Taking A Shot

Boosters hit the road to support the Bronco women

Boosters hit the road to support the Bronco women
By Brian Witter

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 think that as long as we continue to get into the postseason, our reputation and alumni fan base will grow.”

“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.

post-image Boosters hit the road to support the Bronco women. Here the team celebrates its 40th anniversary.
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