{{ article.title }}

Women's Basketball Heads to Pacific Northwest

Jan. 29, 2008

Complete Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

This Week in Saint Mary's Basketball... The Gaels will finish the first round of West Coast Conference play this week, as they travel to the Pacific Northwest to face Gonzaga and Portland. Gonzaga currently ranks first in conference play, posting a 5-0 record to start the regular season. The Portland Pilots are 2-3 in the WCC, with their wins coming against San Diego and Pepperdine. Saint Mary's split their WCC competitions last week, as they fell to USF (80-68) in their first game, but bounced back to take down the Toreros (71-63) in their second game of the week. Saint Mary's is tied with Portland in WCC standings, as both teams have posted a 2-3 record, ranking them tied for fifth with the Pilots.

This is Why I'm Hot...Senior guard, Lauren Shaughnessy, averaged 18.5 points per game last week, as the Gaels defeated USD and fell to USF. Shaughnessy was 14-of-25 over the two games, shooting an impressive 56 percent from the field. The 5-4 guard pulled down 12 rebounds, dished out eight assists, and picked up four steals in the Gaels' two games. Shaughnessy was 7-of-9 from the free throw line against San Diego, and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe in the last two minutes of the ball game, clinching the Gaels' 71-63 win over the Toreros.

Scouting the Bulldogs Gonzaga has had an impressive start to the 2008 WCC season, posting a 5-0 record in their first five games. The Bulldogs have defeated WCC opponents, Pepperdine, LMU, San Diego, USF, and Portland. Just two more foes await Gonzaga in the first round of play, as the Gaels face the Bulldogs on Thursday, January 31, while Santa Clara will have their chance at Gonzaga on Saturday, March 2.

In WCC play the Bulldogs are averaging an impressive 76.4 points per game, while shooting almost 50 percent from the field with a 45.8 percent mark. Gonzaga is out rebounding their opponents by more than ten boards a game, recording 43.8 to their opponents' 32.6 rebounds per game.

Heather Bowman is leading Gonzaga in scoring, posting 19.3 points per game. Bowman's 19.3 points per game places her first in the WCC in scoring per game. To go along with her 290 points on the season, Bowman is shooting 52.6 percent (111-211) from the floor and 80 percent (68-of-85) from the free throw line. In addition to being a point scoring threat, Bowman leads the Bulldogs in rebounding, averaging 8.6 rebounds per game.

Two other Bulldogs average double-digits in scoring, with Jami Bjorklund and Michelle Elliot tabbing 10.8 and 10.3 points per game respectively. Just shy of double-digits is freshman Courtney Vandersloot, averaging 9.8 points per outing, alongside a team high 5.6 assists per game. Vandersloot has totaled 111 assists already this season, 53 more assists than any other Gonzaga player.

Saint Mary's Versus Gonzaga Although the Gaels hold a 22-20 all-time record against the Bulldogs, they have not defeated Gonzaga in their last seven outings. Last season the eventual WCC Champions beat the Gaels in both appearances, with their last victory taking place on February 8, 78-68.

Saint Mary's last win over Gonzaga came on January 17 in 2004, as the Gaels outlasted the Bulldogs 60-48. From 1996 until 2002 Saint Mary's maintained a 14 game win-streak over Gonzaga.

Scouting the Pilots Portland currently holds a 2-3 record in WCC play and 12-8 record overall. The Pilots started the regular season with a loss to LMU, but have bounced back to defeat Pepperdine and San Diego. Most recently Portland fell to the undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs, 76-50.

The Pilots average 71.8 points per game to their opponent's 66.3 points per game. Portland has out-shot their competitors this season, posting a 42 percent mark from the field to their opponents' 40.6 percent mark. From long distance the Pilots are shooting 30.1 percent (99-329).

Portland is led by sophomore Laiken Dollente on the offensive end, recording 15.3 points per game for a total of 305 points on the year. Dollente is shooting 37.6 percent (86-of-229) from the field, 40.4 percent (40-of-99) from beyond the arc, and 90.3 percent (93-of-103) from the free throw line. In addition to her point scoring abilities the sophomore averages 3.6 rebounds per gamem, as well as tabbing 58 assists and 34 steals on the year.

Rachel Warren is the Pilots top rebounder, posting 6.7 boards a game. The senior center from Australia is just short of the double-digit mark in scoring, recording 9.9 points per game in 18 appearances. The Brisbane native is shooting 52.6 percent (80-of-152) from the floor, and 67.9 percent from the free throw line. Defensively the 6-3 center has totaled a team-high 33 blocks, while also chipping in 19 assists and 17 steals.

Saint Mary's Versus Portland The Gaels hold the advantage in the series with the Pilots, posting a 26-17 all-time record against Portland. Saint Mary's defeated the Pilots in both appearances last season, while winning the last six match-ups between the two teams. In the Gaels' last game against the Pilots, Saint Mary's was able to come out on top, defeating Portland 72-66 on February 10, 2007. The last time Portland picked up the "W" against the Gaels was on February 14 in 2004, 76-57.

The Little Giant Senior Lauren Shaughnessy is small in stature, but big in heart. The Gaels' point guard stands at 5-4, but that does not stop her from doing a big job. Shaughnessy currently leads Saint Mary's in rebounding, averaging 6.3 boards per contest. Shaughnessy is 11th in the West Coast Conference in rebounds per game, and fourth in the conference in offensive rebounds, averaging 2.62 a contest. Although she is usually the smallest player on the court, the senior uses her exceptional quickness and nose for the ball to pick up multiple rebounds per game. The senior recorded a career-high 17 rebounds against Loyola Marymount on January 19, breaking her previous best of 11 rebounds in a game.

Tomlinson Earns WCC Player of the Week (1/14/08) Louella Tomlinson led Saint Mary's to a victory over Santa Clara in its conference opener, as the Gaels edged the Broncos on Saturday, January 12, 74-71. Tomlinson continued her outstanding freshman campaign, notching her second double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds. She shot .438 (7-for-16) from the field, and also pitched in six blocks and three assists to lead the team. For her efforts the forward was named WCC Player of the Week, marking Tomlinson's first conference recognition of her career.

National Leader Freshman forward Louella Tomlinson currently leads the NCAA Div. I in blocks per game for the second week in a row. Tomlinson has battled Michigan State's 6-9 center, Alyssa DeHann, throughout the season for the first place spot, with this week being the fourth consecutive week that Tomlinson has been able to out block the Spartan. Tomlinson averages 5.2 blocks per game (21 games), while DeHann has dropped to 4.2 blocks per game (22 games).

Clutch Chambers Sophomore slasher Sierra Chambers picked the right time to heat-up against the CS Fullerton Titans on December 29. With the Gaels down 70-69 Chambers drove to the basket with 10 seconds on the clock, her basket was good with three seconds remaining, as Saint Mary's stole the game away from the Titans, 71-70. Chambers scored a career-high 19 points versus CS Fullerton, while also dishing out three assists and grabbing two rebounds. In 27 minutes of action Chambers went 8-of-11 from the floor (72.7%), 2-of-3 from the charity stripe, and 1-of-2 from long range.

Lahde Returns for Fifth Year After suffering a season ending knee injury against the Pacific Tigers on November 28, senior Maija Lahde was unsure whether she would play in a Gael jersey again.

Lahde a native of Finland took some time off to go home over the holidays, while her team traveled to Utah for two non-conference games. While in Finland Lahde spoke with family and friends, taking time to decide whether she would return to Saint Mary's for the 2008-09 season.

Fortunately for Saint Mary's Lahde recently decided to return for the Gaels next season. "My parents told me that they would support me in whatever I decided. I love it here at Saint Mary's, I love the team and the coaches, and I feel good about the direction the program is going," said Lahde.

Although the senior participated in seven games for the Gaels this season, NCAA Div. I rules allow players to get their year of eligibility back if they played in less than 30 percent of the team's competition schedule. Luckily for Head Coach Paul Thomas and the Gaels, Lahde played in 23% of Saint Mary's schedule, not including West Coast Conference Tournament action, allowing her to medically redshirt the 2007-08 season.

At 24 years old Lahde will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the young 2008-09 squad. Lahde will join juniors Jontelle Smith and Mikaela Cowles for their senior seasons.

Gael Pick Pocket Senior Lauren Shaughnessy has accumulated 42 steals this season. Shaughnessy has picked up 42 steals in 21 games, ranking fifth in the WCC in steals per game with 2.0 a contest. The senior is narrowing in on the all-time career steal record, as she needs 22 more steals to tie the record at 221 steals. With one more steal this season Shaughnessy will become just the second Saint Mary's player to reach the 200 steal mark in a career. Shaughnessy recorded 157 steals in her first three years as a Gael, and has tabbed 42 so far this season.

Record Breaking News Freshman forward Louella Tomlinson had a record breaking performance against the Fresno State Bulldogs on December 12, totaling seven blocks to improve her block count to 57 on the year. The forward's 57 blocks captured the record for most blocks in a season, destroying the previous record of 50 held by Pia Paivio. Against Alabama on December 9, Tomlinson tallied a SMC single game record 10 blocks in 34 minutes of action, breaking her previous record of eight blocks in a game. If Tomlinson can keep up her record breaking pace, she will be on target to beat the most blocks in a career at Saint Mary's, which is held by Pia Paivio at 134. Tomlinson currently averages 5.2 blocks per game, ranking first in NCAA Division I. Tomlinson's current block total this season is 109, after recording six blocks against San Diego on Saturday, January 24.

Smith For Three!!! Junior guard Jontelle Smith has been a threat from long range throughout her career at Saint Mary's. The guard totaled 106 made three pointers after her first two seasons as a Gael, and has remained on target from beyond the arc. This year the Pinole native has already knocked down 54 threes, with a 38.6 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. Her 54 threes this season boosts her total count to 160 threes in her career. The junior is just 25 threes away from breaking the record for the most three pointers in a career (185), held by Anja Bordt `91.

Smith currently ranks fourth in the NCAA Division I in three-pointers made per game and first in the West Coast Conference, averaging 3.2 a contest. The Gael guard knocked down seven three-pointers against UC Davis on December 17, breaking her previous best of five threes in a contest.

SWAT Team As a team the Gaels currently rank third in the NCAA Division I in blocks per game, posting 6.8 per contest (142 total). Freshman Louella Tomlinson leads the way for the Gaels, recording a team-high 109 blocks. Lindsay Ellis has added to the team total, posting 13 blocks, while Lauren Shaughnessy and Leanna Richey have tabbed eight and seven blocks respectively. Rounding out the block total is junior Mikaela Cowles with two and Maija Lahde, Kira Kojola, and Erika Ruiz with one block apiece. The NCAA Division I includes 326 teams from around the nation.

New Kid on the BLOCK Freshman forward Louella Tomlinson broke the record for blocks in a game, tallying eight against the Pacific Tigers on November 28. Tomlinson out did herself on December 9 against Alabama, totalling 10 blocks in the game. Prior to Tomlinson's arrival at Saint Mary's the record for blocks in a game was five, held by Pia Paivio since 1991.

Against Pacific Tomlinson did not record a block in the first half, but exploded in the second half for the Gaels. At one point in the game, Tomlinson rejected three Tiger field goal attempts in a single possession.

Lahde Named Classic MVP Maija Lahde put up two back-to-back MVP performances in one weekend, as she led the Gael's to the Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic title. The senior forward averaged 19 points and eight rebounds in two games, while also compiling six steals, five assists, and one block.

On the first night of the classic against the Yale Bulldogs, Lahde recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. The Finland native shot fifty percent from the field on 5-of-10 shooting, while also pitching in two steals and three assists. The next night out Lahde scored a game-high 24 points against Boise State. The senior forward shot 10-of-12 from the free-throw line, sealing the Gael's win down the stretch. Lahde's eight rebounds and four steals against the Bulldogs were also game highs.

Lahde was named the Concord Hilton Thanksgiving Classic Most Valuable Player for her efforts.

Shaughnessy Shatters Career-Highs Senior guard Lauren Shaughnessy played the game of her career on Friday, November 23, leading the Gaels in a 15-point win over the visiting Yale Bulldogs. The guard recorded five career-highs on the night, in points, rebounds, blocks, field goals made, and field goals attempted. Shaughnessy tallied 26 points in the Gael's win, shattering her previous career-high by nine points. The 5-4 senior out-rebounded every other player on the floor, posting a game-high 11 rebounds, while setting a new career record. Though small in stature, Shaughnessy also chipped in a career-high three blocks. Adding to her record breaking night the Washington native recorded career-highs in field goals made with 10 and field goals attempted with 17. Shaughnessy was also named an all-tournament selection for her performances over the weekend.

Lahde WCC Player of the Week (11/12/07) Saint Mary's Maija Lahde enjoyed an outstanding opening weekend to the 2007-08 season, leading the Gaels to a 2-1 record at the Basketball Traveler's Classic in Waco, TX. The senior posted solid all-around numbers, averaging 11.0 points and 6.7 rebounds through three games, and shooting .438 (14-for-32) percent from the floor. Lahde pitched in 10 points in a win over Prairie View A&M on Friday, before scoring a game-high 19 points with 12 boards in Sunday's 87-65 victory over Howard. The native of Finland was just two assists shy of a triple-double in Sunday's win.

Smith Garners All-Tournament Honors Junior Jontelle Smith earned all-tournament accolades after her stellar performance at the Basketball Traveler's Tip-Off Tournament. The 5-5 junior guard averaged 13.7 points per game, while also chipping in 11 rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Smith tied her career-high five three pointers against Prairie View in the opening game of the tournament. The junior guard went 8-of-22 from behind the arc and 13-of-19 from the charity stripe in the tournament.

Gaels in Top-10 of WCC (as of 01/29/08) Multiple members of the Saint Mary's squad rank in the top-10 of West Coast Conference statistical categories. Junior guard Jontelle Smith leads the way for the Gaels currently ranking seventh in the WCC in scoring, averaging 16.4 points per game. Smith ranks first in three-point field goals made, totaling 54 three-pointers on the year for a 3.20 average. The junior guard also ranks eighth in three-point field goal percentage, with 38.6 percent mark.

Other Gaels topping the list are Lauren Shaughnessy, Serena Benavente, and Louella Tomlinson. Shaughnessy ranks fifth in steals with 2.0 per game. The 5-4 senior guard ranks 11th in rebounding (6.3) and fourth in offensive rebounds per game, picking up 2.62 a game. Benavente ranks seventh in three-point field goal percentage, posting a 40.0 shooting percentage, and third in free throw percentage, tabbing a 81.5 percent mark. Tomlinson tops the blocks per game category, averaging 5.2, while also placing ninth in scoring (13.1).

Gael Coverage This season Saint Mary's athletics is bringing fans more media coverage for women's basketball games than ever before. All of the women's basketball games will air live on the radio at SMCGaels.com.

In addition to radio coverage, fans will have the opportunity to watch the Gaels live at any home game, via an internet streaming package available at www.SMCGaels.com. To access the live video streaming, fans must sign up by clicking on the "Gael All Access" button located in the upper right hand corner of the www.SMCGaels.com home page.

Through CSTV fans can sign-up for three different packages; $6.99 for a month of Gael coverage, $49.95 for a year of Gael coverage, or $119.95 for a year of coverage for all CSTV sponsored schools. By signing up for one of these three packages fans can watch all of the women's basketball games held in McKeon Pavilion.

Gaels Picked 5th in WCC Pre-Season The Gaels were picked to finish fifth in the West Coast Conference Pre-Season Coaches Poll. Saint Mary's returns four of five starters, including All-WCC First Team Selection Jontelle Smith. Joining Smith are seniors Maija Lahde, an honorable mention pick, Serena Benavente, and Lauren Shaughnessy. San Diego was picked to finish first in the conference with four first place votes, while Gonzaga received three first place votes.

"The Breakfast Club" Saint Mary's head women's basketball coach Paul Thomas announced the new Coach Thomas Breakfast Club schedule. The club will now meet at Roncalli Hall in the Founder's Dining Room on the Saint Mary's campus.

This is your opportunity to get the inside scoop on the women's basketball program. Coach Thomas will talk about upcoming games, and what the Gaels need to do to be successful. Player guests and door prizes will also be a part of the event. The cost of the breakfast is $5 per person and includes eggs, sausage/bacon, toast, potatoes and juice/coffee. All fans, alumni and friends of the college are welcome.

Eight dates have been set, with all breakfast times slated for 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. The first breakfast is scheduled for November 13 and will continue until the last meeting on March 4, 2008.

Coming Up Next Saint Mary's will return home to start the second round of WCC play, as they host Santa Clara on Saturday, February 9 at 7:00 PM.