WCC Regular Season Finale at Pepperdine

Feb. 22, 2012



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The West Coast Conference regular season comes to a close for LMU on Thursday, Feb. 23 when the Lions travel 19 miles up the coast to face Pepperdine. The game also serves as part of the Third Annual PCH Cup, for which the Waves currently hold an 8.5-5.5 point lead in 2011-12. Tip off at Firestone Fieldhouse is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Alex Cowling poured in a game-high 21 points but the Lions came up just short in a near upset bid as they fell 61-56 to Saint Mary's on Feb. 18. With just over a minute remaining, Cowling hit a 15-foot jumper to tie the score, 56-56. The Gaels' Carli Rosenthal responded with a jumper of her own and, following an LMU turnover, Jackie Nared hit one of two free throws to push the Saint Mary's lead to three, 59-56. Cowling had a good look at a game-tying three with 16 seconds remaining, but the shot rimmed out and the Lions were forced to foul on the defensive rebound. Saint Mary's left the door open for one final Lion attempt however as Rosenthal missed both double-bonus free throws. With one final possession, the Lions got the ball to Taylor Anderson on the left baseline, but her three-point attempt bounced long and the Gaels' Hayley Hendricksen put the game in hand by sinking two free throws.

Redshirt junior Alex Cowling went into the Feb. 18 game at Saint Mary's needing 18 points to tie and 19 points to break the LMU career-scoring record of 1,662, held by Bryn Britton (1998-02). She managed just seven points in the first half on 1-of-5 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. But as the Lions mounted their second-half comeback, Cowling came alive as well, hitting five field goals, including a trio of three-pointers. Her two free-throws with 5:49 remaining were good for her 18th and 19th points of the game, sending her past Britton's nearly decade-old record. With a minimum of two games remaining this season, plus her senior season, Cowling has the opportunity to become the first LMU women's basketball player to eclipse the 2,000-point mark.

LMU has faced Pepperdine more than any other opponent all-time as the cross-town rivals have met 64 times beginning in 1982. Pepperdine has held the edge against the Lions over the years with 48 wins to LMU's 16. That has held true in recent years as well as the Lions will be looking to snap a six-game Waves' win streak. The two teams last met less than three weeks ago, with the Waves capturing a 68-59 win at Gersten Pavilion. Poor shooting for both teams in the first half led to a 27-19 Waves' lead at the break. The teams played nearly dead even in the second frame, but despite a game-high 27 points from Alex Cowling, the Lions could never get over the hump.

Pepperdine is 12-13 overall and 7-7 in the West Coast Conference after dropping its last three games. They fell at home to San Diego, then went on the road, dropping games at Portland (58-56 in OT) and Gonzaga (66-40). The 40 points scored at Gonzaga marked the fourth time the Waves have been held to 45 points or fewer. They average 59.7 ppg on the season while shooting 3.5 percent from the field and 28.4 percent from beyond the arc. Jazmine Jackson averages 14.6 ppg to lead Pepperdine while Lauren Bell (12.7 ppg) and Katie Menton (11.4 ppg) also average double figures.

A 24-point effort versus San Diego on Feb. 16 brought Alex Cowling's career scoring total to 1,644, moving her just 18 points off the all-time career record of 1,662 held by Bryn Britton (1998-02). Cowling, who averages 22.4 ppg, will look to eclipse that mark on Saturday at Saint Mary's.

With her final basket in a 22-point effort at Santa Clara on Feb. 9, redshirt junior Alex Cowling eclipsed her own LMU single-season scoring record of 526 points. Her 2011-12 season total now sits at 603 with two regular-season games remaining. Cowling set the previous school record during her sophomore season in 2009-10. She then saw action in just six games last year due to a foot injury, but returned to full force this winter.

Alex Cowling is also moving up the ranks in a number of additional career statistical categories. She currently ranks No. 1 in scoring average (17.9 ppg), No. 4 in total rebounds (688), No. 4 in rebounding average (7.4 rpg), No. 1 in field goals (624), No. 5 in field-goal percentage (.481), No. 10 in thee pointers (82), No. 3 in total free throws (335) and No. 2 in free-throw percentage (.819).

Game in and game out, Alex Cowling continues her assault on nearly every category in the LMU record book and her numbers this season put her among the nation's best in a handful of categories. In games through Feb. 19, Cowling ranks No. 8 in points per game (22.3), No. 35 in free-throw percentage (85.0) and No. 67 in rebounds per game (8.8).

Courtney Collishaw suffered a season-ending knee injury in LMU's game against Pepperdine on Monday, Feb. 6. The senior guard was sidelined just five minutes into the game after going down with what was later determined to be a torn ACL. Collishaw was averaging 3.4 points and 2.9 rebounds in 23.5 minutes per game this season and had become a key role player and court leader during her final collegiate season.

The Lions' play in the first half has proven to be key to the final outcome of each game this season. LMU has held the lead at halftime in nine games this season, seven of which resulted in victory. With seven wins on the season, it has been the near deciding factor of the Lions' success. Only twice have they relinquished a halftime lead and suffered a loss - their Dec. 31, 61-59 loss to San Francisco and their Feb. 9, 61-57 loss at Santa Clara.

Beginning with her final attempt on Dec. 10 versus Portland State, Alex Cowling hit 38 consecutive free throws before finally missing her first attempt on Jan. 12 at San Diego. Looking to begin a new streak, she went on to hit her next three free throws in the game.

Alex Cowling was named the WCC Women's Basketball Player of the Month for December after averaging 22.5 points and 8.8 rebounds during LMU's eight games that month. She began the month with her first of three 30-plus point efforts, pouring in 31 in a 57-54 win at New Mexico. She recorded five consecutive double-doubles that began with a 30-point, 11-rebound effort in a win over Sacramento State and ended with a 32-point, 12-rebound finish against Saint Mary's. Her 32 points against the Gaels was also a career-high. She shot 46 percent from the field and 56.6 percent from three and also closed out the month of December riding a streak of 26 consecutive made free throws.

Alex Cowling is racking up the double-double performances, tallying her 10th such performance of the season on Feb. 18 at Saint Mary's. Earlier in the season she recorded five consecutive double-doubles.

Perhaps inspired by the four top career three-point shooters in LMU history (Renahy Young, Lisa Helmers, Amanda Patton and Rachael Ziemann) sitting courtside on Dec. 19, Monica DeAngelis sank an LMU record-tying seven three's on her way to a career-high 27 points against Cal Poly. She joins Patton and Ziemann atop the program's single-game three-point field goal list.

LMU's 57-54 win over New Mexico on Dec. 1 was the first ever against the Lobos on their home court, breaking a four-game losing streak at The Pit. In addition, a handful of Lions tied or broke career-records in a variety of statistical categories. None was more impressive than Alex Cowling tying her career-high of 31 points, of 12-of-21 shooting. The redshirt junior also tied her career-high with four three-pointers and set a new high in steals with five. Guards Hazel Ramirez and Courtney Collishaw both set career marks with six assists apiece while Collishaw added a career-high eight rebounds.

The West Coast Conference will feature its women's basketball coaches with weekly live-chats on WCCsports.com. Each week throughout the conference season, head to our website for an exclusive live-chat with a different WCC women's basketball head coach. Fans are encouraged to take part by submitting questions at WCCsports.com. The first chat will take place on Tuesday, January 3 at 12 p.m. PT and each live-chat thereafter will be every Monday at 12 p.m. PT. LMU Head Coach Julie Wilhoit was featured on Monday, February 6. The archived transcript is available at WCCsports.com.

Alex Cowling was named to the five-member DoubleTree Los Angeles Westside Thanksgiving Classic all-tournament team, marking the fourth consecutive time she has received the honor. Cowling led the Lions by averaging 17.5 points and 14 rebounds over the two games and was instrumental down the stretch of the Consolation Game against Wyoming, leading LMU to its first win of the season. Her 17 rebounds against Youngstown State were one shy of the all-time tournament record and a personal career-high for the redshirt junior.

Cowling, a redshirt junior for the Lions, was the only non-senior named to the 10-member Preseason All-WCC team. The WCC Newcomer of the Year in 2008-09 and a first team All-WCC selection in 2009-10, the Benicia, Calif., native was leading LMU in scoring at 22.5 ppg in 2010-11 before suffering an injury just six games in. Despite that setback, she enters the season ranks No. 1 in LMU's record book for career scoring average (16.1 ppg) and No. 10 in career points (1,062). Back to full strength, Cowling will be the prime catalyst to the Lions' success this season.

For the second consecutive season the LMU women's basketball team has been selected fourth in the West Coast Conference Preseason Coaches Poll. The Lions received 36 points in a vote by the nine WCC head coaches. Reigning WCC champion Gonzaga was selected as the favorite to win the WCC title in 2011-12, earning 64 points and eight of the nine possible first-place votes. Conference newcomer BYU was selected to finish second, earning 52 points and one first-place vote, while Pepperdine was selected to finish third (50 points). Saint Mary's (fifth, 34 points), Portland (sixth, 32 points), San Diego (seventh, 26 points), Santa Clara (eighth, 22 points) and San Francisco (ninth, 8 points) rounded out the preseason poll.

LMU is celebrating its Centennial in 2011-12 and athletics will honor the anniversary all season long. LMUat100 will feature a Centennial Game for each of the varsity programs, which included women's basketball on Dec. 4 against UCLA and Jan. 21 against Santa Clara. For more information, visit LMULions.com/LMUat100.

Separated by 19.1 miles of scenic coastline, longtime cross-town adversaries Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine have come together in an effort to boost their decades-long rivalry with the creation of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) Challenge. The series, which is in its third year, serves as an annual scorecard for the NCAA-sponsored athletic contests between the Lions and Waves, and challenges each institution to rise above the other within the West Coast Conference. LMU and Pepperdine will be represented by over 12 of their intercollegiate athletic teams through both regular and post-season competitions over the course of the academic calendar. Any head-to-head competition, including matches in the post-season and tournaments throughout the year, will be counted toward the scoring and added to the scorecard as they occur. For the sports in which the two teams do not meet head-to-head, the teams will battle for points that will be awarded on the basis of overall finish at their respective post-season championships. The Wave currently lead the Lions, 8.5-5.5, in 2011-12. To learn more about the PCH Challenge and view the current scorecard, please visit: http://www.lmulions.com/trads/PCH-Cup.html.

The 2012 Zappos.com West Coast Conference Men's and Women's Basketball Championships return to the bright lights of Las Vegas and Orleans Arena on February 28 through March 5 as 18 teams battle for two tickets to the NCAA Tournament. Visit WCCSports.com today for complete championship and ticket information.

Fans can watch all LMU home games live on the internet through Lions All-Access on www.LMULions.com. In conjunction with CBS Online, All-Access is the official home to video broadcasts of LMU Athletics. Lions' All-Access will bring all non-televisied home games for men's basketball, women's basketball and women's volleyball. To subscribe to All-Access, click on the "Multimedia" tab on www.LMULions.com.

Once again, in conjunction with Stretch Internet, all LMU home and road games will be broadcast live online at www.LMULions.com. Just click on the "Listen Live" link on the women's basketball home page, then click on "Listen" or "Archive" next to the game of your choice. All broadcasts will be archived within 72 hours of their original airing and will include both the 15-minute pre-game show and post-game interviews.

Log on to www.LMULions.com for all the latest info on the Lions, including updated schedules, rosters, player bios, and more. Don't forget to also sign up to follow the Lions on Facebook (Facebook.com/LMULions) and Twitter (Twitter.com/LMULions). Additionally, LMU women's basketball now has its own Facebook page, which can be found at www.Facebook.com/LMUWomensHoops. Coach Julie Wilhoit also will be on Twitter this year - find her at www.twitter.com/CoachJules.


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