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Women's Basketball Takes Roadtrip to Stockton

Nov. 28, 2007

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This Week in Saint Mary's Basketball...The Gaels have a busy week ahead of them, as they travel to Stockton, CA to face Pacific on Wednesday, November 28, and return to participate in the Contra Costa Times Classic hosted by California on November 30 and December 1.

Saint Mary's women's basketball will head to Stockton on Wednesday, for their first game of the week against the Pacific Tigers. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 PM, as the Gaels look to improve on their 4-2 record while on the road.

The Gaels will return to Moraga after the game against Pacific in preparation for the Contra Costa Times Classic that will begin on Friday, November 30. In the first game of the classic, Saint Mary's will take on the host school, #13 Cal, at 7:00 PM in Hass Pavilion. The Golden Bears are currently ranked No. 12 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 13 in the USA Today/ESPN Women's Top 25 Coaches Poll. Cal holds a 4-1 record thus far, with thier only loss coming to a ranked opponent in #11 Baylor.

Saint Mary's will wrap-up the week's competition against #18 Vanderbilt on Saturday, December 1 at 4:00 PM. The Commodores hold a 5-1 record, with their only loss coming to Indiana State in overtime, 77-72. The Commodores are ranked No. 23 by the Associated Press poll and No. 18 in the USA Today/ESPN Women's Top 25 Coaches Poll.

Following the weekend the Gaels will be more than halfway done with their preseason schedule. Saint Mary's will take a week off before they travel to Tuscaloosa, AL to face the Alabama Crimson Tide on December 9 at 1:00 pm CT.

Scouting the TigersPacific is 3-1 on the season, defeating Utah State (67-66), Cal State Stanislaus (96-55), and San Jose State (74-74), while losing to San Francisco State (65-60). The Tiger's most recent game was against San Jose State, defeating SJSU in overtime, with freshman Andrea Swanson leading the way. Swanson scored 19 points in Pacific's win, shooting 5-of-9 from the field, and 9-of-13 from the charity stripe.

On the season Janae Young is veraging team-highs with 14.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 3.5 steals per game. Young is shooting 44.9 percent from the field (22-of-49), and 50 percent from beyond the arc, knocking down 5-of-10 three-pointers this year. Three other Tiger members average double-digits in points, Amy VanHollebeke, 13.5, Andrea Swanson, 12.8, and Jake Kelly, 11.3. VanHollebeke leads the team in minutes played, at 32.2 per game, while also totaling the most assists with 17 on the season.

The Tiger's finished the 2006-07 season with an 8-22 overall record, and 2-12 record in the Big West Conference. Eight letterwinners return to Pacific for the 2007-08 season.

Saint Mary's Versus PacificThe Gaels are 9-4 all-time versus the Tigers. Saint Mary's lost to Pacific the last time the two teams faced, as the Tigers outscored the Gaels 75-67 in McKeon Pavilion last season. Before the loss in 2006, the Gaels had a five-game winning streak against Pacific, recording wins in `93, `97, `98, `02, and `03.

Lahde Named Classic MVPMaija Ladhe 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.

Shaugnessy Shatters Career-RecordsSenior gaurd 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-records 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-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.

New Kid on the BlockFreshman Louella Tomlinson has recorded 24 blocks this season. Most recently Tomlinson recorded back-to-back games with five blocks, while participating in the Gaels' Thanksgiving classic. 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 (4.00 bpg), and has helped the Gaels to second place in blocking as a team, averaging 5.8 per contest.

Gaels in Top-10 of WCCMultiple members of the Saint Mary's squad rank in the top-10 of West Coast Conference statistical categories. Senior forward Maija Lahde currently ranks ninth in the WCC in scoring, averaging 13.0 points per game, Lahde also ranks sixth in rebounds per game, 7.5, tenth in assists per game, 3.0, third in steals per game, 2.5, tenth in assist/turnover ratio, 0.90, sixth in offensive rebounds per game, 2.83, and seventh in defensive rebounds per game, 4.67. Other Gaels topping the list are Jontelle Smith, Lauren Shaughnessy, and Louella Tomlinson. Smith ranks fifth in three-pointers made, averaging 2.0 a game, while Shaughnessy ranks first in steals with 3.17 per game and ninth in field goal percentage, shooting 53.1 percent from the floor. Tomlinson tops the blocks per game category, averaging 4.0 per game.

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 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 NextThe Gaels will particpate in the Contra Costa Times Classic, hosted by Cal, on Friday and Saturday this week. Saint Mary's will first play #13 Cal on Friday, November 30 at 7:00 PM, and then face #18 Vanderbilt on December 1 at 4:00 PM.