Welcoming in the New Year
Jan. 1, 2010
Match-Up: Lafayette (2-11) at Iowa State (9-1)
THE MATCH-UP: The Leopards open 2010 by venturing to the midwest to take on Iowa State. The game marks the final non-conference contest for both squads and Lafayette will be looking to snap its five-game slide while the Cyclones enter the game on a nine-game win streak.
NEXT UP FOR THE LEOPARDS: Lafayette opens Patriot League play on Saturday, Jan. 9 at Holy Cross. Tipoff is 1 p.m.
FOLLOW THE LEOPARDS: Leopard fans can keep track of how their teams are doing even if they are not able to make it to the games. In addition to live multimedia offerings such as Lafayette Sports Network (LSN) All-Access and Gametracker, fans can now interact with the Lafayette Leopard through Facebook and Twitter. Facebook and Twitter are both accessible by computer or mobile phone, and scores and updates about Lafayette Athletics are posted frequently.
LAST TIME OUT FOR LAFAYETTE: The Leopards traveled to the James Madison Invitational on Dec. 29-30 and dropped both games of the tournament. They opened competition with an 86-54 loss to No. 25 James Madison and then fell 50-43 to UNC Asheville in the consolation game.
SCOUTING IOWA STATE: The Cyclones enter Sunday as the winners of nine straight games and 46 consecutive non-conference games played at Hilton Coliseum.
Senior Alison Lacey is the team's leading scorer, averaging 18.5 points per game, and has racked up 1,351 career points, good for 10th all-time in Iowa State history. Lacey was a Preseason All-Big 12 honorable mention.
Joining Lacey in double figures is junior Kelsey Bolte (13.5 ppg) and sophomore Whitney Williams (10.1 ppg).
Iowa State is led by 15th-year head coach Bill Fennelly, who holds a 316-142 record with the Cyclones.
TO BE THE BEST YOU MUST PLAY THE BEST: For the second consecutive season, Lafayette took on a ranked opponent when they squared off against No. 25/25 James Madison at the Dukes' Invitational.
Last year, the Leopards traveled to No. 14 Rutgers, the first time the program had faced a ranked team since the 1990-91 season when Lafayette took on No. 1 Virginia at the Cavalier Classic in Charlottesville, Va.
While not ranked in the top 25, Iowa State has consistently received votes in both national polls, including four in the Dec. 29 AP Top 25 and 16 votes in the ESPN/USA Today poll.
ON THIS DATE: In back-to-back years (2006, 2007), the Leopards opened the New Year with a game vs. Princeton. The team did not win either contest and should Lafayette win on Sunday against Iowa State, it will be the first Jan. 3 victory in the history of the program.
LOOKING TO CRACK THE TOP 10: Junior Elizabeth Virgin has 28 career blocks, putting her just one shy of 10th place on Lafayette's career blocks list.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Junior LaKeisha Wright picked up not only the team's first double-double of the season with her 11-point and 10-rebound performance vs. UNC Asheville, she also recorded her first career double-double.
Wright, who is averaging 11.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, was also the first Leopard to finish with a double-double since Feb. 21 of last season (Emily Garner: 13 points, 12 rebounds vs. Lehigh).
UP TO THE CHALLENGE: Melissa Downey stepped up her game against nationally-ranked James Madison. She chipped in a career-high 10 points and dished out a personal-best eight assists against the Dukes.
The sophomore guard leads the team with 38 assists, which also places her fifth in the Patriot League. She is averaging 4.0 points per game and has started all 13 contests.
PROTECT THE BALL: The Leopards opened the season with one of the better turnover ratios in the league. They committed fewer miscues than their opponents in the first four games of the year.
However, in their previous five games, turnovers have cost them. Lafayette's five opponents have scored a combined 132 points off of the Leopards' 110 miscues.
BUSTING OUT: Junior Lauren Jackson is having a career year. She has started every game and leads the team in scoring (13.1 ppg) and had a career performance vs. Liberty with 22 points, which she matched vs. Long Island.
She is shooting 90.4 percent from the line, 33.8 percent from three-point range and is sinking 36.2 percent of her shots from the floor, all while logging more than 33 minutes per outing.
The Texas native entered the 2009-10 campaign averaging just 1.9 points per game while seeing the floor for less than eight minutes over her first two seasons.
THE NUMBERS ARE IN...And several Leopards stand near the top of a few Patriot League statistical categories. Junior Lauren Jackson leads the league in free throw percentage (89.4), sixth in scoring (13.1), and Elizabeth Virgin is seventh in blocked shots (9).
Finally, Lafayette as a team stands first overall in blocked shots (42), second in blocks per game (3.2) and third in free throw percentage (72.8).
HARD WORK PAYS OFF: Of the many strengths LaKeisha Wright has on the court, free throw shooting typically was not one of them. Entering this season, her junior campaign, she was a career 50 percent shooter (124-of-245) from the charity stripe.
To say Wright has fixed that potential weakness would be an understatement. She is currently third on the team in free throw percentage (minimum 10 attempts) with a 73.9 percent showing from the line (34-46).
IN JANUARY...the Leopards are 125-167 all-time. Their best January record came in 1986 when the team went 11-1 and finished the season 21-8 overall.
Prior to that game, Lafayette was out-rebounded in its first 10 games. Only one player has reached double figures in rebounds in a game this season, as Amanda Smith picked up a career-best 10 in the Leopards' 58-55 win at Monmouth on Nov. 16.
CARING "HART"S: Over the past year, the women's team became involved with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation (FOJ). Earlier this month, the Leopards adopted 14-year-old cancer patient Hannah Hart. Lafayette was matched with Hannah through the foundation and the team will offer her support as she goes through treatments by welcoming her at games and keeping in contact with Hannah and her family. Fans are encouraged to visit her site at www.caringbridge.org/visit/hannahhart.
Last season, the Leopards also adopted the sister of a cancer patient, Gracie Loose, through FOJ, which also gives the siblings of cancer patients the chance to take part in unique opportunities as their families go through difficult times.
Loose is the daughter of Lafayette defensive coordinator John Loose and the sister of Lauren Loose, who suffers from pediatric brain tumors. Gracie has a special spot on the team bench on game days, assisting the players, coaches and cheering on the Leopards.
FREE FOR ALL: While Lafayette as a team had a more than impressive day at the line vs. Penn by shooting 87 percent, one player was actually perfect. Junior Lauren Jackson drained all 15 of her free throw attempts, accounting for 75 percent of the Leopards' total baskets from the charity stripe.
She became the first player in two years to make 10+ free throws and shoot 100% from the line, and was just four shy of the Patriot League single game record (19 by Navy's Erica Hayes). Jackson is averaging 89.4 percent from the line this season, good for third in the league.
LEOPARDS TOP 60: For the first time this season, the Leopards surpassed the 60-point mark with their 62-56 win at Penn. Lafayette had gone the first seven games without reaching 60 points. However, the 2008-09 team also started the season in the same fashion and ended the year by making a historic run to the Patriot League championship.
BLOCK PARTY: The Leopards had nine blocks against Mount St. Mary's, the most in a single game during head coach Tammy Smith's nearly nine-year tenure. Four different players had two blocks apiece. The most blocks Lafayette had in a single game prior to that game was eight, which the team had achieved twice, both during the 2004-05 season.
Lafayette followed that with eight more blocks in the win at Penn. The Leopards currently lead the league with 36 blocks.
THE LAST TIME...Two Lafayette players combined to score more than 60 percent of the Leopards' points, as Lauren Jackson (22) and LaKeisha Wright (14) did in the 90-55 loss to Liberty on Nov. 28, came last season when Cristin Zavocki (21) and Elizabeth Virgin (18) accounted for 71 percent of Lafayette's offense in a 66-55 loss at Marist.
EMPTYING THE BENCH: Against Fairfield, head coach Tammy Smith used her entire bench for the first time this season. Freshman Alicia Manning made her first appearance of the season and tied for the team lead with six points in her six minutes of action.
STREAK SNAPPED: The Leopards saw their streak of home-opening wins come to an end vs. St. Peter's. Lafayette entered the night having won its five previous home openers, starting with a 63-47 win over Radford on Dec. 2, 2004.
ALL-TIME RECORD: The program, now in its 38th season, has played 932 games, compiled an overall record of 419-513 (.450) and recorded five 20-win seasons.
SMITH ON THE SIDELINES: Head coach Tammy Smith is in her ninth season at Lafayette and 14th overall as a head coach. In 2008-09, she was at the helm of a program that made history by becoming the first No. 7 seed in the history of the Patriot League Tournament to advance to the championship game.
Smith is the fourth head coach in Lafayette's history. She has a career record of 166-260 (.390), which includes a 113-68 mark and two NCAA Tournament appearances in seven seasons at D-III Muhlenberg.
ABOUT LAFAYETTE COLLEGE: Located in Easton, Pa. (70 miles west of New York City and 60 miles north of Philadelphia) on the banks of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers, Lafayette is a small liberal arts school with a renowned engineering program. Lafayette, which has 23 Division I sports with a student body of 2,382 undergraduates, competes in the Patriot League with Army, Navy, Bucknell, Holy Cross, Colgate, American and Lehigh. Lafayette is the alma mater of Pete Carril and Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon.
2009-10 PATRIOT LEAGUE PRESEASON POLL: The Leopards were picked to finish eighth in the Patriot League's preseason poll, receiving 21 points. Defending league champion Lehigh garnered the top spot with 97 points, including 13 first place votes. American and Holy Cross tied for the number two spot with 76 points apiece, although the Eagles received three first place votes. Navy was chosen to finish fourth (54 votes), Bucknell fifth (52), Army sixth (50), and Colgate seventh (22).
Jordan played four years as a small forward at Stonewall Jackson (Va.) and was a 1,000-point scorer for the Raiders. She averaged 11.4 ppg and 6.2 rpg as a senior and finished her career with 1,151 points. The 5-11 Jordan was a three-time Lady Raiders' Defensive Player of the Year as well as a three-time member of the Second-Team Cedar Run All-District Team.
Manning was a three-year varsity starter at Cardinal O'Hara (Pa.). The 5-10 shooting guard averaged nearly 12 ppg and served as team captain her senior season. She earned Philadelphia All-Catholic League honors as a sophomore and senior, and picked up All-Delaware County honors her junior and senior seasons.
Springer joins the Leopards after a four-year career at Deforest (Wisc.). The 5-8 point guard cemented her role as a starter as a freshman and was a member of three conference champion teams and leaves Deforest as the second all-time leading scorer with 1,114 career points. She averaged 17.5 ppg as a senior to help her Norskies squad to a 12-9 overall record.
HAVE A QUESTION? OUR TEAM CAN PROBABLY ANSWER IT: If you have a question about almost any topic ranging from psychology to chemistry, chances are one of the 15 players on Lafayette can answer it. There are nine different majors represented on the roster and two players (Amanda Smith, Amanda Leone) are a double majors.
LAFAYETTE ON TELEVISION: For the 14th straight season, Lafayette features the most expansive television package in the Patriot League. This winter, nine of Lafayette's women's basketball games will be televised while three contests will be live streamed on Lafayette Sports Netowrk (LSN) All-Access.
All nine telecasts will be produced by LSN, which annually produces the most expansive and highest quality television packages in the Patriot League. Each of those broadcasts will air live regionally to more than 10 million viewers on RCN-4 and WBPH-60.
As an element of Lafayette's long-term multi-media agreement with CSTV, all LSN telecasts are streamed live on the internet and available worldwide through LSN All-Access on GoLeopards.com. Lafayette was the first of the CSTV.com partners to make live video streaming available to fans everywhere when the 2000 Lafayette-Lehigh football game aired live on GoLeopards.com.
Emmy-nominated local sports broadcaster Gary Laubach will handle all of the Leopards' play-by-play duties for the 12th straight season. Former Lafayette men's basketball coach John Leone will provide color analysis for the 11th season. In his eighth year as a member of the announcing crew is RCN's Dan Mowdy, who will report on the Leopards from the sideline.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2008-09 CAMPAIGN:
NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP HERE: LaKeisha Wright led the team in scoring last season as a sophomore, averaging 11.1 ppg, and averaged 10.7 ppg during the 2008-09 postseason.
Wright led the team in scoring for five straight games (Jan. 10-24), becoming the first sophomore to lead Lafayette in scoring in at least five straight games since Jen Bayer '03. Wright earned three weekly honorable mentions from the Patriot League.
That success came on the heels of an accomplished rookie campaign in which she finished with 276 points, becoming the first freshman since Vanessa Van De Venter '08 to reach the 200-point plateau.
IT'S A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT: Lafayette played 32 games last season, the most in a single season in program history. The Leopards had played 30 games five times.
FLIPPING THE SWITCH: After spending the majority of the season as the league's sixth or seventh scoring offense, the Leopards averaged 58.7 points during their three tournament games. Lafayette also shot 46.2 percent from the field. To compare, the Leopards averaged 55.7 ppg in their 29 other games while shooting only 39.5 percent.
12 GAMES OF CHRISTMAS: Lafayette played 12 games before Christmas last year--a first in program history. The Leopards played 11 games before the 25th in 2006 and had played 10 games before Dec. 25 three times (1998, 2000, 2007).
WELCOME TO THE WNIT: Last season, Lafayette earned the program's first-ever invite to the Preseason WNIT. The invitation came following a 14-16 2007-08 campaign, the winningest season in a decade for the Leopards.