WCC Action Begins With PCH Cup Battle
After concluding non-conference play with a 6-7 record, the Lions open West Coast Conference play Thursday against rival Pepperdine in a Wells Fargo PCH Cup battle. Tip-off in Gersten Pavilion is 7 p.m.
Jan. 2, 2013
LOS ANGELES - The 2012-13 West Coast Conference slate gets underway this week and the Lions (6-7) begin play in they friendly confines of Gersten Pavilion, hosting rival Pepperdine (3-8) on Thursday, Jan. 3. Both teams will be seeking a "W" in the league standings as well as points in the Fourth Annual Wells Fargo PCH Cup. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Since beginning play in the West Coast Conference in 1985-86, LMU is 8-19 all-time in WCC openers. The most recent conference opening victory came in the 2010-11 season - a 65-53 win at Saint Mary's. The Lions and Waves have began WCC play facing each other just twice all-time - in 2008-09 and 2009-10. Pepperdine earned victories in both of those match-ups.
LIONS' LAST LINE
Freshmen Chelsea Barnes (16 pts) and Sophie Taylor (11 pts) each recorded career-highs while Taylor also earned her first career-start, but it wasn't enough as the Lions closed out non-conference play with an 84-68 loss at Wyoming on Dec. 29. Hazel Ramirez also reach double-figures, finishing with 14 points, but LMU shot just 32.4 percent from the field while the Cowgirls remained unbeaten on their home court, shooting 47.4 percent.
INSIDE THE LIONS
The Lions closed out the non-conference portion of their 2012-13 slate with a 6-7 record, including a 5-1 mark at home in Gersten Pavilion.
Entering the week, the Lions rank No. 2 in the WCC in scoring at 68.6 ppg. They also rank second the nine-team league in three-point field goal percentage defense (27.1) and first in steals per game (12.8) and turnover margin (+5.23).
Individually, Alex Cowling is fourth in the WCC in scoring (15.5 ppg) while Hazel Ramirez comes in at No. 10 (11.6 ppg). Ramirez is also second in assists (5.5 per game) and Mackenzie Kerins is sixth in rebounds (7.5 per game).
Either Alex Cowling or Hazel Ramirez have led the Lions in scoring all but twice so far this season. Cowling holds the mark on eight occasions, including four +20-point games, while Ramirez has led the team three times. Freshmen Deanna Johnson and Chelsea Barnes are the only other Lions to lead the scoring column in a single game.
With 167 steals through 13 games (12.8 per game), the Lions have already matched last year's total.
The Dec. 5 loss to UC Santa Barbara was the home lone loss of the season for LMU as they are now 5-1 in Gersten Pavilion. That already surpasses their total home wins during the 2011-12 season and matches the total home wins recorded in both 2009-10 and 2010-11.
LMU won three straight games (Nov. 15 vs. Long Beach State, Nov. 17 vs. Utah State and Nov. 20 vs. Cal State Fullerton) for the first time since Jan. 6-13, 2011.
The 98-81 win over Utah State on Nov. 17 was a record setting performance for LMU, both individually and collectively. Junior point guard Hazel Ramirez tallied her first career-double-double with 15 points and a program record 12 assists. The previous single-game high of 11 was held by four former Lions, but had not been matched sine the 1994 season. The Lions' 98 points was the highest scoring output since 2007 and now sits as the third most points scored in program history.
LMU's win over Oregon State on Dec. 15 was just the sixth all-time against current members of the Pac-12, though of those all-time victories, one came against Colorado and two came against Utah before both were Pac-12 members. The last Lion victory over a Pac-12 program was on Nov. 21, 2001 at Arizona State (70-63).
Alex Cowling's 28-point, 10-rebound effort against Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 20 was her 23rd career-double-double.
Mackenzie Kerins recorded three consecutive double-doubles in the Lions three-game home win streak and added her fourth of the season on Dec. 20 at Cal Poly, this after recording just one double-double during her first two seasons of play.
Hazel Ramirez earned her first career WCC Player of the Week honor on Nov. 19 after averaging 14.3 points, 8.7 assists, 4.7 steals and 2.7 rebounds in a three-game stretch.
ABOUT THE PEPPERDINE WAVES
Pepperdine concluded non-conference play with a 3-8 record and is currently riding a three-game losing streak. The Waves are 2-5 at home and 1-3 on the road this season. They average 59.0 ppg while shooting 38 percent from the field, 35 percent from three and 72 percent from the free throw line. Shay Cooney-Williams and Robie Mayberry lead the Waves with 10.6 ppg apiece, though Mayberry has not appeared in Pepperdine's last two games. The Waves have been outrebounded by an average of 9.4 boards per game while also committing 19.7 turnovers per game.
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