Women’s hoops squad makes NCAA’s
Santa Clara women’s basketball advanced to the NCAA Championships for the sixth time in program history by defeating No. 23 Gonzaga 77-66 in the West Coast Conference championship game. In the NCAA regional tournament at Fresno State University’s Save Mart Center, the 15th seeded Broncos lost 94-57 to second seeded Stanford, which also was the No. 1 team in the nation. The Broncos finished their season with a 17-14 overall record and averaged almost nine three-pointers per contest, ranking third best nationally.
Men’s hoops program among greatest ever
Santa Clara University men’s basketball was recently named one of the top 100 greatest college basketball programs of all time in a publication produced by Street & Smith’s. The Broncos were ranked 72nd among the 100 programs and were one of four West Coast Conference teams represented in the listings. The publication hit newsstands on January 25.
Davey receives contract extension
Men’s basketball coach Dick Davey, who has won 217 games in 13 seasons at SCU, received a contract extension in March. “Dick is a terrific person and an outstanding coach and mentor who has represented Santa Clara University with a high degree of class, style, and loyalty,” said Director of Athletics and Recreation Dan Coonan. “He has a track record of recruiting the type of student-athlete who excels in the classroom and on the basketball court. Dick has been one of Santa Clara University’s top ambassadors for more than 28 years. I’m really thrilled that he will remain our basketball coach and I’m confident that our program will remain in a position to compete for championships on an annual basis.” The Broncos were 15-16 this season, which ended with a 69-64 loss to St. Mary’s in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference tournament. Davey joined the basketball staff in 1977 as an assistant to Carroll Williams. He became the head coach in the fall of 1992 when Williams resigned to become the school’s director of athletics. Davey is the third-longest tenured coach among Division I institutions in the state of California and the longest tenured in the West Coast Conference. His 107 league wins are the third most in WCC history and the most among active coaches in the conference.
Broncos win Rivalry Series over San Jose State
Santa Clara recently won the Rivalry Series with San Jose State for the third straight year. The Broncos defeated the Spartans in men’s cross-country, soccer, basketball, and baseball. SCU also beat San Jose State in volleyball, and in women’s soccer, basketball, and tennis.
Santa Clara remains atop Commissioner Cup standings
The Broncos continued to lead the WCC Commissioner’s Cup standings after the completion of the winter season. The Commissioner’s Cup is an all-sports award presented at the end of each academic year to the league’s top performing school in conference play. A men’s and women’s All-Sports Award, recognizing athletic achievement within each gender, will also be presented. The Broncos vaulted to the lead in part to third-place finishes in the league’s regular season standings in both men’s and women’s basketball.
Boosters hit the road to support the Bronco women
It was a long road ahead for both the women’s basketball team and its fans. The upstart team had to battle No. 2-seeded Stanford in a first-round NCAA playoff game. The fans had to travel nearly three hours to Fresno to watch their scrappy 15th-seeded Broncos try to upset the nation’s top team.
But in the bus that the athletic department chartered for those fans, hope was in the air among the Santa Clara students, parents, and alumni.
“A certain characteristic of Santa Clara basketball is that we have a history of remarkable upsets,” said Zig Wiedemann ’70. “That goes especially for a No. 15 seed defeating a No. 2 seed in the first round of the NCAAs, as I don’t think anyone will forget when the men beat Arizona a while back.”
The fact that the team had made it to the tournament at all was quite a surprise. After defeating No. 24 Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference championship game, the Broncos earned their first NCAA berth since 2002. The drive from Santa Clara to Fresno State University’s Save Mart Center did not offer passengers a great deal in terms of scenery, but it gave them time to talk basketball—and to hope. It soon became apparent that the majority of the devotees wearing school colors were the most diehard of Bronco fans. From rambling off statistics to calling the players by their first names as if they were mere acquaintances, these fans obviously knew the team they were traveling to watch very well.
“I love basketball and try to go to as many games as I can during the regular season,” said law school alumnus and self-described rabid booster Chris Beraldo J.D. ’81.“I almost feel as if the girls on the team are my own, and it’s especially exciting this time around since I brought my father, who went to Santa Clara, and my mother, who went to Stanford, along with me,”
The pre-game reception, hosted by the Alumni Association at John’s New England Pizza and Pasta across the street from the arena allowed fans who arrived by bus as well as other supporters who came on their own an opportunity to meet and talk about the upcoming game. All, including some alumni who had attended Santa Clara before women had been accepted as students at the school, kept a healthy level of optimism throughout the evening.
Another Santa Clara surprise was not to be that evening, however, as the Broncos were routed by the nation’s No.1 team 94-57. The Broncos performed well in the first half, even leading the game at one point, but after a 31-3 run to start the second half, Stanford became too much to handle.
The bus ride back to campus was not completely somber, however, as most of the fans who made the trip said they were proud of the fact that they had been able to watch their team compete on a national level.
“I think that as long as we continue to get into the postseason, our reputation and alumni fan base will grow,” said Vince Aronerich ’67, J.D. ’70. “This may just have been the beginning of something great.”
—Brian Witter is a staff writer for The Santa Clara, SCU’s student newspaper.