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Women's Basketball Heads to the Pacific Northwest

Jan. 8, 2007

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This Week In Women's Basketball: The Saint Mary's women's basketball team (6-8, 0-1 WCC) will head to the Pacific Northwest for its first road-trip of the conference season. The Gaels will open the week against the Portland Pilots (8-9, 0-2 WCC) on January 11 at 7:05 p.m. SMC will then head further north and face-off against the Gonzaga Bulldogs (10-8, 2-0) on Saturday, January 13 at 2:05 p.m.

Last Time Out: Saint Mary's saw its four-game winning streak get snapped as it fell in the West Coast Conference opener to Santa Clara by the score of 84-71. Senior center Sheridan Arredondo recorded a career-high 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting in the loosing effort. Jontelle Smith tallied 14 points on 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.

Who's Hot: Saint Mary's senior center Sheridan Arredondo tallied a career-high 24 points against rival Santa Clara on Sunday. The Saugus, CA native shot 10-of-16 from the floor and connected on 4-of-5 free throws in 24 minutes of action. She also grabbed two rebounds, blocked two shots and had two steals. Arredondo has played well against SCU in the past, recording a previous career high of 18 her sophomore season.

Scouting Portland: The Pilots sport an 8-9 overall record and a 0-2 conference mark. UP opened conference action with back-to-back losses to Pepperdine (59-54) and LMU (54-34). In non-conference play the Pilots showcased an 8-7 record with wins over Washington State, Idaho and Pacific. As a team the Pilots are averaging 63.8 points per game while shooting 40 percent from the floor, 30 percent from three and 75 percent from the charity stripe.

Portland is led by Laiken Dollente and Rachel Warren. Dollente averages 16.5 per game and is shooting 43 percent from the floor, including 43 percent from three and 90 percent from the line. Dollente is also leading the team in conference action with 14.5 per game. Warren averages 10.7 per tilt and is the team-leader on the glass with 8.1 boards per game.

Versus The Pilots: Thursday's matchup will mark the 42nd meeting between the two programs. The Gaels currently hold a 24-17 advantage taking two victories last season. SMC won in Portland 61-45 and then took home an 89-70 win from McKeon Pavilion.

Scouting Gonzaga: The Bulldogs (10-8, 2-0 WCC) will host Santa Clara on Thursday before the Gaels come into Spokane, WA. Gonzaga is coming off wins against LMU (60-56) and Pepperdine (58-35). As a team the Bulldogs are scoring 68.1 per night and are shooting 40 percent from the floor. The Zags have hit 32 percent of their treys and 70 percent of their free throws.

The back-to-back WCC champs are led by Stephanie Hawk and Michelle Elliott. Hawk paces the Zags with 13.7 per game and 6.7 boards per contest and leads the WCC with 43 blocks. Elliott closely follows with 12.1 per night and leads the team with 89 attempts from beyond the arc where she is shooting 36 percent. Heather Bowman is also scoring in double-digits with 10.3 per game while grabbing 5.6 rebounds a contest.

Versus the Bulldogs: Saturday's matchup will mark the 41st meeting between the two programs. The Gaels hold onto a 22-18 advantage despite dropping their last five games against the Bulldogs. Before the drought, SMC rallied off 14 straight wins against GU spanning from 1996-2002.

Career Night: For the second consecutive game a Gael has recorded a career high. Senior center Sheridan Arredondo tallied 24 points to pace SMC against SCU. Last week against Toledo, sophomore guard Jontelle Smith recorded a career-high 26 points while junior transfer Mattiana Thalley tallied 18.

Fast Pace Gaels: Saint Mary's is currently second the WCC in scoring, pouring in 71.0 per game. The Gaels erupted for 100 points against Northridge in the Hilton Concord Classic and 95 against Toledo. SMC has eclipsed 70 points seven times this season, including the last six games.

Glass Cleaners: Saint Mary's has been all over the glass in non-conference action. The Gaels lead the WCC in the category with 39.7 per game. SMC also leads in offensive rebounds, pulling down 15.86 a contest. Senior forward Eghosa Obaiza is third in the league with 7.8 boards per game and leads the league on the offensive glass with 4.00 per game.

Turned Away: Saint Mary's is second in the WCC with 4.79 blocked shots per contest. The Gaels are led by Eghosa Obaiza and her 1.71 blocks a game which ranks fourth in the conference. Senior center Sheridan Arredondo ranks sixth with 1.43.

Ball Thieves: The Gaels rank first in the WCC with 11.57 steals per contest. Saint Mary's is led by junior guard Lauren Shaughnessy and her 2.93 steals per game which ranks second in the league. Obaiza ranks seventh with 1.93 steals per game. Shaughnessy is also third in assists with 4.79 helpers per game.

Paul Thomas Records First Gael Victory: First-year head coach Paul Thomas recorded his first career Division I victory with a 69-68 win over Miami. Event though Thomas has won 235 times in his 12-year career, the thrilling win over Miami marks his first as a Gael and the first for SMC in the 2006-07 season.

Gaels Ink Two Recruits: Saint Mary's women's head basketball coach Paul Thomas announced the signing of Suzie Davis (Oxnard, CA) and Leanna Richey (Brentwood, CA).

Davis preps at Pacifica High School where she is a two-time Pacific View first-team selection and all-county selection. The 5-11 guard/forward led the Pacific View League in scoring (17 ppg), rebounds (11 ppg), blocks (3bpg) and steals (3spg). Richey led Liberty High to an 18-10 overall record and a 10-4 BVAL mark. The 6-3 post is also a standout on the volleyball court earning All-BVAL accolades.

Three Newcomer Join Roster: Saint Mary's welcomes three new players to the squad in 2006-07. The Gaels welcome freshmen Lindsay Ellis, from Sacramento, CA and Kira Kojola, from Espoo, Finland, along with junior college transfer Mattiana Thalley, from Carson CA and Compton Community College.

Saint Mary's Picked To Finish Fifth In WCC: The Gaels were picked to finish fifth in the West Coast Conference in 2006-07. The Gaels finished in fifth place last year, but return four starters and bring in a new head coach in Paul Thomas. Saint Mary's received 28 points, five points behind Santa Clara for fourth. Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount were picked to finish first and Gonzaga was picked to finish third. San Diego, San Francisco and Portland rounded out the final eight.

Next Week: Saint Mary's will return home and host San Francisco and San Diego. The Gaels will faceoff against the Dons on Thursday, January 18 at 7:05 p.m. SMC will then host USD in a Saturday matinee on January 20 at 2:05 p.m.