Nov. 7, 2007
The 2007-08 season is upon us as LMU takes to the road for its first three games, starting this weekend at Boise State and UNLV. The season tips off Friday at 5 p.m. (Pacific) when the Lions face the first of eight 2007 postseason opponents on its schedule with the WAC champion Broncos. The Lions then travel to Sin City for a Sunday afternoon meeting with UNLV.
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 home games will be available live on Gametracker through the LMU website.
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.
About Boise State (2006-07: 24-9, 12-4 WAC)
Boise State opened its season with a 76-62 exhibition victory over NAIA powerhouse Lewis & Clark State College last Sunday. The Broncos trailed 34-25 at halftime but scored 51 points in the second half and held LCSC to 28% from the floor for the win. Jamia Malone led all scorers with 21 points, including five three-pointers, off the bench while Jackie Lee and Tasha Harris had 13 and 12 points, respectively.
BSU is coming off an NCAA Tournament berth in 2006-07, having gone 24-9 overall and tying for first in the Western Athletic Conference with a 12-4 mark. The Broncos were selected as a #12 seed in the Los Angeles Regional, losing to #5 George Washington 76-67 in the first round. LMU will visit that George Washington squad in December.
Head Coach Gordy Presnell in his second season at Boise State, putting together a record of 39-24. He is 435-151 in a 20-year head coaching career. The Broncos bring back seven letterwinners and three starters.
This will be the teams' first meeting since 1989, when the Broncos posted an 81-65 victory in Boise. BSU won the only other meeting as well, 69-52 in Los Angeles in 1984.
About UNLV (2006-07: 14-15, 8-8 Mountain West)
UNLV hosted its lone exhibition on Tuesday against Dixie State, winning 94-48 after jumping out to a 15-0 lead. Four players scored in double figures, led by Brittany Hallberg's 18 points and eight rebounds. Sequoia Holmes had 14 points, Dominique Harris 11, and Shamela Hampton 10 for the Rebels, who shot 59% for the game.
The Rebels finished a game below .500 last season, posting a 14-15 record with an 8-8 mark in Mountain West Conference play, good enough for sixth place.
Regina Miller enters her 10th season at the helm of UNLV. She has a record of 167-103 with the Rebels and a career coaching mark of 227-203 in 15 seasons.
UNLV leads the all-time series 5-1, having won the first four meetings. LMU broke the slide in the most recent match-up, posting a 76-64 home victory in 2003.
Last Week Recap
LMU saw its first action of the new season last Saturday when it hosted Team Concept in an exhibition game at Gersten Pavilion. Four Lions scored double figures, led by senior Amanda DeCoud's 16 points, but the Lions fell 78-73. DeCoud's 16 points tied for the game-high while she added four assists and four steals for the Lions. Freshman Renahy Young chipped in 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting off the bench while sophomores Jenna Sybesma and Lisa Helmers added 11 points each. The Lions trailed by as many as 15 with 11 minutes left but rallied back to cut it to five in the final minute but the deficit proved too much to overcome in the end.
Senior guard Amanda DeCoud heads up LMU's returning class, which features three starters and eight letterwinners from 2006-07. DeCoud was the team's third-leading scorer at 9.0 points per game and handed out a team-high 3.3 assists per game as a junior. She was named the West Coast Conference Defender of the Year after finishing second in the conference with 78 steals on the year.
DeCoud is joined by senior forwards Valerie Ogoke and Bronwyn Evans to comprise the Lion senior class. Ogoke started 24 games last season, putting up 7.0 ppg and 5.6 apg to go along with a team-high 40 blocks. Evans brings a strong leadership presence along with her talents down low.
A third starter, junior guard Cassady Moore, also returns to give the Lions their starting backcourt intact. Moore averaged 6.4 points and was fifth in the WCC with 54 steals, providing LMU with a dynamite set of defensive guards.
The rest of Head Coach Julie Wilhoit's returners are fairly young, with junior forward Jenna Sybesma suiting up alongside sophomores Kavita Goss, Lisa Helmers, and Jessica Vargas. Goss came on strong during her freshman season, starting 14 games and hitting 22 three-pointers, second-most on the team. Sybesma gives the Lions another option in the post, while Helmers and Vargas will provide support to DeCoud and Moore.
New But Familiar
Wilhoit decided to redshirt two freshmen last season with the expectation that they will step in and contribute right away to this young team. Center Maggie Burkett and forward Aleyse Evans both provide a looming inside presence to make up for the departures of Ashlee Dunlap and Jennifer Hall. Combining with Ogoke, the trio give Wilhoit the flexibility and depth of three six-footers to rotate underneath the hoop.
Athletic. That's how Wilhoit describes her incoming freshman class. The coach has four players that she says comprise "the most athletic class we have ever had".
Two local products stand alongside a pair of out-of-state prospects. Six-foot forward Melanie Ysaguirre and 5-8 guard Renahy Young were both Street and Smith's Preseason All-Americans entering their senior seasons with Ysaguirre leading Troy HS in Fullerton to state championships in two of the last three years. Young is a multi-dimensional talent who can run at either guard position and is a tenacious defender.
Making the trip to California are 5-11 guard Lauren Wilkins and 5-10 guard Taylor Shead. Wilkins (Portland, OR) was an All-State performer at Jesuit HS, averaging a double-double in her senior season. A three-sport athlete, Wilkins was also the Metro League Player of the Year in soccer.
Shead (Plano, TX) led Plano West HS to the Texas State 5A Championship as a junior and earned all-state honors in three events as a track athlete."I look at our recruiting class as complementing our current players and helping us to raise the bar in terms of how we can compete everyday in practice," Wilhoit said. "Player for player - everyone on this team can run the floor, play a full court high-pressure defense."
In addition to the four new players, two new faces will be alongside Wilhoit on the sidelines. Brian Rosario comes to the Bluff from Cornell University, where he helped the Big Red go from last place to third in the Ivy League in two seasons as an assistant. Michelle Zylstra also spent two seasons in the Ivy League at Yale University following an outstanding playing career at Northwestern.
A third change was made on the bench as Lynn Flanagan was promoted to associate head coach as a reward for her 16 years of dedication to LMU.
Schedule Offers Top Competition
LMU's 2007-08 schedule will be fraught with tests as the Lions could face eight teams that made the 2007 postseason. The difficult schedule begins right away as LMU opens at WAC champions and NCAA First Rounders Boise State. Also slated from the NCAA Tournament are Cal (away Nov. 28), George Washington (away, Dec. 18), and Gonzaga (away Jan. 12, home Feb. 7). The Lions will also square off against WNIT squads UC Santa Barbara (home Nov. 19), Jackson State (home Nov. 23), and San Diego (away Jan. 31, home March 1). Another possible WNIT Tournament opponent looms in Kansas State.
Pair of Home Tournaments on the Docket
For the first time since 2003-04, LMU will be the site of two non-conference tournaments as the Lions host the Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Tournament and the Hilton LAX Holiday Tournament. Now in its 11th year, the Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Classic will be held November 23-24 and features Indiana State, San Diego State, and LMU's first-round opponents, Jackson State. Previous tournament champions include North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA, Texas A&M, and LMU, who won in 2001, 2002, and 2003.
LMU will also host a tournament over the winter break when the Hilton LAX Holiday Tournament invades Gersten on December 28-29. This year's lineup features Arkansas-Little Rock, Kansas State, and Cal State Bakersfield.
Lions Prove You CAN Go Home Again
The 2007-08 LMU roster features six players from outside California, four of which will get the pleasure of a road trip to their hometown this season. First up is redshirt freshman Maggie Burkett, who returns to her native Boise on Nov. 9 having claimed the Idaho Player of the Year award two years ago. Next to return home is sophomore Jessica Vargas when LMU visits Northern Arizona in Flagstaff on Dec. 2. Finally, senior Bronwyn Evans and freshman Lauren Wilkins will return to Portland on Jan. 10.
Looking Back at 2006-07
LMU's 19 wins was the third-highest win total in program history. The Lions set the mark in 2003-04 with a 24-6 record, and the 2000-01 LMU squad set a then-record with a 21-10 record. The 19 wins were highlighted by a six-game winning streak that was snapped in the WCC Championship game.
Looking Back - WCC Tournament
LMU disproved that the age old adage of beating a team three times in one season, as the Lions defeated Santa Clara and Pepperdine, both for the third time this year, to advance to the championship game. However, Gonzaga was also able to defeat the Lions for the third time this season, as the Zags downed LMU 64-47 in the WCC Championship game. Fans of LMU women's basketball might have felt that they were watching a replay of past games, as the two wins had eerily similar qualities to matchups of the past.The opening-round win over Santa Clara was remarkably similar to LMU's 65-56 win at the Leavey Center only one week earlier. LMU started out strong only for the Broncos to battle back to take a slim lead at halftime. SCU added to its lead early in the second half but LMU outscored Santa Clara 27-6 over the final 14:21 of the game, including a 17-0 run, to pull ahead for the win. Four players scored in double digits, led by Jennifer Hall, who finished with 14 points.
Saturday's semifinal win started out like the 52-35 LMU win over Pepperdine on January 20th but by the time it was over, fans were having flashbacks to last year's semifinal game against the Waves. The first half was dominated by the Lions, as they pulled out to a 21-point lead but the Waves made a comeback in the second half, finally get their offense going, to force overtime.
The overtime period was extremely tight, but again it was LMU's defense that came up with big stops. Down by two, Pepperdine got the ball back with 24 seconds on the clock, but the Lions did not allow the Waves to get a shot, and stole the ball with four seconds. Hall got the steal and made a free throw to make it a three point lead. The Waves' desperation inbounds pass was recovered by Valerie Ogoke and the Lions held on for the win. Amanda Patton led LMU with 15 points, including three three-pointers.In the championship game, it was Gonzaga that completed the season sweep, downing LMU 64-47. The Bulldogs pulled out to a 34-19 halftime lead and held off the Lions for the win. Ashlee Dunlap recorded her sixth double-double in seven games with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
DeCoud Cracks the Top 10
Amanda DeCoud moved into the LMU single season top 10 for steals, finishing with 78 swipes on the year. Her 165 career steals is good enough for ninth in the LMU career top 10.
All-WCC Awards Announced
Four Lions were honored among the West Coast Conference yearly awards. Senior Amanda Patton was named to the All-Conference team, and junior Amanda DeCoud was selected as the WCC Defensive Player of the Year. DeCoud joined Ashlee Dunlap and Jennifer Hall as honorable mention selections. LMU led all teams with four players earning honors.
Patton was LMU's leading scorer in conference action and was one of the top three-point shooters in the conference. In conference play, Patton averaged 12.6 points and 2.86 assists per game.
DeCoud is LMU's first Defensive Player of the Year since Adrianne Slaughter won the award in 2002-03. The junior guard was unbelievable on defense, leading the conference in steals in conference games, averaging 3.0 per game. In addition, she ran the Lion offense, averaging 9.3 points and 3.79 assists per game in conference play. In addition to defensive honors, DeCoud was also named to the honorable mention team.
Dunlap led the conference in offensive rebounds in conference games, and was the Lions' top rebounder against WCC teams. Dunlap averaged 8.2 points and 7.7 rebounds, and recorded double-doubles in three of the last four games of the regular season.
Hall rounds out the Lions' honorees. She led the team in scoring and rebounding overall, averaging 12.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. She was named the WCC December co-Player of the Month and earned WCC Player of the Week honors.
DeCoud Rewarded For Outstanding Week
Junior Amanda DeCoud was named the WCC co-Player of the Week for the final weekend of the regular season. She led the Lions to a sweep on the road, securing the No. 3 seed in the WCC Tournament. DeCoud averaged 14.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.5 steals per game in the two victories.
I'll Take That
Amanda DeCoud and Cassady Moore were two of the greatest thieves in the WCC, ranking first and fifth in steals in conference games. During the regular season, DeCoud averaged 3.0 per game, and Moore was close behind at 2.07 per game. For the year, DeCoud led the team with 78 steals, and Moore added 54.
A key player in LMU's sweep in the final weekend of the regular season was freshman Jessica Vargas. She entered the Santa Clara game with eight minutes to go, and was one of the main factors in the Lion comeback. Teaming with Amanda DeCoud to limit the SCU guards, the Lions outscored the Broncos 21-5 to close out the game. Vargas made two free throws to give the Lions their first lead of the second half, and converted another two down the stretch for the win. At Saint Mary's, she contributed even more, playing a career-high 26 minutes. She grabbed five rebounds, made three assists, scored three points and had a block and a steal. The emergence of Vargas was a key reason why the Lions were so successful during the second half of conference play.
52 is the Magic Number
In an interesting coincidence, LMU allowed 52 points in four of its WCC wins. The streak started with a 67-52 win over Santa Clara, then LMU followed it up with a 74-52 win at Portland. LMU won two straight with 52, picking up a 65-52 victory over San Francisco and following it up with a 63-52 win at Pepperdine.
Leaders of the WCC
When the WCC released its final regular season statistics, LMU saw its name at the top of several categories. Most importantly, the Lions led the conference in defense, allowing just 54.8 points per game. LMU allowed 52 points or fewer in seven of its 14 conference games this season, including 34 to Portland and 35 to Pepperdine. LMU also led the conference in three-point field goal percentage defense, holding teams to just 25.1%. The Lions were also atop the standings for steals, led by WCC steals champion Amanda DeCoud. LMU averaged 9.21 per game, and nearly a third of those were made by DeCoud (3.0). Ashlee Dunlap was the #1 offensive rebounder in the conference, averaging 3.57 offensive rebounds per game in conference play.
For the second straight home game, and the third time in the year, LMU limited an opponent to less than 40 points as the Lions shut down Pepperdine in a 52-35 win. It matched a program-low for points by the Waves, and Pepperdine's 13 points in the first half also matched a program-low. It was the second time this year that LMU has written its name in an opponent's media guide. LMU defeated Portland 54-34, a program-low for points by the Pilots, whose previous low was 35 points.
The 34 points allowed by LMU were the lowest since the Lions limited San Francisco to 30 points in 1987-88. Earlier in the year, the Lions defeated Long Beach State, 61-38, setting a new LMU program low by allowing just nine points in the second half.
LMU had several players ranked in the top 100 in the national statistics when the NCAA released its final stats. Amanda Patton saw her name listed three times, ranking 65th in three-point field goal percentage (35.3), 69th in three-point field goals made (2.2), and 60th in free throw percentage (83.0). Amanda DeCoud was 55th ranked in steals by averaging 2.5 per game. As a team, LMU was ranked 20th in the nation in fewest fouls committed, and the defense was 65th. The Lions were also ranked 55th in turnovers per game at 15.6.
Five different Lions earned All-Tournament team honors in 2006-07. Amanda DeCoud was named to the All-Tournament team at the Xavier Invitational. Amanda Patton and Valerie Ogoke got the nod at the LMU Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Classic. Ogoke joined Jennifer Hall to earn All-Tournament honors at the Cyclone Classic to round out regular season tournament action. Ashlee Dunlap was named to the WCC All-Tournament team.