Feb. 28, 2008
Los Angeles, CA - LMU kept alive its quest for second place in the West Coast Conference standings with a convincing 65-41 win over San Francisco Thursday night at Gersten Pavilion. The Lions (15-13, 7-6 WCC) snap a three-game losing streak while winning their 10th in a row over the Dons (14-14, 5-8).
Junior Jenna Sybesma set the tone early, out-scoring USF in the first half with 14 of her game-high 16 points. She hit on 6-of-7 from the floor and added seven rebounds to lead four Lions in double figures. Senior Valerie Ogoke had 12 points and seven rebounds while freshman Renahy Young also contributed 12 points for her ninth double-digit outing in 13 WCC contests. Sophomore Lisa Helmers added 11 points and senior Amanda DeCoud had seven points, seven assists, and four rebounds.
The Lions poured it on from the beginning, shooting 52% in the first half and 48% (24-for-50) overall. They were 7-for-19 (36.8%) from three-point range and 10-for-15 (66.7%) at the line while winning the battle of the boards 37-29.
Shay Rollins was the only Don in double figures, finishing with 15 points. LMU's defense was able to hold three-time First Team All-WCC player and this year's leading scorer Dominique Carter to just two points while committing five turnovers. USF shot 30.2% (16-for-53) from the floor, 35% (7-for-20) from distance and just 22.2% (2-for-9) at the line.
The Lions started strong, scoring the game's first five points, and soon were in control. The combo of Sybesma and Ogoke scored LMU's first seven points and a three-pointer by sophomore Kavita Goss made it 11-4 early. USF would pull back to 11-8 but the Lions answered with a 13-0 run keyed by DeCoud. The senior started the run by finding Helmers for a wide-open three and then followed with a steal and layup. After a three-point play by Ogoke, DeCoud cut backdoor and was fed by Ogoke before finally finishing the run with an assist on Young's three-pointer.
After DeCoud's strong stretch, it was Sybesma's turn to take over. Using an assortment of moves inside and out, she scored 10 of LMU's next 13 points to push the home side's advantage up above 20, 37-13. Sybesma spun inside to her left hand and showed some range, knocking down two shots from just inside the three-point line. Her free throws with three seconds left gave her 14 points for the half, more than the entire USF team scored.
The 13 first-half points were the fewest allowed by the Lions this season and fewest since giving up 13 in the first half against Pepperdine on January 20, 2007. LMU shot 52% (13-for-25) in the first half, compared to 25% (6-for-24) for the Dons.
Any concerns that the Lions would come out of the break flat were put to rest by Ogoke and Helmers. Ogoke scored two quick buckets and Helmers connected on a pair of threes, then found Sybesma under the basket to push the lead above 30, 49-16 with 16:57 remaining. Despite a flurry of three-pointers in the second half, the Dons would get no closer than 24 the rest of the way.
With one game left in the season, LMU is tied with Santa Clara for second place in the WCC standings, one game ahead of San Diego and Saint Mary's. The Lions control their own destiny for third place as they face USD Saturday at 2 p.m. To claim second, they need to win and get help from Portland beating Santa Clara since the Broncos hold the tiebreaker with the regular season sweep.
The Lions close out their regular season schedule Saturday, hosting San Diego at 2 p.m. LMU will honor its three seniors, DeCoud, Ogoke, and Bronwyn Evans, in a pre-game ceremony.