Women's Basketball Looks to Rebound Against Fairfield
Nov. 27, 2010
EASTON, Pa. - The Lafayette women's basketball team closes out its busy Thanksgiving week, as Fairfield University visits Easton for a 1 p.m. contest. The action from Kirby Sports Center will be televised live on RCN-4, RCN-8 and WBPH-60 with Gary Laubach and Stacey Cagenello '87 on the call. The telecast will also be available online through GoLeopards.com via LSN All-Access. The Leopards enter the game at 2-3 while Fairfield currently sits at 3-1 in the young 2010-11 season.
LAST TIME OUT
Despite a team-best 13 points from junior Sarah McGorry and an eight-point, six-rebound day by freshman Madeline Fahan, the Leopards were unable to withstand nine Monmouth three-pointers, dropping a 68-54 decision to the Hawks in West Long Branch, N.J. on Friday afternoon.
With a game-high 17 points in the Nov. 23 win over St. Francis, senior co-captain LaKeisha Wright became the 15th member of the Leopards' 1,000-Point Club. Wright currently stands at 1,023 career points, 133 shy of Beth Mowins '89 and the all-time top-10 in program history.
SCOUTING THE STAGS
The Fairfield University Stags, who were chosen to finish fourth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference preseason poll, sit at 3-1 in the 2010-11 campaign. Katelyn Linney paces the offense with 19.5 points per game, while Taryn Johnson has contributed 10.0 points per contest in addition to a team-high 8.3 rebounds per game. Fairfield is shooting a scorching 43.5% (30-64) from three-point range, with Linney accounting for more than half of the Stags' made treys and nearly half of their attempts from downtown (19-31, 61.3%).
Fairfield stifled the Leopards' offense last season, posting a 52-29 victory at Alumni Hall in Fairfield, Conn. Stephanie Geehan (now graduated) led the way with 14 points and 19 rebounds, while Lafayette got a team-best six points apiece from junior Melissa Downey and sophomore Alicia Manning.
A MATTER OF DEPTH
While 10 players are averaging 11.0 minutes or more per game in the Leopards' up-tempo style, Fairfield's five starters, which have been the same in all four of their games, are all playing at least 30.0 minutes per outing. The Stags' bench is chipping in just 9.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, Lafayette's non-starters have contributed 28.6 points and 27.4 rebounds per game. Among players to come off the bench in all five games for the Maroon and White, freshman Danielle Fiacco leads the way with 7.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per contest.
Today's game marks the first road game of the season for Fairfield. Not only is Fairfield leaving Connecticut for the first time, but the Stags are yet to leave their own campus. Rather than playing on their customary home court, Bridgeport's Arena at Harbor Yard, Fairfield has played all four of its games thus far at Alumni Hall, the team's on-campus facility.
BUT WHEN I GET HOME TO YOU...
The Leopards are 2-0 at home and 0-3 on the road this season. Of Lafayette's six wins last season, three came at home and three came on the road.
The Leopards dominated the boards in Tuesday's 74-52 win over St. Francis. Lafayette held a 59-37 edge on the glass while turning 33 offensive rebounds into 28 second-chance points. Freshman Danielle Fiacco led all players with 12 rebounds, while junior Sarah McGorry and freshman Madeline Fahan each grabbed eight boards. Seven of Fahan's rips came from the offensive glass.
IT'S BEEN A WHILE
Tuesday's 22-point margin of victory was the most-lopsided Lafayette win since Jan. 31, 2001, when the Leopards won at Colgate, 76-49. The only other 20-point win for the Maroon and White since 2001 was a 70-49 thrashing of NJIT on Dec. 5, 2008.
The Leopards have already challenged four Northeast Conference opponents this season. Lafayette hosted and defeated Bryant - currently in its "probationary period" with the NEC - and St. Francis (N.Y.) and lost at preseason conference favorite Long Island and Monmouth. In total, the Maroon and White will challenge half of the 12-team conference, with contests against Fairleigh Dickinson (12/4) and Quinnipiac (12/28) still on the horizon.
HOME AND AWAY
The Leopards' back-to-back road games at Long Island and Liberty were a rare occurrence in the non-conference schedule. Lafayette will not play two true road contests in a row again until Jan. 12 and 15 at Patriot League opponents Colgate and Navy. However, the Leopards first back-to-back games on College Hill this season will not be until the end of January when Army and American come to Easton on Jan. 26 and 29.
LEOPARDS BEING OFFENSIVE
It took just 20 minutes of the 2010-11 season for the Leopards to demonstrate their up-tempo offense installed by new head coach Dianne Nolan. Lafayette poured in 40 points in the first half of its season-opening win over Bryant on Nov. 14. Not only did the Leopards never score 40 points in a half last season, but the Maroon and White failed to reach the 40-point plateau in seven complete games in 2009-10. In total, Lafayette's 84 points (as well as the 72 scored in regulation) topped the season high of 65 points recorded in a 78-65 loss to Long Island last year.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
Eleven players scored more points than Melissa Downey on Nov. 14, but two of the junior's five tallies were the most crucial in the Leopards' overtime victory against Bryant. Downey converted the game-tying layup with just five seconds remaining in regulation, sending the contest into an extra period. The Lafayette guard spent most of the afternoon helping her teammates get on the board en route to matching her career high with a game-best eight assists.
Lafayette connected on just one field goal in overtime against Bryant on Nov. 14, but shot 9-for-10 from the free throw line in the extra period. Freshman Danielle Fiacco sank two free throws to give Lafayette its first lead of overtime at 80-78, and senior co-captains Lauren Jackson and LaKeisha Wright each drained a pair in the final 20 seconds of the extra session to preserve the victory.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
Junior Sarah McGorry took a charge to negate the game-winning layup by Bryant's Danielle Douglas with 1.6 seconds remaining in regulation. McGorry's heads-up play sent the game into overtime, where the Leopards came away with a four-point victory.
A STRONG FOUNDATION
The Leopards are among the most experienced teams in the Patriot League, as they return their top six scorers and top three rebounders from last season. Aside from Army, which did not lose any letterwinners from last season's roster, Bucknell is the only other Patriot squad to return its three best on the boards from the 2009-10 campaign.
Fairfield is the Leopards' second 2010-11 opponent that advanced to the postseason last season. Depending on how the matchups fall at the Hawk Classic on Dec. 28-29, nearly one-third of Lafayette's schedule could be comprised of the teams that played into March in 2009-10, including a trio of defending conference champions. Lafayette challenged six of the following seven teams last season as well, with St. Joseph's as the lone exception.
Liberty (11/20) - Big South Champion, NCAA First Round
Fairfield (11/28) - WBI Second Round
St. Bonaventure (12/1) - WNIT Second Round
Princeton (12/13) - Ivy League Champion, NCAA First Round
St. Joseph's (12/29 possible opponent) - WNIT First Round
Lehigh (1/22, 2/19) - Patriot League Champion, NCAA First Round
American (1/29, 2/26) - WNIT First Round
According to the latest NCAA report of Division I institutions, Lafayette College ranks third in the nation in student-athlete graduation success rate (GSR). The Leopards post an impressive 97 percent GSR, ranking well above the national GSR for Division I student-athletes of 79 percent. Fourteen of the Leopards' 20 intercollegiate sports included in the study - including women's basketball - boast a 100 percent GSR, with every Leopards' program registering above the Division I average.
This season, 10 Lafayette regular-season women's basketball contests - including all seven Patriot League home games - will be broadcast regionally to more than 10 million viewers on RCN-4, RCN-8 and WBPH-60. Additionally, RCN and WBPH will carry all of the Leopards' postseason home games. As an element of Lafayette's multimedia agreement with CBS College Sports, every televised game - as well as the three non-televised home contests - will be streamed live on the Internet and available worldwide through LSN All-Access on GoLeopards.com.
Stepping up and taking a charge may not show up in a box score, but each offensive foul drawn by the Lafayette women's basketball team will definitely be counted this season. The Leopards have announced their "Charge for Children & Caregivers" initiative, which will generate donations for both the Boys & Girls Club of Easton and CareGivers America. Fans can pledge an amount as little 10 cents per charge taken by a Leopard, with pledge amounts being totaled at the end of the each month. The pledge form can be downloaded at GoLeopards.com or picked up at any Lafayette home game.
BREAKING DOWN THE SCHEDULE
The Leopards' regular-season schedule consists of 14 home games and 14 road or neutral site games...Including possible opponent New Hampshire, the non-Patriot League slate is comprised of teams from six different conferences (America East, Atlantic 10, Big South, Ivy, Metro Atlantic Athletic and Northeast)...Lafayette will play nine repeat opponents from 2009-10 in its non-league schedule...The Leopards have never defeated five of the teams on their schedule (Columbia, Fairfield, Liberty, Quinnipiac, and St. Joseph's), though they have met those five teams a total of only 13 times...Should Lafayette and New Hampshire square off at the Hawk Classic, it will be the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
THE FULL-COURT PRESS
Senior co-captains Lauren Jackson, Elizabeth Virgin and LaKeisha Wright will be writing a blog, "The Full-Court Press" on GoLeopards.com. Check back throughout the 2010-11 season for the latest updates and insights from the Leopards' captains.
MY BONNIES LIE OVER THE ALLEGANY
Lafayette is back on the road this Wednesday for a mid-week game at St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies, who will host No. 24 St. John's on Monday evening, are 3-2 on the season and riding a two-game winning streak. Action returns to Kirby Sports Center on Saturday for a 1 p.m. visit from Fairleigh Dickinson.