Jan. 23, 2008
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's basketball returns to the Leavey Center this week to host San Diego and San Francisco in West Coast Conference action. The Broncos and Toreros tip off on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m., while SCU and USF battle on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m.
SCU bounced back from its bump in the road against Saint Mary's to post back-to-back road wins over Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine last week. The 81-57 decision helped the Broncos snap the Lions four game winning streak in the all-time series and register their first win over the Lions on the road since the 2002-03 season. On Saturday, SCU battled to a 71-66 victory over the Waves. For the weekend, Jen Gottschalk averaged 18.0 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, while Chandice Cronk posted 15.5 points per game.
The Broncos enter the week with a 13-4 overall record and a 2-1 mark in WCC action. Gottschalk continues to lead the squad in scoring (17.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.9 rpg). Cronk is second on the team in points (16.8 ppg), while Sara Majors is second in rebounds (5.6 rpg).
The Toreros enter the week with a 9-8 overall record and a 0-3 WCC mark. In its last outing, San Diego fell in a hard-fought 76-75 overtime decision to Portland at home. Amber Sprague registered her sixth double-double of the season with 20 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, while four other Toreros netted 10 or more points.
On the season, Sprague averages a team-best 17.0 points per game and 8.5 rebounds pr game. Kiva Herman is second on the team with 13.6 points per game and Amanda Rego is third with 10.2 points per game and leads USD with 8.3 assists per game.
Thursday's meeting marks the 50th contest between the Broncos and Toreros. In the series, which dates back to the 1984-85 season, Santa Clara owns a 29-20 edge. However, since the 2002-03 season, the series is tied 5-5, with USD winning the last four of five meetings.
The Dons enter the week with an 11-7 record on the season and 2-1 mark in WCC play. In its last outing, USF fell 74-70 to Gonzaga at home. Necolia Simmons tied the game-high 23 points and led her teammates with 12 rebounds. Shay Rollins added 11 points to the Dons hard-fought effort.
On the season, Dominique Carter leads USF with 18.3 points per game. Simmons is first on the team in rebounding (7.5 rpg) and second in scoring (12.7). Rollins rounds out the top three with 11.9 ppg and 26 steals.
Saturday's contest is the 74th meeting between the two teams with Santa Clara owning a 41-32 all-time record. Under the direction of Michelle Bento-Jackson, the Broncos have compiled a 10-3 record against the Dons. Last season, SCU was victorious with an 89-83 overtime win at home, while falling 64-58 on the road.
The Broncos head north next week to battle the Pilots and Zags in WCC play. Santa Clara and Portland face off on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m., while SCU and Gonzaga go head-to-head on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 2 p.m.
Senior Gottschalk led the Broncos last season with three double-doubles. This season, she has doubled that number and after this weekend has a WCC-leading six double-doubles. She has tallied double-figure points in 12 of the Broncos 17 contests this season. Gottschalk is not the lone Broncos compiling double-doubles. Tracey Walker and Majors have produced two each thus far this season.
Senior Walker nearly accomplished a triple-double in Thursday's game against Loyola Marymount. The guard registered 16 points along with a career-high 11 assists. She was just two rebounds shy of tackling the feat as she pulled down eight boards. This isn't the first time this season Walker has come close to a triple-double. In the Broncos' first game of the Great Alaska Shootout, she tallied 19 points, a game-high 10 rebounds and seven assists. Perhaps one more attempt will seal the deal for Walker and her triple-double.
Seniors Cronk, Gottschalk and Walker are no strangers to the Santa Clara career records lists as each are ranked in one or more categories. This week, Walker entered the all-time assists list. She is ranked 10th overall with 271 career assists.
The Broncos have made a great deal out of sharing the ball this season. In 8 of the 17 contest, four or more players have registered double-figure points, with one instance of five Broncos sharing the wealth (Nov. 29 vs. UCSB). In 13 of those 17 contests, three or more Broncos tallied 10 or more points.
Santa Clara juniors Elizabeth Doran, Majors and Claire Goins have all reached 100 career points this season. Doran was first to reach the mark against Alaska-Anchorage on Nov. 21. She now has 233 career points. Against Pacific, her two teammates joined her as Majors now has 182 points and Goins has 133 points. Coach Bento-Jackson is nine wins shy of reaching the 100 career victories mark. She currently owns a 91-77 record as a head coach.
In The WCC:
The Broncos enter the week tied with San Francisco for second place in the conference standings. Both teams own a 2-1 record. The Broncos continued to hold onto the No. 1 spot in the conference in scoring defense, field goal defense as well as three-point field goal percentage and scoring margin.
This week, Gottschalk moved into the No. 2 spot in scoring and the No. 1 spot in defensive rebounds. Walker's 15 rebounds this weekend helped her maintain her No. 3 spot in that category, while Cronk moved into the top 10 in free throw percentage.
In The Nation:
As a team, Santa Clara is ranked in all the statistical categories. SCU's highest rankings are:
3FG per Game - No. 3
3FG PCT - No. 13
Assists per game - No. 17
Free-Throw PCT - No. 32
Field-Goal PCT - No. 33
Won-Lost PCT - No. 39
Scoring Offense- No. 46
Individually, Cronk and Doran have earned the Broncos highest rankings. Doran is ranked No. 16 in three-point field goal percentage, while Cronk is No. 21 in three-point field goals per game.