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Win Over UC Irvine Closes Out Home Stand

Dec. 15, 2007

Box Score

Los Angeles, CA - LMU closed out a three-game home stand Saturday afternoon with a 66-54 victory against UC Irvine at Gersten Pavilion. The Lions (7-4) win their fifth in a row at home and third in a row overall while dropping the Anteaters (4-6) to their second straight defeat.

Senior Amanda DeCoud had a game-high 18 points, including making a career-high 10-of-12 from the foul line, to lead the Lions. She added four rebounds and four steals while shooting 4-for-8 from the floor. Junior Jenna Sybesma continued her solid play with 12 points and senior Valerie Ogoke added 10 points, eight rebounds, six steals, and four blocks. Freshman Melanie Ysaguirre provided a tremendous effort off the bench with nine points to go along with a career-high eight rebounds. Thanks to the efforts of Sybesma, Ogoke, and Ysaguirre, the Lions outscored the Anteaters 38-24 in the paint.

Kirian Ishizaki led UCI with a career-high 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting, including 3-for-3 from downtown. Stephanie Duda added eight points and a game-high nine rebounds.

LMU used a 19-2 run bridging halftime to turn a six-point deficit into an 11-point advantage. The Lions did it by going inside but were helped by the Anteaters, who missed eight of their first nine shots and turned the ball over eight times in the first eight minutes of the half. After missing its first three shots of the half, Sybesma gave LMU its first lead since 17:04 of the first half with a jumper at 18:22. That started a stretch where LMU made eight of its next ten shots to build its lead to 11, 44-33, with 11:58 remaining.

LMU led by as many as 12, 52-40, on a pair of free throws by DeCoud with 7:58 left before the Anteaters started chipping away. Ishizaki made a layup and followed with a three-pointer to cut it to seven but Ysaguirre got inside for a layup to restore the nine-point advantage. Rebecca Maessen scored four straight points for UCI and Ishizaki capped a 7-0 run with a three from the corner that made it 54-52 with 4:41 left. After a free throw by Ysaguirre, Kelly Cochran's jumper brought UCI within one, 55-54.

From that point on, that Lions clamped down on defense and pulled away. Two free throws from DeCoud gave the Lions a cushion, Ogoke went off the glass from the right block for a 59-54 lead and Young put the dagger in with a three-pointer to put LMU up eight with 1:46 left. Ishizaki missed the front end of a one-and-one and DeCoud made a big steal on an inbounds pass, knocking down four free throws in the last minute for the final tally as UCI went scoreless for the final four minutes.

LMU shot 50% in the second half to finish the game at 42.6% (26-for-61). The Lions were 12-of-18 (66.7%) at the free throw line and overcame an off night when they went just 2-for-13 (15.4%) from three-point range. The Lions held a 39-36 rebounding advantage, outscoring UCI 13-2 on second-chance points.

UCI shot 38.6% (22-for-57) overall, 44.4% (4-for-9) from three-point range, and 85.7% (6-for-7) from the line but committed 21 turnovers to LMU's 14.

Both teams started hot, with the Anteaters holding a slim 13-12 lead after four minutes. UCI made six of its first nine shots from the floor while LMU connected on five of ten to get the ball rolling. The pace slowed down after that as the defenses cracked down. Irvine stayed in front from most of the opening 20 minutes, growing its lead to as many as six on two occasions but the Lions kept coming.

A jumper by Haley Tull gave UCI a 31-25 lead with 2:28 remaining but that would be the last Anteater basket of the half as LMU closed out with five straight points, including three by junior Cassady Moore, to go into the locker room trailing by one, 31-30.

The win was LMU's third this season against a Big West opponent and the Lions are 3-1 against that conference this season. Since 1998-99, the Lions are 33-6 against teams from the Big West.

LMU takes off on its longest road trip of the season with a pair of games next week in the nation's capital. On Tuesday, the Lions visit #22 George Washington before playing at Georgetown on Thursday.