Women's Basketball

Women's Hoops Hosts Strakonice In Exhibition Game

The 2002-03 Lions are looking to record the programs third straight winning season.
The 2002-03 Lions are looking to record the programs third straight winning season.

Nov. 8, 2002

Ready For The Challenge

Two years ago, Loyola Marymount women's basketball coach Julie Wilhoit asked her upperclassmen to take her program to the ranks of the West Coast Conference elite. They responded with a record-setting season (21-10/10-4 West Coast Conference) that ended in the program's first postseason appearance. Entering this season, Wilhoit's team has an even more daunting task - getting back to the top. The last two off-seasons have seen the graduation of three of the most successful players in LMU history, including two starters from last season's 15-13 squad. Most notably, the Lions have to replace the greatest scorer in LMU history, Bryn Britton. But because of sustained excellence in recruiting, Wilhoit will have no shortage of weapons firing for a team looking for its third straight winning season - and a return to the postseason.

New Lions Join The Pack

To say the Lions are excited about this year's incoming freshman class would be an understatement. The Lions are very much looking forward to having high school seniors Jenni Smith, Rachael Ziemann, Bianca Ziemann and Jevay Grooms join them on the court this season.

"We are very excited about this group," said Lion Head Coach Julie Wilhoit. "Like our previous two classes, we expect this class to come in and contribute immediately. As a group, the four possess tremendous athleticism."

Smith is a two-time all-state and all-conference pick averaging 18 points, five rebounds, three steals, three assists and two blocks per game. Rachael and Bianca Ziemann will be the first ever twins in the LMU women's basketball program. Rachael Ziemann averaged 18.1 points and seven rebounds per game as a prep while Bianca averaged 14 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest. Rounding out the list of new Lions is Grooms who averaged 24 points and 19 rebounds per game.

A Look Back

The Loyola Marymount women's basketball team rounded out a tough schedule last season with a 15-13 overall mark and a 7-7 showing in the West Coast Conference. The Lions made an early exit in Round 1 of the WCC Tournament falling to San Francisco in a close 63-65 decision.

"Last season gave us a solid foundation to build upon," stated Head Coach Julie Wilhoit. "While a winning season is definitely something to be proud of, we have higher expectations. There is a feeling of unfinished business to take care of. As a staff, we have been evaluating our program and our kids during preseason workouts in order to reach those expectations this year."

The Lions were involved in some pretty intense battles with some top caliber teams last year. Although games against New Mexico and Colorado State did not end in wins, the experience that was gained is immeasurable. The Lions did have some impressive wins though, including wins over Arizona State (then ranked No. 25), Saint Mary's and Pepperdine, all of which came on the road. Graduated senior Bryn Britton and now senior Kate Murray were instrumental in all of the Lions' successes last year. Both Britton and Murray were honored by the league as 2002 All-West Coast Conference first team members for their efforts on the court. It was Britton's fourth appearance on the all-conference list and Murray's second.

"I am extremely excited about how quick our kids turned a disappointing end of the season last year into a solid spring and preseason training program," commented Wilhoit. "This team has come together with an incredible sense of determination that I believe will propel us not only into another winning season this year, but into a serious pursuit for the conference championship."

Saying Good-Bye

The Lions said good-bye to two seniors last year. Bryn Britton and Rosa Bernasconi rounded out their four-year careers as two of the most prolific scorers in LMU women's basketball history. Britton, who re-wrote the Lions' scoring record with her 1,662 career points, was a two-time Kodak All-American nominee and a four-time All-West Coast Conference pick. Bernasconi, an All-WCC selection as a sophomore, leaves LMU with 962 career points. Both will be greatly missed for not only their scoring efforts but for their ability to find and create shots for their teammates and for their leadership.

Two Lions Earn All-Conference Honors

Bryn Britton and senior Kate Murray were selected as first-team members to the women's basketball All-Conference team as announced by the West Coast Conference. Britton and Murray were a one-two punch for the Lions' offense last season. Britton led the Lions with 15.3 points per game while Murray finished second averaging 13.8 per game. Britton, a four-time first-team All-WCC selection, became the school's all-time leading scorer last season with 1,662 points. Britton also led the team with 101 assists and was third on the squad with 35 steals. Murray, a Verizon Academic All-District VIII first-team selection, was second on the team with 6.2 rebounds per game and 100 assists. She also finished second in steals with 36. With 996 career points, Murray needs just four points to become the ninth player in LMU women's basketball history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

Lion Team Awards

The Lions celebrated their season and gave out their team awards during a dinner banquet following the conclusion of the 2001-02 season. Award winners included senior Kate Murray whose ability to shutdown her opponents in key situations earned her the Defensive Player of the Year award. Murray also received the Lion Pride Award which is awarded to the athlete who most personifies the P.R.I.D.E. characteristics (Perserverence, Respect, Intensity, Desire, Enthusiasm). Junior Adrianne Slaughter won the Windex Award for her ability to clean up on the boards. Slaughter led the squad in rebounds (192) and finished the year fifth in the WCC. Sophomore Mary Turner received the title of Most Improved for breakout performance in her rookie campaign. Turner led all of last year's newcomers averaging 7.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Last but, certainly not least, Bryn Britton garnered the team's Best Playmaker award for her ability to not only come through in the clutch but also for her awareness on the court to find her teammates in key situations. Britton led the Lions with a 15.3 points per game average while also collecting a team leading 101 assists.

The Lions Den

The Lions closed out their home schedule in 2001-02 with wins against Gonzaga and Portland and posting a 9-3 record while in Gersten Pavilion last year. The sweep of the Pacific Northwest WCC schools tied the record for the fourth most home wins in program history.

On The Brink

Sunior Kate Murray is on the brink of yet another record. The Oregon native currently has 996 career points and is just mere four points shy of 1,000. She scored a career-best 28 points against Santa Clara last season (1/26/02) while also setting a new personal record of 10 assists against Long Beach State (12/6/01). When Murray hits the 1,000 point plateau this season, she will be the ninth player in LMU history to do so.

Murray Honored With Two Academic Awards

Senior Kate Murray became the school's first-ever Verizon Academic All-District VIII selection in the sport of women's basketball, as the teams were announced by CoSIDA. Murray, a native of Tigard, OR, was a first-team selection on the 2002 Academic All-District VIII team. The West Coast Conference was well represented, as three others from the conference were chosen on the 15 female student-athlete list that represents 14 different Division I institutions. In order to be eligible for the Academic All-America honors, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.20 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale), must be a starter or an important reserve and be in at least their second season of athletic and academic eligibility at their current school. Being named Verizon Academic All-District was not enough for Murray as she was also named to the 2002 West Coast Conference All-Academic Basketball Team. It was Murray's second appearance on the team; she was a 2000-01 member as well. Her 3.82 GPA was the highest among both the men's and women's team selections. Among the WCC statistics, Murray finished the season ninth in scoring (13.8 ppg), seventh in rebounding (6.2 rpg), sixth in assists (3.57 apg) and seventh in 3-point field goal percentage (29-76; .382).

Claudine Is Auld-Dat

Senior Claudine Auld proved to be a key bench player for the Lions the latter half of the 2001-02 season after transferring from Riverside Community College. The Corona, Calif., native was called upon to become a significant contributor when teammate Mary Turner went out of the lineup due to an ACL injury. Auld put up 54 points for the Lions in their last five games including the 11 points she added in LMU's tough WCC Tournament Round 1 loss (63-65) to San Francisco. Auld reached double-figures in all but one of those five games (9 points vs. Portland). Her season-high came in the final regular season game at San Diego where she tied for the team lead with 14 points. Auld's performances recently have earned her plenty of quality minutes. She averaged 26 minutes per game the last five contests, an incredible jump from the 7.1 minutes per game she was averaging prior to the last regular-season homestand (Feb.15 & 16).

Among The Elite

Junior Adrianne Slaughter finished the year among the nations elite shot blockers group. Her 2.2 blocks per game average not only led the West Coast Conference but placed Slaughter 24th in the country in that category. Slaughter, who set a new career record with the seven blocks she put up against San Francisco (1/11/02), now ranks third on LMU's all-time blocks leader board with 111 blocks in just two years.

Britton LMU's All-Time Leading Scorer

With the 11 points she scored against No. 20 Colorado State, guard Bryn Britton became the new all-time leading scorer at LMU. A native of Porterville, Calif., Britton broke the mark previously set by former Lion and current Asst. Coach Lynn Flanagan (1988-91). Flanagan's record of 1,436 career points stood for 11 years before being toppled. Britton was the Lions' leading scorer last season with 414 points, she ends her tenure with 1,662 career points.

Movin' On Up

Aside from taking over the all-time scoring title, Bryn Britton scaled the ladder in some other LMU record books as well. Britton jumped atop the chart in career field goals made with a total of 617. She moved to third on the all-time assists chart (352), sixth in rebounds (572), second in free-throws (310), fifth in steals (175) and second in career scoring average (14.71). Aside from these she marks she also owns the career record for three-pointers made (118).

Slaughter Slays Sophomore Single-Game And Season Record

Blocks were not enough for center Adrianne Slaughter. The 6-foot-2 junior prides herself in rebounding as well. Slaughter went to work on the boards collecting 16 rebounds against the University of San Diego Toreros last season, matching her career-best total and setting a new sophomore rebounding record. The previous record of 14 was first set by Joelle Longobardi (1989-92) against Arizona State (12/10/89). It was then matched by Nicole Taylor (1989-90), Amy Lundquist (1993-94), Sharmayne Murphy (1995-99) and Dana Hunter (1997-00). Slaughter, who twice collected 16 rebounds as a freshman, now stands alone in the sophomore record books. The Colorado native now also owns the single-season rebounding record surpassing Lundquist's record of 182 during her sophomore season of 1993-94. Slaughter led the squad and ranked fifth in the West Coast Conference with 185 rebounds on the year. The five rebounds she collected against San Diego (2/23/02) put her over the top and gave her the title of all-time sophomore rebounder.

Turner On Her Way Back

Sophomore Mary Turner had a long road to recovery after suffering an ACL injury at Saint Mary's last year. Prior to the injury Turner was a consistent contributor and earned herself a start in 10 of the 22 games she appeared in. She finished the year averaging 7.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Turner scored a season-high 23 points against San Diego (1/25/02) and was the Lions' fourth leading scorer for the year.

Britton Named WCC Player Of The Month

Bryn Britton earned the WCC/Rawlings Player of the Month honor for December by helping Loyola Marymount earn an 8-2 overall record. Britton started the season on a high note, scoring 22 points against Arizona State on 9-of-16 shooting from the floor. Her standout performance of the year was against Long Beach State where she scored a career-high 34 points. Britton was on fire that night, shooting 13-of-20 from the field (.650); 3-of-6 from behind the arc (.500); and 5-of-7 from the charity strip (.714). Britton scored in double figures in all but two games last year. She also tied her career mark in assists (8) and blocks (2) against Cal Poly earlier in the season. For the month, Britton averaged 16 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

The Wilhoit File

Head Coach Julie Wilhoit captured the WCC Coach of the Year Award for the second straight season in 2000-01. Wilhoit, who enters her eighth season at the helm of the women's basketball program at LMU, has led the Lions to back-to-back winning seasons and an impressive 20-6 record in Gersten Pavilion since 2000. Under her direction, LMU set new school records for single-season overall wins (21) and single-season conference wins (10) in 2000-01. She led the Lions to a 21-10 overall record, a 10-4 mark in conference play, to within a game of LMU's first ever regular-season conference championship, to their first appearance in the WCC tournament championship game and to their first ever postseason game that year. She was the first LMU women's basketball coach to earn the top coaching nod in 1999-00, the first to have earned it in consecutive seasons at LMU and only the second coach in WCC history to garner the award in two straight years. She was named the fourth head coach in the program's history on June 30, 1995. Wilhoit came to LMU after a two-year stint at the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford. With the Lions, she holds a 77-119 (.393) overall record and 34-70 (.327) record in West Coast Conference play. Wilhoit begins her 15th year as a head coach and owns a 198-189 (.511) overall record.

Wilhoit Win Watch

Head Coach Julie Wilhoit is nearing a milestone in her 15 year coaching career. Wilhoit, a native of Osgood, Ind., has recorded 198 career coaching victories and is just two wins away from achieving her 200th win as a head coach. She will become the first head coach to reach that milestone while at LMU.

WCC Tournament Review

vs San Francisco - Feb. 28

The Lions erased an eight-point second half deficit but fell short at the buzzer to the University of San Francisco 65-63 in the first round of the West Coast Conference women's basketball tournament at San Diego. It was a battle to the end with seven ties in the second half as the Lions lost by two for the third straight game. The Dons would finish hitting 45 percent from the field to earn a bid into the semifinals of the WCC Tournament. They improve to 18-10 with their sixth straight win while the Lions, who shot 39 percent, conclude their season at 15-13.

"I am really proud of how the team played. They left everything they had and more all on the floor tonight," said Head Coach Julie Wilhoit. "It is a disappointment that we did not win. However, we stayed together, executed the game plan and put ourselves in the position to win."

Trailing 45-37 with 12:59 remaining, the Lions would go on a 9-2 run to tie the game at 47-47 with 9:14 remaining on freshman Jacquelyn Woods' eight-footer. The game would go back-and-forth the rest of the way. Celeste Farmer would give the Dons the lead back with a lay-in at the 8:54 mark. Woods, who came off the bench for seven points in the second half to provide a spark to the Lions, would tie the game again with a put back with 8:19 remaining. The bucket would come after sophomore Raelen Self's steal. On the game the Lions had 11 steals compared to USF's five. USF would get the lead back on Lindsey Huff's three-pointer with 6:45, 52-49. The Dons finished the game 7-for-20 from the three-point line, including four from Huff, three of which were in the second half. Alicia Hernandez did the damage with three first half three-pointers to finish with 18 points on the game. Huff had 16 and Farmer added 12. The Lions were just 1-for-14 from the three-point line. The Dons would build on their lead with 6:04 remaining on Carey Sauer's lay-in, making the score 54-49. LMU wouldn't die, as junior Kate Murray hit a five-footer and junior Claudine Auld hit a lay-in with 5:13 remaining to cut the lead to one, 54-53. Murray would lead the Lions with 19 points, six rebounds, six assists, three blocks (a career-high) and three steals. Auld added 11 points and four rebounds. The Dons would again attempt to gain some breathing room as Sauer would earn a three-point play to make the score 57-53. Again answering the call, Auld would drive to the hoop and earn a trip to the free throw line. She would hit the front-end of a one-and-one, but missed the second to cut the score to 57-54 with 3:54 remaining. The Dons would get the lead to five, 59-54, on Hernandez's six-footer with 3:31 remaining. The Lions couldn't get the lead under three until sophomore Adrianne Slaughter hit a three-point play with 48 seconds remaining to cut the Dons' lead to 65-63. After earning a defensive stop, the Lions called a time-out with nine seconds remaining for a shot at the tie or for the win. However, Slaughter's shot would hit the front rim with three seconds remaining and LMU wouldn't get another attempt for the win.

"Coming out of the time-out we ran a play that would give us the best shot. We ran a screen but it wasn't exactly how we planned it," said Wilhoit. "However, in games it rarely goes exactly the way you planned. We have to be able to read the defenses and react. We got a good look at the basket with Adrianne and Rosa (Bernasconi) did a good job to get her the ball. I thought we had a chance to pull it off. It just fell short."

The Lions had a tough task in the opener, as the Dons entered the game winners of their last five and the Lions were without two starters due knee injuries. However, the Lions would pick up the slack as Auld, freshman Jennifer Henry and Woods would all come off the bench to score more than five points than they averaged entering the game. Henry had six, played a career-high 22 minutes and added a career-high five steals. Slaughter added 11 points, all in the second half. Free throw shooting hurt the Lions down the stretch, hitting just 8-for-16 in the second half to finish 63.6 percent for the game. USF was 10-for-12 from the charity stripe.

Lions On The Airwaves

Catch every game of Loyola Marymount women's basketball live on the Lions' Broadcast Network. Every game of the 2002-03 season will be broadcast on KLMU or KXLU radio, student-ran stations on the campus of LMU. In addition, the audio will be cybercast live on www.LMULions.com. Calling the action for the second straight year is Matt Calkins.

Hottest Ticket In Town

The 2002-03 season started with more than 200 individuals holding season tickets for the second straight season. The 2nd annual women's basketball season ticket campaign exceeded its goal of $18,000 this year. For season ticket information please contact the LMU ticket office at (310) 338-LION.

 

 

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