Dec. 17, 2008
Complete Release in PDF Format
Thursday, December 18
LMU (8-1) at Fresno State (6-3) 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 21
LMU (8-1) at San Diego State (6-3) 1:00 p.m.
Live audio for all LMU games is available with Angie Kiel and Patrick Duggan through Stretch Internet on Lions All-Access at LMULions.com. Gametracker will be available for all home games at LMULions.com
Tied for the best start in school history, LMU looks to get into the record books with two road tests this week. The Lions' seven-game winning streak will be put on the line first at Fresno State Thursday evening and then at San Diego State on Sunday in the last game before Christmas. Something will have to give as LMU is 2-0 on the road while both the Bulldogs and Aztecs are a perfect 3-0 at their respective homes.
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.
About the Fresno State Bulldogs (6-3)
Fresno State had two very different results last week, beating Cal State Northridge 68-29 at home on Tuesday but falling at Stanford 100-62 on Saturday. The Bulldogs made quick work of the Matadors, cruising to the win behind 12 points each from Bailey Amundsen, Jaleesa Ross, and Marnique Arnold. It was another story against the Cardinal, who shot 64% in the second half, to blow the game open. Arnold had a team-high 21 points and Hayley Munro chipped in 12.
Like the Lions, the Bulldogs have four players averaging in double figures, led by Ross at 12.2 ppg. Amundsen is second and 11.8 with Arnold third at 10.8. Both also lead the team with 7.4 rpg. Munro is the fourth player in double figures at 10.1 ppg.
The 2007-08 Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, Adrian Wiggins is in his fourth season at Fresno State, where he has a record of 77-39. He has a career coaching mark of 117-56 and led FSU to the program's first NCAA Tournament berth last year, when the Bulldogs went 22-11 overall and 14-2 in the WAC to clinch their first conference title. They return six letterwinners and four starters.
After Fresno State won the first-ever meeting against LMU, the Lions have won the last three to lead the series. Last year, the Bulldogs visited Gersten Pavilion but the hosts ran out 81-75 victors. The teams have split their two meetings in Fresno, with LMU winning the last time, in 2006.
About the San Diego State Aztecs (6-3)
San Diego State has won two in a row, beating UC Riverside 54-52 on December 4 on Jene Morris' buzzer-beater before a more comfortable 85-70 win over Montana State last Thursday. Morris had a game-high 19 points against the Highlanders while the Aztecs had three players top 20 points versus MSU. Paris Johnson had 22 points and 13 rebounds and Quenese Davis and Jen Layton-Bailes each added 20.
Johnson paces the Aztec attack at 15.7 ppg and 8.1 rpg. Morris is second at 13.1 ppg while Davis is also in double figures at 10.9.
This is the fourth season of Beth Burns' second stint at SDSU, where she is 190-139 overall in 17 seasons. She has a career record of 271-204. Last year, the Aztecs went 18-13 overall and 7-9 in the Mountain West Conference. They return all five starters and eight letterwinners.
San Diego State played at Gersten Pavilion last year in the Ayres Hotels Thanksgiving Tournament but did not face LMU. The teams last played in 2000, when the Lions won 69-59 at home. LMU has won the last two meetings, in fact, but SDSU leads the overall series 3-2, including 2-1 in San Diego.
Last Week Recap: LMU Passes Finals Test
LMU was slow to start after an eight-day layoff due to finals but found its feet to win its seventh straight game, 72-68 over Boise State on Sunday. Freshman Alex Cowling came off the bench for 25 points and 15 rebounds while sophomore Renahy Young had 20 points, including the go-ahead basket with 46 seconds left. Senior Cassady Moore added 11 points as LMU defeated the Broncos for the first time in four meetings.
Cowling Named WCC Player of the Week
Freshman Alex Cowling 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, the conference office announced Monday. This is the first career award for Cowling and second for the Lions, who had senior Cassady Moore recognized last week.
Cowling recorded her second career double-double in LMU's victory over Boise State on Sunday. 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. Cowling's hustle was evident, as eleven of her rebounds came on the offensive end while she added three assists and a steal.
LMU in the NCAA
LMU's 8-1 start has them up to 61st 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
This year marks just the second time in school history that LMU has started the season 8-1, tying for the program's best nine-game start. The Lions also went 8-1 in 2003-04 on their way to a 24-6 season. LMU's current seven-game winning streak is 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.
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 individuals bring 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.
Nine games into the season, it is clear that the Lions are a tough team to beat. A look inside the numbers might help to explain why. LMU has held a lead at halftime in eight of the nine but has also outscored opponents in the second half. LMU is 6-0 when outrebounding opponents and 7-0 when attempting more free throws. All eyes have been on the offense but the Lions have also gotten after it defensively, holding five of its foes under 36% shooting and going 7-0 when keeping the other team under 45%. Finally, sharing the wealth has been a good thing, with seven different players having 10+ point games. LMU is 7-1 when three or more players reach double figures and have been led in scoring by four different players. Finally, consistency is the key. The Lions have started the same lineup in each of the eight games this year after using 11 different assortments a year ago.
Lion Leads the Nation
The headline above might never have been used regarding LMU women's basketball until now. Yet, nine games into the season, sophomore Renahy Young finds herself #1 in the country in free throws made (73) and in a three-way tie for free throws attempted (88). Young has gone to the line 10 or more times in a game four times already this year, including the game against Toledo in which she made an LMU-record 15 foul shots (on 19 attempts). Young is averaging 9.8 free throw attempts a game and is making 8.1, putting her on pace to shatter the single-season record of 144, set in 1990-91 by current associate head coach Lynn Flanagan.
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 and to this year's Preseason All-Conference squad, Young has earned Bank of Hawai'i Invitational All-Tournament honors and the MVP trophy at the Ayres Hotel Thanksgiving Tournament.
She has reached double figures in eight of LMU's nine games this season and has thrice topped 20 points, 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, then had 20 and 19 points, respectively, in LMU's home Thanksgiving tourney.
As mentioned above, free throws are the theme for Young, who has managed to get to the line when her shot isn't dropping. Against Toledo, she was outright horrible (1-for-16) from the floor but showed her greatness by continually driving to the hoop and drawing fouls, setting a new LMU single-game record with 15 free throws made (on 19 attempts). She then went 14-for-16 from the line in the win over Idaho State and has attempted 12-or-more foul shots in a game four times this year. After nine games, Young is averaging 17.9 ppg, fourth in the WCC and 46th in the nation.
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 133 career steals, Moore is on pace to finish among the LMU top-10, needing just 14 to enter the ranks. 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 seven of the first nine 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 11.3 ppg and is among the WCC leaders in points, assists, steals, assist/turnover ratio, and defensive rebounds.
Helmers Takes 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 11.2 ppg while her 91 career three-pointers are sixth all-time at LMU.
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 reached double figures in rebounds in four of the first nine games and is averaging 9.2 per game overall, third in the WCC, while contributing 7.8 ppg and shooting 49% from the floor. She is second in the league in defensive rebounds per game.
Here Comes Alex
Freshman Alex Cowling has played well enough to earn herself her own spot on the weekly notes. After having a typical freshman opening weekend in which she had eight points and six boards against Hawai'i but then was hit with three quick fouls and saw just eight minutes of action against Arizona, she bounced back against Toledo, going 4-for-5 from the floor and hitting three big baskets down the stretch to finish with nine points in 13 minutes. Since that time, she has proved herself to be a game-changer, going 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. In the next outing, she became the first Lion since 2006 to top 20 points and 15 rebounds in the same game with 25 and 15 vs. Boise State. That earned her the WCC Player of the Week award for the first time in her career.
Nine games into her freshman campaign, Cowling is averaging 12.4 ppg and 5.7 rpg while shooting a WCC-best 62.7% from the floor. She ranks sixth in the nation in field goal percentage.
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.
Posts Play Big
Two players who made immediate impacts in Hawai'i were sophomores Melanie Ysaguirre and Maggie Burkett. Ysaguirre has started all eight games this season and is second on the team in rebounding at 6.8 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.
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.
Jess is Back
Although Evans' injury last year was a factor in LMU's limp towards the finish, it was the torn ACL suffered by Jessica Vargas on December 5 that had a larger impact on the direction of LMU's season. At the time of her injury, Vargas was averaging 8.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while shooting 51.8% from the floor. Vargas' injury could be a blessing in disguise for LMU as she was granted a medical redshirt and is still just a sophomore, although she adds another upperclassman presence and depth to the guard corps. Vargas' tenacity has helped the Lions, as she is averaging 2.4 ppg but has run the offense well.
Freshman Effective in Hawai'i
Freshman Mikah Maly-Karros should have her picture listed under the term "coming out of nowhere." The freshman played a total of three minutes in the weekend's first two games but then exploded against Toledo. With LMU trailing by 18 within the first six minutes, Maly-Karros provided the spark her team needed by making her first four shots and hustling to grab and offensive rebound and lay it in to complete the Lions' comeback and give them their first lead. Her determination kept the Lions going as she recorded her first career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass.
Nichols Debut Imminent
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 might have to wait a tad longer for her debut. Due to NCAA transfer rules, Nichols could not play for two full semesters once she enrolled at LMU. She already sat out last spring and has now completed her fall term finals but she must wait to receive all of her grades and have them cleared by the campus registrar. Once that happens, Nichols will be eligible. Whether or not she plays in either of the pre-Christmas games will depend on how soon the grades get posted and processed.
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.
Lions Near Perfect in Preseason Tourneys
LMU is playing in three non-conference tournaments this year and so far, so good. The Lions are 4-1 in such competitions, having gone 2-1 at the season-opening Bank of Hawai'i Invitational and a perfect 2-0 to claim the title at the Ayres Hotels Thanksgiving Tournament. The Lions' lone blemish has been 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.
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.
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.