Feb. 11, 2009
Complete Release in PDF Format
Thursday, February 12 - 7:00 p.m.
LMU (15-7, 5-3 WCC) at San Diego (14-9, 5-4 WCC)
Saturday, February 14 - 2:00 p.m.
LMU (15-7, 5-3 WCC) at Santa Clara (2-22, 0-9 WCC)
Live audio is available through Lions All-Access and Stretch Internet. Angie Kiel will broadcast the game at San Diego while Manny Nunez will provide the play-by-play at Santa Clara. Gametracker and streaming video will be available at www.usdtoreros.com and www.santaclarabroncos.com.
Clinging on to third place in the West Coast Conference standings, LMU heads out on the road for four of its last six games. Two games out of first place and one out of second, the Lions are a half-game ahead of San Diego and Saint Mary's and a full game up on Pepperdine. That placing will be tested this week as LMU travels to San Diego on Thursday at 7 p.m. before visiting Santa Clara on Saturday at 2 p.m.
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.
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.
LMU Joins WBCA for Pink Zone
LMU's home game against Gonzaga on Thursday, February 19 will be its annual "WBCA Pink Zone" game to raise Breast Cancer Awareness. Formerly known as "Think Pink", the Pink Zone game will include a free t-shirt giveaway to all fans as well as a raffle drawing for fans to win a free iPod. The Lions will also be wearing special pink ribbons and shoelaces and encourage all fans to wear pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.
About the San Diego Toreros (11-10, 4-3 WCC)
San Diego has won two in a row after suffering a four-game losing streak to close out January. Last Thursday at Santa Clara, Amber Sprague had 17 points as USD led from start to finish in a 70-54 victory. The Toreros made it two in a row at San Francisco two days later, outscoring USF 40-23 in the second half for a 68-49 win behind Kiva Herman's 21 points.
Herman leads the Toreros in scoring at 18.3 ppg and is shooting over 50% from the floor. Sprague is second at 15.9 ppg while adding a team-high 7.9 rpg.
Cindy Fisher has a record of 62-50 in four seasons as head coach at San Diego. She has a career record of 121-131. 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.
LMU's 78-61 victory over San Diego on January 17 in front of the ESPNU cameras snapped a four-game losing streak to the Toreros. Even so, USD holds a 30-25 all-time advantage in the series and are 15-8 in San Diego.
About the Santa Clara Broncos (2-22, 0-9 WCC)
Santa Clara's losing streak hit nine games last week when it dropped both contests. Lena Gipson has a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds but no other Broncos had more than eight points in the loss to San Diego. At Saint Mary's on Saturday, Alyssa Shoji scored 15 points off the bench to lead three SCU players in double figures but it was not enough in a 68-54 defeat at Saint Mary's.
Gipson averages a double-double of 13.4 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. Elizabeth Doran adds 8.4 ppg.
Jennifer Mountain is in her first season at Santa Clara after seven seasons as an assistant at Gonzaga. The Broncos went 20-11 overall last season and 8-6 in the WCC to finish second. They return two starters and six letterwinners.
Don't let the discrepancy in records fool you - Santa Clara nearly stole its first WCC victory of the year at Gersten Pavilion on January 29. With the win, the Lions snapped a two-game losing streak to the Broncos and closed the all-time game to 39-14 in Santa Clara's favor. The Broncos are 22-5 all-time when hosting the Lions.
Last Week Recap: Revenge Statement
LMU made up for its WCC-opening overtime loss at Pepperdine by pounding the Waves on Saturday, 68-44, to break a two-way tie and leave them all alone in second place in the conference standings. The Lions got off to a hot start, jumping out to a 17-2 advantage, and led by as many as 29 in the second half. Freshman Candice Nichols was the catalyst, coming off the bench for 18 points. Sophomore Renahy Young broke out of a personal slump for 14 points and freshman Alex Cowling had 10 points in her second career start.
Jesuit Basketball Spotlight
LMU's game on Saturday is part of the nationwide Jesuit Basketball Spotlight project, using Jesuit basketball to raise awareness of Jesuit education. Loyola Marymount and Santa Clara are both Jesuit schools. The Jesuit Basketball Spotlight project highlights more than 90 games this season between men's and women's teams from the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities across the United States. Each of the 28 is dedicated to strong academics and teaching women and men to serve others and live a faith that does justice. Jesuit, Catholic colleges and universities in the United States have more than 200,000 students currently and more than 1.7 million living alumni. The Jesuit educational mission began in Europe approximately 500 years ago. For more information on Jesuit higher education in the United States, go to www.ajcunet.edu.
LMU in the NCAA
LMU is ranked 127th in the NCAA RPI and is 120th according to CollegeRPI.com. As a conference, the WCC is rated 14th 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. At 14-6, the Lions had the second-best 20-game mark of any LMU squad, tying that of the 2000-01 team and trailing only the 2003-04 record of 15-5.
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, 4-3 in December, and 5-3 in January, the Lions have now posted 15 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
On February 6, the Loyola Marymount University athletic department inducted six new members into the LMU Athletics' Hall of Fame. The Class of 2009 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 16 of the 21 games and are 13-3 when ahead at the break. LMU is 12-3 when winning the battle of the boards and 12-1 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 seven of their foes under 36% shooting and going 14-5 when keeping the other team under 45%. As we all learned in kindergarten, sharing the wealth is a good thing, with nine different players having at least one 10+ point game. LMU is 13-2 when three or more players reach double figures and have been led in scoring by six 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 5.77. Helmers (2nd), Young (7th), and Goss (8th) 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 seven times, including three games in a row in December and a season-high 28 offensive boards vs. Saint Mary's. As a team, LMU is second in the WCC in offensive rebounds per game at 15.68 and has three players (Aleyse Evans, Alex Cowling, and Melanie Ysaguirre) ranked in the conference's top-seven.
More on the Glass
With five 50+ rebound games in 2008-09, LMU has surpassed its total from last season. The Lions have been held to fewer than 40 rebounds in a game just three times and are first in the WCC in rebounding average (43.6) and defensive rebounds per game (27.91) and second in offensive rebounds (15.68).
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, and was the WCC Player of the Week for January 13-19.
LMU's leading scorer at 14.5 ppg, Young has reached double figures in 15 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-20 of each category. She has 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. Young is already fourth on the single-season FT made list and is honing in on 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 30 makes to tie the record.
Young earned her first career West Coast Conference Player of the Week award, taking home the accolade for the week of January 12-18. Young had back-to-back games of 16 points as LMU knocked off two previously unbeaten teams in the WCC. She had a game-high 16 points along with two steals in the Lions' 68-52 win over Saint Mary's and followed that with 16 points to help LMU snap its four-game losing streak to WCC Tournament champions San Diego, 78-61.
Young is among the WCC leaders in scoring (8th), free throw percentage (8th), 3-point field goal percentage (7th), and 3-pointers made per game (7th).
Defensive Stopper, Offensive Force
For the last three seasons, Cassady Moore was 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 ninth place with 170. 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 14 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.
Moore is third on the team in overall scoring at 10.9 ppg and leading the Lions in assists (3.41) and steals (2.68) per game, respectively. She is among the WCC leaders in points (14th), assists (4th), steals (2nd), and assist/turnover ratio (6th).
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.
Helmers is fourth on the team in scoring at 9.1 ppg while her 112 career three-pointers are fourth all-time at LMU. She is second in the league in 3-pointers made per game (2.14) and also ranks among the leaders in scoring (21st), 3-point field goal percentage (10th), and defensive rebounds (13th).
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 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 7.9 per game overall, fourth in the WCC, while contributing 7.2 ppg. She is fourth in the league in defensive rebounds per game, seventh in offensive rebounds, fifth in blocks, eighth in field goal percentage, and 28th 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.
The freshman returned to the top of the scoring charts in the last two games of January, leading the Lions in scoring against Santa Clara (14 points) and San Francisco, in which she recorded her third career double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds. She is LMU's top scorer in conference play at 11.6 ppg.
Cowling is second in the WCC in shooting percentage at 57.4%, 14th-best in the nation. She is averaging 12.6 ppg (11th in the WCC) and 6.1 rpg (12th) while grabbing a team-best 72 offensive rebounds, an average of 3.27 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 will probably miss the season, petitioning for a medical redshirt. 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 26 three-pointers made and is eighth in career threes with 76.
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 second on the team in rebounding at 6.3 per game, increasing that number to 7.3 in WCC play. She had a game-high eight rebounds in the season opener and went on to top her career-high with 10 rebounds against Idaho State before having a fine all-around effort at Pepperdine with nine points, seven rebounds, and three blocks. When LMU needed her hustle, Ysaguirre supplied it, pulling down 11 rebounds, including nine offensive, and adding five steals, in the home win over Saint Mary's and then going for a new career-best 11 points with nine rebounds vs. San Diego. She was a monster on the glass against San Francisco, gobbling up a game-high 14 rebounds.
She is among the WCC leaders in total rebounding (10th), blocks (9th), offensive rebounds (5th), defensive rebounds (11th), and steals (13th).
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. She also provided a much-needed boost with seven boards and four points against Saint Mary's.
Bright Lights Attract Nichols
Freshman Candice Nichols made quite a television debut when ESPNU descended upon Gersten Pavilion for the game against San Diego. In just her sixth game with the Lions, Nichols put up career-highs of 19 points, six assists, and four rebounds to spur the win. She finished 5-for-9 from the floor and 8-for-9 at the line after having gone just 2-for-9 at the stripe in her previous five outings. She almost topped that against Pepperdine, finishing with 18 points, again on 5-for-9 shooting, including three threes.
Nichols made her LMU debut against San Jose State after transferring from Washington in January 2008. Due to NCAA rules, Nichols could not play for two full semesters once she enrolled at LMU. Eleven games into her LMU career, Nichols provides a valuable 6.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game off the bench.
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.