posted impressive wins over UCSB (60-5) and Long Beach State (78-49)

SANTA CLARA
The Broncos (6-2) are enjoying their best season in the four-year tenure of head coach Jennifer Mountain and the best start in program history dating back to 2001-02. SCU brought in a nationally-ranked recruiting class this offseason and Mountain and her coaching staff have developed 6-foot, 4-inch junior center into one of the top low-post players in the WCC. Senior guard Alyssa Shoji leads the team in scoring (16.6 ppg) and is making nearly four 3s each night. Shoji is on pace to break Santa Clara's all-time 3-point record. She has helped the Broncos score 80 points per night on average, which is best in the WCC. The Broncos have also been exceptional at home, going 5-0 thus far at the Leavey Center. There is no doubt the team is exceeding expectations after being picked eighth in the nine-team league in the WCC's preseason coaches poll.

CAL
The Golden Bears (6-2) continue to be a perennial postseason tournament qualifier and are currently receiving votes in the latest AP Top 25 poll. Lindsay Gottlieb, a former Cal assistant coach and former head coach at UC Santa Barbara from 2008-10, took over as the Bears head coach during the offseason. Cal has outrebounded their opponent in every game this season and ranks among the NCAA's best in that category. Cal is getting a team-high 12.5 points per game from freshman Reshanda Gray - a prized recruit from Washington Prep in Los Angeles. The team is relatively young, having no seniors on its 2011-12 roster.

ALL-TIME VERSUS CAL

The Broncos are 10-30 all-time against the Golden Bears, but have won the previous two matchups.  The last time these two teams met was in the 2000-01 season and the Broncos defeated Cal on the road 77-73.  The year before that resulted in a similar four-point SCU victory at the Leavey Center, 68-64.

SEATTLE

The Redhawks (4-4) have enjoyed quite a bit of early-season success, already notching three home wins - last season Seattle went 4-10 at home and 8-22 overall. At the moment Seattle is Independent but will play six WCC teams and six Big West teams this season. Seattle lost to San Diego 82-65 on Nov. 19 and beat USF 74-56 on Nov. 25 - both of those games were at home. Two common opponents Seattle and SCU have both already played include UC Davis and Long Beach State. The Redhawks play in the Connolly Center, a small gym with a listed capacity of 1,050.

ALL-TIME VERSUS SEATTLE
Santa Clara is 1-0 all time against Seattle.  Last year, in their first matchup on Dec. 19, 2010, the Broncos defeated the Redhawks in a 63-60 thriller at the Leavey Center.  Alyssa Shoji made two free throws with 12.4 seconds left to give the Broncos the lead and the eventual victory.  Meagan Fulps scored 21 points to lead the team and Ricki Radanovich added 11 points, which was a season high for her at the time.

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)

2011-12 WCC STANDINGS (Dec. 8)
Team (Overall)

1. BYU (7-2)
2. Santa Clara (6-2)            
T3. Gonzaga (5-2)          
T3. San Diego (5-2)
5. Pepperdine (4-3)              
6. Portland (5-4)
7. St. Mary's (4-3)
8. LMU (2-6)
9. San Francisco (1-8)

QUOTABLE
"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."

"I really felt like we didn't defend and rebound well enough, especially in that second half," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain after Santa Clara's loss at UC Irvine last week. "Being on the road and giving up close to 90 points – your not going to win those kind of games. So we talked about getting stops and clamping down defensively, but we just didn't do it, that's the bottom line."

SCU'S RUTA ZURAUSKYTE NAMED NATIONAL PLAYER OF WEEK

Following a 33-point, 13-rebound performance at UC Irvine (Dec. 3) and a 17-point effort in a victory at Cal State Northridge (Dec. 1), Santa Clara University junior Ruta Zurauskyte was named Jesuit Basketball's National Player of the Week.

Zurauskyte has been terrific this season for the 6-2 Broncos, leading the West Coast Conference in rebounding (9.0 rpg) and posting four double-doubles, which ranks 14th among all NCAA players. Her 33 points vs. UC Irvine tied for the seventh-best single-game scoring night in Santa Clara history.

"She is a very determined individual," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain in a recent interview. "I am extremely proud of her effort and the leadership role she has taken on with this team. Offensively, she has done a great job of developing her skill set and is improving on the defensive end daily. She's a shot blocker, a threat every time she touches the ball, and she has the heart to succeed."

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.

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.

BRONCOS CAPITALIZE ON EARLY-SEASON HOME SCHEDULE

A year ago, SCU posted a winning record against WCC teams on its home floor and tied for fourth in the league standings. That momentum carried over into the new season, with the Broncos winning all five of their early-season home games. Wins against CSU Bakersfield (Nov. 11), Northern Colorado (Nov. 16), Southern Utah (Nov. 18), Long Beach State (Nov. 21) and UC Davis (Nov. 28) at the Leavey Center has SCU off to a perfect 5-0 start at home and a 5-1 overall record.

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.

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.