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Lions Battle Pair of Big West Opponents

Nov. 28, 2006

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The LMU women's basketball team heads out on the road for a pair of games against Big West opponents this week. The Lions travel up the coast to take on Cal Poly on Tuesday night and return to Southern California for a matchup with UC Irvine on Friday night. Both games will be broadcast live and free on Lions All-Access on www.LMULions.com. In addition, Friday's game will be broadcast live on KXLU 88.9 FM.

With the win over Long Beach State, head coach Julie Wilhoit recorded her 150th LMU victory. Now in her 12th season with the Lions, Wilhoit has a 151-168 record at LMU, and a 272-238 record overall. She has recorded over 100 wins during the last six seasons.

The Mustangs are 3-2 on the year and have won two straight games. Cal Poly used overtime to defeat Portland 77-75 on Saturday and had three players score at least 18 points. Jessica Eggleston leads the team in scoring, averaging 11.6 points per game, while Bria Fields is averaging 11.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Sparkle Anderson was named the Big West Player of the Week this week, and is scoring 9.6 points per game.

The Anteaters are 1-4 this season and have dropped three straight contests. Kelly Cochran leads the team in scoring, averaging 12.4 points per game. Stephanie Duda leads the team in rebounding at 8.0 boards per game,and is averaging 10.2 points per contest.

The Lions are 1-0 against Big West teams so far this year after last week's 61-38 win over Long Beach State. Last season, the Lions were a perfect 4-0 against Big West opponents, including wins over Cal Poly and UC Irvine. Interestingly, LMU's biggest win of the non-conference season was over the 2006 Big West regular season champion, UC Santa Barbara. The Lions defeated the Gauchos by 27 points. Amanda Patton averaged 16.3 points against Big West opponents, hitting 57.7% of her three-point attempts. In 2005-06, LMU averaged 79 points against the Big West, and allowed just 63.5 points per game.

LMU has faced two teams ranked in the top 12 this season, and a third team that is receiving votes in the polls. The Lions faced then-#4 Stanford in the season opener, and played #12 Texas A&M in the Championship game of the LMU Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Classic. Xavier, who has been receiving votes in the polls, defeated the Lions in the championship game of the Xavier Invitational. None of LMU's remaining games are against teams currently ranked in the top 25.

The Lions went 2-1 last week, picking up wins over Long Beach State and American before falling to Texas A&M in the championship game of the LMU Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Classic. LMU was impressive in its home opener, dropping the 49ers 61-38. LBSU managed just nine points in the second half, shooting just 10.5% from the field. Jennifer Hall had a standout game, scoring 17 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, blocking four shots and dishing out three assists. Jenna Sybesma added a career-high seven points in the win.

LMU had a strong second half to defeat American and advance to the championship game of the LMU Ayres Hotel Thankgiving Classic. Three players scored in double digits, including 17 by Amanda Patton to lead the Lions to the win. Valerie Ogoke broke out of her scoring slump with 11 points and nine rebounds (seven offensive) and added three blocks, two steals and two assists for an outstanding all-around game. Lisa Helmers added eight points and four rebounds in a productive outing. Cassady Moore had a career-high five assists and added three steals.

The #12 Aggies were too much for the Lions to handle early on, using a suffocating press to take an early 20 point lead and hold on for the win. The TAMU offense was clicking on all cylinders from the start, as the Aggies shot over 50% for the game. The Lions were led by Amanda DeCoud who scored 11 points and added four assists. Jessica Vargas played a career-high 11 minutes, adding three steals and three rebounds for LMU.

Amanda Patton and Valerie Ogoke had their names in the LMU career record books entering the season, and continue to climb the charts. Patton has made 15 three-pointers in six games, and now has 101 shots from behind the arc. She has passed Rosa Bernasconi and sits in fourth place in LMU history. She needs just five more to tie Kate Murray in third place, and is 25 away from tying Rachael Ziemann's all-time mark of 126. Ogoke is in the LMU top 10 for blocks and with five this season, she has moved into fifth place all-time. With one more block she will move into a tie for fourth place with Jennifer Henry at 60. She'll need quite a few more blocks to continue climbing, as Amy Lundquist sits in third place with 155.

Three members of LMU's freshmen class are giving the fans glimpses into the future of LMU basketball with their strong play in recent games. Lisa Helmers is averaging over 18 minutes played per game, and had a breakout game against American. She scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds in 17 minutes. She followed that up with six points and three rebounds in 24 minutes of action against the Aggies. Jessica Vargas made her minutes count last week, grabbing three rebounds and scoring two points in three minutes of action against LBSU. She grabbed three steals and three rebounds in 11 minutes against Texas A&M. Kavita Goss got into the scoring column against the Aggies, finishing with five points and dishing out two assists in eight minutes of action.

LMU will play two games next week before taking nine days off for finals. The Lions welcome Hawaii to Gersten Pavilion on Thursday night, December 7th at 7:00pm, and will head back up the California coast to face UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, December 9th at 3:00pm. Both games will be broadcast live on Lions All-Access.

Three different Lions have earned All-Tournament team honors this season. 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.

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.