Dec. 17, 2007
With finals behind them and Christmas around the corner, the Lions embark on their longest (mileage-wise) road trip of the season, heading to Washington, D.C. for two midweek games. LMU faces its second ranked team of the season on Tuesday in #22 George Washington before completing the trip Thursday at Big East member Georgetown.
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.
George Washington will have Gametracker through their site (www.gwsports.com) while Georgetown offers live video streaming at www.guhoyas.com.
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 George Washington (7-3) National Rankings: #22 (ESPN/USA Today), NR (AP)
Idle since December 8, George Washington has won two in a row and four of its last six following victories over Samford and Villanova. Against Samford, the Colonials snapped a two-game losing skid with a 64-57 victory thanks to 21 points from Kimberly Beck and 19 from Jessica Adair. Adair led the way at Villanova with another 19-point effort. She was joined in double figures by Sarah-Jo Lawrence (13 points) and Jessica's twin sister Jazmine (10 points on 4-for-4 shooting off the bench) in a 67-52 win.
Four players are scoring in double figures for the balanced GWU attack. Jessica Adair is averaging a team-high 16.3 points per game to go along with 6.4 rebounds per game. Antelia Parrish is second at 14.6 ppg and 9.2 rpg. Lawrence drops 13.0 ppg and Beck adds 12.0.
Head Coach Joe McKeown is in his 19th season at GWU, putting together a record of 421-150. He has a 22-year career coaching record of 489-170. Last season, the Colonials went 28-4, winning the Atlantic 10 Conference with a perfect 14-0 mark. They advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament before falling to North Carolina. Eleven letterwinners and four starters return from that team.
GWU and LMU have met once before, on December 28, 1988 in Los Angeles, with LMU winning 55-53.
About Georgetown (6-2)
Georgetown had its five-game winning streak snapped at Penn State on December 9 with a 56-47 defeat. Brina Pollack led all scorers with 20 points to go along with a team-high six boards. Kieraah Marlow added 13 points and six rebounds and Aminata Diop chipped in 10 points. The Hoyas got back to their winning ways on Sunday, handing Virginia Commonwealth its first loss of the season, 57-43. Marlow had 14 points and seven rebounds while Diop added 12 points. Making her first career start, Jaleesa Butler had 10 points.
Marlow paces the Hoyas with 16.4 ppg while Pollack is the only other player in double figures at 10.4 ppg.
Fourth-year Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy is 41-51 at Georgetown. The Hoyas went 13-16 in 2006-07, placing 13th in the Big East with a 3-13 record. They return eight letterwinners and three starters.
This will be the first-ever meeting between Georgetown and LMU. The Lions are a combined 2-3 against Big East teams with the last match-up coming on December 21, 2004 in Cincinnati, a 55-45 loss.
Last Week Recap: Lions Make it Three straight with win over UC Irvine
Finals week gave way to Saturday's game against UC Irvine, LMU's final contest in a three-game home stand. The Lions used a 19-2 run bridging halftime to turn a six-point deficit into an 11-point advantage, going on to a 66-54 victory to win their fifth in a row at home. The Lions did it by going inside but were helped by the Anteaters, who missed eight of their first nine shots and turned the ball over eight times in the first eight minutes of the half. After missing its first three shots of the half, junior Jenna Sybesma gave LMU its first lead since 17:04 of the first half with a jumper at 18:22. That started a stretch where LMU made eight of its next ten shots to build its lead to 11, 44-33, with 11:58 remaining.
LMU led by as many as 12 before UCI started to come back, pulling to within one, 55-54, with four minutes to go. From that point on, that Lions clamped down on defense and pulled away. Two free throws from senior Amanda DeCoud gave the Lions a cushion, senior Valerie Ogoke went off the glass from the right block for a 59-54 lead and freshman Renahy Young put the dagger in with a three-pointer to put LMU up eight with 1:46 left as UCI went scoreless for the final four minutes.
DeCoud finished with a game-high 18 points, including a 10-for-12 effort at the free throw line. Sybesma continued her solid play with 12 points and Ogoke added 10 points, eight rebounds, six steals, and four blocks. Freshman Melanie Ysaguirre provided a tremendous effort off the bench with nine points to go along with a career-high eight rebounds. Thanks to the efforts of Sybesma, Ogoke, and Ysaguirre, the Lions outscored the Anteaters 38-24 in the paint.
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 this week when they travel to #22 George Washington.
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 42.8 total rebounds (tops in the WCC) and 14.6 offensive rebounds per game. The Lions have been outrebounded just three times and are 6-2 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 14.5 rebounds per game, and each ranks in the conference's top ten. Ogoke is fourth at 7.9 rpg with Evans eighth at 6.6. But rebounding is a team effort, which bodes well for the Lions, who have seven 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.
Through the season's first 11 games, DeCoud has led the Lions in scoring in a team-high three times and is the top scorer overall at 11.8 ppg. She is also averaging team-highs of 4.7 assists, 2.9 steals, and 32.7 minutes to go along with 3.3 rebounds per game.
DeCoud has scored in double figures in six games, including a career-high 21 against Cal Poly. True to her role as a point guard, she had a three-game stretch in which she averaged 7.3 assists, 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 11th in scoring. She is also second in assist/turnover ratio (1.72) and ninth in free throw percentage to rank in the top-10 in four categories. She continues to climb the LMU career steals chart, currently sitting tied for fifth place with 198.
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 against Fresno State and Cal Poly. Young entered the week averaging 6.3 ppg but exploded against Fresno State and Cal Poly. Although she only scored five points vs. UC Irvine, she showed the ability to adjust to the attention by kicking out for a career-high five assists.Young is scoring 9.2 ppg (28th in the WCC) while shooting 36.7% from three-point range (tied for ninth in the WCC) and knocking down 72% at the line. She has shown her aggressiveness from the get-go, getting to the line 36 times.
In her debut at Boise State, Young had 11 points, four rebounds, and two assists in 22 minutes.
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 8.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game while shooting 49.4% from the field. She has three double-digit rebounding outings and leads the Lions in blocked shots with 20 and is fourth all-time at LMU with 114 career blocks.
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 one of the finest all-around games by a Lion this season against UC Irvine. She went 5-for-9 from the floor, scoring 10 points to go along with eight rebounds, six steals, four blocks, and two assists in 30 minutes.
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 (3.54), 10th in defensive rebounds (4.36), and is fourth in overall rebounding to go along with being fifth in blocked shots (1.82 per game).
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 is one of two players to start all 11 games thus far and is averaging 7.5 ppg. She is a certifiable threat from downtown, making a team-high 21 three-pointers and is sixth in the conference in triples made per game (1.91).
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.
New Kid on the Block
Redshirt freshman Aleyse Evans has made the most of her opportunities after sitting out last season. Now coming off the bench after starting eight of the first nine games, Evans is second on the team in rebounding and blocked shots at 6.6 rpg and 1.0 bpg while adding 3.2 ppg in just 18 minutes a game. Evans has shown aggressiveness pursuing the boards, with four games of double-digit rebounds. She is also tied for second on the team in offensive rebounds, grabbing 20.
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 was settling into a comfortable rhythm as the first post player off the bench, parlaying that into a starting role for the last three games. 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 98 points on 59% shooting over the last nine contests. She is tied for second on the team with five games of double-digit scoring.
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 second on the team at 9.5 points (27th in the conference) and adds 4.2 rebounds in 20.1 mpg. She is fourth in the WCC in field goal percentage at 55.6%.
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 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 is that Vargas should be able to petition for a medical redshirt.
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.
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 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. She has raised her per-game average to 4.5 points and she is third on the team with seven makes from downtown.
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 62.9% clip to start, going 22-for-35 from the floor in the season's first 11 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 had a tremendous all-around game with eight points and nine rebounds in 19 minutes vs. UC Irvine. She is averaging 4.6 points and 3.3 rebounds (50% of which are offensive) in just 11.6 minutes per game.
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. Against Cal Poly, 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 11 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 was the Lions' fourth and final game this season against a team from the Big West. Those results have primarily favored LMU, who is 3-1 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 33-6 versus Big West competition.
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 116 free throws over its last four games.
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.
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.