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Women's Basketball To Finish Non-Conference Action This Week

Dec. 27, 2006

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This Week In Women's Basketball: The Saint Mary's women's basketball team (4-7, 0-0 WCC) will play the remaining two games on its non-conference slate this week. The Gaels return from their holiday break with a road contest against the Sacramento State Hornets (2-9, 0-0 Big Sky) in Sacramento, CA on Thursday, Dec. 28. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:05 PM from the Hornets Nest. Saint Mary's will then return home and host Toledo (4-6, 0-0 MAC) on Saturday, Dec. 30 at 7:05 PM from McKeon Pavilion.

Last Time Out: Saint Mary's strung together its second win in a row with a 74-66 home victory over Eastern Washington. Junior guard Lauren Shaughnessy recorded a career-high 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Running-mate Serena Benavente paced SMC with 20 points on complete perfection from the charity stripe with a 14-for-14 performance. Sophomore guard Jontelle Smith added 11 on 4-of-10 shooting.

Who's Hot: Saint Mary's junior guard Lauren Shaughnessy broke out on the offensive end against Eastern Washington. The Bellevue, WA native who has done all the little things for the Gaels thus far tallied a career-high 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Prior to the offensive onslaught against the Eagles, Shaughnessy averaged 9.0 points, 7.0 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 steals per game in the two games of the Islander Classic where she wan named to the All-Tournament Team.

In the Gaels' win over Cal Poly, Shaughnessy nearly missed a double-double and almost had a triple double with 10 points, nine rebound and seven assists in 36 minutes of action. Of her nine boards, the 5-3-guard had five offensive rebounds. She also had four steals to lead the Gaels to a season-high 15 steals.

Scouting Sacramento State: The Hornets return from the Holiday break with a 2-9 overall record and have yet to dive into Big Sky Conference action. Sacramento State is coming off a 63-55 victory over West Coast Conference foe Portland from the Hornets Nest. Against the Pilots, the Hornets were led by Atty Boyer's 19 points on a perfect 8-for-8 night from the free throw line.

Overall the Hornets are averaging 50.5 points per game while their opponents are pouring in 69.5 per clip. Sacramento State is shooting 33 percent from the floor while its opponents are connecting on an alarming 45 percent of their shots. The Hornets have been out-rebounded by a -7.2 margin.

Individually CSSU is led by Kim Sheehy's 9.6 points per game. Sheehy is shooting only 30 percent from the floor but has connected on 90 percent of her free throw attempts. Boyer is the Hornets' leading rebounder, pulling down 5.8 per game while adding eight points an outing.

Versus The Hornets: Thursday's meeting between the two programs will mark the 17th time the two teams have squared off. The Gaels have owned the Hornets, sporting a 15-1 head-to-head record. Saint Mary's has won the last 15 meetings, including a 52-51 victory last season in Moraga. The last time the two teams met in Sacramento, the Gaels recorded a 55-48 victory in 2004.

Scouting Toledo: The Rockets sport 4-6 overall record and will play Santa Clara before making the short trek north to face Saint Mary's. UT is coming off a 53-51 defeat to Indiana State on Dec. 17. As a team the Rockets are scoring 59.2 points a game while its opponents are dropping in 58.7 per game. UT is shooting 39 percent while its opponents shoot at a 38 percent clip. The Rockets have been out-rebounded by a -2.7 margin.

Individually the Rockets are led by Diana Reindl's 11.7 points per game. Reindl is shooting 50 percent from the floor and is leading the team with 8.5 rebounds per game. Savannah Werner and Danielle Bishop both average double-figures. Werner pours in 10.5 while Bishop closely follows with 10.4. Werner is second on the team with 5.7 rebounds per game while Nicole Stocks leads the team with 4.9 assists per game.

Versus The Eagles: Saturday's matchup between the two teams will mark the first in the history of the two programs.

Free Throw Display: The Gaels put on a free throw clinic against Eastern Washington by shooting 86 percent from the line. SMC went 25-of-29 from the charity stripe while six of seven Gaels were perfect from the charity stripe. Junior guard Serena Benavente was an astounding 14-of-14 from the line.

Fast Pace Gaels: Saint Mary's is currently second in the WCC in scoring, pouring in 68.8 per game. The Gaels erupted for 100 points against Northridge in the Hilton Concord Classic.

Glass Cleaners: Saint Mary's has been all over the glass in non-conference action. The Gaels lead the WCC in the category with 39.8 per game. SMC is second in offensive rebounds, pulling down 15 a contest. Senior forward Eghosa Obaiza is fourth in the league with 7.5 boards per game and has tallied back-to-back double-digit rebound games.

Helping Out: Junior guards Lauren Shaughnessy and Serena Benavente are amongst the leaders in helpers. Shaughnessy is second in the WCC with five assists per game while Benavente is ninth with 2.91 per game.

Turned Away: Saint Mary's is second in the WCC with 4.09 blocked shots per contest. The Gaels are led by Eghosa Obaiza and her 1.64 blocks a game which ranks fourth in the conference. Senior center Sheridan Arredondo ranks seventh with one a game.

Ball Thieves: The Gaels rank first in the WCC with 11.36 steals per contest. Saint Mary's is led by junior guard Lauren Shaughnessy and her 2.91 swipes per game which leads the conference. Obaiza ranks 10th with 1.64 steals per game.

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 open West Coast Conference play against rival Santa Clara. The lone game of the week for the Gaels is scheduled for Sunday, January 7 at 2:05 PM from McKeon Pavilion.