{{ article.title }}

Women's Hoops Hosts Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic

Nov. 21, 2007

This Week in Saint Mary's Basketball...Saint Mary's women's basketball will host the Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic this weekend, as Yale, Boise State, and CS Bakersfield travel to Moraga to make up this year's tournament field. The 2007-08 season marks the 10th consecutive year that SMC women's basketball will host a Thanksgiving tournament. The tradition began in 1998 when the Gaels put together the Walnut Creek Thanksgiving Classic. In the first year of the tournament's existence, Saint Mary's recorded two wins, defeating Colgate and Morgan State. Last season the Gaels posted a 1-1 record, recording an overtime win over CSU Northrdige (100-91), and then falling to Missouri in the tournament finale (79-64). The Gaels are 12-6 overall while hosting thier Thanksgiving tournaments.

This year the Gaels will face Yale in their opening game of the tournament on Friday, November 23 at 7:05 PM. Boise State and CS Bakersfield will play in the first game of the day, with tip-off scheduled for 5:05 PM on November 23. Saint Mary's will then face either Boise State or CS Bakersfield on Saturday, November 24 at 7:05 PM in the tournament's final game.

Scouting the BulldogsYale has faced two ranked opponents so far this season, losing to #7/8 Stanford (100-44) and #14/15 Arizona State (84-38). The Bulldogs average 41 points, 28.5 rebounds, and 23% field goal percentage as a team.

Leading Yale in scoring is Jamie Van Horn of Healdsburg, CA. The junior guard is currently averaging a team-high 12.0 points and 31 minutes per game. Melissa Colborne is next on the list for the Bulldogs, with an average of 8.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 29 minutes. The sophomore utility player can fill both the guard and forward position, and was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year following the 2006-07 season. Two freshman round out this list at the forward position in, Lindsey Williams and Mady Gobrecht. Williams is averaging 8.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 21 minutes in her freshman campaign. Gobrecht, daughter of head coach Chris Gobrecht, averages 6.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 27 minutes per contest. The 6-2 forward has also recorded three assists and three blocks on the season.

Yale finished their 2006-07 season with a 12-16 overall record. The Bulldogs posted a 5-9 record in the Ivy League, placing them sixth overall. 12 letter winners return to the 2007-08 squad, as the team only lost two seniors from last year.

Saint Mary's Versus YaleFriday's game in the Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic marks the first time in Saint Mary's history that the two teams have faced each other.

Scouting the BroncosThe Broncos have started the 2007-08 season with a 2-1 record. Boise State won their first two games of the year, defeating Loyola Marymount and Montana at home. Against Loyola Marymount the Broncos won 71-67 and defeated Montana 70-64 the same weekend. Boise State's first loss of the season came on the road against West Coast Conference member Santa Clara on November, 17 by a score of 73-51.

Colorado native Tasha Harris leads the team with an average of 18.7 points, while also adding 3.7 rebounds, 1.66 assists, and 1.00 steals per game. The junior guard is currently shooting 47.6 percent from the floor, and is 12-of-17 from the free-throw line. The Broncos best all-around player is Jessica Thompson. Thompson, a junior from Temecula, CA has recorded 14.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 4.0 steals per game. Last season Thompson was named the Western Athletic Conference Tournament MVP, All-WAC First Team, and WAC Player of the Week twice. On the boards for Boise State is junior forward Rebecca Kepilino. The Costa Mesa local has pulled down 24 total rebounds in three games, averaging 8.0 rebounds a contest. Kepilino also averages 8.0 points and 24 minutes per game.

Last season the Broncos finished with a 24-9 overall record and a first place finish in the Western Athletic Conference. The first place finish gave the Broncos an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, where the team fell to George Washington 76-67 in the first round. Boise State lost three starters from their 2006-07 campaign, while adding four freshmen to the roster.

Saint Mary's Versus Boise StateThe Gaels are 2-2 in the series versus Boise State. The last time the two teams squared off the Gaels came out with the win, 53-52, on the Broncos home floor in 1999. In 1998 Saint Mary's defeated Boise State at home, 89-69, while the Broncos picked up wins in 1994 and 1992.

Scouting the RoadrunnersCS Bakersfield began the 2007-08 season with a 2-1 record. The Roadrunners defeated West Coast Conference member San Diego, 76-66 in their first game of the season. In their next match-up CS Bakersfield played the University of Houston, defeating them 95-83. Pepperdine handed them their first lost of the year on November 16, as the Roadrunners fell to the Waves 77-95. CS Bakersfield played their most recent game on Tuesday, November 20, falling to UC Irvine 74-61 in Irvine, CA.

The Roadrunners are led by Krista Arase, a junior guard from Alhambra, CA. Arase averages 16.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 4.5 steals per game. Arase scored 17 points against Houston in CS Bakersfield's win, while also chipping in six steals, four assists, and one block. Joining Arase on the offensive end, is Kelley Tarver, averaging 17.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.25 assists per game.

The Roadrunners finished the 2006-07 season with a 23-6 overall record, and 20-2 record in the California Collegiate Athletic Assoc.

Saint Mary's Versus CS BakersfieldThis weekend marks the first time the Gaels will face the Roadrunners in program history.

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-TournamentJunior 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.

Smith's weekend numbers has put her first in the WCC in three-point field goals made, as she has drained nine from behind the arc thus far, with a 33.3 shooting percentage.

New Kid on the BlockFreshman Louella Tomlinson has recorded 14 blocks this season. The Australian native picked up a game-high five blocks in her first game as a Gael against the Prairie View Panthers on November 9. The freshman forward had one block against #15 Baylor, and added four more to her total against the Howard Bison. Tomlinson's five blocks is tied for the most blocks in a game in Gael record books, with Pia Paivio and Melissa Schreiner. The freshman is on pace to beat the most blocks in a season, which is held by Pia Paivio with 50 in 1992-93. Tomlinson currently ranks first in the WCC in blocks per game (3.50 bpg), and has helped the Gaels to second place in blocking as a team, averaging 5.0 per contest.

Gael CoverageThis 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 this season will air live on the radio at SMCGaels.com.

From Texas to Utah, Gael fans will have access to game play-by-plays, post game interviews, and more, free at www.SMCGaels.com. To access the feature, go to the women's basketball schedule online at www.SMCGaels.com, click on the game you are interested in, and click the "Listen" link listed on each game's information.

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.

"On behalf of the players and coaching staff we appreciate the fact that GaelVision is making commitment to broadcasting all of our home games," stated head coach Paul Thomas. "The coverage is very important to us as a program; it enhances the experience for our international student athletes' family and friends, while allowing our fan base to expand throughout the country."

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-SeasonThe Gaels were picked to finish fifth in the West Coast Conference Pre-Season Coaches Poll. Saint Mary's returns four of five starters, including 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.

2006-07 All-WCC ReturneesFor Smith and Lahde it marks the second consecutive season that the duo earned all-conference status. Smith was named to the all-freshman and honorable mention squads while Lahde joined Smith on the honorable mention list.

Smith led the Gaels in scoring overall and in conference play. The sophomore tallied 11.9 points over the course of the season and paced SMC with 12.4 points during conference play.

The Pinole native was second during WCC games in three point field goal percentage with a .431 mark. Smith was third in three point field goals made with 28. Smith poured in 20 points at Pepperdine with four threes on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor.

Lahde put together her best season as a Gael. The Finland native averaged 10 points and 6.9 rebounds per game overall and 8.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per conference game. The 7.9 rebounds led the team and ranked third in the conference.

The junior recorded two double-double in conference play, including a 10 point, 16 rebound performance against Portland. The 16 rebounds was a career-high and followed a 15 board performance the game before.

"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.

Aussie LoveSaint Mary's women's basketball signee Louella Tomlinson was rated one of the top female players at the U-21 level in Australia. Tomlinson garnered second-team recognition and received votes for MVP honors by Aussiebasketball.com.

Fourth Place FinishThe Gaels were slated to finish in fifth place according to the 2006 preseason coaches poll. In just his first season Paul Thomas led the Gaels to a fourth place finish in 2007 and its finest conference record since 2001-02.

Coming Up NextAfter hosting their own Thanksgiving tournament, the Gaels will remain in the Bay Area as they travel to Cal for a two game tournament. Their first game of the tournament is at 4:30 PM against the host Golden Bears, on Friday November 30.