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Women's Basketball Squares Off Against Rival Santa Clara

Feb. 1, 2007

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This Week In Women's Basketball: The Saint Mary's women's basketball team (9-11, 3-4 WCC) will continue on the road as it makes the short trek to Santa Clara to face off against the rival Broncos on Saturday, February 3. The lone game of the week is slated to start at 7 p.m. from the Leavey Center on the Santa Clara campus.

Last Time Out: Saint Mary's split its two games on the road in the Los Angeles area, defeating LMU on Thursday by the score of 64-59 and dropping a tough 76-73 decision against Pepperdine. Saint Mary's showcased four players in the win against LMU while three scored 15 or more in the loss to Pepperdine.

Who's Hot: Saint Mary's senior center Sheridan Arredondo put together a solid weekend on the Southern California road trip. The Saugus, CA native tallied 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting against LMU and then pumped in a game-high 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting against Pepperdine. Arredondo nearly missed a double-double with nine rebounds in the contest.

Scouting Santa Clara: The Broncos sport a 12-10 overall record and a 4-3 mark in West Coast Conference play. SCU has split its last four conference games, earning victories over Pepperdine (69-60) and San Francisco (89-83). The Broncos dropped their last WCC game against LMU by the score of 67-52.

The Broncos are led by Chandice Cronk and Jen Gottschalk. Cronk paces SCU with 17.1 points per game which leads the conference. Cronk is shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc (76-for-170) and 45 percent (117-258) from the floor. Gottschalk averages 11.4 points per game and leads the team with 6.6 rebounds per contest. Ashley Graham also averages double-digits in points with 10.8 per night.

Versus The Broncos: Saturday's matchup will mark the 43rd meeting between the two programs and the second of the season. The Broncos hold a 26-17 overall record and won the last meeting earlier this season in Moraga by the score of 84-71. SCU has won the last five meetings between the two squads with SMC last taking a road victory in a 59-51 win in 2004.

Second Chance: The conference schedule is now on its second go-around of the season as all WCC teams will face off one more time. Saint Mary's finished the first round with a 3-4 mark, posting a 1-2 record at home and a 2-2 mark on the road.

Double-Double: Saint Mary's senior forward Eghosa Obaiza recorded her second double-double on the season. Obaiza tallied 17 points and tied her career-high in rebounds with 11 in the loss to Pepperdine. Obaiza recorded 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds earlier in the season in a non-conference win against Sacramento State.

Fast Pace Gaels: Saint Mary's is currently second the WCC in scoring, pouring in 69.6 per game. The Gaels erupted for 100 points against Northridge in the Hilton Concord Classic and 95 against Toledo. SMC has eclipsed 70 points 10 times this season, including four games during conference play.

Sharpshooter: Sophomore guard Jontelle Smith has been heating up from beyond the arc and is the hottest shooter from three during conference play. Smith is fourth overall and third in league play in 3-point field goals made with 38 and 17, respectively. Smith is seventh overall and first in league in 3-point field goal percentage with a 40 percent and 55 percent mark, respectively. Smith is second overall from the charity stripe with an 85 percent clip from the line.

Glass Cleaners: Saint Mary's has been all over the glass this season. The Gaels lead the WCC in the category with 39.7 per game. SMC also leads in offensive rebounds, pulling down 15.85 a contest. Senior forward Eghosa Obaiza is second in the league with 7.5 boards per game and leads the league on the offensive glass with 3.65 per game. Maija Lahde is fourth in offensive rebounds with 2.55 per game.

Turned Away: Saint Mary's is second in the WCC with 4.20 blocked shots per contest. The Gaels are led by Eghosa Obaiza and her 1.50 blocks a game which ranks fourth in the conference. Senior center Sheridan Arredondo ranks sixth with 1.25.

Ball Thieves: The Gaels rank second in the WCC with 10.15 steals per contest. Saint Mary's is led by junior guard Lauren Shaughnessy and her 2.68 steals per game which is second in the league. Obaiza ranks ninth with 1.60 steals per game.

Helping Out: Saint Mary's junior guard Lauren Shaughnessy is second in the WCC in assists with 5.11 helpers per game. Shaugnessy has kept good care of the ball as well as her 2.77 assists/turnover ratio leads the league overall and her 5.00 ratio paces the league during WCC play.

Paul Thomas Records First WCC Victory: First-year head coach Paul Thomas recorded his first career West Coast Conference victory with a 74-53 win over Portland. Thomas earned his first Division I victory in a 69-68 win over Miami. Even though Thomas has won 235 times in his 12-year career, the thrilling win over Miami marks his first as a Gael and the first for SMC in the 2006-07 season.

Gaels Ink Two Recruits: Saint Mary's women's head basketball coach Paul Thomas announced the signing of Suzie Davis (Oxnard, CA) and Leanna Richey (Brentwood, CA).

Davis preps at Pacifica High School where she is a two-time Pacific View first-team selection and all-county selection. The 5-11 guard/forward led the Pacific View League in scoring (17 ppg), rebounds (11 ppg), blocks (3bpg) and steals (3spg). Richey led Liberty High to an 18-10 overall record and a 10-4 BVAL mark. The 6-3 post is also a standout on the volleyball court earning All-BVAL accolades.

Three Newcomer Join Roster: Saint Mary's welcomes three new players to the squad in 2006-07. The Gaels welcome freshmen Lindsay Ellis, from Sacramento, CA and Kira Kojola, from Espoo, Finland, along with junior college transfer Mattiana Thalley, from Carson CA and Compton Community College.

Saint Mary's Picked To Finish Fifth In WCC: The Gaels were picked to finish fifth in the West Coast Conference in 2006-07. The Gaels finished in fifth place last year, but return four starters and bring in a new head coach in Paul Thomas. Saint Mary's received 28 points, five points behind Santa Clara for fourth. Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount were picked to finish first and Gonzaga was picked to finish third. San Diego, San Francisco and Portland rounded out the final eight.

Next Week: Saint Mary's will return home and host Gonzaga and Portland. The Gaels will open the week on Thursday, February 8 at 7 p.m. against WCC leader Gonzaga. SMC will then host Portland on Saturday, February 10 at 2 p.m. Both games will be played in McKeon Pavilion.