Nov. 22, 2010
Highlights from Lions' All-Access
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Junior Alex Cowling became the 12th player in LMU history to reach 1,000 career points, recording a double-double of 28 points and 14 rebounds, but LMU's shot at the buzzer was offline in a 70-69 defeat at Sacramento State in a non-conference game Monday night at the Hornets Nest in Sacramento, Calif. The Lions (2-2) kept the high-scoring Hornets (1-3) nearly 14 points under their season average but Sac State held LMU without a basket for the final 3:41.
Cowling, who earlier Monday earned the third WCC Player of the Week award of her career, entered the contest needing five points to reach 1,000. She achieved the feat with 12:48 left in the first half to become the fastest in school history to 1,000, getting there in just 64 games, beating the previous record of 67 games set by Bryn Britton (1998-2002). Cowling now has 1023 career points, needing 20 more to enter the LMU top-10.
Playing roughly 60 miles from her hometown of Benicia, Cowling led the Lions with 28 points and a season-high 14 rebounds, her 12th career double, but needed a career-high 31 shots to get there, sinking 12. She was joined in double figures by freshman Hazel Ramirez, who had 15 points for the third straight game, and junior Candice Nichols with 10. Redshirt freshman Camille Buckley added 14 rebounds and seven points.
Facing Sacramento State's up-tempo offense, LMU shot 32.0% (24-for-75) from the floor, 23.5% (4-for-17) from three-point range, and 60.7% (17-for-28) at the line. The Lions committed 19 turnovers while forcing 23, holding an 18-10 advantage in points off turnovers. Led by 14 rebounds each from Cowling and Buckley, the Lions pulled down a season-high 52 boards - 26 on each end.
Sacramento State came into the game averaging 83.7 points per game and got a balanced scoring attack with 10 different players scoring. Natasha Torgerson had a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds, with Mallorie Franco adding 13 points and seven boards. Kylie Kuhns just missed a triple-double, registering eight points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. The Hornets shot 53.6% in the second half and 44.6% (29-for-65) overall. They were 8-for-23 (34.8%) from three-point range and 4-for-7 (57.1%) at the line.
After missing her first four shots, Cowling soon entered the prestigious club with four straight baskets that helped LMU kick-start a 24-6 run over the next 7:40 that turned an 11-5 deficit into a 29-17 advantage. Her turnaround jumper at 15:08 cut Sac State's lead to 11-8 and she then took a feed from Ramirez for a layup to get point 999. On the very next possession, she pulled down an offensive rebound off a missed jumper Nichols and laid it back in to pass the mark.
With Cowling doing damage inside, that opened up the three-point line for the shooters and Ramirez and sophomore Courtney Collishaw obliged. A three in the corner from Ramirez tied the game at 17-all and Cowling gave the Lions the lead on the next possession before another triple from Ramirez and one from Collishaw pushed the LMU advantage to 25-17 with 9:11 to go.
Sacramento State's high-octane offense was not going to slow down, however, and the Hornets responded with five points from Franco and four from Jasmine Cannady for a 9-0 spurt over the next 3:12 to reduce LMU's lead to 29-26. But a pair of free throws and a three from Ramirez and a Cowling jumper helped stave off the run and send the Lions into the half with a 36-31 lead. Cowling and Ramirez carried much of the scoring load in the first half, combining for 27 of LMU's 36 points with Cowling having already recorded her second straight double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds at the break.
Two threes from Torgerson coming out of the locker room got the Hornets back within one, 43-42 with 16:47 left but a three-point play from Nichols buoyed LMU's lead back to four, where it would hover for the next five minutes. Sacramento State turned up the pressure, mounting a 9-2 run over the next 2:09 to take its first lead since the 12:42 mark of the first half, 57-55 on Cannady's layup with 8:52 remaining.
The Lions would immediately answer with an 11-2 run of their own over the next 1:02 as Ramirez hit a jumper to tie and Buckley converted a three-point play to put LMU ahead. On the next possession, junior Lauren Wilkins stole the ball and put in a missed Ramirez layup before two Cowling free throws and a strong move inside from Buckley pushed LMU's lead to 66-57.
Yet again, the Hornets would come roaring back with two Shanti Smith layups, a three from Tika Koshiyama-Diaz, and a Franco layup comprising a 9-2 spurt over the next 3:25 to tie the game for the sixth time, 66-all with 3:58 left. A Cowling jumper would quell the run but Sac State would tie it again on two foul shots by Alle Moreno with 2:06 left. The teams would exchange stops over the next three possessions and Nichols was fouled with 51.6 seconds left, going to the line for two foul shots. She made one for a one-point Lion lead.
Sac State turned to Torgerson, who knocked down a 12-footer to give the lead back to the Hornets and set up a frenetic final half-minute. LMU went inside to Cowling, who missed her shot but chased down the loose ball to force a jump ball and give the ball back to LMU with 21 seconds left. Nichols drove to the left, misfiring on her layup but grabbing the rebound in traffic. She was called for traveling as she went to the ground, handing the ball back to Sac State. After a timeout, LMU fouled Franco, who missed the front end of a one-and-one. Nichols grabbed the rebound and out-letted to Ramirez, who had a running look at the game-winner from 22 feet, only for it to carom off the backboard as time expired.
The Lions return home for the holiday to host the 14th Annual LMU Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles Westside Thanksgiving Classic Friday and Saturday. LMU will open the tournament on Friday at 1 p.m. against Stephen F. Austin. Georgia and Denver will play in Friday's other semifinal. The Consolation Game will be Saturday at 1 p.m., followed by the Championship Game.
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