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Head for the Hills

Nov. 30, 2007

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Upcoming Schedule

Sunday, December 2
LMU (4-3) at Northern Arizona (3-4)1:05 p.m.

Live audio is available with Angela Kiel through Stretch Internet on Lions All-Access at LMULions.com.

Sunday's game can be seen LIVE on Dish Network 9411 and on FCS Pacific, and will be tape delayed on FSN Arizona at 1:00 p.m. on Dec. 3. The game can be heard on AM KAFF 930 in Flagstaff, and audio/video is available for a fee, $4.95, at www.bigskytv.org.

Briefly
Its two-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday at #12 Cal, LMU looks to get back on track as it heads to the mountains this weekend for a match-up with Northern Arizona.

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.

Media Guide
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 Northern Arizona (3-4)
Northern Arizona had lost four of its last five after falling 76-61 to Ball State on Saturday. Ashley Ingle and Jenna Galloway each had 18 points, with Laura Dinkins contributing 14 in the loss. On Friday, the Lumberjacks halted a three-game losing streak with a 69-63 win over Fairleigh Dickinson. Ingle had a monster game of 14 points and 18 rebounds, Dinkins had a double-double of 15 points and 12 boards, and Sade Cunningham had a team-high 20 points.
Dinkins paces the Lumberjacks with 15.7 ppg and adds 7.6 rpg. Ingle is just behind in scoring at 12.9 ppg while pulling down a team-high 9.1 rpg.Laurie Kelly is in her fifth season as Head Coach in Flagstaff, putting together a record of 76-54. She has an overall record of 180-92 in nine seasons as a head coach. Last year, NAU went 20-12, tying for second in the Big Sky Conference with an 11-5 mark. It was the program's third 20-win season in its history and second in a row.
NAU has controlled the all-time series, winning six of seven meetings against the Lions. Last season, the Lumberjacks came to Gersten and walked away 74-58 victors. LMU has lost all four of its games in Flagstaff.

Last Week Recap: Upset Bid Dashed at Cal
Twelfth-ranked Cal used a strong second half to pull away from LMU, 75-54, Wednesday morning at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, CA. On a day when they needed strong efforts from everyone, the Lions got a lift from their bench. Sophomore Kavita Goss had a career-high 12 points on 4-for-8 shooting while junior Jenna Sybesma added 10 points on 5-for-7. Sophomore Jessica Vargas led the starters with nine points and the Lions got eight points each from sophomore Lisa Helmers and freshman Renahy Young.
After holding a rebounding advantage in five of their first six games, LMU was out-rebounded 43-25. The Lions shot 41.5% (22-for-53) from the floor and 36.8% (7-for-19) from three-point range while the Bears went 45.9% (28-for-61) from the field and 30.8% (4-for-13) from downtown. Free throws were also a big factor. LMU attempted just six, making three, compared to the Bears, who went 15-for-19 (78.9%) at the line.
The early start time might have had something to do with LMU's slow start as it committed four turnovers and missed its first four shots as the Golden Bears took a 6-0 lead in the first four minutes. A three-pointer from the wing by Young got the Lions on the board but Cal held an 11-3 advantage six minutes into the game.
LMU began to claw back with a 13-8 run to cut it to 19-16 with 8:21 left. Vargas got inside for a pair of baskets and Goss knocked down a three from the wing to make it a three-point game. From that point on, Cal's Ashley Walker took over, scoring her team's next 12 points to help the Bears begin to pull away.
Cal's lead grew to 13 points, 42-39, on a three-pointer by Alexis Gray-Lawson at 15:35. Back-to-back three-pointers by senior Amanda DeCoud and Helmers and a fast-break layup by Vargas brought the Lions back to within 10, 49-39, at the 12-minute mark.
After that, it was Walker time again, as the First Team All-Pac 10 performer scored five of the next 14 points with Kelsey Adrian chipping in with seven during the stretch that saw the Bears extend their lead to 63-44. The Bears used their advantage on the glass to hold off the Lions the rest of the way.

LMU vs. Ranked Opponents
Wednesday's game at #12 Cal was the first for the Lions against a ranked opponent this season but the result was a familiar one. Dating back to 2002, the Lions have lost seven straight against top-25 teams. They get another crack at toppling a giant on December 18 when they travel to #14 George Washington.

Winning November
LMU's 4-3 mark in the opening month of play was its second consecutive winning November and eighth of the last nine Novembers that the Lions have posted a winning mark. Furthermore, LMU has now registered 10 consecutive months of .500 or better.

Monsters on the Boards
One noticeable difference between the 2007-08 Lions and their predecessors is evident in the rebounding category. Last season, LMU averaged 37 rebounds a game and a shade under 13 offensive rebounds a game. Already this season they have bumped those numbers up to 43.1 total rebounds (second in the WCC) and 15.7 offensive rebounds per game. The Lions have been outrebounded just two times in the first seven games and are 4-1 when holding the edge on the glass.
A big reason for the increase has been the play of senior Valerie Ogoke and redshirt freshman Aleyse Evans. The duo is combining for 16.7 rebounds per game, and each ranks in the conference's top five. Ogoke is second at 8.3 rpg with Evans tied for sixth at 8.4. Even more impressive has been the pursuit of rebounds by the guards, as LMU's starting backcourt of senior Amanda DeCoud and sophomores Lisa Helmers and Jessica Vargas combine for 11.4 rebounds per game. In total, seven Lions are averaging 3.0 rebounds per game or better.

Oh, Mandy
The cog that keeps the Lion offense and defense rolling continues to be senior Amanda DeCoud. The reigning WCC Defender of the Year showed her all-around game at the Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Tournament, averaging 10.0 points, 5.0 assists, 3.5 steals, and 3.0 rebounds to take home MVP honors.DeCoud is averaging team-highs of 4.0 assists, 2.9 steals, and 31.7 minutes to go along with 10.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. After a slow start offensively, DeCoud kicked it up a notch in a four game stretch, putting up back-to-back career-highs of 19 points at Long Beach State and at home versus UC Santa Barbara prior to her tournament heroics. Against the Gauchos, DeCoud single-handedly carried the Lions back from by scoring 12 points in a 10-minute stretch after halftime to turn a nine-point halftime deficit into an 11-point lead. At UNLV, DeCoud's full-court dash and layup at the buzzer against the Rebels gave the Lions their first victory of 2007-08.
DeCoud is 16th in the WCC in scoring and is tied for first in steals per game with 2.86. She is also tied for sixth in assist/turnover ratio (1.33). She continues to climb the LMU career steals chart, currently sitting in seventh place with 185.

Helmers Hits Threes
If you're looking for the biggest jump in scoring average from last season, that achievement belongs to sophomore Lisa Helmers. After averaging 1.5 ppg in 25 appearances off the bench as a freshman, Helmers has started all six games thus far and is third on the team with 9.9 ppg. After back-to-back nine point outings to start the season tied for her career-high, she topped it with 12 points vs. UC Santa Barbara, followed it with 12 more against Jackson State, and continued her roll with 16 points in the Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Tournament final. She led the Lions in scoring in both games at the tournament, averaging 14.0 ppg and making eight three-pointers.
Helmers is a certifiable threat from downtown, where she stretches the defense by shooting 35.3% from long range, 13th-best in the WCC. She has made 18 of the team's 32 three-pointers and leads the conference in triples made per game (2.57).

Gimme Moore
Junior Cassady Moore got off to a fast start, putting up back-to-back 12 point outings in the first two games and leads the team in scoring average. A knee injury has sidelined her for the last four but she hopes to return soon as the Lions could use her on both ends of the court. The key to Moore's offensive explosion was her defense. She is second on the team steals per game with 3.0 and her quickness led to numerous fastbreak opportunities.
At the time of her injury, Moore was also leading the Lions in assists (3.5 per game), pulling down 3.5 rebounds per game, and shooting 45.0% from the floor.

Jess Doin' Her Thing
One of the key components to the high-tempo offense and defense for LMU is its guard depth. Another player who demonstrates that long bench is sophomore Jessica Vargas. Vargas started this season on the bench but has stepped into a starting role after the injury to Moore. She responded with back-to-back career-highs in her first two starts, scoring 11 points at Long Beach State before exploding for 17 points (and seven rebounds) in the home opener vs. UCSB.
Her hustle and knack for the ball have been most impressive as Vargas is shooting 53.1% from the floor. She is third in rebounding at 4.6 per game and has chased down 16 offensive boards, also third on the team and tops among guards.
She ranks among the WCC leaders in scoring average (9.0 ppg, 30th) and field goal percentage (10th).
This week, Vargas will get the chance to return to Flagstaff to play in front of her hometown crowd for the first time since winning city Player of the Year honors at Sinagua High School in 2005-06.

Most Val-uable
Senior Valerie Ogoke is breaking out of the shadow of the departed Ashlee Dunlap and Jennifer Hall. Given an increased role in the guard-oriented Lion offense, Ogoke is averaging a near-double-double of 7.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while shooting 45.3% from the field. She has three double-digit rebounding outings.
Ogoke was a key component of the Lions' wins at the Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Tournament, averaging 10.0 ppg and 9.5 rpg, including a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds in the championship game.Ogoke had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds in 34 minutes in the season opener at Boise State. She equaled her career-high with 12 rebounds against UCSB.
Ogoke is leading the WCC in offensive rebounds per game (3.71) and is fourth in overall rebounding to go along with being fifth in blocked shots (1.57 per game).

New Kid on the Block
Redshirt freshman Aleyse Evans has made the most of her opportunities after sitting out last season. In her first seven games in the Lion uniform, Evans is leading the team in rebounding at 8.4 per game while adding 4.3 ppg and 1.4 blocks per game. Evans has shown aggressiveness pursuing the boards, with three games of double-digit rebounds so far. She is also second on the team in offensive rebounds, grabbing 17 through the first seven games.
In her collegiate debut at Boise State, Evans tied for the game-high with 10 rebounds in just 16 minutes off the bench. That was enough to earn her first career start at UNLV. She responded with 12 boards and her second straight six-point outing. She had back-to-back 11-rebound games at the Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Tournament.
In addition to being third in the conference in rebounding, Evans is seventh in blocked shots (1.43) and 13th in offensive rebounds per game (2.43).

Bench Warrior
Junior Jenna Sybesma is settling into a comfortable rhythm as the first post player off the bench. Sybesma provides a good compliment to Ogoke and Evans by using her back-to-the-basket talents and soft hands to create opportunities for herself. After a slow start in which she shot 3-for-10 and scored a combined six points in the season's first two games, Sybesma has broken out for 41 points on 63% shooting over the last five contests. It all started at Long Beach State when Sybesma had career-highs of 13 points and four steals in 22 minutes. She also had nine points in 15 minutes against Jackson State and 10 points (on 5-for-7 from the floor) at #12 Cal. Overall, she is averaging 6.7 ppg and 3.3 rpg in 17.3 mpg.

Bench Warrior (Part II)
Another in the endless line of sophomore guards making an impact is Kavita Goss. After spraining her ankle in the final practice before the exhibition games, Goss took awhile to regain the form that saw her start 14 games last season and finish second on the team with 22 three-pointers made. This year, she tied her career-high with nine points at Long Beach State, then tied it with a solid 4-for-7 effort in the Ayres Hotel Tournament title game. At #12 Cal, Goss came off the bench for a career-high 12 points to lead all Lion scorers, shooting 50% from both the floor and three-point range. Those last two outings have raised her per-game averages to 5.3 points and 1.0 steals and she is second on the team with five makes from downtown.

Freshmen No Slouches
Coach Wilhoit said they were athletic and would contribute right away and she is right. Freshmen Renahy Young and Melanie Ysaguirre have each come off the bench to give the Lions solid minutes in their collegiate debuts.At Boise State, Young had 11 points, four rebounds, and two assists in 22 minutes. She showed her aggressiveness from the get-go, getting to the free throw line a game-high seven times. Such is the life of a freshman, she has come down from that high but is still averaging 6.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg, and 1.3 spg in the guard-heavy Lion rotation. She is ninth in the league in free throw percentage at 76.5%.
At her current pace, Ysaguirre will shatter the school record for shooting percentage in a season as she is off to a blistering 78.6% clip to start, going 11-for-14 from the floor in the season's first six games. Ysaguirre has yet to have a break-out game but is averaging a steady 3.4 points and 2.7 rebounds (56% of which are offensive) in just 9.0 minutes per game.

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 was redshirt freshman Maggie Burkett, who returned 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.