Jan. 23, 2008
Having split its first four West Coast Conference games of the season, LMU looks to remain above .500 with a single game this week at local rival Pepperdine. The Lions and the Waves will face off at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday as the first game of a doubleheader with the schools' men's teams. When the Waves visit LMU on February 23, it will also be a part of a doubleheader but this time with the men leading off and the women following.
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.
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.
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 298 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 177 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 Pepperdine (6-11, 1-3 WCC)
Pepperdine split its home games last week, beating Saint Mary's and falling to Santa Clara. On Thursday, the Waves seemed destined for their ninth straight defeat as they trailed 29-19 at halftime but they exploded for 61 points after the break for an 80-67 victory. Teiosha George recorded a double-double with 18 points while chipping in 11 rebounds, Daphanie Kennedy finished with a game-high 22 points , and Katie Menton scored 18 points. They sustained that effort for the first half on Saturday against Santa Clara but ultimately dropped the contest, 71-66. Kennedy had 22 points, Miranda Ayim had 14, and George 10 in the defeat.
Kennedy averages 16.9 ppg, fourth in the WCC, to lead Pepperdine. Ayim is second on the team at 12.1 ppg while adding a team-high 7.6 rpg on a conference-best 56.2% shooting from the floor.
Head Coach Julie Rousseau is in her fourth season in Malibu, compiling a record of 46-68. Last year, the Waves went 14-17, placing fifth in the WCC at 6-8. They return ten letterwinners and all five starters from last season.
This will be the 55th meeting between the rivals, with Pepperdine holding a 39-15 advantage. LMU, however, has won the last three meetings and seven of the last ten, including the last four visits to Firestone Fieldhouse. They are 6-17 all-time at Pepperdine.
Last Week Recap: LMU Splits Again
LMU finally opened up its home schedule for 2008, resulting in a split of its conference games for the second straight week. On Thursday, the Lions were no match for Santa Clara, falling behind 22-4 in an eventual 81-57 loss. Freshman Renahy Young had 18 points and senior Valerie Ogoke added 17. Looking to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season, the Lions bounced back on Saturday with a tight 73-71 victory over Saint Mary's that came down to the last second, literally. Mikaela Cowles of Saint Mary's missed two free throws with 0.1 seconds on the clock as the Lions escaped with the win. Young again led the way with 17 points while senior Amanda DeCoud had 14 points and nine assists. Sophomore Lisa Helmers added 10 points and the Lions got 15 rebounds from redshirt freshman Aleyse Evans and 12 from Ogoke, with both pitching in eight points.
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. Since the first day of 2008, freshman Renahy Young has been on fire, leading the Lions in scoring in each of their four WCC games and averaging 17.2 ppg (third in the WCC) in conference play. Handed her first career start at Portland, Young responded with 20 points, including the game-winning layup with 12 seconds left. She followed that with 14 points at Gonzaga, 18 against Santa Clara, and 17 vs. Saint Mary's.For the year, Young has taken over the team lead 10.7 ppg (15th in the WCC) and has reached double figures in eight contests. She has three 20+ point performances and has led the team in scoring six times, both of which are tops 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 41.8 total (second in the WCC) and 14.0 offensive rebounds per game. The Lions have controlled the glass in eight games, posting a 6-3 record in those contests. They have grabbed 50 or more rebounds in a game four times, including 60 in the double-overtime win vs. Cal State Bakersfield and 59 in regulation vs. Saint Mary's, both of which rank in the single-game top-10.
A big reason for the increase has been the play of senior Valerie Ogoke and redshirt freshman Aleyse Evans. The duo is combining for 14.5 rebounds per game, and each ranks in the conference's top 20. Ogoke is second in the WCC at 8.1 rpg with Evans 11th at 6.2. Between the two, they have 11 double-digit rebounding games and have pulled down 10+ in the same game three times. But rebounding is a team effort and the Lions have seven players averaging 3.0 rebounds or more per game.
The cog that keeps the Lion offense and defense rolling continues to be senior Amanda DeCoud. DeCoud has led the Lions in scoring four times and is the second scorer overall at 10.1 ppg. She is also averaging team-highs of 4.5 assists (fourth in the WCC), 2.5 steals (second), and 31.1 minutes to go along with 3.3 rebounds per game.
DeCoud has scored in double figures in a team-high 10 games, including a career-high 21 against Cal Poly. True to her role as a point guard, she has dished five or more assists in a game 10 times, including a career-high nine against Saint Mary's.
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 21st in the conference in scoring and fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.54) to rank among the leaders in four categories. She continues to climb the LMU career charts, currently in fifth place in both steals (212) and assists (316).
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 7.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while providing a defensive presence with 34 blocks and 22 steals. She has six 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 128 career blocks.
Ogoke just missed her new career-high with 17 points on 7-for-8 shooting vs. Santa Clara but followed it up with eight points and 12 boards against Saint Mary's. She had one of the finest all-around games by a Lion this season against UC Irvine, going 5-for-9 from the floor and scoring 10 points to go along with eight rebounds, six steals, four blocks, and two assists in 30 minutes.
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. She also had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds in 34 minutes in the season opener at Boise State. Ogoke is first in the WCC in both offensive rebounds per game (3.53), is eighth in defensive rebounds (4.74), and is fourth in blocked shots (1.79 per game). In conference play, she is averaging 7.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg, and shooting 46.2%.
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 the only player to start all 19 games thus far and is averaging 8.6 ppg overall and 9.0 ppg in conference play. She is a certifiable threat from downtown, making a team-high 42 three-pointers, sixth-most in a single season at LMU. She is fourth in the WCC in makes per game (2.21) and 12th in 3-point percentage (33.6%).
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, she broke out for 98 points on 59% shooting over the next nine.
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 8.7 points and adds 3.8 rebounds in 19.6 mpg. She is fifth in the WCC in field goal percentage at 51.1%.
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 5.4 points and is second on the team with 19 makes from downtown, ranking her 14th in the WCC. Goss has also taken care of the ball, with her 1.07 assist/turnover ratio second on the team.
New Kid on the Block
Redshirt freshman Aleyse Evans has made the most of her opportunities after sitting out last season. Evans started eight of the first nine games before falling into a comfortable role off the bench. Since WCC play began, however, she has been tenacious on the glass, averaging 9.8 rpg (fourth in the league), including a career-high 15 boards against Saint Mary's, a game in which she started and also had eight points and four blocked shots. She has tied her career-high of eight points twice in the last three games.Evans is second on the team in overall rebounding and blocked shots at 6.2 rpg and 0.9 bpg (both ranking among the WCC leaders) while adding 2.9 ppg in just 16.5 minutes a game. Evans has shown aggressiveness pursuing the boards, with five 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.
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 and 2.6 rpg. A starter in 11 of her 14 games, Moore gives the Lions a defensive intensity alongside DeCoud, swiping 30 steals, the second-most on the team. 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 eight games. She is averaging 4.2 ppg and 3.3 rpg on 55.4% shooting in 12.3 mpg.
Ysaguirre had her break-out game at Northern Arizona, scoring a career-high 10 points on 5-for-9 from the floor. 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.
Home Sweet Home
LMU's victory over Saint Mary's was its seventh triumph at Gersten Pavilion this season, marking the program's fourth straight season of seven victories at home. The Lions are 7-3 at home thus far in 2007-08, including a five-game home winning streak from November 24-December 28. With five home contests remaining on the schedule, the Lions are in good position to post their eighth consecutive season of above-.500 home ball. For those inquiring minds, the school record for home victories is 12, set in 1989-90 and 2003-04.
LMU vs. the Nation
According to collegerpi.com, LMU is ranked 123rd with a strength of schedule of 97. The NCAA has the Lions ranked 122nd. In the national statistics, the Lions have many players in the top-100 in multiple categories. Amanda DeCoud is 71st in assists per game and 74th in steals per game while Valerie Ogoke is 62nd in blocked shots per game and 92nd in rebounds per game. Lisa Helmers is 80th in three-pointers made per game. As a team, the Lions are 75th in blocked shots with 4.1 per game.
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.
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.