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Lions Advance to Championship Game

Nov. 24, 2006

Box Score

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Three players scored in double digits to help LMU defeat American University, 67-62, to advance to the championship game of the LMU Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Classic this evening in Gersten Pavilion. The Lions will face #12 Texas A&M in the tournament championship on Saturday at 4:00pm, while West Virginia will take on American in the consolation game at 2:00pm. All games will have live streaming video on Lions All-Access at www.LMULions.com.

The first half was a game of runs. LMU started the game well, pulled out to a 6-2 lead, but American answered with nine straight points to go up, 11-6 at 12:19. The Lions answered with a rally of their own, going on an 8-2 run to go up, 14-13. The Eagles responded with a 14-2 run that put them ahead 27-16 at 4:32. An LMU timeout helped the Lions score 11 straight points to tie the game at 27-27 with 1:36 remaining in the half. A jumper by Amanda DeCoud started the rally, and it was followed by a layup by Valerie Ogoke, a three-pointer by Amanda Patton, a jumper by Ashlee Dunlap and another layup by Ogoke. American's Pam Stanfield hit a jumper to give the Eagles a 29-27 halftime lead.

The stats from the field half reflected the close score, as both teams took 29 shots in the half, with American making one more basket than LMU. Both teams had three three-pointers, and AU held a slim 19-17 rebounding advantage. Patton led LMU with eight first half points, and Dunlap led all players with eight rebounds in the first half. Nicole Ryan led AU with eight points in the first half.

AU scored the first five points of the second half to open up a 34-27 lead, but the Lions chipped away and took their first lead of the second half, 37-36, at 16:32 on a layup by Jennifer Hall. LMU continued its scoring streak, adding another five straight points to go up, 42-36, at 14:20.

The Lions would never trail for the rest of the game, taking its largest lead of the game, 61-51 on a layup by Dunlap at 3:06. The Eagles did not give up, rallying with back to back three-pointers to cut the lead to four points, 61-57 at 1:12. A free throw by Ogoke put LMU up 62-57 with 25 seconds to play, but AU cut the lead to three points on a layup on its next possession. Hall made two free throws on the next LMU possession to put the Lions ahead 64-59, but a three-pointer by Liz Smith made it a two point game with 11 seconds remaining in the game.

DeCoud hit both of her free throws to make it a two possession game with nine seconds remaining. On the next AU possession, Hayes fumbled the ball out of bounds, and DeCoud made another free throw to ice the game for the Lions.

Patton led all players with 17 points and was one of three Lions to score in double digits. Hall added 14 points, while Ogoke scored a season-high 11 points. Ogoke had a strong all-around game, added nine rebounds, three blocks and two steals in the win. Cassady Moore had a career-high five assists to go along with three steals and six points.

Ryan and Hayes led AU with 16 points apiece. Hayes also added five assists and two steals.

It is the second straight weekend that LMU has advanced to a tournament championship game. Last weekend, LMU defeated Toledo in the first round of the Xavier Invitational to advance to face the host Muskateers in the championship.

LMU will face #12 Texas A&M in the Championship game of the LMU Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday at 4:00pm. The Aggies defeated West Virginia, 55-52 in the first game of the tournament. AU will take on the Mountaineers in the consolation game on Saturday at 2:00pm.