Dec. 26, 2010
Complete Game Notes in PDF
EASTON, Pa. – The Lafayette women’s basketball team resumes its non-conference schedule this week with a pair of games at the 20th Annual Hawk Classic at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. The Leopards (5-6) will play Quinnipiac on Dec. 28 at 4 p.m. and then meet either New Hampshire or the host Hawks on Dec. 29. Lafayette is looking to get back on track after having a three-game winning streak snapped on Dec. 13 at Princeton.
LAST TIME OUT
Senior co-captain LaKeisha Wright scored a team-best 15 points, but the Leopards, who were playing their third game in five days, fell at Princeton by a score of 90-58. Senior co-captain Elizabeth Virgin and freshman Danielle Fiacco also reached double figures against the defending Ivy League champion Tigers, scoring 10 points apiece. Fiacco hauled in a game-high eight rebounds.
CENTER OF ATTENTION
Freshman Danielle Fiacco was recognized as Patriot League/Anaconda Rookie of the Week on Dec. 13 after recording the first two double-doubles of her young career. Fiacco shared the game high of 12 points and tore down a game-best 13 rebounds in the come-from-behind win at Manhattan on Dec. 9 and was rewarded with her first career start two days later against La Salle. The Leopards’ center responded with 11 points and 11 rebounds in the 60-51 win over the Explorers. She also blocked a total of 10 shots in the two Lafayette triumphs.
A WELL-DESERVED BREAK… FOR FINALS?
The Leopards’ Dec. 13 game at Princeton capped a busy first 30 days of the 2010-11 season. Lafayette played 11 games in the first month of the campaign, including a stretch from the season-opening win over Bryant on Nov. 14 to the Dec. 4 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson where the Leopards had no more than two days off between contests. In total, Lafayette has already played in Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia and New Jersey without playing back-to-back games in the same state. Though the Maroon and White are coming off of a two-week hiatus from the court, the Leopards have been hard at work closing out the fall semester with final exams.
The Quinnipiac Bobcats enter the week with a record of 3-7. Quinnipiac, which has dropped its last two decisions after winning three straight, is led by 12.1 points per game from Felicia Barron. The Bobcats’ lineup has also been bolstered as of late by 9.8 points per contest by Courtney Kaminski, who has recently returned from injury. Quinnipiac head coach Tricia (Sacca) Fabbri played collegiately for Dianne Nolan
at Fairfield University.
New Hampshire is currently 2-7 under first-year head coach Maureen Magarity – the former associate head coach at Army. Denise Beliveau leads the Wildcats in both scoring and rebounding with 12.2 points and 6.8 boards per game. Though Beliveau is the only Wildcat averaging double figures, five New Hampshire players are posting 7.0 points per game or better. The potential meeting between the Leopards and Wildcats would be the first clash between the two programs.
A TOAST TO THE HOSTS
St. Joseph’s is 8-3 and riding a five-game winning streak that includes victories over regional powers Princeton and Delaware. The Hawks are led by 16.2 points per game from Michelle Baker and 7.4 boards per contest by Kelly Cavallo. St. Joseph’s has been winning with defense, allowing 50 points or fewer in eight of their 11 games. In total, the Hawks average 58.5 points while surrendering 52.3 tallies per outing.
Lafayette and Quinnipiac have both lost to St. Bonaventure and Fairfield. New Hampshire has lost at Manhattan this season, while the Leopards earned a win at Draddy Gymnasium earlier this month. The Wildcats and Bobcats also met each other on Dec. 22, with New Hampshire earning a 75-63 victory in Durham. St. Joseph’s and Lafayette share just one common opponent – Princeton. The defending Ivy League champions topped the Leopards, 90-58 on Dec. 13, while the Hawks knocked off the Tigers in a double-overtime thriller, 70-61, on Dec. 19.
With a game-high 17 points in the Nov. 23 win over St. Francis (N.Y.), senior co-captain LaKeisha Wright became the 15th member of the Leopards’ 1,000-Point Club. Wright, who has since moved into 12th place all-time, currently stands at 1,092 career points. She is 64 tallies shy of Beth Mowins ’89 and the all-time top 10.
Princeton was the Leopards’ fourth opponent this season that advanced to the 2009-10 postseason. Depending on how the matchups fall this week in Philadelphia, nearly one-third of Lafayette’s schedule could be comprised of the teams that played into mid-March last season, including a trio of defending conference champions.
PROOF OF LIFE
With five wins through 11 games, the Leopards are already one victory shy of last season’s win total. Lafayette has only won six non-conference games (excluding Patriot League tournament play) once since the 1997-98 season –the last campaign in which the Leopards finished with a winning record (15-13) as well as the last time the program boasted a winning League record (7-5).
The Leopards have already challenged five Northeast Conference opponents this season. Lafayette hosted and defeated Bryant, St. Francis (N.Y.) and Fairleigh Dickinson and lost at preseason conference favorite Long Island and Monmouth. Following this week’s meeting with Quinnipiac, the Leopards will have challenged half of the 12-team conference.
All 11 active Leopards have appeared in all 11 games this season with every player averaging at least 7.5 minutes per outing. The Lafayette bench is contributing 23.9 points and 23.9 rebounds per contest – over 40 percent of the team’s scoring and 54 percent of the rebounding. Eight Leopards are averaging 4.0 points per game or better, and six players are hauling in at least 3.0 rebounds per outing.
THE STREAK WAS UNIQUE
The Leopards’ three-game winning streak was their longest since a five-game run during the non-conference portion of the 2007-08 campaign, when senior co-captains Lauren Jackson, Elizabeth Virgin and LaKeisha Wright were freshmen. Though the Lafayette Class of 2011 has seen two winning streaks of at least three games, such a run has been a rarity on College Hill. The last three-game winning streak for the Leopards prior to 2007-08 came in the 1998-99 season, when the current Leopards’ captains were in fourth grade.
THE SECOND ONE WAS CONSIDERABLY LESS DRAMATIC
Lafayette led for just 0.8 seconds on Dec. 9 at Manhattan, as senior co-captain Lauren Jackson hit a three-pointer in the final second to give Lafayette its only lead of the contest in the 53-50 win. Two days later, the Maroon and White led for all but 59 seconds – and never trailed – in the 60-51 triumph over La Salle, as Jackson hit a trey to give the Leopards a 3-0 lead.
The Leopards are currently leading the Patriot League with 43.0 rebounds per game. Lafayette also tops the League in offensive rebounds (17.2 per game) and ranks second in rebounding margin (+5.2). The Leopards have twice outrebounded their opponents by 20 or more rips, holding a 59-37 edge on the glass against St. Francis (N.Y.) on Nov. 23 and a 58-37 advantage over La Salle on Dec. 11. The Maroon and White are 5-2 this season when they win the battle under the boards.
Senior co-captain Lauren Jackson is shooting a Patriot League-leading 96.8 percent (30-for-31) from the free throw line. As of the most recent NCAA report (games through Dec. 23), Jackson was ranked fourth in Division I in efficiency at the stripe. As a team, Lafayette rates second in the Patriot League at 72.6 percent (151-208) from the line and ranks fourth in opportunities with 18.9 free throws attempted per game.
IT AIN’T OVER ’TIL IT’S OVER
The Leopards have trailed in the second half in three of their five wins this season, most notably overcoming a 16-point deficit at Manhattan on Dec. 9 – a contest that the Leopards led for less than one second. Conversely, Lafayette has held the lead after halftime in three of its six losses.
RUN FOR YOUR LIFE
After using a 20-5 run to knock off Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 4, the Leopards outdid themselves five days later with an even more impressive stretch at Manhattan. Trailing 44-28 with 14:25 to go, Lafayette outscored the Lady Jaspers by a 25-6 margin for the remainder of the contest, finally taking the lead at 53-50 with 0.8 seconds to play.
POINTS AT A PREMIUM
The Leopards surrendered a season-low 37 points to Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 4 in a 51-37 victory – the fewest points allowed by the Maroon and White since a 55-32 win at Holy Cross on Feb. 5, 1992. The Knights managed just 13 second-half points, shooting 5-for-31 (16.1 percent) from the floor after halftime. The Lafayette defense forced 15 turnovers, including six Leopards’ steals, and blocked seven shots in the contest.
SOMETIMES THE NUMBERS DO LIE
Despite suffering a 72-63 loss on Dec. 1, the Leopards outrebounded St. Bonaventure, 31-20, and shot a season-best 50 percent (22-44) from the floor. Lafayette’s six three-pointers, 54.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc and 86.7 percent (13-15) showing at the free throw line against the Bonnies were also season highs.
MAKING THE MOST OF IT
Sophomore Alicia Manning made her first career start at St. Bonaventure on Dec. 1 and delivered for the Leopards with a career-high 19 points. Manning shot 6-for-9 from the field, 5-for-6 from three-point range and sank both of her free throw attempts against the Bonnies. She more than doubled her previous career best of nine points – a mark she has reached twice this season – and also set new personal standards for field goals made, three-pointers made and minutes played (33). To date, her 19-point showing marks the highest individual scoring output by a Leopard this season.
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 Lafayette since 2001 was a 70-49 thrashing of NJIT on Dec. 5, 2008.
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 the 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.
This season, nine 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’ potential postseason home games. As an element of Lafayette’s multimedia agreement with CBS College Sports, every home game, both televised and non-televised, will be streamed live on the Internet and available worldwide through LSN All-Access on GoLeopards.com. Select road contests will also feature LSN All-Access audio broadcasts.
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.
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.
Nine of the Leopards’ 15 non-conference opponents are repeat challengers from the 2009-10 campaign: Bryant, Long Island, Liberty, Monmouth, Fairfield, St. Bonaventure, Fairleigh Dickinson, Princeton and Penn.
HAVE WE MET?
On the other side of the coin, Lafayette challenged Manhattan on Dec. 9 for the first time since the 1996-97 season. Depending on the draw at the Hawk Classic, the Maroon and White will play either tournament host St. Joseph’s – another team they have not faced since 1996 – 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 their 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. Among non-conference opponents, Princeton is Lafayette’s most frequent foe with this season’s meeting being the 39th all-time.
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.
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.
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.
RESOLUTION: BEAT PENN
The Leopards ring in the New Year at Kirby Sports Center on Jan. 2 with a visit from Penn. The 35th all-time meeting with the Quakers will be available online via LSN All-Access beginning at 1 p.m.