Women's Basketball Takes on Cornell in First Road Game of the Season
Nov. 15, 2007
Match Up: Lafayette (1-0) vs. Cornell (0-1)
TONIGHT'S MATCH-UP: Lafayette and Cornell meet for the 14th time in the teams' histories. Cornell leads the all-time series by a slim one-game margin (7-6) with the most recent match-up coming on Nov. 18 of last season. The Leopards recorded a 76-60 win over the Big Red in Easton. The victory was head coach Tammy Smith's first against Cornell and the team's sixth overall. Prior to that win, the Leopards had dropped three-straight to the Big Red.
In last season's win, junior Vanessa Van De Venter led both squads with 18 points and sophomore forward Emily Garner posted her second double-double (13 pts., 10 reb) on the season. The Leopards jumped out to an early 13-4 lead in the game and led by as many as 15 with 6:42 remaining in the first half. Lafayette's lead would stay in double figures for the remainder of the contest.
WHAT A WAY TO START: The Leopards opened their 2007-08 campaign with a thrilling 65-64 win over Monmouth at Kirby Sports Center. A layup by senior Vanessa Van De Venter with three seconds on the clock lifted the team to the season-opening victory.
Junior guard Cristin Zavocki led Lafayette with 14 points including a 3-for-7 showing from three point range. Van De Venter finished with 12 points and junior forward Meaghan Malone chipped in a career-best nine points while also pulling down five rebounds. All three of the team's freshmen saw playing time with LaKeisha Wright earning her first collegiate start. Wright finished with five points and three bounds in 24 minutes of play.
A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: The Leopards' 65-64 win over Monmouth was the first in program history. The two teams had only met on two prior occassions: in March of 1978 and on Dec. 31 of last season.
RIGHT AT HOME: With their win against Monmouth, the Leopards recorded their fourth-straight home-opening victory. The streak began with a 63-47 win over Radford on Dec. 2, 2004.
SOMETIMES IT'S GOOD TO BE ALONE: It's still early in the season, but entering tonight's game against Cornell, the Leopards are at the top of the Patriot League standings. They are the only unbeaten team in the league and one of just two teams with a win. American is the only other team with a victory (1-1).
STEP RIGHT IN: All three of Lafayette's freshmen saw action in the season opener against Monmouth. LaKeisha Wright was given her first collegiate start and finished with five points and three bounds in 24 minutes of play. Classmates Elizabeth Virgin and Lauren Jackson came off the bench for the Leopards. Virgin saw 22 minutes of playing time and pulled down three rebounds to go along with two points and one assist. Jackson saw three minutes of game action and chipped in one assist.
SMITH ON THE SIDELINES: Head coach Tammy Smith is in her seventh season at Lafayette and 13th overall as a head coach. In 2006-07, she directed the Leopards to its highest-ever seed in the Patriot League Tournament (No. 6) and has nearly doubled her win totals after each season on College Hill.
Smith is the fourth head coach in Lafayette's 35-year history. She has a career record of 141-211 (.401), which includes a 113-68 mark and two NCAA Tournament appearances in seven seasons at D-III Muhlenberg.
MILESTONE MARKER: With an entire season ahead of her, senior forward Vanessa Van De Venter is well on her way to becoming the 14th Lafayette player to score 1,000-plus points in the program's 35-year history. Van De Venter has 925 heading into Thursday night's game at Cornell and would be the first player to reach the milestone since Colleen Fitzpatrick '04. She had 361 points last season and led the team in scoring, averaging 12.0 ppg. She started 68 of her 82 games played in 2006-07 and has a 10.6 ppg career average.
PATRIOT LEAGUE PRESEASON POLL: The Leopards were picked to finish in a tie for sixth place in the Patriot League's preseason poll. Lafayette received 33 points, as did Navy. Bucknell garnered the top spot with 10 first place votes. Army recieved four to place second, followed by Holy Cross, American and Lehigh in the three through five spots.
Team Points 1. Bucknell (10) 92 2. Army (4) 83 3. Holy Cross (1) 77 4. American (1) 62 5. Lehigh 46 6. Lafayette 33 6. Navy 33 8. Colgate 22() indicates first place votes
ACADEMIC ACCOLADES: The Lafayette women's basketball team received the NCAA Public Recognition Award for recording an NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate in the top 10 percent of all women's basketball teams. The team, under the direction of seventh-year head coach Tammy Smith, was one of 14 other Patriot League squads to have a perfect 100 percent graduation rate for the fall class of 2000.
CLOSE TO HOME: Three players with local connections - Val Gomez (Allentown, Pa./Emmaus), Vanessa Van De Venter (Tannersville, Pa./Pocono Mountain East) and Amanda Leone (Easton, Pa./Easton)- account for over half of Lafayette's five players from the Keystone State. Van De Venter started all 30 games last season and led the team in scoring (12.0 ppg), while Gomez battled through a knee injury and started 12 games last year. Sophomore Leone saw playing time in four games during last season.
Jackson hails from Argyle, Texas, where she played four years of varsity basketball at Liberty Christian. She averaged 17.2 points per game and a 46.8 field goal percentage as a senior. She earned first team All-State honors that season and helped guide her team to its first-ever state championship title.
Virgin joins the Leopards from Novato, Calif. She was a four-year member of the basketball team at Marin Catholic and earned three varsity letters. Virgin was also named to the First Team All-MCAL and earned East Bay honorable mention.
An Upper Marlboro, Md. native, Wright played four seasons of basketball at Eleanor Roosevelt. She saw playing time at multiple positions, averaging 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists during her career. Wright amassed 1,000 points during her career and was a member of three state championship teams.
ALL-TIME RECORD: Lafayette's women's basketball program is in its 35th season and has played 858 games. Lafayette is 394-464 (.459) all-time and has recorded five 20-win seasons.
MOVIN' ON UP IN `06-07: Lafayette can add "overachiever" to its list of attributes for the 2006-07 season. A team that was picked to finish in last place in the Patriot League's preseason poll, the Leopards finished the Patriot League regular season in sixth place. Five of Lafayette's seven wins came in league play, as the Leopards posted the most conference wins since 1997-98.
VAN DE VENTER NAMED SECOND TEAM ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE in 2006: Last season, forward Vanessa Van De Venter represented Lafayette on the 2006 All-Patriot League Second Team. The Tannersville, Pa. native led the team with 12.0 ppg and was ranked in the top 10 in scoring in the league for the better part of last season. Van De Venter, who garnered her first Patriot League Player of the Week nod last year, was named to the Patriot League's All-Rookie Team in 2004-05. She has 913 career points and is the first player since Colleen Fitzpatrick '04 to earn all-league status.
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