Santa Clara is catching up with many of the women celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Women's Athletics. Today we look back with former Bronco women's basketball player Liz Bruno '82. Bruno owns the career mark for rebounds as a Bronco with 1,218 and is No. 16 on the Santa Clara all-time scoring list with 1,081 points. She is also the leader in free throw attempts with 549 while placing fourth in makes with 331. Bruno owns the top two single season rebounding seasons in 1980-81 and 1981-82.
Bruno recently connect with SantaClaraBroncos.com to tell about her experience as a female athlete. Below is her recollection of her time on the Mission campus.
"In my era, none of us played grammar school hoops because there were none. I played high school ball with my best friend, Penny Stack Alexander, who is now on the SCU Board of Regents. Our coach Naomi Tuite changed my life and career because of her positive affirmations while I was at Santa Clara.
We did not have a gym and played with rubber balls and a metal hoop. We both started at Santa Clara with $700 a year scholarships. We wore men's shoes and played with a men's ball. I think people forget about our time in the NorCal League. Four teams in the league, USF, San Jose State, Stanford and Cal, were in the top-20 in the nation and we beat each of them at least once.
We had 7 a.m. practice to accommodate the men's team and we had half-time meetings in the equipment room, where we stood shoulder to shoulder while the washer and dryer hummed. We drove to every game in the little red vans. If one person got the flu on the way to L.A., we all did.
Pat Malley, Carroll Williams, and the Sports Information Director, Mike McNulty mentored me with their kindness. I was the first to win the Vic Corsiglia Athlete of the Year Award, which is the only object in my home reflecting my career. My greatest achievement was winning the rebounding crown my junior year against Mary Hile, the all-time scoring leader at USF.
My two brothers and sister were at Santa Clara while I was there. My experience as a Santa Clara Athlete, as a member of a team, is reflected in my work as a therapist, imploring suicide survivors to engage in life. Positive affirmations that I learned from Naomi are imbedded in the fabric of my life and career. Santa Clara recognized me in an era dominated by male athletes and I shall always be grateful."