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WCC Women's Basketball Weekly Notes - 11/6

Nov. 6, 2006

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Upcoming Games

Nov. 9
Loyola Marymount at Stanford^ - 7:00 PM

Nov. 10
Pepperdine at Texas A&M - 4:00 PM
San Francisco at Colorado - 5:00 PM
San Diego at Cal State Northridge - 7:00 PM
Utah at Gonzaga - 8:00 PM

Nov. 12
San Francisco at Wyoming - 1:00 PM
UC Davis at Gonzaga - 2:00 PM
Saint Mary's at California - 2:00 PM
Santa Clara at Long Beach State - 2:00 PM
Pepperdine at UNLV - 2:30 PM
Pacific at Portland - 5:00 PM

^Preseason WNIT

WCC Preseason Coaches Poll

Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine were chosen as the favorites to claim the WCC women's basketball title in the 2006-07 WCC preseason poll, as selected by the conference coaches. The Waves, who advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time last season after capturing the WCC Tournament title, received four first place votes and totaled 57 overall points, while the Lions garnered a pair of first place votes, and also received 57 total points to tie Pepperdine for the first place spot in the annual poll.

Gonzaga, the 2006 WCC regular season co-champion, was picked third with 53 points and received the remaining two first place votes, while Santa Clara checked in at No. 4 with 33 points after sharing the WCC regular season title and earning a bid to the WNIT last year. Saint Mary's was selected for a fifth place finish with 28 points, and San Diego was picked sixth with 24 points. San Francisco was voted seventh with 23 points, while Portland rounded out the poll at No. 8 with 13 points.

Women's Basketball 2006-07 Preseason Poll
1. Pepperdine - 57 (4)
1. Loyola Marymount - 57 (2)
3. Gonzaga - 53 (2)
4. Santa Clara - 33
5. Saint Mary's - 28
6. San Diego - 24
7. San Francisco - 23
8. Portland - 13
(First place votes in parentheses)

Around The WCC

Bay Area Welcomes A Pair Of New Coaches
Two new coaches will take the reins of Bay Area programs this season, as Paul Thomas assumes head coaching duties at Saint Mary's and Tanya Haave enters her first head coaching assignment at San Francisco. Thomas became the eighth head coach in SMC's 28-year program history after leading Cal Poly Pomona to a pair of Division II national championships in 12 seasons. An accomplished playing career and stints as an assistant coach at Colorado and Denver led Haave to San Francisco, where she takes over for legendary USF coach and player Mary Hile-Nepfel.

Two Conference Games Slated For ESPNU Broadcasts
A pair of WCC women's basketball games will be televised on ESPNU during conference play, completing the league's package of 13 broadcasts with the network for the 2006-07 season. The first contest will be on January 18, when San Francisco heads across the Bay to visit Saint Mary's at McKeon Pavilion, while the second match up features Gonzaga against Pepperdine at the McCarthey Athletic Center on February 1, with the Waves returning to the site of their 2006 WCC Tournament triumph.

Women's Basketball To Be Featured On WCC All-Access
The WCC, in conjunction with CSTV Online, will webcast select men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball, women's basketball, and baseball games for the 2006-07 season. The video streaming package, which can only be viewed on the WCC's official website WCCsports.com, will be made available for free throughout the year. Each WCC women's hoops team will be featured this season, and the women's basketball schedule will be released in the near future.

Multiple WCC Teams In The Postseason For Eighth Straight Year
For the eighth straight season, and the 11th time in the past 12 years, the West Coast Conference was represented by multiple teams in the postseason. Pepperdine captured the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament by winning the WCC Tournament, while regular season co-champion Santa Clara was selected to play in the WNIT. It marked the fourth NCAA Tournament appearance since 2000 for the Waves, and SCU's selection marked the fourth time that the Broncos have appeared in the postseason in the last five years. The Waves fell to No. 2 seed Oklahoma in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, 78-66, while SCU was defeated by Oregon State in WNIT action, 77-48.

WCC Sharpshooters Continue To Break 3-Point Records
WCC players proved dangerous beyond the arc, as several 3-point records fell last season. LMU's Amanda Patton sunk 67 treys on the year to set a program record, while Portland's Jennifer Wassom set a UP mark with seven 3-pointers in a single game. Ashley Graham set SCU's single-game record by hitting nine, and teammate Chandice Cronk shot .451 from beyond the arc last season, the seventh-highest percentage in WCC history.

WCC Tournament Heads To Portland In 2007
The West Coast Conference men's and women's basketball championships will return to the Northwest this year with Portland hosting the event for the first time since 1992. The 16th annual women's championship will take place March 1-4, while the 21st annual men's event will be played March 2-5. In 2002, the league voted to rotate the championship site regionally. This year concludes the Northwest's two-year site rotation, with the 2008 and 2009 basketball tournaments slated be held in Southern California before returning to the Bay Area in 2010 and 2011.

For the third straight season, the women's tournament will differ in format from the men's event. The women's tournament will follow the traditional 1-8 format, where the #1 seed faces the #8 seed, the #2 seed plays the #7 seed, the #3 seed battles the #6 seed, and the #4 and #5 seeds square off on the first day of the event. Following a day off, the winners are re-seeded and play in the semifinals on Saturday before the two remaining squads face off in the championship game on Sunday.

WCC Team Notes

Gonzaga Bulldogs (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- Gonzaga will be seeking its third straight WCC regular season title after winning the crown by going 14-0 in 2004-05, and sharing last season's title with Santa Clara.

- Stephanie Hawk, an All-WCC first team selection last year, returns for her senior season after leading the conference with 44 blocks a year ago. Hawk enters the campaign ranked sixth on the GU career blocks chart with 90.

- Kelly Graves begins his seventh season as head coach at Gonzaga. Graves is the winningest coach in Gonzaga program history (96 wins), and ranks first among active WCC coaches with a .603 (76-50) career winning percentage in conference contests.

- Gonzaga tips off the season at home, welcoming Utah (11/10) and UC Davis (10/12) to the McCarthey Athletic Center this weekend.

Loyola Marymount Lions (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- LMU finished the 2005-06 season in third place in the WCC with a 10-4 league mark and a 17-12 overall record. The Lions finished among the top-three in the conference standings for the third straight year.

- Ashlee Dunlap earned WCC Newcomer of the Year honors last season after pulling down a program-record 295 rebounds as a junior. Dunlap was the only conference player to average a double-double on the season (11.0 ppg, 10.2 rpg).

- Amanda Patton sunk 67 3-pointers a year ago to snap the year-old single-season mark of 63 set by former Lion teammate Rachael Ziemann. Patton ranked second on the team with 10.6 points per game last season.

- LMU will be the first WCC team to take the court this season, as the Lions head to Stanford (11/9) for a Preseason WNIT match up.

Pepperdine Waves (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- Pepperdine tied the conference record for lowest seeded team to win the WCC Tournament last season, as the No. 4 seed Waves claimed the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2006.

- Daphanie Kennedy is Pepperdine's top returning scorer, as the guard averaged 12.6 points per game en route to All-WCC first team honors last year. Kennedy was also named the WCC Tournament MVP last year after leading the Waves to their third crown in the last five years.

- Jasmane Clarendon was also tabbed for All-WCC first team honors last season, and ranked in the conference's top-10 in scoring (11.5 ppg - 9th), rebounding (6.9 rpg - 5th), and field goal percentage (.460 - 8th).

- Pepperdine opens the 2005-06 season on the road this weekend, travelling to Texas A&M (11/10) and UNLV (10/12).

Portland Pilots (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- The Pilots will look to rebound from a 4-24 overall record and a 1-13 mark in conference play last season.

- Portland's lineup will feature three Australians this season, as freshman Laura Thomas joins starters Rachel Warren and Meagan Bermingham on the 2006-07 UP squad.

- Warren paced the WCC with 1.5 blocks per game last season, becoming the first Pilot to lead the conference in blocks since Wendy Toonen in 1997.

- Jim Sollars leads all active WCC coaches with 125 career wins in conference play.

- Portland begins the 2006-07 season at home, as the Pilots welcome Pacific (11/12) to the Chiles Center this weekend.

Saint Mary's Gaels (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- Paul Thomas takes over the reins of the Saint Mary's program after leading Cal Poly Pomona to national prominence at the Division II level. Thomas won a pair of national championships in 12 years at Cal Poly Pomona, and becomes the eighth coach in Saint Mary's history.

- The SMC lineup will feature four players that earned All-WCC honorable mention honors last season. Serena Benavente, Maija Lahde, Monica Mertle, and Jontelle Smith were all tabbed for conference recognition in 2005-06.

- Smith was the conference's top freshman scorer last season, averaging a team-high 11.9 points per game.

- The Gaels begin the new season with a short trip to play No. 21 ranked California (11/12) in Berkeley this weekend.

San Diego Toreros (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- San Diego finished the 2005-06 season with a 9-19 overall record and a 4-10 mark in conference play.

- Kelly Winther returns for her sophomore season after earning WCC All-Freshman honors last year. The guard averaged 9.1 points per game to finish second on the team in scoring.

- Amanda Rego emerged as one of the WCC's top play makers last year, leading the league in assists (3.81 apg) and steals (3.57 spg) as a sophomore. Rego ranked seventh in the nation in steals per game, and set the USD single-season program record with 75 steals.

- Amber Sprague returns to the Torero squad after sitting out all of last season due to injury. The center averaged 14.5 points per game as a freshman in 2004-05.

- San Diego travels to Cal State Northridge (11/10) to open the season this weekend.

San Francisco Dons (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- San Francisco will have a new head coach for the first time in nearly two decades, as Tanya Haave enters her first head coaching assignment in place of Mary Hile-Nepfel, who resigned last spring.

- Dominique Carter looks to carry the scoring load once again for the Dons, as the junior was tabbed for All-WCC honors after averaging 13.9 points per game last season. Carter, who became the first Don since 1997 to receive WCC All-Tournament recognition in 2006, is the only conference player to earn All-WCC accolades in each of the last two years.

- Shay Rollins was tabbed for WCC All-Freshman team honors last season after leading the team in assists (2.4 apg) and 3-point field goals made (23).

- San Francisco begins the Tanya Haave era on the road, as the Dons travel to take on Colorado (11/10) and Wyoming (11/12) this weekend.

Santa Clara Broncos (0-0 / 0-0 WCC)
- Santa Clara claimed a share of the WCC regular season title last season with an 11-3 mark in conference play. The Broncos earned a bid to the WNIT, marking the third time in the last four seasons that SCU has appeared in the postseason.

- Chandice Cronk led the conference with a .451 3-point field goal percentage, which marks the seventh highest single-season clip in WCC history.

- Kasey Monteith shot a conference-best .541 (98-for-181) from the field last season, making her the first Bronco since Julie Butler in 2003 to lead the WCC in field goal percentage.

- Michelle Bento-Jackson was tabbed for WCC Coach of the Year honors after leading the Broncos to a 19-12 overall mark in 2005-06.

- Santa Clara begins the season with a road game at Long Beach State (11/12).