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Lafayette Heads to Hamilton, N.Y. for Tuesday Tilt in Women's Hoops

Feb. 6, 2006

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THE MATCH-UP: Lafayette carries its momentum from Saturday's upset of Holy Cross into Tuesday's Patriot League game with Colgate in Hamilton, N.Y. The Raiders won the first meeting 69-56 on Jan. 10 in Easton. An active defensive effort held Holy Cross scoreless for more than six minutes in the middle of the second half, and the Leopards scored 12 straight points in that stretch to go ahead 42-35. Lafayette led 49-39 with 3:26 remaining and went on for a 54-49 victory.

SEVEN'S THE KEY: The Leopards' win over Holy Cross was their seventh of the season, the most for the program since the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 campaigns. Lafayette's next victory will equal its output from 1998-99. The program's last 10-win season came in 1997-98, when the Leopards finished 15-13, including a 7-5 record in Patriot League games.

STREAKING `PARDS: Lafayette has broken a number of streaks this season, including a 20 game slide against Holy Cross dating to Feb. 15, 1998. The Leopards have also snapped skids of four games vs. Lehigh and seven vs. Penn. Colgate has won each of the last seven meetings with Lafayette.

GOING TO THE GOAL: Senior guard Lindsay Myers, who scored 17 points against Holy Cross, has become more aggressive on the offensive end and is averaging 14.1 points over the last seven games. Myers is shooting 43.5 percent (37-of-85) while taking at least 10 shots in each of those contests, and has taken 6.8 foul shots per game in the last five. She went to the foul line 11 times at Army and made 10 free throws, setting career-highs in both departments. Over the previous 14 games, Myers put up an average of 8.0 shots and 2.8 free throws while scoring 7.4 ppg.

TELL HER `NICE PASS': Sophomore guard Val Gomez has taken over as Lafayette's playmaker from the "3" position as Lindsay Myers has asserted herself as a scorer. Gomez is averaging 4.0 assists over the last six games, and set her career-high with seven dishes in the Leopards' win over Holy Cross on Saturday. She also had six rebounds, three steals and a block against the Crusaders. Myers handed out 3.9 assists per game in the first dozen contests.

DOUBLING UP: Sophomore forward Vanessa Van De Venter scored 19 points and pulled down 10 rebounds at Bucknell on Feb. 1 for her third double-double of the season, and the fifth of her career. She also recorded double-doubles at LIU (16 points, career-high 12 rebounds) and Howard (14-11) earlier this year. Van De Venter had two in her first four collegiate games, and came up one board shy in three other games as a freshman. She is 12th in scoring (11.0) and ranks ninth in rebounding (6.2) in the Patriot League this season. Van De Venter has produced 13.3 points and 6.9 rebounds in the last six games.

HALFWAY THERE: Lafayette has had 13 career 1,000-point scorers, and sophomore forward Vanessa Van De Venter may be the next on the list. She passed the halfway mark against Holy Cross and enters today's game with 503 career points in 49 games for an average of 10.3 ppg. Senior guard Lindsay Myers would have to score 15.3 ppg over each of the next seven games to become the 14th Leopard to score 1,000 points.

THE 800 CLUB: Lafayette's senior guards, Lindsay Myers and Kristin Doherty, have both reached the 800-point plateau. Myers went over 800 against Navy, while Doherty reached 800 for her career at Bucknell. Myers has 893 points in 100 games, and Doherty has scored 808 in 105 contests.

INTO THE RECORD BOOKS: Junior guard Kara Stetler filled it up at American, drilling 6-of-7 three-pointers, and 9-of-10 overall from the field, while scoring a career-high 26 points. She made all five of her shots from long distance in the first half, and her second triple of the game at the 15:05 mark was the 42nd of the season, breaking her own school record. Stetler has made 48 three's after hitting 41 last season. She scored 14 points, including 12 in the second half, in Lafayette's 54-49 win over Holy Cross.

MORE STETLER: ranks second in the Patriot League in three-point shooting percentage at 42.9 percent (48-of-112) . . will eclipse the school record of 35.2 percent, held by teammate Kristin Doherty, if she maintains her current rate . . has hit a triple in all but two contests and is averaging 2.29 made three's per game . . has made six three-pointers in a game three times this season - at UMBC on Dec. 10 (6-of-9), vs. Akron on Dec. 30 (6-of-9) and at American on Jan. 28 (6-of-7) . . is the only player in the history of Lafayette women's basketball who has made more than five three's in a game.

FROM THE LAND O'PLENTY: The 2004-05 Leopards made 102 three-pointers, a new single-season mark for the program. Kara Stetler made 41 three's and Kristin Doherty hit 40 to help their squad set the record. This season's edition has made 96 triples through the first 20 games, putting the Leopards on the brink of breaking the record in consecutive years. Stetler (48) and Doherty (25) have combined to shoot 39.8 percent from long range, and Lafayette has made 33.8 percent as a team. That percentage ranks second in school history behind the 1988-89 squad which made 37 percent of its three-point attempts.

RACKING UP THE NUMBERS: Lindsay Myers surpassed the 800-point and 200-steal marks on Jan. 19 against Navy and pulled down the 500th rebound of her career in Lafayette's 54-49 win over Holy Cross on Feb. 4. She has 893 points, 502 boards, 292 assists and 212 steals entering tonight's contest. One of the most versatile players ever to wear a Lafayette uniform, Myers is ranked fourth in career assists and fifth in steals, and had two blocks at Army to move into a tie for fourth place on that list with 44. She was one of two players in the Patriot League last season to rank in the top 15 in scoring, rebounding and assists, and was also in the top 10 in steals and blocks.

A STROKE OF MISFORTUNE: The Leopards' seven wins this season, their most since the 2000-01 campaign, have come against the backdrop of a number of close defeats and overtime losses. Lafayette's 75-74 loss at American gave the Leopards two one-point losses in the same season for just the third time school history. The Leopards also lost a pair of one-point games in 1993-94 (64-63 vs. Navy, PL Tournament; 66-65 vs. Holy Cross) and 1990-91 (61-60 at Bucknell, 51-50 vs. Cornell). Lafayette's two overtime defeats - an 89-85 2OT setback at Howard and a 75-71 home loss vs. Navy - mark the first time that the Leopards have lost multiple overtime games in 34 years of women's basketball.

DEFENDING THEIR TURF: The Leopards improved to 5-3 at Kirby Sports Center with their 54-49 win over Holy Cross on Saturday, the most wins that a Lafayette team has posted at home since putting together a 7-5 record in 2000-01. Lafayette will play three of its final four games at home following a two-game road trip to Colgate and Navy this week.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Lafayette is 4-2 in televised games this season, including Patriot League wins over Navy and Holy Cross. The Lafayette Sports Network will also broadcast the home finale on Feb. 25 against American, with the possibility of carrying Patriot League tournament games involving the Leopards as well. They were 0-9 in games televised by LSN last season.

TURNING THE CORNER: Lafayette is third in the Patriot League with a +2.0 turnover margin in league games, a remarkable turnaround in that department after ranking last at -4.2 per game a year ago. The Leopards have won or broken even in the turnover column in 11 games this season, and posted a positive turnover margin for seven straight games (133-96) before giving the ball up eight more times than Holy Cross on Saturday.

Lafayette committed just 20 turnovers - 11 at Penn and 9 (2 in the second half) vs. Lehigh - on its way to back-to-back wins over the Quakers and Mountain Hawks. Those numbers mark the fewest miscues in 131 games under head coach Tammy Smith. Lafayette also recorded 15 assists in those contests, the first time that the Leopards have strung together consecutive games with more assists than turnovers under Smith. They had a 16:14 assist-to-turnover margin at American, and a 12:14 ratio at Bucknell. The Penn game marked the second time this season that Lafayette earned an advantage of at least 10 turnovers (21-11). The Leopards harassed Wagner into 25 miscues on opening night while giving up the basketball just 14 times. The +11 turnover differential marks the largest advantage for Lafayette under Smith.

THE REBOUNDING DEFICIT: Lafayette has been outrebounded by an average of 9.1 per game in eight Patriot League contests, but won the battle on the boards 45-40 in its win over Holy Cross on Saturday. Sophomore forward Brittany Purr (6.8 rpg) returned against the Crusaders after being sidelined for a month due to illness, and contributed five rebounds in 20 minutes of action. Freshman forward Emily Garner was averaging 5.5 rebounds in 18 minutes per game, but suffered a concussion on Jan. 25 at Army. The Leopards have gone with a four-guard lineup in their last seven PL games, with Vanessa Van De Venter (6.3 rpg) filling the lone forward spot. Garner may to return to the floor tonight at Colgate.

DOHERTY GETS IT DONE: Senior guard Kristin Doherty tied her career-high with 21 points and was 4-of-5 from three-point range in Lafayette's 67-64 win over Lehigh on Jan. 21. Doherty holds the top two spots on Lafayette's single-season three-point percentage list, hitting at a 35.2 percent clip in 2003-04 and a rate of 34.5 percent last season. She is also shooting 35.2 percent (25-of-71) from outside the arc this season.

REBOUNDING BY THE DOZEN: Freshman forward Emily Garner quickly acclimated herself to collegiate basketball, leading Lafayette in rebounding with 6.7 boards per night over a 12-game stretch. She had at least seven points and five rebounds in eight of her first 18 career games, and five or more rebounds in 11 of 12 outings leading up to the Jan. 25 match-up with the Black Knights. Garner was named Patriot League Rookie of the Week for her performance in Lafayette's 71-59 win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 21 after recording her first career double-double with season-highs of 13 points and 10 rebounds against the Knights. She had nine boards in Lafayette's 67-64 win over Lehigh.

MAKE A BASKET, WIN A PRIZE: The Leopards were 14-for-16 from the foul line at Army's Christl Arena on Jan. 25, nearly matching their 15-for-16 effort last season. Lindsay Myers was 10-of-11 from the stripe to become the first Lafayette player to make at least 10 free throws in a game since Colleen Fitzpatrick made 10 aganst Texas-Arlington on Dec. 21, 2003.

NUMEROLOGY FROM THE PALESTRA: (5) - Lafayette's 60-56 win over Penn on Jan. 19 gave the Leopards five victories, equaling the number of wins from the 2004-05 season . . (100) - senior Kristin Doherty made the 100th three-pointer of her career in her 100th career game and was 3-for-6 from behind the arc . . (3,650) - the number of days between victories at The Palestra for the Lafayette women's basketball program. The Leopards' win in the historic building was their first since a 69-60 triumph over the Quakers on Jan. 22, 1996 - three days short of 10 full years. Lafayette had lost its last four meetings with Penn in Philadelphia, and seven overall.

CLOSE TO HOME: Three players with local connections - Val Gomez (Emmaus), Lindsay Myers (Allentown-Dieruff) and Vanessa Van De Venter (Tannersville-Pocono Mountain East) - combined to lead Lafayette in all five major statistical categories in the Leopards' win on Jan. 19 at Penn. Van De Venter posted 16 points and eight rebounds, Gomez dished out five assists, and Myers contributed three steals and a block in the final seconds to help Lafayette close out the Quakers. Myers also scored 15 points, including the go-ahead bucket with 48 seconds left. All three players hit double figures in Lafayette's overtime game with Navy on Jan. 14 - Van De Venter led the way with 17 points, Gomez had 13 and hit the game-tying three-pointer with 6.8 seconds left, and Myers scored 10.

MYERS DOES IT ALL: Senior Lindsay Myers was one of only two players in the Patriot League to finish in the top 15 in points, rebounds and assists per game last season. Myers averaged 10.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.14 assists in 2004-05, and was in the top 10 in the league in both steals (third, 2.39) and blocked shots (eighth, 0.61) as well. Maggie Fontana of Holy Cross was the only other player to rank in the top 15 in each of the "triple-double" categories (10.5 ppg., 5.6 rpg., 2.27 apg.), but was unranked in steals and blocks.

Myers entered her senior season ranked on three career top 10 lists at Lafayette -- blocks (5th, 37), assists (7th, 226) and steals (10th, 169). If she matches her totals from last season in each category, Myers will finish her career ranked second in blocked shots and fourth in both assists and steals.

LAFAYETTE vs. the PATRIOT LEAGUE: Lafayette has played 305 games against the seven other current members of the Patriot League and is 136-168 (.447) in those contests. Lafayette vs. the Patriot League:

American 1-14
Army 21-17
Bucknell 31-25
Colgate 26-19
Holy Cross 6-36
Lehigh 37-28
Navy 15-29

AND WE GO TO...OVERTIME: Sophomore guard Val Gomez hit a three-pointer with 6.8 seconds left to send Lafayette's Patriot League match-up with Navy into overtime at 62-all last Saturday. The Leopards led by as many as five in the extra session, but the Mids emerged with a 75-71 victory. Lafayette has lost two overtime games this season - the other an 89-85 double-overtime game at Howard on Dec. 2 - and has a seven-game losing streak in contests that require bonus basketball. Lafayette's last overtime win was a 62-61 double-overtime decision over Central Connecticut on Feb. 3, 1998.

CLEANING THE GLASS: Five players had at least seven rebounds to help Lafayette compile a 57-39 advantage on the glass against FDU on Dec. 21. Lindsay Myers (15 points, 11 boards) and Emily Garner (13 points, 10 boards) both recorded their first career double-doubles, Kara Stetler equaled her career-high with eight rebounds, and Vanessa Van De Venter and Brittany Purr had nine and eight rebounds, respectively. Both of Lafayette's last two games with at least 50 rebounds came against Howard (54 in 2005, 51 in 2004). The Leopards' 57 rebounds were the most since gathering 63 caroms against Fairfield on Nov. 24, 2000.

THE COMEBACK KIDS: Lafayette scored 56 points in the second half to overcome a 28-15 halftime deficit on its way to a 71-59 win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 21. The 13-point deficit was the largest overcome by the Leopards since coming from behind to defeat Colgate 72-68 on Jan. 26, 2002 after trailing 45-31 at the break. The Leopards were 18-of-28 from the field, 2-of-3 from behind the arc, and 18-for-25 at the foul line for their largest output in a half since at least the 1998-99 season.

LEOPARDS DROP A PAIR AT THE BLUE SKY CLASSIC: Lafayette spent the week between Christmas and New Year's at the Blue Sky Restaurant Group Classic at Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H. The Leopards faced Loyola Marymount in the opening round and lost a 68-58 decision. Lafayette and Akron went down to the wire in the consolation game, with the Zips coming away with a 53-52 victory. LMU downed Dartmouth, 55-46, in the championship game. Junior guard Kara Stetler was the tournament's leading scorer, with 32 points over both games, and was named to the All-Tournament team.

MYERS NOTCHES FIRST CAREER DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Senior guard Lindsay Myers had her first career double-double in her 88th career game, posting 15 points and 11 rebounds, in Lafayette's 71-59 win over Fairleigh Dickinson. Myers was close on several occasions - she had eight points and 10 rebounds in the fifth game of her freshman year and reached double-figures in points with at least eight boards in six other games - and has 852 points and 482 rebounds in her career.

LOCKDOWN DEFENSE: The Leopards held each of their first three opponents under 51 points, the first time a Lafayette team has surrendered 51 or fewer points in three straight games since January 1997, a stretch of 242 games. Lafayette allowed 60.5 points per game in 11 contests in 2005.

On Dec. 21, the Leopards limited FDU to 29.2 percent shooting from the field, the first sub-30 percent effort by the Lafayette defense since Maryland-Eastern Shore was 17-of-62 (27.4 percent) in a 60-44 win in the first game of last season.

LEFTOVERS FROM THE LIU TURKEY CLASSIC: Lafayette defeated host LIU, 63-48, before falling to James Madison in the championship game of the LIU Turkey Classic. With their win in the opener, the Leopards claimed three straight victories for the first time since 1998-99, and opened the season 3-0 for the first time since 1996-97.

LIU ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Sophomore forwards Brittany Purr and Vanessa Van De Venter were named to the All-Tournament team over Thanksgiving weekend at LIU. Both players turned in double-doubles in the win over LIU, with Van De Venter scoring a team-high 16 points and pulling down a career-high 12 rebounds. Purr also set a career-high with 10 boards and scored 10 points for the first double-double of her career. Van De Venter, who had double figures in points and rebounds in the same game twice as a freshman, led Lafayette with 13 points against James Madison.

WELCOME BACK: Senior guard Lindsay Myers joins the Leopards for a fifth season after receiving a medical redshirt for her 2002-03 campaign, as she played in just four games before suffering a season-ending ACL injury. Myers led Lafayette in scoring (10.1 ppg.), assists (88) and steals (67), and tied for the team lead in rebounding (5.4 rpg.) a year ago.

Guard/forward Katie Kokolus is completely healthy for the first time in two years, and her return will bolster a backcourt that was already the strength of the team. Kokolus scored 40 points in her first three games in 2003-04 before a knee injury cut her season short, and was set to return to the floor last season when she was diagnosed with blood clots during preseason camp which forced her to miss the entire season.

THE CAPTAINS: Seniors Katie Kokolus and Lindsay Myers will serve as Lafayette's captains for the 2005-06 season. Kokolus and Myers will provide leadership for a team that welcomes six freshmen into the program, and has three sophomores that are contributing significant minutes in their second season with the Leopards.

PLAYING THE PERCENTAGES: Lafayette returns four of five starters off last year's club for the 2005-06 campaign, and head coach Tammy Smith brings back 76.2 percent of the scoring, 64.7 percent of the rebounding, and 80.0 percent of the assists from last season's team. Center Brianne Welte, who averaged 4.6 points and 5.0 rebounds as a senior, is the only player who started 10 or more games that isn't with the team this season. Members of the 05-06 roster combined to make 97 three-pointers and shoot 76.0 percent from the foul line a year ago.

VAN DE VENTER EARNS ALL-ROOKIE HONOR: Sophomore forward Vanessa Van De Venter was named to the 2005 Patriot League All-Rookie Team. A four-time Rookie of the Week honoree, Van De Venter averaged 9.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in her freshman season. She was second among freshmen in the league in scoring and rebounding last season and finished fourth in the PL in free throw percentage (80.4 percent). Van De Venter is one of three members of the Lafayette roster to have been named to the All-Rookie Team - Kristin Doherty claimed the honor in 2003, while Lindsay Myers garnered a selection in 2002.

DIALING LONG DISTANCE: The 2004-05 Leopards made 102 three-pointers, a new single-season mark for the program. Kristin Doherty's triple with in the first half at American on Feb. 19 was the team's 85th of the year and the record-breaker. Doherty and sophomore Kara Stetler were engaged in a duel to break the individual single-season record for three-pointers made, with Stetler winning out by a single bucket (41 to 40). Stetler broke the record first, hitting her 37th triple of the season in the first half against Navy on Feb. 23, and both entered the Patriot League tournament with 40 three-pointers.

FROM THE CHARITY STRIPE: One bright spot for Lafayette last season was at the foul line. The Leopards were second in the Patriot League in free throw percentage (72.1 percent) while making 375 of their 520 attempts. Kristin Doherty led the league, shooting 82.9 percent (58-of-70) from the foul line, and Vanessa Van De Venter was fourth (90-of-112, 80.4 percent).

ON THE BENCH: Head coach Tammy Smith is in her fifth season at Lafayette. Smith, who has seen key players miss part or all of the season in each of her five years on the sidelines, is 19-114 as Lafayette's head coach. She has a career record of 132-182, which includes a 113-68 mark and two NCAA Tournament appearances in seven seasons at Division III Muhlenberg College.

NEW FACES: Lafayette played a pair of first-time opponents in the Blue Sky Restaurant Group Classic at Dartmouth on Dec. 29 and 30, dropping the first-ever match-ups with Loyola Marymount and Akron. The Leopards played five other opponents (Buffalo, Howard, James Madison, LIU and UMBC) for just the second time in school history.

CLOSE CALLS: Lafayette's stretch of three straight games decided by two points or less from Jan. 15-23, 2005 was unprecedented in program history. Including the 58-56 loss at American on Feb. 19, Lafayette is 1-3 in games decided by two points or less this season. The Leopards' four games decided by two points or less were the most in a single season since the 1998-99 campaign.

ALL-TIME RECORD: Lafayette's women's basketball program is in its 34th season and has played 820 games. Lafayette is 385-435 (.469) all-time and has recorded five 20-win seasons.

PATRIOT PRESEASON POLL: Lafayette was picked to finish eighth in the Patriot League's preseason poll of coaches and sports information directors. Defending champion Holy Cross was selected as the first-place team on 11 of the 16 ballots.

PATRIOT LEAGUE SCHEDULE: There has been a significant change to the Patriot League's scheduling format for the 2005-06 season. The latest incarnation of the league schedule brings a modified return of the same site, same day format for men's and women's games. Weekday league games for women's teams will generally be played on Tuesday nights, while the men will tip off on Wednesday. Both teams will play on Saturday, with the home institution assuming responsibility for setting the order and start times of those contests.

The schedule for the Patriot League Tournament will remain intact. The top two seeds on the men's and women's sides will host four-team mini-tournaments, with the championship game still to be played at the site of the highest remaining seed.

LAFAYETTE ON TELEVISION: For the ninth straight season, Lafayette features the most expansive television package in the Patriot League. The Leopards will have seven games televised this season, and have the possibility of adding three more televised contests in the Patriot League Tournament. The Lafayette Sports Network will air those games to more than 9.1 million viewers in the Lehigh Valley, Pocono region, Philadelphia, central New Jersey, New York City and Boston. Locally the telecasts can be seen on RCN Cable channels 4 and 60, Service Electric Cable channel 51, Blue Ridge Cable channel 5 and broadcast channel 60.