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Lions Back Home

Jan. 16, 2008

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Fans will get their first look at the Lions in the 2008 calendar year when LMU returns to Gersten Pavilion for their first home West Coast Conference games of the season. LMU hosts Santa Clara at 7 p.m. on Thursday before Saint Mary's comes to town on Saturday at 2 p.m. These will be the first home games for the Lions since seeing their seven-game home winning streak snapped almost three weeks ago.

Follow The Lions Live On The Web!
Angela Kiel and Patrick Duggan return as the voices of Lion's women's basketball on Lions All-Access this season. For the fourth straight season, all LMU women's basketball games will be broadcast live on www.LMULions.com.
Loyola Marymount University, in conjunction with Stretch Internet, is proud to present, FREE, live audio broadcasts over the World Wide Web on www.LMULions.com. Just click on the "Listen" or "Archive" link next to the game of your choice (you will be automatically directed to download QuickTime if it's not yet installed on your computer). All broadcasts will be archived within 72 hours of their original airing and will include both the pre-game and post-game shows.
All Thursday WCC games will be simulcast live on KXLU 88.9 FM.

Media Guide
The 2007-08 LMU women's basketball media guide is available for download at www.lmulions.com. Copies may also be purchased for $15 from the LMU Media Relations Office.

LMULions.com gets Facelift
Be sure to visit www.LMULions.com for all the up-to-date information on the Lions. The site recently underwent an overhaul and visual upgrade so check out the new-look LMULions.com. The site also features player diaries and photographs from LMU's December trip to Washington, D.C.

Alumni Game Scheduled for Saturday
Longing to see those great players of LMU past? Come out to the Alumni Game on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in Gersten Pavilion as the Lions welcome back many former players. The game will be followed by a reception and will precede LMU's game vs. Saint Mary's.

Wilhoit Closing in on 300
Already the winningest coach in LMU women's basketball history, Head Coach Julie Wilhoit is closing in on 300 victories in her 20-year head coaching career. With 297 wins, Wilhoit has a shot at reaching 300 sometime in January. Her breakdown includes 88 wins in five seasons at IUPUI, 33 wins in two years at Pitt-Bradford, and 176 wins in the last 13 seasons at LMU.

Lions Join Push to "Think Pink"
LMU has teamed up with the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and over 600 high school, junior college, college, and AAU teams in the "Think Pink" initiative, designed to raise awareness for breast cancer. The Lions will host their "Think Pink" event at the Gonzaga home game on Thursday, February 7. Fans who wear pink will be admitted for $2.

About Santa Clara (11-4, 0-1 WCC)
Santa Clara had its seven-game winning streak snapped on Saturday by local rival Saint Mary's, 74-71. Jen Gottschalk led all scored with 30 points, adding 12 rebounds, and the Broncos had two shots at the end to tie but came up short. Sara Majors also had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds while Tracey Walker chipped in 11 points and Chandice Cronk 10.SCU is the top three-point shooting team in the conference, sinking an average of 8.4 a game at a shade under 40%. Gottschalk is shooting 50% overall and averaging 17.1 ppg and 7.4 rpg while Cronk is right behind at 17.0 ppg. Elizabeth Doran is also in double figures at 11.3 ppg.
Head Coach Michelle Bento-Jackson is in her sixth season at SCU, compiling a record of 89-82. Last year, the Broncos went 13-17, placing sixth in the WCC at 5-9. They return nine letterwinners and two starters.
Santa Clara dominates the all-time series, 37-13, but LMU has done well of late, winning seven of the last 10 meetings. The Lions have won four in a row, sweeping the season series last year by scores of 67-52 and 65-56 before eliminating the Broncos in the WCC Quarterfinals 65-49.

About Saint Mary's (9-8, 1-0 WCC)
Saint Mary's extending its own winning streak to three with Saturday's victory at Santa Clara. Louella Tomlinson had a double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds to earn WCC Player of the Week honors. Jontelle Smith added 18 points and Lauren Shaughnessy had 15 to help the Gaels hold off the Broncos.
Four players average double figures in scoring, led by Smith's 16.5 ppg. Tomlinson is second at 13.1 ppg while leading the WCC in blocks at 5.11 per game. Maija Lahde contributes 11.3 ppg with Shaughnessy at 10.4.
This is Paul Thomas' second season in Moraga, where he has a record of 23-22. His career coaching record is 258-130. In his first season at SMC, he led the Gaels to a 14-14 overall record, finishing fourth in the WCC at 8-6. They return eight letterwinners and four starters.
Much like the Broncos, Saint Mary's has controlled much of the all-time series with the Lions, holding a 31-13 edge. LMU has won eight of the last 11 meetings, however. Each team has won on the other's home floor in each of the last three years.

Last Week Recap: LMU Splits WCC Opening Week
Following a 12-day layoff, the Lions returned to the court for the first time in 2008 to get the West Coast Conference season underway at Portland and Gonzaga. On Thursday at Portland, the Lions won their 10th straight over the Pilots with an exciting 73-71 victory. LMU shook up the lineup, giving freshmen Renahy Young and Melanie Ysaguirre the start and the duo responded, combining for six of LMU's first eight points. Young would not stop there, finishing with a game-high 20 points, including the game-winning layup with 12 seconds left. The Lions used a 14-4 run to take an 11 point halftime lead but the Pilots mounted a 24-10 spurt to tie the game at 71 with 28 seconds left. That's when Young spun into the lane and tossed in a layup from the right side to give the Lions the lead. She then stepped up on the defensive end, knocking the ball loose and forcing a turnover with three seconds left. Junior Jenna Sybesma added 18 points and sophomore Lisa Helmers had 11.
Saturday's game at Gonzaga was a rematch of last season's WCC Championship game and pitted the top two teams in the conference's early going. Young again led the way with a team-high 14 points but the Lions struggled early, missing 12 of their first 14 shots to fall behind by double digits. They never got within seven the rest of the way in an 81-65 defeat. Senior Amanda DeCoud and sophomore Kavita Goss came off the bench for 11 and 10 points, respectively.

And a Freshman Shall Lead Them
The changing of the calendar into the new year coincided with a changing of the guard on the court. Handed her first career start at Portland, freshman Renahy Young responded with 20 points, including the game-winning layup with 12 seconds left. She followed that with 14 points at Gonzaga to lead the Lions in scoring through the first two conference games at 17.0 ppg, tied for seventh in the conference. She is also seventh in field goal percentage after connecting on 57.7% of her shots through the opening week.For the year, Young is averaging 9.9 ppg (19th in the WCC) and has reached double figures in six contests, including three 20+ point performances, the most on the team. She has led the team in scoring four times, tied for the most on the squad.
Young recorded back-to-back 23-point outings in which she shot 70% from the floor against Fresno State and Cal Poly. She also had 11 points in her collegiate debut at Boise State.

Monsters on the Boards
One noticeable difference between the 2007-08 Lions and their predecessors is evident in the rebounding category. Last season, LMU averaged 37 rebounds a game and a shade under 13 offensive rebounds a game. Already this season they have bumped those numbers up to 40.8 total (fourth in the WCC) and 13.7 offensive rebounds per game. The Lions have controlled the glass in eight games, posting a 6-2 record in those contests.
A big reason for the increase has been the play of senior Valerie Ogoke and redshirt freshman Aleyse Evans. The duo is combining for 13.6 rebounds per game, and each ranks in the conference's top 20. Ogoke is leading the WCC at 8.1 rpg with Evans 15th at 5.5. But rebounding is a team effort and the Lions have seven players averaging 3.0 rebounds or more per game.

Oh, Mandy
The cog that keeps the Lion offense and defense rolling continues to be senior Amanda DeCoud. DeCoud has led the Lions in scoring a team-high four times and is the top scorer overall at 10.1 ppg. She is also averaging team-highs of 4.3 assists (fourth in the WCC), 2.6 steals (second in the WCC), and 30.9 minutes to go along with 3.2 rebounds per game.
DeCoud has scored in double figures in a team-high nine games, including a career-high 21 against Cal Poly. True to her role as a point guard, she dished five or more assists in a game nine times, including a career-high eight twice.
The reigning WCC Defender of the Year showed her all-around game at the Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Tournament, averaging 10.0 points, 5.0 assists, 3.5 steals, and 3.0 rebounds to take home MVP honors.
DeCoud is 18th in the conference in scoring and fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.40) to rank among the leaders in four categories. She continues to climb the LMU career charts, currently in fifth place in both steals (211) and assists (305).

Most Val-uable
Senior Valerie Ogoke is breaking out of the shadows of the departed Ashlee Dunlap and Jennifer Hall. Given an increased role in the guard-oriented Lion offense, Ogoke is averaging 7.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while providing a defensive presence with 30 blocks and 21 steals. She has five double-digit rebounding outings, including an LMU junior record and career-high 18 boards against Cal State Bakersfield, and two double-doubles. Ogoke is fourth all-time at LMU with 125 career blocks.
Ogoke was a key component of the Lions' wins at the Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Tournament, averaging 10.0 ppg and 9.5 rpg, including a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds in the championship game.Ogoke had one of the finest all-around games by a Lion this season against UC Irvine. She went 5-for-9 from the floor, scoring 10 points to go along with eight rebounds, six steals, four blocks, and two assists in 30 minutes.
Ogoke had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds in 34 minutes in the season opener at Boise State. She also had 12 rebounds vs. UCSB.
Ogoke is first in the WCC in both total and offensive rebounds per game (3.59), is ninth in defensive rebounds (4.53), and is fifth in blocked shots (1.76 per game).

Helmers Hits Threes
If you're looking for the biggest jump in scoring average from last season, that achievement belongs to sophomore Lisa Helmers. After averaging 1.5 ppg in 25 appearances off the bench as a freshman, Helmers is one of two players to start all 17 games thus far and is averaging 8.0 ppg. She is a certifiable threat from downtown, making a team-high 38 three-pointers, eighth-most in a single season at LMU. She is third in the WCC in makes per game (2.24) and 13th in 3-point percentage (33.3%).
After back-to-back nine point outings to start the season tied for her career-high, she topped it with 12 points vs. UC Santa Barbara, followed it with 12 more against Jackson State, and continued her roll with 16 points in the Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Tournament final. She led the Lions in scoring in both games at the tournament, averaging 14.0 ppg and sinking eight treys.
Helmers tied her career-high with 16 points, including 14 in the second half and overtimes, against Cal State Bakersfield, earning All-Tournament honors.

(Sometime) Bench Warrior
Junior Jenna Sybesma has buoyed between the starting lineup and the first post player on the bench, turning in some tremendous offensive outings. After a slow start in which she shot 3-for-10 and scored a combined six points in the season's first two games, Sybesma broke out for 98 points on 59% shooting over the next nine contests. She is tied for second with seven games of double-digit scoring.
Sybesma's streak started at Long Beach State when she had career-highs of 13 points and four steals in 22 minutes. She also had nine points in 15 minutes against Jackson State and 10 points (on 5-for-7 from the floor) at #12 Cal. She topped all of those with a new career-high of 19 points, six rebounds, and three assists at NAU. Sybesma carried the Lions that game, scoring 15 of her points after halftime, including 13 of LMU's 15 during one 10-minute stretch. She followed that with 19 more points in the win over Fresno State.
Sybesma exploded at the Hilton LAX Holiday Tournament, scoring a career- and LMU season-high 29 points in the semifinal vs. Cal State Bakersfield. Sybesma was 11-for-20 from the floor and tied the game in regulation with her first career three-pointer. She also added a career-high 14 rebounds for her first double-double at LMU. Her efforts earned her a place on the All-Tournament Team.
In the WCC opener at Portland, Sybesma had 18 points off the bench, including an improbable 25-foot banked three-pointer with over a minute to go and the shot clock winding down that helped LMU to the two-point win.Overall, she is third on the team at 9.6 points (20th in the conference) and adds 4.1 rebounds in 20.5 mpg. She is fourth in the WCC in field goal percentage at 53.4%.

Bench Warrior (Part II)
Another in the endless line of sophomore guards making an impact is Kavita Goss. She has established new career-highs for points on four separate occasions and led the Lions in scoring twice. Goss tied her career-high with nine points at Long Beach State, then tied it again with a solid 4-for-7 effort in the Ayres Hotel Tournament title game. At #12 Cal, Goss came off the bench for a career-high 12 points to lead all Lion scorers, shooting 50% from both the floor and three-point range. Goss was a bright spot at Georgetown, scoring 14 first-half points and finishing with a career-high 17 points on five three-pointers. In the first week of WCC play, Goss averaged 9.5 ppg.
She has raised her per-game average to 6.1 points and is second on the team with 19 makes from downtown, ranking her 14th in the WCC.

New Kid on the Block
Redshirt freshman Aleyse Evans has made the most of her opportunities after sitting out last season. Now coming off the bench after starting eight of the first nine games, Evans is second on the team in rebounding and blocked shots at 5.5 rpg and 0.8 bpg (both ranking among the WCC leaders) while adding 2.8 ppg in just 16.2 minutes a game. Evans has shown aggressiveness pursuing the boards, with four games of double-digit rebounds.
In her collegiate debut at Boise State, Evans tied for the game-high with 10 rebounds in just 16 minutes off the bench. That was enough to earn her first career start at UNLV. She responded with 12 boards and her second straight six-point outing. She had back-to-back 11-rebound games at the Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Tournament. At Gonzaga, Evans had one of her best all-around games with eight points and nine rebounds.

Gimme Moore
Junior Cassady Moore got off to a fast start, putting up back-to-back 12 point outings in the first two games. A knee injury sidelined her for the next five contests and she has been slow to regain form, averaging 4.9 ppg at 2.3 rpg. A starter in 11 of her 12 games, Moore gives the Lions a defensive intensity alongside DeCoud. At the time of her injury, Moore was leading the Lions in scoring (12.0 ppg) and assists (3.5 per game). Against Cal State Bakersfield, Moore had her first double-digit scoring game since the opening week with 10 points.

Freshmen No Slouches
Coach Wilhoit said they were athletic and would contribute right away and she was right. Freshmen Renahy Young and Melanie Ysaguirre have each been solid contributors in their collegiate debuts. Ysaguirre has slowed down from her blistering start when she was shooting over 60% in non-conference play but has started three of the last six games. She is averaging 4.3 ppg and 3.3 rpg on 55% shooting in just 12.5 minutes.
Ysaguirre had her break-out game at Northern Arizona, scoring a career-high 10 points on 5-for-9 from the floor that actually brought down her shooting percentage. She had a tremendous all-around performance with eight points and nine rebounds in 19 minutes vs. UC Irvine and made her first career start at Georgetown. Against Kansas State, she had six points and seven rebounds.

Vargas Out for the Year
The Lions suffered a blow on December 5 when sophomore Jessica Vargas fell awkwardly with 2:25 left. Everyone's worst fears were confirmed when it was determined that Vargas had torn her ACL and would miss the remainder of the season. A starter in six games, Vargas had back-to-back career-highs in her first two starts, scoring 11 points at Long Beach State before exploding for 17 points (and seven rebounds) in the home opener vs. UCSB. She was one of the most efficient players on the court, shooting 51.8% from the floor and pulling down 4.6 rebounds per game, including 19 on the offensive end. The good news is that Vargas should be able to petition for a medical redshirt.

Dynamic Duo
Against Cal Poly, freshman Renahy Young and senior Amanda DeCoud proved a lethal combination. Young led the way with 23 points with DeCoud just behind with 21 in the victory. It was the first time since January 31, 2004 that LMU had two players score 20-plus points in the same game (Kate Murray, 28, and Adrianne Slaughter, 20).

I Can't Drive 55
Fans who witnessed LMU's second half explosion against Fresno State saw what the up-tempo Lion offense is capable of when it gets clicking. The Lions shot 63% en route to 55 points in the come-from-behind victory. The 55 points are the most scored in a half by LMU since it put up 56 against Santa Clara on February 23, 2006.

I Love the 80's
LMU's offense took off with back-to-back 80-point performances against Fresno State and Cal Poly. It marked the first time since 2000 that the Lions had reached the 80-point plateau in consecutive games.

Is 47 a record?
LMU's 47 free throw attempts against Cal Poly was the most since going to the line 44 times at UC Irvine on November 21, 2005. As far as it being an LMU single-game record, nobody is sure. We do know that the Lions attempted 45 free throws on January 17, 2001, when they set the single-game record for makes with 34. Unfortunately, the record books are incomplete for the years before then so we're unsure if LMU attempted more than 47 free throws in any of the other games on the free throws made list. If you are reading this and know the answer, please contact the LMU athletics media relations office.

Winning Months
LMU's 4-3 mark in the opening month of play was its second consecutive winning November and eighth of the last nine Novembers that the Lions have posted a winning mark. With a 4-4 ledger in December LMU has now registered 11 consecutive months of .500 or better.

An Historic Night
Fans in attendance at LMU's victory over Cal State Bakersfield witnessed one of the greatest games in program history. In addition to being the first double-overtime game LMU has ever played, the teams and individuals combined to feature on several records lists. Among them are:
• LMU's 95 points are tied for the third-most in program history.
• LMU's 60 rebounds were the sixth-most in a game ever.
Jenna Sybesma's 29 points tied for the second-most by a junior and she came one free throw away from LMU's 10th 30-point performance.
• Senior Valerie Ogoke's 18 rebounds tied for the second-most in a game and were the most ever by an LMU senior. They were also the most by a WCC player this season.
• The 185 points scored by both teams was the third-highest combination ever, trailing only the 190 points against UC Riverside on December 1, 1981 (LMU 91, UCR 99) and the 188 at San Diego on February 21, 1991 (LMU 95, USD 93, OT)

Winning Non-Conference Slate
With an 8-7 record through the non-conference schedule, LMU posted its second consecutive winning season outside of WCC play. Under Coach Wilhoit, LMU has recorded a winning non-conference record seven times, including six of the last eight years.