Jan. 29, 2008
Thursday, January 31
LMU (11-9, 3-2) at San Diego (9-10, 0-5)8:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 2
LMU (11-9, 3-2) at San Francisco (12-8, 3-2)2:00 p.m.
Thursday's game will be televised nationwide on ESPNU with Steve Physioc and Krista Blunk calling the action. Check your local listings for channel information.
Live audio for both games is available with Angela Kiel through Stretch Internet on Lions All-Access at LMULions.com. Thursday's game will be simulcast on KXLU 88.9 FM.
The last week of the first round of West Coast Conference play is shaping up to be a monumental one. With Head Coach Julie Wilhoit on 299 career victories, a single victory will give her standing in the 300-win club. She and the Lions will have their first crack at the achievement in front of a national audience on Thursday when LMU travels south to San Diego in a game that will be televised live on ESPNU. This will be LMU's first TV game of the season and first appearance in front of the camera since last year's WCC Championship Game. LMU's three-game road trip, along with the first half of conference play, will then come to an end on Saturday at San Francisco.
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. Also check out the 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 299 wins, Wilhoit takes her first shot at 300 this week. Her breakdown includes 88 wins in five seasons at IUPUI, 33 wins in two years at Pitt-Bradford, and 178 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. The game will also be "Pack the House Night" as LMU attempts to set a new single-game attendance record.
About San Diego (9-10, 0-5 WCC)
San Diego is still searching for its first WCC victory after dropping a pair of road games last week, 66-64 at Santa Clara and 71-63 at Saint Mary's. Against the Broncos, three players scored in double figures, led by Amber Sprague's 18 points, but Amanda Rego called a timeout that USD did not have with one second left, resulting in a technical foul and a pair of free throws to give Santa Clara the win. Rego had 16 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, and three steals and Morgan Henderson added 10 points in the loss. On Saturday, Sam Child scored a career-high 18 points but was the only player in double figures.
Sprague is averaging 16.6 ppg and 8.1 rpg to lead the offense. Kiva Herman is second at 12.7 ppg and Rego adds 10.3 ppg and a WCC-best 8.1 apg.
Cindy Fisher is in her third season as head coach of the Toreros, putting together a record of 39-38. She is 98-119 overall in her eight-year head coaching career. Last season, USD went 21-9, placing second in the WCC with a 10-4 record. They were selected to the WNIT, falling to UC Santa Barbara in the first round. They return eight letterwinners and two starters.
The all-time series between the Lions and Toreros is a tight one, with USD holding a 28-24 edge. San Diego won both meetings last year, snapping LMU's nine-game winning streak. At Jenny Craig Pavilion, the Lions are 10-14, having won three of their last four trips.
About San Francisco (12-8, 3-2 WCC)
San Francisco split its games last week, beating Saint Mary's 80-68 before losing 57-50 at Santa Clara. Dominique Carter had a career-high 35 points and Heidi Heintz registered a triple-double of 17 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds to highlight the effort against the Gaels. With 21 points against the Broncos, Carter moved into ninth place on the WCC all-time scoring charts albeit in a losing effort.
Carter is the conference's leading scorer at 19.3 ppg while grabbing 6.6 rpg and shooting 55.4% from the floor. Nicolia Simmons and Shay Rollins also score in double digits at 11.8 and 11.5 ppg, respectively.
Head Coach Tanya Haave is 22-29 in two seasons at USF and already has led the Dons to more victories this year than they had in all of last season, when they went 10-21 and 3-11 for a seventh-place finish in the WCC. They bring back eight players and three starters.
LMU has won the last eight meetings over the Dons but still trails the all-time series 28-21. The Lions have emerged victorious in each of their last four visits to San Francisco, including last year's 70-64 triumph.
Last Week Recap: Team Effort Rolls Waves
Four players scored in double figures as LMU opened its three-game winning streak with its fifth consecutive victory at Pepperdine, 70-57. In a physical contest, the Lions showed great poise to maintain their composure. LMU recovered from a slow start to take a double-digit halftime lead, stretching their advantage to as many as 25 before holding off a late Wave surge. In addition to the balanced scoring on offense, LMU's defense forced Pepperdine to turn the ball over 22 times and outscoring the Waves 25-9 off those turnovers.
LMU's backcourt of freshman Renahy Young and senior Amanda DeCoud led the way with 14 points apiece. DeCoud also grabbed a career-high eight rebounds despite leaving the game in the first half after receiving a blow to the face that opened up a cut on her lip. Inside, senior Valerie Ogoke carried the load with 13 points and nine rebounds and redshirt freshman Aleyse Evans tied her career-high with eight points. Sophomore Kavita Goss came off the bench to spur the Lions' initial run, finishing with 13 points.
The magic number seems to be 70, as in LMU is 8-0 when scoring 70 or more points and 7-0 when allowing 70 or fewer. The Lions are 8-1 when leading at halftime and 8-2 when shooting better than 40%.
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 first five WCC games and averaging 16.6 ppg (fifth 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 continued to roll with 14 points at Gonzaga, 18 vs. Santa Clara, 17 vs. Saint Mary's, and 14 at Pepperdine.
For the year, Young has taken over the team lead 10.9 ppg (16th in the WCC) and has reached double figures in nine contests. She has three 20+ point performances and has led the team in scoring seven times, both of which top 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 (first in the WCC) and 14.2 offensive rebounds per game. The Lions have controlled the glass in 10 games, posting a 7-3 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, each ranking 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 14.4 rebounds per game, and each ranks in the conference's top 20. Ogoke is third in the WCC at 8.3 rpg with Evans 13th at 6.1. 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 five times and is the second scorer overall at 10.3 ppg. She is also averaging team-highs of 4.4 assists (fourth in the WCC), 2.4 steals (second), and 31.3 minutes to go along with 3.5 rebounds per game.
DeCoud has scored in double figures in a team-high 11 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 fourth in assist/turnover ratio (1.45) to rank among the leaders in four categories. She continues to climb the LMU career charts, currently in a tie for fourth place in steals (213) and in fifth place in assists (317). Barring injury, she will move into the LMU top-10 in career games played this week and tie for second in the first-round game at the WCC Tournament.
Showing Her Val-ue
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 7.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while providing a defensive presence with 35 blocks and 24 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 129 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 offensive rebounds per game (3.60), third in total rebounds, seventh in defensive rebounds (4.70), and fifth in blocked shots (1.75 per game). In conference play, she is averaging 8.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg, and shooting 48.6%.
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 20 games thus far and is averaging 8.4 ppg overall. She is a certifiable threat from downtown, making a team-high 43 three-pointers, sixth-most in a single season at LMU. She is fourth in the WCC in makes per game (2.15) and 11th in 3-point percentage (32.1%).
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 after halftime, 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, following it up with 13 points off the bench at Pepperdine.
She has raised her per-game average to 5.8 points and is second on the team with 21 makes from downtown, ranking her 15th 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 regained her starting role and been tenacious on the glass, averaging 8.6 rpg (tied for third in the league), including a career-high 15 boards against Saint Mary's, a game in which she also had eight points and four blocked shots. She has tied her career-high of eight points three times in the last four games.
Evans is second on the team in overall rebounding and blocked shots at 6.1 rpg and 0.9 bpg (both ranking among the WCC leaders) while adding 3.2 ppg in just 16.4 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 season's 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 15 games, Moore gives the Lions a defensive intensity alongside DeCoud, swiping 32 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 is still averaging 4.1 ppg and 3.3 rpg on 54.4% shooting in 12.5 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 104th with a strength of schedule of 87. 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 83rd in both assists per game and steals per game while Valerie Ogoke is 67th in blocked shots per game and 90th in rebounds per game. Lisa Helmers is 91st in three-pointers made per game. As a team, the Lions are 90th in blocked shots with 3.9 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 and 3-2 in January LMU has now registered 12 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.