Nov. 30, 2010
Complete Game Notes in PDF
Lafayette College Women's Basketball
St. Bonaventure University Women's Basketball
EASTON, Pa. – The Lafayette women’s basketball team kicks off December with a Wednesday evening contest at St. Bonaventure. The 2-4 Leopards are looking to halt a two-game skid with their first road win of the 2010-11 season, while the Bonnies aim to get back on track after No. 22/24 St. John’s spoiled their two-game winning streak on Monday night at the Reilly Center.
LAST TIME OUT
A strong defensive effort kept Lafayette within striking distance of visiting Fairfield for much of Sunday's contest at Kirby Sports Center, but the Leopards' offense was ultimately unable to capitalize as the Stags escaped Easton with a 52-39 victory. The Maroon and White trailed by just five points with less than five minutes to play before Fairfield staged a late run to account for a deceptive 13-point margin of defeat for the Leopards. Senior co-captain LaKeisha Wright scored a team-best 10 points for Lafayette.
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, who has since surpassed Alicia Yapsuga ’99 for 14th place all-time, currently stands at 1,033 career points. She is 123 tallies shy of Beth Mowins ’89 and the all-time top-10 in Lafayette history.
Selected to finish eighth (of 14 teams) in the Atlantic-10 preseason coaches’ poll, the St. Bonaventure University Bonnies are an even 3-3 in the 2010-11 season. The Bonnies, who advanced to the second round of the WNIT last season, are getting over half of their total points from Megan Van Tatenhove (15.2 ppg) and Jessica Jenkins (15.0 ppg). Van Tatenhove, a preseason All-Atlantic-10 honoree, is also the squad’s leading rebounder with 6.7 boards per contest.
Despite holding a first-half lead as large as seven points, the Leopards were unable to hold off the then-unbeaten Bonnies last season in Easton. A 15-0 run late in the first period gave St. Bonaventure a double-digit lead on Nov. 24, 2009, and the visitors cruised to a 58-38 triumph. However, the Bonnies return just two starters from that contest: Megan Van Tatenhove and Jessica Jenkins.
The Leopards boast 10 players logging at least 10 minutes per game. The Lafayette bench is contributing 26.2 points and 26.3 rebounds per contest – over 43 percent of the team’s scoring and nearly 60 percent of the rebounding. Conversely, only seven Bonnies have appeared in all six of their outings thus far, with the non-starters adding just 11.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
I’M SO TIRED
The Leopards’ seventh game of the 2010-11 season comes just 18 days into the campaign. Since the season-opening win over Bryant on Nov. 14, Lafayette has had no more than two days off between contests. In total, the Leopards will play 11 games in the first 30 days of the season, with the longest layoff coming between the Dec. 4 home game against Fairleigh Dickinson and the Dec. 9 outing at Manhattan. During this stretch, the Maroon and White will play in Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia and New Jersey and never play back-to-back games in the same state. Following the Dec. 13 game at Princeton, the Leopards will have two weeks off to focus on final exams and celebrate the holiday season.
The Leopards dominated the boards in the 74-52 win over St. Francis (N.Y.) on Nov. 23. 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
The 22-point margin of victory against St. Francis (N.Y.) on Nov. 23 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.
St. Bonaventure is the Leopards’ third 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
Nine of the Leopards’ 15 non-conference opponents are repeat challengers from the 2009-10 campaign. Lafayette defeated Monmouth and Penn last season while falling to Bryant, Long Island, Liberty, Fairfield, St. Bonaventure, Fairleigh Dickinson and Princeton.
HAVE WE MET?
On the other side of the coin, Lafayette will challenge Manhattan for the first time since the 1996-97 season. Depending on the draw on day two at the Hawk Classic on Dec. 29, the Maroon and White will play either tournament host St. Joseph’s – another team they have not met since 1996-97 – or New Hampshire – which would be the Leopards’ first-ever meeting with the Wildcats.
FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTEMPT
The Leopards have met Lehigh on 76 occasions, by far the most games against any opponent. The rivalry is older than both the Patriot League and the East Coast Conference, dating back to Feb. 4, 1975. Lafayette is 40-36 all-time against the Mountain Hawks. League rival Bucknell is the Leopards’ second most-frequent opponent with 65 all-time outings. Princeton has challenged Lafayette most often among non-conference foes, with the 39th meeting of the two programs coming on Dec. 13.
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.
Senior co-captains Lauren Jackson, Elizabeth Virgin and LaKeisha Wright will be authoring a blog, “The Full-Court Press” on GoLeopards.com this season. Check back throughout the 2010-11 campaign for the latest updates and insights from the Leopards’ captains.
KNIGHTS DURING THE DAY
The Leopards return to College Hill on Saturday to host Fairleigh Dickinson. The action from Kirby Sports Center begins at 1 p.m. and will be streamed live through LSN All-Access on GoLeopards.com.