Back-to-Back Ayres Champs
Lions beat Georgetown 54-49 to win fifth Thanksgiving title
Nov. 29, 2008
Los Angeles, CA - Sophomore Renahy Young earned Tournament MVP honors as she led LMU (5-1) to victory over Georgetown (5-1), 54-49, in the championship game of the 12th Annual LMU Ayres Thanksgiving Tournament on Saturday at Gersten Pavilion. This is the second straight year, and fifth year overall, that the Lions have won the Thanksgiving Tournament.
Head Coach Julie Wilhoit said, "We're a young team that's continuing to better and better. We knew that they were going to be tough but we just continued to fight. On offense we got to the line and hit our free throws and then we hit some big three-pointers."
Young, a Preseason All-WCC selection, continued to live up to expectations as she scored 19 points, 14 of them in the second half. Senior Cassady Moore made the All-Tournament Team as she filled up the stat sheet once again, finishing with nine points, six rebounds and six assists. Sophomore Aleyse Evans added nine points and seven rebounds while freshman Alex Cowling chipped in eight points off the bench.
The Hoyas utilized their size advantage as they outscored the Lions in the paint 22-14 and on second chance points 12-4. They were led on offense by Monica McNutt and Shanice Fuller who both made the All-Tournament team and scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
In a defensive struggle, the Lions were able to take the lead into the halftime break thanks to making the most of their free throws and a couple three-pointers from an unexpected source. The Lions only shot 29% from the floor in the first half but they were 10-of-12 from the line. Georgetown came out physical and aggressive in the first half and the Lions used the Hoyas' aggressiveness against them to draw fouls; LMU was in the bonus with 12:05 still left in the half.
Also key to the Lions having the lead was two three-pointers from Cowling. The threes were the first of her career and were much needed against a zone that made it tough for the Lions to get the ball inside. Young also hit a shot from behind the arc as the buzzer sounded to put LMU up 28-24 going into halftime.
The Hoyas came out of halftime ready to wrest control away from the Lions as Georgetown started off the half on an 11-2 run to put them up 35-30. From there, though, Young put the Lions on her shoulders and made sure that they would not lose. She scored the team's next seven points and 14 of their next 21 to put them up 51-49. Her best play, though, came on an assist with less than 40 seconds remaining and the Lions clinging to their two point advantage. With the shot clock winding down, Young drove the lane, drew two defenders and deftly passed the ball to Evans, who finished the play to give LMU a 53-49 lead.
"Renahy is a gamer and she's really showing great strides from last year," Wilhoit said. "There were a couple possessions where she controlled the ball and carried us."
Moore added the last point on a free throw and Georgetown could not hit any of their desperation threes to close the game. The 5-1 start is the best for the Lions since 2003-04 when they started 8-1 on the way to a 24-6 season and the program's only NCAA Tournament appearance.
In the consolation game, North Dakota State claimed third place in the tournament by defeating Idaho State, 68-55. The Bison's Abby Plucker and the Bengals' Oana Iacovita made the All-Tournament Team.
LMU travels up the coast on Wednesday at 5 p.m. to face Cal Poly before returning hme next Saturday on Homecoming against UNLV at 2 pm.
Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Tournament All-Tournament Team:
- GO LIONS -