Jan. 13, 2009
Complete Release in PDF Format
Thursday, January 15 7:00 p.m.
LMU (10-5, 0-1 WCC) vs. Saint Mary's (6-11, 2-0 WCC)
Saturday, January 17 - ESPNU 8:02 p.m.
LMU (10-5, 0-1 WCC) vs. San Diego (11-5, 2-0 WCC)
Live audio for both games is available with Angie Kiel and Patrick Duggan through Lions All-Access at LMULions.com. Saturday's game will also be televised live nationally on ESPNU with Brian Webber and Krista Blunk calling the action.
Live stats and video for all home games are available through LMULions.com.
LMU makes its 2009 home debut this week as it hosts a pair of games in the first full week of West Coast Conference action. Having dropped its conference opener in overtime last weekend, the Lions look to get things going against a pair of teams who are each undefeated in WCC play. On Thursday, the Lions host Saint Mary's at 7 p.m. On Saturday, LMU makes its 2008-09 national television debut when ESPNU visits Gersten Pavilion for the 8 p.m. matchup between LMU and San Diego.
Follow The Lions Live On The Web
Loyola Marymount University, in conjunction with Stretch Internet, is proud to present FREE live audio broadcasts over the World Wide Web on www.LMULions.com. Join Angie Kiel all season long for every Lion game, home and away, in 2008-09. Angie will be joined on select home broadcasts by Patrick Duggan and Will Callanen. Just click on the "Listen" or "Archive" link next to the game of your choice. All broadcasts will be archived within 72 hours of their original airing and will include both the pre-game and post-game shows.
All home games and select away games will be available live on Gametracker through the LMU website. Check www.LMULions.com for all Gametracker live stats information.
Coming to a Game?
If you are planning to attend a game at LMU this season, then be sure to reserve your tickets today by ordering online at www.LMULions.com or calling the LMU Ticket Office at (310) 338-LION. The Loyola Marymount University campus is located in Westchester at 1 LMU Drive, approximately four miles north of the Los Angeles International Airport. Visitors must use the main entrance off of Lincoln Blvd. on LMU Drive. Parking for Gersten Pavilion will be in General Parking Lot A.
Got a Question? Talk to the Lions
This year, the media relations office has introduced a new feature for radio broadcasts: Talk to the Lions. Fans who are listening to the LMU broadcast through the Stretch Audio Network can now e-mail any question they have and it will be read and answered live on-air by Angie Kiel. To submit your question, go to the women's basketball home page and click on "E-mail the Radio Team".
The 2008-09 LMU women's basketball media guide is available to download at www.LMULions.com. Copies are also available through the LMU Media Relations Office for $10 per guide.
ESPN in the House
For the second straight year, LMU and San Diego will be featured on ESPNU in a nationally televised game. Last year, the teams remained the same but the venue switched as the Lions and Toreros battled in San Diego on ESPNU.
WCC Pairs with Soles4Souls and Zappos
The West Coast Conference has teamed up with Soles4Souls and Zappos this season to donate both new and gently used shoes to those in need throughout the world. Donation bins will be placed at all men's and women's conference games this season with the school donating the most shoes receiving a party for its student fan group at the WCC Championships in Las Vegas. For all LMU home games, donation bins can be found in the Gersten Pavilion lobby.
About the Saint Mary's Gaels (6-11, 2-0 WCC)
Saint Mary's is on a roll, having won its last three in a row and five of its last seven after opening the year 1-9. Last weekend, the Gaels kicked off WCC play with wins at Santa Clara (58-55) and at home against San Francisco (89-62). Louella Tomlinson led the way in each contest, just missing a triple-double at Santa Clara with eight points, 11 rebounds, and 11 blocks. She would get that triple-double on Saturday, going for 28 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 blocks to earn WCC Player of the Week honors.
Tomlinson is one of two Gaels averaging double figures in scoring at 14.3 ppg. She also leads the team with 8.3 rpg and is tops in the nation with 6.1 blocks per contest. Maija Lahde adds 11.5 ppg and 6.8 rpg.
Head Coach Paul Thomas is in his third year in Moraga, where he has a record of 35-42. He has a 17-year coaching record of 272-200. Last year, the Gaels went 15-17 overall, placing fifth in the WCC at 6-8. They return three starters and nine letterwinners.
Saint Mary's is one of two teams to have beaten LMU twice last year, winning 59-57 in Moraga before knocking the Lions out of the first round of the WCC Tournament with a 71-67 win in San Diego. LMU won 73-71 at Gersten Pavilion as all three meetings last year were decided by four or fewer points. SMC controls the all-time series 33-14.
About the San Diego Toreros (11-5, 2-0 WCC)
San Diego has won five in a row and seven of its last nine after beating San Francisco (69-62) and Santa Clara (67-54) last weekend. USD trailed Santa Clara by 11 at the half but emerged with the win thanks to 20 points from Kiva Herman and 16 from Dominique Conners. Amber Sprague was the top scorer against USF with 22 points and Conners added 18.
Herman leads the Toreros in scoring at 17.8 ppg. Sprague is second at 16.1 ppg while adding 8.1 rpg.
Cindy Fisher has a record of 60-46 in four seasons as head coach at San Diego. She has a career record of 119-127. Last year, the Toreros went 19-13 and tied with LMU for third place in the WCC with a 7-7 mark. They got hot at the right time, earning the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by marching through the WCC Tournament before falling to Cal 77-60 in the NCAA First Round.
USD has won the last four meetings with LMU and holds a 30-24 all-time advantage in the series. The Lions are 14-13 at home against the Toreros.
Last Week Recap: Overtime Heartbreak in WCC Opener
Last Saturday marked the opening of the WCC calendar as LMU traveled up to Malibu to take on local rivals Pepperdine. Things started well for the Lions, who jumped out to a 12-point advantage in the first four minutes and led by six at the half. Pepperdine came out smoking in the second half, opening up a 15-point advantage with 7:30 remaining before the Lions clawed their way back, taking a three-point lead. But Pepperdine's Taylor Smith hit a game-tying three with 3.7 seconds left to force overtime. LMU again led by three in OT but the Waves scored the game's final four points in a 67-66 loss. Senior Cassady Moore led the Lions with 15 points and sophomore Renahy Young added 13.
LMU in the NCAA
LMU has dropped to 116th in the NCAA RPI, according to CollegeRPI.com. As a conference, the WCC is rated 15th out of 31. In addition, the Lions as a team and several individuals rank among the top-100 nationally in various statistical categories. A complete list of those categories and LMU's rankings are on page three of this release.
Quick Out of the Gate
LMU tied the program record for best 10-game start after going 8-2 to open the season. The Lions also went 8-2 in 2003-04 on their way to a 24-6 season. With a non-conference mark of 10-4, LMU tied the 1987-88 team for most victories prior to the start of WCC play and secured its third consecutive season of a non-conference winning record.
In addition, LMU's seven-game winning streak from November 16-December 14 was its longest since winning eight straight from December 21, 2005-January 19, 2006. LMU also won eight in a row in 2003-04, the same year they set the school record with a 15-game streak.
November's 5-1 start marked the program's best November since 2001-02 and the most victories in one month since winning five in February, 2007. By going 5-1 in November and 4-3 in December, the Lions have now posted 14 consecutive months with a .500 record or above in which they have played three or more games.
Britton Elected to LMU Athletics Hall of Fame
The Loyola Marymount University athletic department announced that six individuals will be inducted as the Class of 2009 into the LMU Athletics' Hall of Fame in a ceremony to be held on Friday, February 6, 2009 in the Edward Roski Dining Room located in University Hall. The inductees will also be introduced during halftime at the LMU vs. Pepperdine men's basketball game on Saturday, February 7, 2009.
This year's class includes Bryn Britton (Women's Basketball, 2002), Bill Crone (Football, 1970), Ryan Eisberg (Men's Water Polo, 1998), Sarah Noriega (Women's Volleyball, 1998), Reid Priddy (Men's Volleyball, 2000) and Bernie Sandalow (LMU Public Address Announcer, 1978). The six brings the number of members in the Hall of Fame, which was started in 1986, to 104.
Britton becomes the third women's basketball player selected to the Hall of Fame, joining current assistant coach Lynn Flanagan, who was elected in 2001, and Sherri Brown, who was elected in 2003. LMU's all-time leading scorer with 1,662 points, Britton is the only Lion to be named First Team All-West Coast Conference three times in her career. She led the Lions in scoring in each of her four seasons, setting records in each year for most points by a member of her class. Along with being the school's all-time leading scorer, she is first in field goals, second in scoring average, and third in assists and three-point baskets. She holds three of the top-10 individual point totals and scoring averages for a season.
Numbers only tell half the story of a team but a look inside the numbers might help to explain why LMU has been a tough team to beat. The Lions have held a lead at halftime in 12 of the 15 games and are 9-3 when ahead at the break. LMU is 8-2 when winning the battle of the boards and 8-1 when attempting more free throws than its opponent. All eyes have been on the offense but the Lions have also gotten after it defensively, holding five of their foes under 36% shooting and going 9-3 when keeping the other team under 45%. Finally, sharing the wealth has been a good thing, with seven different players having at least one 10+ point game. LMU is 8-2 when three or more players reach double figures and have been led in scoring by five different players. Finally, consistency is the key. The Lions started the same lineup in each of the first 13 games this year after using 13 different assortments a year ago.
With explosive shooters like juniors Lisa Helmers and Kavita Goss and sophomore Renahy Young on the court, LMU has been lighting up the scoreboard and taking aim at some of the school's three-point records. Already Helmers and Goss have been peppering the single-game record of seven made threes, with Helmers going for eight in the exhibition game and Goss knocking down six against Arizona. Helmers then equaled Goss with six at Cal Poly. As a team, the Lions hit 11 against the Wildcats, then went one better at Cal Poly, equaling the school-record of 12, set at UC Riverside on December 5, 2003. As a team, the Lions are second in the WCC in triples made per game at 6.2. Helmers (2nd), Young (T-8th), and Goss (T-12th) all rank among the WCC leaders in threes made per game.
Queens of the O-Boards
Last season, LMU registered 20 or more offensive rebounds in a game three times. This year, they have already done it six times, including three games in a row in December. As a team, LMU is third in the WCC in offensive rebounds per game at 15.73 but it has three players (Aleyse Evans, Alex Cowling, and Melanie Ysaguirre) ranked in the conference's top-10.
More on the Glass
With four 50+ rebound games in 2008-09, LMU has equaled its total from last season. The Lions have yet to record fewer than 36 rebounds in a game and lead the WCC in rebounding average at 45.0.
Don't worry about the hype overwhelming sophomore guard Renahy Young. After being named to the WCC All-Freshman and Honorable Mention teams in 2007-08, she started the year by being named to the Preseason All-Conference squad. The awards have not stopped there as Young has earned All-Tournament honors at all three of the non-conference tournaments, including taking home the MVP trophy at the Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Tournament.
LMU's leading scorer at 16.3 ppg, Young has reached double figures in 13 games this season and has topped 20 points four times, including a career-high 31 points in the triple-overtime loss to Arizona. That performance made her the first LMU player to break the 30-point plateau since Bryn Britton in 2001. Young averaged 19.3 points, 3.3 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game at the BofH Invite to earn a place on the All-Tournament team. She then had 20 and 19 points, respectively, for MVP honors at LMU's home Thanksgiving tourney. At the Holiday Tournament, she averaged 15.5 ppg.
After leading the nation in free throws attempted and made through the season's first nine games, Young has dropped back but is still in the top-four of each category. She has already gone to the line 10 or more times in a game four times this year, including against Toledo in which she made an LMU-record 15 foul shots (on 19 attempts). She then went 14-for-16 from the line in the win over Idaho State. Halfway through the season, Young is well over halfway to the single-season record of 144, set in 1990-91 by current associate head coach Lynn Flanagan. She entered the single-season top-10 for FT made at Pepperdine and needs 51 makes to tie the record.
After 15 games, Young is averaging 16.3 ppg (fifth in the WCC and 79th in the nation). She is among the WCC leaders in scoring (5th), assists (9th), free throw percentage (7th), 3-point field goal percentage (7th), and 3-pointers made per game (7th).
Defensive Stopper, Offensive Force
For the last three seasons, Cassady Moore has been one-half of a prolific defensive tandem, joining up with Amanda DeCoud to wreak havoc in the backcourt. Now that DeCoud has graduated as the school's #2 all-time thief, it is time for Moore to assume the spotlight in her senior season. With three steals at Cal State Bakersfield, Moore entered the LMU career top-10, where she currently sits in 10th place with 150. Offensively, Moore started the season with a bang as the only Lion to score in double figures in each of the first four games. She was named to the Bank of Hawai'i Invitational All-Tournament Team, averaging 12.3 points and 4.0 rebounds in the three games, and then earned Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving All-Tournament honors by averaging 6.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 2.5 steals per game in leading LMU to the title. She has reached double figures in 10 of the first 15 games after having just three double-digit outings last year.
Against UNLV, Moore was on the verge of history, falling one assist and one rebound shy of LMU's first-ever triple-double. Still, it was enough to garner her the West Coast Conference Player of the Week award for the first time in her career. In two games, Moore averaged 16.0 ppg, 7.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 3.5 steals per game while shooting 56.5% from the floor. Her 20 points against UNLV were two off her career-high while she set new personal bests in rebounds and assists. She is currently third on the team in scoring at 11.2 ppg and leading the Lions in assists (3.6) and steals (2.6) per game, respectively. She is among the WCC leaders in points (14th), assists (3rd), steals (2nd), and assist/turnover ratio (4th).
Helmers at the Helm
On a team with 11 underclassmen, it is up to the juniors and seniors to take the lead. Junior Lisa Helmers has adopted that mantle and has been named a team captain for 2008-09. LMU's best long-range threat in 2007-08, Helmers hit 59 three-pointers, the fourth-most in a single season at LMU, and was also the only player to be named to the all-tournament teams at both of LMU's home tournaments. This year, she could not have had a better exhibition game, connecting on what would have been a school-record eight three-pointers for a game-high 24 points, which would have topped her career-high of 16 had the game counted. No matter, after going 5-for-26 and averaging 5.0 ppg in Hawai'i, she broke out of her shooting slump with a career-high 23 points in the home opener against Long Beach State and followed that with 18 points against Idaho State and 22 points at Cal Poly, in which she set a new career-high with six threes. She is currently fourth on the team in scoring at 9.5 ppg while her 99 career three-pointers are tied for fifth all-time at LMU. She is second in the league in 3-pointers made per game and also ranks among the leaders in scoring (18th), 3-point field goal percentage (11th), and defensive rebounds (12th).
Toughness in the Post
With the graduation of Valerie Ogoke, all eyes are on sophomore Aleyse Evans as the Lions' newest defensive and rebounding force. A year older, healthier, and stronger, Evans has worked to improve her game on offense as well as defense. She showed that in the opener vs. Hawai'i, making her first four shots en route to a game-high and new career-high 15 points. She then recorded her first career double-double against Toledo, going 7-for-9 from the floor for 14 points and equaling her career-best with 15 boards.
Evans has scored in double figures in the three games surrounding New Year's, including posting her second career double-double at Cal State Bakersfield. Coming off the bench for the first time all season, Evans finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds, including grabbing an astonishing 11 boards in the final 6:54.
Evans has reached double figures in rebounds in five games and is averaging 8.7 per game overall, third in the WCC, while contributing 8.3 ppg and shooting 50.5% from the floor. She is third in the league in defensive rebounds per game, fourth in offensive rebounds, fourth in blocks, fourth in field goal percentage, and 24th in scoring average.
Here Comes Alex
As the calendars turned over into December, freshman Alex Cowling stepped up her game to become one of the toughest Lions to guard. Cowling led LMU in scoring in each of the last six games of the month, averaging 17.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in December.
Cowling went for then-career-highs of 19 points and 12 rebounds (seven offensive) for her first career double-double vs. Long Beach State. She continued the onslaught against Idaho State, hitting six of her seven shots for 12 points and putting herself into the LMU record books against UNLV with an 11-for-12 performance from the floor on her way to a new career-high of 26 points and kick-starting her December to remember.
She became the second consecutive LMU player to win the West Coast Conference Player of the Week award, taking home the accolade for the week of December 8-14 after recording her second career double-double in LMU's victory over Boise State. The freshman came off the bench for 25 points, one shy of her career-high, and a career-best 15 rebounds to become the first Lion to top 20 points and 15 rebounds in a game since Ashlee Dunlap had 20 and 10 against San Diego State on January 6, 2006. Cowling had 17 of her points and 12 of her rebounds in the second half to help LMU overcome its first halftime deficit of the season. Eleven of her rebounds came on the offensive end.
Midway through her freshman campaign, Cowling is second in the WCC in shooting percentage at 57.4%, 15th-best in the nation. She is averaging 12.6 ppg (11th in the WCC) and 6.1 rpg (10th) while pulling down a team-high 46 offensive rebounds, an average of 3.07 a game (third in the WCC).
LMU suffered a big blow to its frontcourt during preseason practice when senior Jenna Sybesma went down with a knee injury. Sybesma underwent surgery on November 11 and is working to get back to the court as soon as she can. The Lions will miss her offense down low, as Sybesma reached double figures in each of the final nine contests on 2007-08 to finish the year third on the team at 10.0 ppg while shooting 49% from the floor.
Goss Gets Rolling
Shooters are known to get on hot streaks and junior Kavita Goss certainly found her rhythm against Arizona. After connecting on three three-pointers in the win over Hawai'i, Goss went off against the Wildcats with six triples. Goss made the final seconds of the first overtime and all of the second her own, as her three-pointer with six seconds left forced the second overtime and she hit three more in the second extra frame to score all 10 of LMU's points. She finished with a career-high 21 points and averaged 11.3 ppg through the season's opening weekend. Goss got on another hot streak at Cal Poly, where she had 15 points. She is third on the team with 20 three-pointers made and sits ninth in career threes with 70.
Posts Play Big
Two players who give the Lions depth in the post are sophomores Melanie Ysaguirre and Maggie Burkett. Ysaguirre is one of just three players to start every game this season and is third on the team in rebounding at 5.9 per game. She had a game-high eight rebounds in the season opener and went for a solid six points, seven rebounds, four assists, and three blocks, the latter two of which were new career highs, against Long Beach State. She went on to top her career-high with 10 rebounds against Idaho State and had a fine all-around effort at Pepperdine with nine points, seven rebounds, and three blocks. Ysaguirre is among the WCC leaders in total rebounding (12th), blocks (8th), offensive rebounds (T-8th), defensive rebounds (T-13th), and steals (15th).
Burkett has become one of LMU's top players off the bench after seeing limited time last season. Burkett played a total of 51 minutes in 2007-08 but nearly topped that in one game, logging a team-high 43 minutes against Arizona. Due to foul trouble for Evans and Ysaguirre, Burkett was forced to be the dominant player in the post and she responded, pulling down a career-high nine boards.
Nichols Makes Debut at Holiday Tournament
After transferring to LMU from Washington last January and sitting out the tail end of last season and the first half of this one, freshman Candice Nichols made her LMU debut against San Jose State at the Courtyard by Marriott L.A. Westside Holiday Tournament. Due to NCAA transfer rules, Nichols could not play for two full semesters once she enrolled at LMU. She had already sat out last spring and has now completed her fall term finals and had her grades cleared by the campus registrar.
The 5-10 Nichols made an immediate impact at the tournament, dishing two assists in her first 90 seconds of play against San Jose State and making her first shot. She followed that up with seven points against Delaware and is averaging 5.0 points and 3.0 rebounds.
Lions Near Perfect in Preseason Tourneys
LMU played in three non-conference tournaments this year, posting a 5-2 record in such competitions, having gone 2-1 at the season-opening Bank of Hawai'i Invitational, a perfect 2-0 to claim the title at the Ayres Hotels Thanksgiving Tournament, and 1-1 at the Courtyard by Marriott L.A. Westside Holiday Tournament.
The Lions' lone blemish in the first two tournaments was a triple-overtime loss to Arizona in Hawai'i. Were it not for a quirky tie-breaker scenario, the Lions would have two trophies in their cabinet this year. With three teams tied for first place, the first tie-breaker used in the Hawai'i tournament was head-to-head result but LMU defeated Toledo, Toledo defeated Arizona, and Arizona defeated LMU, leaving all three teams still knotted. The second tiebreaker was fewest points allowed. That meant that the Lions, who gave up 214 points in the three games, were relegated to third. Toledo (205 points allowed) garnered the runners-up trophy while Arizona (202) walked away with the championship. In an ironic twist, Hawai'i, who went 0-3 on the weekend, allowed the fewest points of any team, giving up a mere 192 points in its three games.
Still, LMU was not about to let anyone take away its crown as the defending champions of the Ayres Hotels Thanksgiving Tournament. The Lions rolled over Idaho State in the semifinal, then avenged last year's 26-point loss to Georgetown for the program's fifth Ayres Hotels title in 12 years.
The Lions ran their tournament winning streak to four games at the Courtyard by Marriott. L.A. Westside Holiday Tournament with a win over San Jose State in the opener. However, their quest for their first Holiday Tournament title, and second non-conference tourney crown of the year, was denied with a loss to Delaware in the championship game.
Backcourt Duo Earn Hawai'ian Honors
Sophomore Renahy Young and senior Cassady Moore got the season off to an award-winning start as both were named to the Bank of Hawai'i Invitational All-Tournament Team. Young averaged 19.3 points, 3.3 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game and hit her career-high with 31 points in the loss to Arizona. Young and Moore were the only Lions to score in double figures in all three games as Moore went for 14, 11, and 12 points, respectively.
Young, Moore Do It Again
For the second time this season, sophomore Renahy Young and senior Cassady Moore walked away from a preseason tournament with individual hardware. In the season-opening Bank of Hawai'i Invitational, both were named to the all-tournament team. Moore repeated the honor at the Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Tournament, averaging a steady line of 6.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 2.5 steals a game. Young, however, was the offensive force, scoring 20 and 19 points, respectively, and spurring LMU's come-from-behind victory in the championship game.
Cowling, Young Earn Holiday Tournament Awards
Sophomore Renahy Young made it a perfect 3-for-3 in All-Tournament honors this year when she was named to the Courtyard by Marriott L.A. Westside Holiday Tournament team. In LMU's two games, she averaged 15.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, and 2.5 apg. She was joined on the All-Tournament team by freshman Alex Cowling, who had back-to-back 16 point outings while pulling down an average of 7.5 rebounds per game.
In the last two years, LMU has taken the opinion that if you're going to play overtime, why settle with just one extra period? LMU played one overtime game in 2007-08 but that one, against Cal State Bakersfield, went into double overtime and finished with a 95-90 Lion win. This year, the Lions decided to top that, playing the first triple-overtime game in school history. Unfortunately, three was not the magic number for LMU against Arizona, as the Wildcats won 93-88. The normal, single OT contest at Pepperdine was the first single OT game since LMU beat the Waves at the 2007 WCC Tourney.