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Women's Basketball Travels to San Diego State

Dec. 8, 2006

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Women's Basketball Game Day:The Saint Mary's women's basketball team (2-5, 0-0 WCC) will head to San Diego to face the San Diego State Aztecs (4-3, 0-0 MWC) on Sunday, December 10. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. from Cox Arena. The road game marks the third on the season for the Gaels and is the first of a three-game road swing.

Last Time Out: Saint Mary's returned home to face the Pacific Tigers and fell by the score of 75-67. The Gaels poured in 49 points in the second half but were unable to climb back into the contest. Senior forward Eghosa Obaiza led SMC with 14 points and nine rebounds. Jontelle Smith and Lauren Shaughnessy added 11 points apiece.

Who's Hot: Saint Mary's senior forward Eghosa led the Gaels with 14 points and nearly missed a double-double with a team-high nine rebounds. In just 21 minutes of action, the senior shot 7-of-11 from the floor and added two blocked shots. On the season, Obaiza leads the team with seven rebounds a game and is fourth in scoring with a 7.6 clip per game. Obaiza also leads the team with 14 blocks and is second on the Gaels roster with 10 steals.

Scouting San Diego State: The Aztecs (4-3, 0-0 MWC) are coming off a thrilling 70-68 overtime victory against Cal Poly on Dec. 7. With the win, the Aztecs have rallied off three in a row including victories over Southern Utah and Wichita State.

The Aztecs are averaging 58.6 points per game while allowing 66.3 per contest. SDSU is shooting 38 percent from the floor, 24 percent from beyond the arc and 62 percent from the charity stripe. The Aztecs have been edged on the glass by a 276-273 margin and have committed 171 turnovers.

Individually the Aztecs are led by Jennifer Layton in scoring. Layton is the lone Aztec to sport double-figures with 11.3 per game. Desiree Johnson and Lauren Hoisington follow with 8.9 points apiece. Layton also leads the team on the glass with nine boards a game. Quenese Davis has handed out a team leading 38 assists.

Versus The Aztecs: Sunday's contest will mark the fourth meeting between the two programs. The Gaels have won all three contests including a 52-47 victory in San Diego in 2003.

Offensive Minded: Saint Mary's is currently second in the West Coast Conference in scoring with 67.1 points per game. Many of the points have come in the second half. The Gaels have scored over 45 points in the period three times including a 52 point half against Northridge.

Window Cleaners: The Gaels lead the WCC in rebounds with 39.7 per game, nearly two more per game than any other team in the conference. In seven games, Saint Mary's has pulled down 278 rebounds. The Gaels have been very active on the offensive glass with 15.71 per game. Senior forward Eghosa Obaiza is a big reason the Gaels have the edge on the glass. Obaiza leads the conference in offensive rebounds with 3.86 per game and is fourth in total rebounds with 7.0 a game.

The Season of Giving: Saint Mary's is second in the conference in assists with 14.86 per game. Junior guards Lauren Shaughnessy and Serena Benavente are amongst the leaders in helpers. Shaughnessy is second in the WCC with 4.86 assists per game while Benavente is fourth with 3.29 per game.

Block Party: Saint Mary's is second in the WCC with 4.43 blocked shots per contest. The Gaels are led by Eghosa Obaiza and her 2.00 blocks a game which ranks fourth in the conference. Senior center Sheridan Arredondo ranks sixth with one a game.

How They Stack Up: Saint Mary's sophomore guard Jontelle Smith ranks fifth in the conference in three pointers made with 1.57 per contest. Smith is third in the WCC in free throw percentage, converting 88 percent of her attempts. Lauren Shaughnessy and Serena Benavente are 1-2 in assist to turnover ratio. Shaughnessy sits at a 2.83 mark while Benavente is at a 1.77 clip.

Gaels Torch McKeon For 100: The Saint Mary's Gaels erupted for 100 points in a thrilling 100-91 victory over Cal State Northridge on the Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic opening night. The triple-digit out-burst is the first time the Gaels have reached the century mark since a 103-88 win over Providence in 1994. Junior forwards Monica Mertle and Maija Lahde combined to pour in 43 of Saint Mary's 100 points Friday night.

Paul Thomas Records First Gael Victory: First-year head coach Paul Thomas recorded his first career Division I victory with a 69-68 win over Miami. Event though Thomas has won 235 times in his 12-year career, the thrilling win over Miami marks his first as a Gael and the first for SMC in the 2006-07 season.

Gaels Ink Two Recruits: Saint Mary's women's head basketball coach Paul Thomas announced the signing of Suzie Davis (Oxnard, CA) and Leanna Richey (Brentwood, CA).

Davis preps at Pacifica High School where she is a two-time Pacific View first-team selection and all-county selection. The 5-11 guard/forward led the Pacific View League in scoring (17 ppg), rebounds (11 ppg), blocks (3bpg) and steals (3spg). Richey led Liberty High to an 18-10 overall record and a 10-4 BVAL mark. The 6-3 post is also a standout on the volleyball court earning All-BVAL accolades.

Three Newcomer Join Roster: Saint Mary's welcomes three new players to the squad in 2006-07. The Gaels welcome freshmen Lindsay Ellis, from Sacramento, CA and Kira Kojola, from Espoo, Finland, along with junior college transfer Mattiana Thalley, from Carson CA and Compton Community College.

Saint Mary's Picked To Finish Fifth In WCC: The Gaels were picked to finish fifth in the West Coast Conference in 2006-07. The Gaels finished in fifth place last year, but return four starters and bring in a new head coach in Paul Thomas. Saint Mary's received 28 points, five points behind Santa Clara for fourth. Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount were picked to finish first and Gonzaga was picked to finish third. San Diego, San Francisco and Portland rounded out the final eight.

Next Week: Saint Mary's will continue on the road and make its longest trek on the season. The Gaels will head to Texas to participate in the Texas A&M Corpus Christi tournament. SMC will play two games with the first slated for Saturday, December 16 at 6:30 p.m.