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Bronco Women Begin Big Week In the Northwest

Nov. 20, 2006

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's basketball team begins a busy three-game week Monday night, starting things off on the road, taking on the Boise State Broncos Monday night at 6 p.m. Pacific time. SCU will continue its road trip Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at No. 18 BYU before returning home for the weekend and hosting the Washington State Cougars Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Leavey Center.

Tickets for Saturday's contest are available by calling (408) 554-4660 or by clicking here.

The Broncos (2-1) are off to their best start since the 2002-03, and with a win Monday could be 3-1 to start a year for the first time since 2001-02. Despite a tough 85-83 setback against Miami last Wednesday, the Broncos bounced back with a 73-54 win over Cal Poly two days later.

Guards Chandice Cronk (23.3 points per game) and Ashley Graham (17.3 ppg) lead a high-scoring Broncos offense that is second in the West Coast Conference with 77.3 points a game. Cronk has scored at least 20 points in each of the first three games this season, while Graham has scored in double-figures in each game and also leads the team with 5.4 assists a game.

Forward Ashley Gonnerman has emerged as a dual threat on the offensive end for Santa Clara, scoring 9.0 points a game while hitting on 5-of-6 three-point attempts this season, adding a new wrinkle to the SCU offense. Forward Jen Gottschalk (5.0 rpg) and guard Anna Martin (15 points, 3-for-3 from beyond the arc against Cal Poly) provide additional production to the potent Bronco starting lineup.

Boise State (2-0), representing the Western Athletic Conference, heads into Monday night's game fresh off of wins over UC Davis and Portland in the season's opening week. Four Broncos are averaging double-figures in scoring through the season's first two games, led by Jessica Thompson's 12.5 points a game. Underneath, Jackie Thompson paces BSU with 8.0 rebounds a game.

Monday's meeting, which will be an "All-Bronco" affair, will be the fourth meeting between the two schools, and the first since the 1995-96 season. Santa Clara leads the series with two victories of the three head-to-head meetings.

The 18th-ranked Cougars (2-2), out of the Mountain West Conference, have dropped their last two contests after starting the 2006-07 season with a pair of wins in the Preseason WNIT. After beating Idaho State 73-50 at home, the Cougars upset Stanford 55-52 in the second round before being knocked out of the tournament in an 84-58 loss to Baylor. BYU then suffered a 61-51 upset at the hands of Fresno State last Friday night.

Dani Wright (9.8 ppg) and Mallary Gillespie (9.3 ppg) pace the Cougar offense, while Wright and Shawnee Slade share the team lead with 5.8 rebounds a game. The meeting between the Broncos and Cougars will be only the third all-time, with the teams splitting the two prior matches as BYU captured the last meeting, in 2003-04, with a 75-63 win.

The Cougars (1-2), from the Pacific-10 Conference, got into the win column for the first time this season last Friday night with a 79-65 win over Sacramento State. Five Cougars scored in double-figures in the win, and through the first three games of the season, Adriane Ferguson and Nakejia Kelly lead the offense with 10.0 points a game, while Kate Benz controls the boards with 7.7 a game.

The Cougars lead the all-time series 3-2 over the Broncos, although SCU took the last meeting with a 76-58 win in the 1993-94 season.

Following this week's action, the Broncos will play two more games on the road, heading up to Stanford on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m., before traveling to Northridge for a 2 p.m. contest on Saturday, Dec. 2 against the Matadors of CS Northridge.