Nov. 8, 2008
Los Angeles, CA - LMU was impressive in its 2008-09 debut, cruising to a 92-52 victory over Point Loma Nazarene in an exhibition game Saturday afternoon at Gersten Pavilion. The Lions never trailed in the contest, forcing 33 turnovers and putting four players in double figures in their only exhibition game of the season.
Junior Lisa Helmers led all scorers with 24 points, including a scorching 8-for-11 from three-point range. She hit seven three-pointers in the second half, including six in a seven-minute stretch in which she scored 18 of LMU's 22 points. Freshman Alex Cowling just missed a double-double in her collegiate debut, finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds. Senior Cassdy Moore had 12 points and game-highs of four steals and four assists while sophomore Renahy Young, last season's leading scorer, added 10 points. Eleven of the 12 Lions who played scored.
In the preseason, Head Coach Julie Wilhoit stressed a need for the Lions to return to the relentless defense they had been known for in the past. LMU responded, forcing 14 turnovers in the game's first 12 minutes. Wilhoit said, "I'm very pleased with the defensive effort, our goal was to keep them under 56 points and we did that."
The Lions started the game on an 13-2 run and extended that to 20-6 on a three-pointer by junior Kavita Goss in 15:16 remaining. That was one of three first-half triples for Goss as the Lions hit on five of their first nine long-range attempts.
Defense helped LMU push its lead to 35-14 with 7:47 remaining. LMU was getting it done both inside and outside, shooting over 60% from the floor and over 50% from three-point range. Senior Cassady Moore keyed the Lions at both ends, swiping four steals and scoring 10 points in the first half. Freshman Alex Cowling was also impressive, coming off the bench for 12 points and five rebounds in the opening period as LMU took a 44-22 halftime lead.
Helmers took it upon herself for the second half highlights, hitting six three-pointers in a seven-minute span coming out of the break. LMU led 48-24 at 18:05 of the second half when Helmers got hot , scoring 18 of LMU's next 22 points over a 23-7 run as LMU opened up a 73-31 advantage with 11 minutes left.
LMU finished the game shooting 46.8% (37-for-79) from the floor, 36.4% (12-for-33) from three-point range, and 54.5% (6-for-11) from the line. Point Loma shot 45.8% (22-for-48) overall, including 33.3% (4-for-12) from long distance but was just 4-of-15 (26.7%) from the line. The Lions held a 44-31 rebounding advantage, including 19 offensive boards, and dominated the hustle stats, outscoring the Sea Lions 46-26 in the paint, 43-9 off turnovers, and 20-4 on second chance points.
Overall, Wilhoit was pleased with the way the team played but also knows there is room for improvement, "We're very happy with the performance, but the game also gave us an opportunity to see what we need to work before starting our season in Hawai'i. We need to find one speed in our transition and be able to make the reads depending on whether they're in a press or a zone or man-to-man."
Point Loma Nazarene was led by Amanda Franz's 15 points. Colleen Planeta added 13 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks while Liah Ector also had 13 points.
The Lions open up the 2008-09 regular season next weekend at the Bank of Hawai'i Invitational in Hilo, Hawai'i. LMU will take on hosts Hawai'i in the Friday opener at 7 p.m. On Saturday, LMU plays Arizona at 2 p.m. and the tournament concludes Sunday against Toledo, also at 2 p.m. All times are Pacific.
- GO LIONS -