Dec. 12, 2007
With four straight home wins and final exams behind them, the Lions close out their three-game home stand with a visit from UC Irvine on Saturday at 2 p.m. LMU has won two in a row overall.
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.
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.
Promotion on Tap for Saturday
Saturday's game will be "LMU Summer Camp Reunion" day, in which any child wearing an LMU Summer Camps t-shirt will be admitted free.
About UC Irvine (4-5)
Winners of three of its last five, UC Irvine earned a split last week against the Nevada schools. On Friday, the Anteaters rolled off a 7-0 run late in the game and Miranda Forry hit the game-winning three-pointer with 28 seconds left in a 77-74 victory. Kelly Cochran had a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds while Stephanie Duda posted one of her own with 16 points and 11 boards. Christina Zdenek and Keyonna Johnson added 13 and 11 points, respectively, off the bench. UCI could not keep it going with an 85-73 loss to UNLV on Sunday. Forry led the way with 14 points, Cochran chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds, and Duda contributed 10 points.Duda is averaging a double-double of 12.1 points and 10.1 rebounds to lead the UCI attack. Cochran is second with 11.1 ppg and 7.4 rpg.
Head Coach Molly Tuter is in her fourth season at Irvine, putting together a record of 27-62. Last year, the Anteaters went 6-24, finishing seventh in the Big West with a 3-11 mark. They return eight letterwinners and four starters.
UC Irvine's 79-59 home victory over LMU last season snapped the Lions' four-game winning streak in the series. UCI holds an 8-5 advantage against the Lions but LMU has won three of five at home, including the last three meetings in Gersten. This will be the final of LMU's four games this season against Big West opponents. The Lions have gone 1-1 against their local rivals.
Last Week Recap: Young Explodes for Home Wins
LMU returned to Gersten Pavilion last week to open a three-game home stand and freshman Renahy Young enjoyed the homecoming. Young topped her career-highs with back-to-back 23 point performances to lead the Lions to victories over Fresno State and Cal Poly.
On Wednesday against Fresno State, the Lions trailed by as many as 12 in the first half and by nine at the break before producing their best single-half performance of the season. LMU made eight of its first nine shots coming out of halftime and shot 63% in the second half en route to 55 points and an 81-75 victory. Young stepped up late, scoring the game-tying and go-ahead baskets in the final 2:30 to finish with her career-high on 7-for-11 shooting from the floor and 7-for-11 from the line. Junior Jenna Sybesma also had a big game, making all six of her shots in the second half for her second-straight 19 point outing.
Young's hand stayed hot on Saturday in LMU's 80-64 win over Cal Poly, equaling her tally of 23 points and making 7-of-9 from the floor, 3-of-4 from three-point range and 6-of-10 from the line. She was joined by senior Amanda DeCoud, who topped her previous career-highs with 21 points and eight assists.
I Love the 80's
LMU's offense is beginning to take off with back-to-back 80-point performances against Fresno State and Cal Poly. It marked the first time since 2000 that the Lions had reached the 80-point plateau in consecutive games.
Is 47 a record?
LMU's 47 free throw attempts against Cal Poly was the most since going to the line 44 times at UC Irvine on November 21, 2005. As far as it being an LMU single-game record, nobody is sure. We do know that the Lions attempted 45 free throws on January 17, 2001, when they set the single-game record for makes with 34. Unfortunately, the record books are incomplete for the years before then so we're unsure if LMU attempted more than 47 free throws in any of the other games on the free throws made list. If you are reading this and know the answer, please contact the LMU athletics media relations office.
One more note on free throws: since attempting a season-low six foul shots at Cal, LMU has shot 91 free throws over its last three games.
Technically, freshman Renahy Young is serving as an understudy to senior Amanda DeCoud at point guard this season. Good thing Young hasn't read that memo as the pair are playing well while on the court at the same time. On Saturday, Young led the way with 23 points with DeCoud just behind with 21. It was the first time since January 31, 2004 that LMU had two players score 20-plus points in the same game (Kate Murray, 28, and Adrianne Slaughter, 20).
Depth Shows on Offense
One of the benefits of LMU's attack is the opponent is nobody knows who is going to step up for a big game each night. The Lions have been led in scoring by seven different players in their first ten games of the season. Already this season, nine players have established new career-highs.
I Can't Drive 55
Fans who witnessed LMU's second half explosion against Fresno State saw what the up-tempo Lion offense is capable of when it gets clicking. The Lions shot 63% en route to 55 points in the come-from-behind victory. The 55 points are the most scored in a half by LMU since it put in 56 against Santa Clara on February 23, 2006.
Big Success against Big West
Owing to its close proximity, LMU annually plays the most non-conference games against the Big West Conference, and with great success. Saturday's matchup against UC Irvine will be the Lions' fourth and final game this season against a team from the Big West. So far, those results have primarily favored LMU, who is 2-1 against its closest neighbors. The Lions defeated Long Beach State 83-66 on November 15 before dropping its lone game, 79-69, in the home opener against UC Santa Barbara. Last Saturday's 80-64 victory over Cal Poly ensured that the Lions will finish at or above .500 against the Big West for the 10th straight season. Since 1998-99, LMU is an astonishing 32-6 versus Big West competition.
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 43.2 total rebounds (second in the WCC) and 15.2 offensive rebounds per game. The Lions have been outrebounded just three times in the first ten games and are 5-2 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 15.0 rebounds per game, and each ranks in the conference's top five. Ogoke is second at 7.9 rpg with Evans tied for sixth at 7.1. But rebounding is a team effort, which bodes well for the Lions, who have six players averaging 3.0 rebounds or more per game.
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 11.2 points, 5.0 assists, 2.9 steals, and 32.5 minutes to go along with 3.2 rebounds per game. DeCoud has scored in double figures in five games, including a career-high 21 against Cal Poly. True to her role as a point guard, DeCoud is averaging 7.3 assists over her last three games, topping her career-best with eight dimes against the Mustangs.
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 leads the WCC in steals per game, is fourth in assists, and 12th in scoring. She is also fourth in assist/turnover ratio (1.72) and 14th in free throw percentage. She continues to climb the LMU career steals chart, currently sitting in seventh place with 193.
The Young and Restless
The hottest player on LMU's roster right now has to be freshman Renahy Young, who is coming off back-to-back 23-point outings in which she shot 70% from the floor last week. Young entered the week averaging 6.3 ppg but exploded against Fresno State and Cal Poly to move into second on the team at 9.6 ppg, 23rd-best in the WCC. She is also shooting a team-high 37% from three-point range and knocked down 72% at the line, ranking her ninth and 15th, respectively, in the conference. She has shown her aggressiveness from the get-go, making a team-high 26 foul shots.
In her debut at Boise State, Young had 11 points, four rebounds, and two assists in 22 minutes.
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 ten games thus far and is fifth on the team with 8.0 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 sinking eight treys.Helmers is a certifiable threat from downtown, making 20 of the team's 44 three-pointers and is seventh in the conference in triples made per game (2.00).
Vargas Out for the Year
The Lions suffered a blow on December 5 when sophomore Jessica Vargas fell awkwardly with 2:25 left. Everyone's worst fears were confirmed when it was determined that Vargas had torn her ACL and meniscus and would miss the remainder of the season. The blow is a harsh one for the Lions and for Vargas in particular as she had been a steady contributor, starting six games in place of Cassady Moore. Vargas had 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. She was one of the most efficient players on the court, shooting 51.8% from the floor and pulling down 4.6 rebounds per game, including 19 on the offensive end. The good news in all of this is Vargas should be able to petition for a medical redshirt.
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 8.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game while shooting 48.6% 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 second in the WCC in offensive rebounds per game (3.60) and is fourth in overall rebounding to go along with being tied for fifth in blocked shots (1.60 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 10 games in the Lion uniform, Evans is second on the team in rebounding and blocked shots at 7.1 rpg and 1.1 bpg while adding 3.5 ppg. Evans has shown aggressiveness pursuing the boards, with four games of double-digit rebounds so far. She is also tied for second on the team in offensive rebounds, grabbing 20 through the first ten 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.
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 broke out for 86 points on 60% shooting over the last eight 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. She topped all of those with a new career-high of 19 points, six rebounds, and three assists at NAU. Sybesma carried the Lions that game, scoring 15 of her points after halftime, including 13 of LMU's 15 during one 10-minute stretch. She followed that with 19 more points in the win over Fresno State.
Overall, she is averaging 9.2 points and 4.3 rebounds in 19.7 mpg. She is fourth in the WCC in field goal percentage at 55.7%.
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 again 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 two outings have raised her per-game average to 4.6 points and she is third on the team with seven makes from downtown.
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 sidelined her for the next five contests but she returned to limited action at Northern Arizona. The key to Moore's offensive explosion was her defense. At the time of her injury, Moore was leading the Lions in scoring (12.0 ppg) and assists (3.5 per game) while pulling down 3.5 rebounds per game, and shooting 45.0% from the floor.
Freshmen No Slouches
Coach Wilhoit said they were athletic and would contribute right away and she was right. Freshmen Renahy Young and Melanie Ysaguirre have each come off the bench to give the Lions solid minutes in their collegiate debuts.At her current pace, Ysaguirre will shatter the school record for shooting percentage in a season as she is off to a blistering 64.3% clip to start, going 18-for-28 from the floor in the season's first ten games. Ysaguirre had her break-out game at Northern Arizona, scoring a career-high 10 points on 5-for-9 from the floor that actually brought down her shooting percentage. She is averaging 4.2 points and 2.8 rebounds (61% of which are offensive) in just 10.9 minutes per game.
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. LMU has now registered 10 consecutive months of .500 or better.
LMU vs. Ranked Opponents
Last month'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 #21 George Washington.
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 was sophomore Jessica Vargas when LMU visited Northern Arizona in Flagstaff on Dec. 2. Finally, senior Bronwyn Evans and freshman Lauren Wilkins will return to Portland on Jan. 10.So far, those homecomings have not been too pleasant for LMU, who dropped both contests in Boise and Flagstaff.