Nov. 7, 2006
The LMU women's basketball team opens the regular season this Thursday against #4 Stanford in the first round of the Preseason WNIT. It is the second time in six years that LMU is participating in the 16-team, single elimination tournament. The Lions are coming off of a 17-12 season a year ago, and return their top two leading scorers in Ashlee Dunlap and Amanda Patton.
Offense Shines in Exhibition
Five players scored in double digits as LMU cruised to an 85-68 win over the Melbourne Roos in its only exhibition of the season. Valerie Ogoke led all Lions with 17 points and 13 rebounds with two blocks. Ashlee Dunlap picked up where she left off last season with a double double at 10 points and 10 assists. Cassady Moore had a strong performance in her first career start, scoring a career high 14 points with four assists. Amanda DeCoud had a game-high eight assists to go along with 12 points, while Amanda Patton had four three-pointers and finished with 15 points.
2006 Preseason WNIT Format
The Preseason WNIT includes 16 teams from around the nation in a single-elimination format. The field features several teams ranked among the nation's best, including Stanford, Purdue, Baylor, North Carolina State, St. John's and Hartford. Many of the teams are coming off of postseason appearances. Eight of the squads advanced to the NCAA Tournament last spring, and three others were chosen for the Postseason WNIT. Second-round games will be played on Nov. 12-13, semifinals on Nov. 15-16 and the championship is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 19. All games are played on home campuses, which are determined after each round. Should the Lions advance, LMU would face the winner of the BYU-Idaho State matchup at a site to be determined.
The Cardinal was 26-8 a year ago, advancing to the Elite Eight for the third straight year before falling to LSU in the San Antonio Regional final. Stanford is ranked #4 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and returns four starters and 10 letterwinners from a year ago. Candice Wiggins and Brooke Smith have both been named to the 25-player watch list for the Wade Trophy and both players were All-Americans a year ago.
Hey, You Look Familiar
Although LMU and Stanford have faced each other just once before (1987), one member of the LMU women's basketball team has played against Stanford. Jennifer Hall was a freshman on the Vanderbilt team that lost to Stanford at the buzzer in the Sweet 16 of the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Hall's Commodores fell to the Cardinal 57-55 when Stanford hit a three-pointer at the buzzer. The game was played in Norman, Oklahoma, and Hall played two minutes in the game, registering a defensive rebound.
LMU in the WNIT
This is the second time that LMU has been invited to participate in the Preseason WNIT. The Lions played Oregon State in the 2001 Preseason WNIT, falling to the Beavers 65-58 in Corvallis, OR. The previous season, LMU was invited to the postseason WNIT tournament, falling to UNLV 59-56 in Gersten Pavilion.
LMU fell to eventual champion Pepperdine, 59-58, in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference Basketball Championships in Spokane, WA, last March. LMU trailed for most of the second half, but cut the lead to one point with 13 seconds remaining. A pair of Pepperdine free throws made it a three point game, but with three seconds remaining, guard Amanda Patton was fouled on a three-point attempt. She made her first two free throws, but missed the third. The Lions got the ball back with 2.4 seconds on the clock, but missed the last second shot. LMU defeated San Diego, 61-56, in the first round of the WCC Championships. Ashlee Dunlap led LMU with 19 points and 15 rebounds in the victory.
LMU will participate in the Xavier Invitational next week, facing Toledo in the first round on Friday night, November 17th. LMU will take on either the host Muskateers or Western Carolina in the consolation or championship game on Saturday, November 18th. Both games will be broadcast live and free on Lions All-Access.
LMU's two seniors Ashlee Dunlap and Amanda Patton proved to have the most prolific seasons in rebounding and three-point shooting in 2005-06. Dunlap broke the LMU single season record with 295 rebounds last season, and Patton made 67 three-pointers, breaking the season-old record of 63.
Last season, LMU was a very balanced team with six different players averaging over 6.6 points per game, and five in the top 30 in the conference in scoring. LMU returns four of those six players, including its top two leading scorers and rebounders.
Lions Top Preseason Poll
For the second straight year, LMU was chosen as the favorite to claim the WCC women's basketball title in the 2006-07 WCC preseason poll, as selected by the conference coaches. The Lions, who posted a 17-12 overall record last season and a 10-4 mark in conference play to finish in third place, tied Pepperdine as the coaches' picks to win the WCC. Gonzaga finished third in the poll, with Santa Clara coming in fourth. Saint Mary's and San Diego were picked fifth and sixth, respectively, with San Francisco and Portland placing seventh and eighth.
For the fourth straight year, every LMU women's basketball game will be broadcast live on LMU's website at www.LMULions.com. This season, all Lions All-Access broadcasts will be free. Fans just need to register and they will gain free access to all LMU broadcasts. In addition to audio for all games, streaming video will be available for all LMU home games. Angie Kiel and Patrick Duggan return for the third year as the voices of the Lions to provide play by play, along with insight and analysis for every Lion broadcast. Check www.LMULions.com for more information on Lions' All-Access.