Broncos Look for a Big Road Win in Malibu

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women travel to Malibu to play Pepperdine on Saturday. The two WCC schools played just two weeks ago at the Leavey Center, with Pepperdine escaping with a 62-56 comeback victory. Tip-off Saturday in Malibu is scheduled for 2 p.m. 

Game Notes - Jan. 14, 2012
SANTA CLARA (8-8; 1-2 WCC) @ PEPPERDINE (8-8; 3-2 WCC)
Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012 • 2 p.m.
Game #17 • Road Game #7  • Malibu, Calif.
Listen Live
| Watch

GAME NOTES
* Santa Clara is led by fourth year head coach Jennifer Mountain
* The Broncos are 2-4 on the road, the Waves are 3-3 at home
* Santa Clara is the WCC's best 3-point shooting team and one of the best in the nation
* G Alyssa Shoji leads all NCAA players in 3s (3.8 pg) and 3PT % (51.3)
* SCU is 8-2 when scoring 70+ points (0-6 when scoring less than 70)
* Santa Clara is coming off a 58-41 setback to San Diego (41 points for SCU was a season-low)
* Pepperdine played at BYU Thursday night and lost 80-56
* SCU went 1-2 on its three-game WCC-opening homestand, which included squandering a 22-point lead en route to a 62-56 loss to Pepperdine on Dec. 31
* Upperclassmen G Alyssa Shoji and F Lindsay Leo combined for 26 of Santa Clara's 56 points in that game with Pepperdine two weeks ago
* Pepperdine's defense leads the WCC in steals (11.8 pg), G Jazmine Jackson (3.3 spg) and G Lauren Bell (3.2 spg) both rank among the nation's best in that category
* Santa Clara is 30-32 all-time against Pepperdine. The Waves have won seven straight in the series.

LIVE COVERAGE
A live audio broadcast will be available on Santa Clara's official athletics website (SantaClaraBroncos.com). Sam Farber (play-by-play) will call the action courtside from Firestone Fieldhouse. Additionally, Pepperdine will be streaming a free live video feed and providing live stats as well on (www.PepperdineSports.com).

SANTA CLARA
The matchup with the Waves Saturday is a big game for a Santa Clara (8-8; 1-2 WCC) team that wants to prove it has what it takes to compete with the best teams in the WCC. Two weeks ago at the Leavey Center, the Broncos used their up-tempo offense and sharp shooting to lead Pepperdine by 22 points at halftime. But the second half saw the Waves assert themselves defensively and rally for the win. SCU bounced back to put up 78 points and beat Portland, then struggled to get it going next time out against USD. The Broncos rank among the best nationally in 3PT shooting percentage (.395) and if they reach the 70-point mark the team is 8-2. If not, they are 0-6. Senior G Alyssa Shoji (16.6 ppg) has been terrific this season and will be a player Pepperdine will try to shut down on the perimeter. However, G Ricki Radanovich (8.2 ppg) has come on to post four-straight double-figure scoring games and junior G Meagan Fulps (11.5 ppg) has the ability to put up big numbers as well. SCU would love to get a pivotal WCC road win before No. 23 Gonzaga visits the Leavey Center on Thursday, Jan. 19. The Broncos will make the quick two-day trip to Los Angeles next weekend to face Loyola Marymount Saturday, Jan. 21.

PEPPERDINE
Eighth-year head coach Julie Rousseau and the Waves (8-8; 3-2 WCC) have been up and down this season, losing 3 of 4 to begin the year before bouncing back with a four-game winning streak, beating Idaho, New Mexico, Cal Poly and CSU Northridge. More recently, Pepperdine began the WCC season 3-1 before dropping a lopsided decision to BYU in Provo Thursday night 80-56. The three-guard combo of Jazmine Jackson (16.2 ppg), Katie Menton (12.9 ppg) and Lauren Bell (13.4 ppg) account for 42 of the team's 62 points per night, which makes for a fun matchup with SCU's three outstanding guards. Jackson was honored as a 2010-11 All-WCC player and voted the WCC 'Defensive Player of the Year.' The Waves qualified for the WNIT last season, going 18-12 overall and 9-5 in the WCC.

ALL-TIME VERSUS PEPPERDINE
The Broncos and Waves have been extremely competitive throughout the years, with the all-time series at 32-30 Pepperdine. However, Santa Clara has dropped seven in a row and are looking to pick up their first win against the Waves under current coach Jennifer Mountain. Both games last year resulted in double-digit losses for the Broncos, including a 91-75 setback in Malibu in the 2010-11 WCC regular season finale Feb. 26, 2011. Graduated Santa Clara seniors Kathy Willinsky and Lena Gipson combined for 44 points for SCU in that game last year at Firestone Fieldhouse.

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 (Jan. 13)
Team (WCC) Overall
1. #23 Gonzaga (4-0) 15-2
2. San Diego (3-0) 12-3
T3. St. Mary's (4-1) 13-5
T3. BYU (4-1) 15-3
5. Pepperdine (3-2) 8-8
6. Santa Clara (1-2) 8-8
7. San Francisco (1-4) 3-15
T8. Portland (0-5) 7-12
T8. LMU (0-5) 4-13

TWO WEEKS AGO
Santa Clara led by 22 at the break, but Pepperdine responded with a big second half, winning 62-56 and spoiling the Broncos' West Coast Conference opener at the Leavey Center.

The Waves opened the second half on a 19-4 run, forcing the Broncos into 13 turnovers after the intermission. The guard combo of Lauren Bell, Jazmine Jackson and Katie Menton combined for 40 of Pepperdine's 49 second-half points. Bell finished with a game-high 18.   

Santa Clara (7-7; 0-1 WCC) led 35-13 at halftime, making 15 of 27 shots in the opening period. Alyssa Shoji scored all 12 of her points in the first half while Lindsay Leo led all Bronco scorers with 14 and added seven rebounds. It was the WCC opener for a Santa Clara team that began the year 6-1 and was atop the league standings throughout the month of November.

Pepperdine (7-6; 2-0 WCC) was picked to finish third behind Gonzaga and BYU in the WCC preseason coaches poll. The Waves went 18-12 (9-5 WCC) last season and advanced into the WNIT.

SANTA CLARA'S SHOJI IS NCAA'S TOP 3-POINT SHOOTER
Alyssa Shoji, Santa Clara University's women's basketball point guard, is currently leading all NCAA Division I players in three-point shooting. The senior from Bellevue, Wash. has made 61 threes this season, shooting 51.3 percent from beyond the arc.

Her average of 3.9 makes per game ranks No. 1 nationally in the latest NCAA statistical rankings and her shooting percentage comes in at No. 1 (at this pace both would be new single-season school records). Shoji is enjoying an outstanding senior year, scoring 16.6 points per contest while distributing 3.4 assists and shooting 90.6 percent from the free throw line.

SHOJI SHATTERS ALL-TIME 3-POINT RECORD

Alyssa Shoji, SCU's All-WCC senior guard from Bellevue, Wash., broke SCU's all-time 3-point shooting record of 244 set by Chandice Cronk '08 when she made five 3s on Thursday, Jan. 5 against Portland. Shoji is leaving quite a mark on the Bronco record book, ranking among SCU's all-time top 10 in points, assists, 3s, FT% and minutes. She is on pace to establish new single-season program records in 3s and 3PT % this season. 

BRONCOS APPROACH ROAD SCORING RECORD
Santa Clara's 96 points in its 20-point win over Sacramento State Dec. 22 was a season-high and most since Dec. 28, 2005. The point-total was also the second-highest on the road in school history, approaching the all-time road scoring record of 99 set in 1991 at Portland. The 96 points was the seventh-most in school history overall.

6-1 START FOR SANTA CLARA IS BEST IN OVER 10 YEARS
Fourth-year Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain and her Broncos got off to a 6-1 start this season, the program's best since SCU went 9-0 to open the 1999-2000 campaign. The team scored over 80 points per game during that stretch, which ranked among the NCAA's leading offenses. Five of those wins came on their home floor at Santa Clara's Leavey Center.

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 SCU legends Melissa King '93 and Christine Silvernail '94.

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 posted four double-doubles this season and her 33 points vs. UC Irvine tied for the seventh-best single-game scoring night in Santa Clara history.

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.

ESPN RANKS SCU RECRUITS AMONG BEST
The Bronco program is welcoming in one of the nation's top recruiting classes, according to ESPN.com., who ranked the class No. 56 nationally. 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.

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 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
1. No. 8 Gonzaga $ (14-0/31-5)
2. Saint Mary's % (10-4/19-13)
3. Pepperdine % (9-5/18-12)
T4. Portland (6-8/16-15)
T4. Santa Clara (6-8/11-19)
T6. Loyola Marymount (5-9/11 18)
T6. San Diego 5-9/17-14
8. San Francisco 1-13/4-25

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