Game Notes vs. Bucknell

Go Leopards! LaKeisha Wright has reached double figures 13 times this season.
LaKeisha Wright has reached double figures 13 times this season.

Jan. 19, 2010

Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Match-Up: Lafayette (4-13, 2-1) at Bucknell (4-12, 0-3)
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m.
Site: Lewisburg, Pa.
Arena: Sojka Pavilion (4,000)
Webcast: Bison Vision (All-Access)
All-Time Series: 34-28
Current Streak: L 1
Coach Smith vs. Bucknell: 5-11

THE MATCH-UP: On Wednesday night, Lafayette (4-13, 2-1) takes to the road in search of its third league win as the Leopards face Bucknell (4-12, 0-3) at Sojka Pavilion. The Leopards are coming off a 46-43 win against Navy while the Bison fell to Holy Cross, 55-42, on Saturday to fall to 0-3 in conference action.

NEXT UP FOR THE LEOPARDS: Lafayette is back home on Saturday to host archrival and defending league champion Lehigh at 1 p.m. on Youth Cheerleaer Day. The team will also be holding its alumni game and the post-game reception will be beld at Big Woody's on Sullivan Trail.

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: In one of their most exciting games of the season, the Leopards capped off a brief, two-game homestand by handing conference foe Navy a 46-43 loss on Saturday afternoon.

It was a two-point game (45-43) with 27 seconds to play, but Navy wasted 14 seconds before fouling Melissa Downey. The sophomore proceeded to make one of her two free throw attempts and Navy's Cassie Consedine air-balled a three-point attempt at the seven-second mark to end the game.

The Leopards were led in part by Sarah McGorry, whose 16 points marked a career-high as she went 6-of-11 from the field. Elizabeth Virgin (12) and LaKeisha Wright (11) joined her in double figures.

SCOUTING BUCKNELL: After a four-game road swing, the Bison were back at home on Saturday to host Holy Cross. Bucknell failed to capitalize on its home court advantage and fell 55-42 to the Crusaders. The Bison are now 0-3 in league play and 4-12 overall.

Trisha Krewson leads the team in scoring, averaging 11.3 ppg. Joyce Novacek averages 10.6 ppg and is the second-leading rebounder in the league, pulling down 7.5 boards per game. Bucknell is led by 13th-year head coach Kathy Fedorjaka.

ON THIS DATE: Eleven years ago, the Leopards hosted archrival Lehigh and captured an 82-73 home win over the Mountain Hawks. Lafayette went on to take two of three meetings against Lehigh that season, including a win in the opening round of the Patriot League Tournament.

FIVE FOR FIGHTING: Lauren Jackson's 90.6 percent showing at the free throw line not only places her first in the Patriot League, it also places her fifth in the nation. She has made 50 of 55 attempts. Her fifth-place standing makes her the highest Patriot League player or team to be nationally ranked in any statistical category.

COOL AS ICE: On a related note, the Leopards have shot 80 percent or better from the free throw line five times this season, including their 80-percent showing vs. Navy on Saturday. Their best performance this year came against Penn (20-of-23, 87 percent). Lafayette is currently fourth in the Patriot League with free throw percentage (71.5).

NO THREES? NO PROBLEM: For the first time this season, and for the first time since the season opener vs. Middle Tennessee in 2008, Lafayette failed to make a three-pointer when the team went 0-4 vs. Navy. It failed to make a difference, however, as the Leopards came out on the winning side of the 46-43 decision.

TOP TEN: Junior Elizabeth Virgin collected her 29th career block against Colgate to break into the top 10 of Lafayette's career blocks list. Through the Leopards' first 17 games, she has a team-high 10 blocks, a total that also places her ninth among all Patriot League players. Virgin is on pace to surpass her single-season high of 16, which she reached last season.

LAFAYETTE vs. the PATRIOT LEAGUE: Lafayette has played 362 games all-time against the seven other current members of the Patriot League and is 154-208 (.425) in those contests. The Leopards own an 90-168 (.349) overall record since joining the league in the 1990-91 season.

American	4-19
Army	        20-26
Bucknell	34-28
Colgate	        29-25
Holy Cross	8-42
Lehigh	        40-34
Navy	        19-34
TOTAL	        154-208

BUSTING OUT: Junior Lauren Jackson is having a career year. Despite missing the last two games with a foot injury, she leads the team in scoring (11.7 ppg) and had a career performance vs. Liberty with 22 points, which she matched vs. Long Island.

She is shooting 90.9 percent from the line, 32 percent from three-point range and is sinking 34.7 percent of her shots from the floor, all while logging more than 32 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 (90.9), is ninth in scoring (11.7) and Melissa Downey is fifth in assists with 47 (2.8).

Finally, Lafayette as a team stands second overall in three-point field goal defense (.304), fourth in free throw percentage (71.5) and fifth in blocked shots (51).

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 15 attempts) with a 72.4 percent showing from the line (42-58).

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY: This month, two Leopards celebrated their birthdays: Elizabeth Virgin (1/1) and assistant coach LaRonda Murphy (1/6).

EXTREME EFFICIENCY: Freshman Ashley Springer made the most of her playing time vs. Colgate. She came off the bench for six minutes and finished with a career-high seven points, including her first three-pointer.

WAY TO START: For the first time in three years, the Leopards opened league play with a win when they defeated Holy Cross 43-39. The last time Lafayette won a Patriot League season opener was in 2007 when the Leopards defeated Holy Cross, also this year's conference-opening opponent, 61-58 at Kirby Sports Center.

DEFENSIVE DOMINANCE: While 43 points may not seem like enough to capture a win, that was all the Leopards needed against Holy Cross. Lafayette's defense held the Crusaders to just 39 points, the fewest scored by Holy Cross so far this season and the fewest scored by a Lafayette opponent since Jan. 18, 1995 (Fordham, 39 points).

GLASS CLEANERS: Lafayette not only had an impressive performance on defense vs. Holy Cross, the team was also all over the boards, picking up a season-best 46 rebounds.

Those 46 rebounds were not just the most this season, however. They also marked the highest team total since a 57-rebound performance against Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 21, 2005.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE (TIMES TWO): Junior LaKeisha Wright has not only picked up her first and second career double-doubles this year, she is also the only Leopard to record a double-double.

She finished with an 11-point and 10-rebound performance vs. UNC Asheville for her first double-double and followed that with 10 points and 10 boards just two games later, a 43-39 win at Holy Cross.

Wright, who is averaging 11.3 points and a team-high 4.5 rebounds per game, was the first Leopard to finish with a double-double since Feb. 21 of last season (Emily Garner: 13 points, 12 rebounds vs. Lehigh).

INJURY UPDATE: Sophomore Alexandra Serowoky will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury.

ALL-TIME RECORD: The program, now in its 38th season, has played 936 games, compiled an overall record of 421-515 (.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 168-262 (.391), which includes a 113-68 mark and two NCAA Tournament appearances in seven seasons at D-III Muhlenberg.

NON-CONFERENCE FINALE: The Leopards wrapped-up the non-conference portion of their schedule on Jan. 3 with a trip to Iowa State. Lafayette dropped a 67-25 decision to the now-23rd ranked Cyclones but held the squad nine points below its season scoring average.

TO BE THE BEST YOU MUST PLAY THE BEST: For the second consecutive season, Lafayette took on a ranked opponent when the team squared off against then-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 when they faced them on Jan. 3, Iowa State has also now jumped into the number 20 spot in the USA Today/ESPN.

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 47 assists, which also places her fifth in the Patriot League. She is averaging 4.2 points per game and has started all 17 contests.

FIRST OF THE SEASON: Lafayette finally out-rebounded an opponent as the team held a slim, 37-36 edge over Princeton. Sarah McGorry and LaKeisha Wright led the way with eight rebounds each.

Prior to that game, Lafayette was out-rebounded in its first 10 games. Only two players have 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 and LaKeisha Wright collected 10 boards vs. UNC Asheville and Holy Cross.

CARING "HART"S: Over the past year, the women's team became involved with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation (FOJ). Earlier this season, 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 90.9 percent from the line this season, the best mark 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 are currently fifth in the league with 51 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.

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.

OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN: Four players were chosen to serve as captains this season: Seniors Amanda Leone and Brooke Niquette, junior Lauren Jackson and sophomore Melissa Downey.

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.

FRESH FACES: Lafayette welcomed three freshmen to the squad this fall: Samantha Jordan, Alicia Manning and Ashley Springer.

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.

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).

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:
• The Leopards became the first No. 7 seed in the history of the Patriot League Tournament to advance to the championship game
• Opened the tournament with a quarterfinal win over American, which was followed by a victory over Navy in the semifinals
Emily Garner '09 and LaKeisha Wright were named to the Patriot League's All- Tournament Team
• Wright led the team in scoring (11.1 ppg) in 2008-09
• Leopards played a ranked opponent (No. 14 Rutgers) for the first time since the 1990-91 season
• Opened the year with the program's first-ever invitation to the Preseason WNIT
• Eight players were named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll

 

 

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