Women's Basketball Wraps Up Play at Hokie Hardwood Classic

Go Leopards! Freshman Melissa Downey and the Leopards look to end 2008 on a winning note.
Freshman Melissa Downey and the Leopards look to end 2008 on a winning note.

Dec. 30, 2008

Match-Up: Lafayette (5-8) vs. North Carolina A&T (6-3)
Tip-Off: 5:00 p.m.
Site: Blacksburg, Va.
Arena: Cassell Coliseum (9,847)
All-Time Series: 0-0
Coach Smith vs. North Carolina A&T: 0-0

THE MATCH-UP: For the fourth straight game, Lafayette faces a team for the first time in program history when the Leopards take on North Carolina A&T in the final day of the Hokie Hardwood Classic. Lafayette lost a 66-44 decision to host Virginia Tech on Monday while the Aggies lost to Liberty, 72-58.

NEXT UP: Lafayette opens the New Year on Friday when the team hosts Princeton at 7 p.m. in the final non-conference game of the season. The Leopards' men's team will also be in action that day, hosting Mount St. Mary's at 1 p.m.

LAST TIME OUT FOR LAFAYETTE: Lafayette dropped a 66-44 decision on Monday night as the Leopards remained winless on the road this season and fell to 5-8 overall. Senior Cristin Zavocki celebrated her 22nd birthday with a 5-of-8 showing from three-point range to account for all of her team-high 15 points.

The Hokies went to the free throw line 23 times to Lafayette's seven and held a 13-6 edge in second chance points and an 18-8 advantage in bench points. Sophomore Elizabeth Virgin joined Zavocki in double figures with 10 points.

NORTH CAROLINA A&T IN A NUTSHELL: The Aggies' loss to Liberty yesterday snapped a six-game win streak. North Carolina A&T, which opened the season 0-2, now stands at 6-3 overall. Amber Bland led the Aggies with 14 points against the Flames. Joining Bland in double figures were Ta'wuana Cook (13) and Brittanie Taylor-James (12).

The Aggies are led by fourth-year head coach Patricia Cage-Bibbs. Cage-Bibbs led the Aggies to a 25-8 record in 2007-08, breaking the school record for wins. The team also went 15-1 in MEAC play which also broke the school's record for conference wins in a single season and earned North Carolina A&T an automatic bid to the WNIT.

 

 

ON THIS DATE: Lafayette won a 69-57 decision over Cornell on the final day of the 1997 FAU Tournament. Four Leopards reached double figures in the win, led by Tiffany Bedics' 19 points on 6-of-16 shooting.

ACCESS DENIED: The Leopards had six blocks against the Hokies on Monday, the most blocks this season. Elizabeth Virgin accounted for four of those six blocks, a career-high for the sophomore, doubling her previous career mark of two. The six blocks were the most since the team recorded eight against Bucknell in a 55-53 win on Jan. 21, 2005.

FREE THROW WOES: Lafayette went to the line just seven times against Virginia Tech and made only one of those shots (14.3%). The last time the Leopards took fewer than seven attempts from the charity stripe was on Nov. 27, 2007, when the team went 4-of-5 against St. Francis (N.Y.).

LET ME HELP YOU WITH THAT: Senior Jessica Spicer leads Lafayette with 44 assists (3.4 apg) through 13 games. She has 226 for her career, good for eighth on Lafayette's career assists list. She needs 23 more to tie Kim Costello '03 for seventh.

BUILDING BLOCK: Senior Emily Garner has 29 career blocks and needs just one more to tie Jen Bayer '03 for eighth all-time.

EXTRA, EXTRA! The Dec. 21 overtime victory against Rice was the second extra-session game for the Leopards this season and they have been successful in both contests. The last time the Leopards won at least two overtime games in a single season came in 1997-98 when the team recorded three overtime victories: at Princeton, vs. Lehigh and vs. Central Connecticut (2OT).

HOME COOKIN': The Leopards remained perfect at home this season with their 79-76 overtime win against Rice. The last time Lafayette opened the season 5-0 at home was in 1993-94; that squad finished 18-9 overall and 9-5 in Patriot League play.

FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE...Let the countdown begin to the 900th game in Lafayette women's basketball history. The Leopards have played 897 games and their Jan. 10 meeting with league opponent Holy Cross will mark the 900th game in the 36-year history of the program.

SAVE THE DATE: The following are the dates of the remaining 2008-09 basketball media luncheons: Jan. 13, Feb. 10 and March 2.

THE WRIGHT WAY: On Dec. 22, sophomore LaKeisha Wright picked up her first, and Lafayette's second, weekly honorable mention from the Patriot League. Wright averaged 11.3 points in three contests during the week of Dec. 15. She had a team-high 17 points in the Leopards' overtime win against Rice, two shy of her season-high.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!: For the seventh consecutive year, the Leopard men's and women's basketball teams offered free game day admission in exchange for toys donated to the United States Marine Corps Reserve's Toys for Tots drive. Fans who donated a new, unwrapped toy on Sunday received one free ticket for each toy donated.

HOOPS FOR HOPE: Prior to the start of Lafayette's game against Rice, members of the women's basketball team presented the money raised from their September shoot-a-thon, Hoops for Hope. The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society both received checks of nearly $2,000.

The Leopards hosted the Sept. 28 shoot-a-thon in honor of two of the team's off-court heroes-Kasey Keenan and Lauren Loose, daughter of Lafayette defensive coordinator John Loose. Kasey's charity, Kasey's Krusaders, will donate its check for $1,802.50 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, while Lauren's charity, Lauren's First and Goal, will donate an equal amount to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: Two players did something for the first time this season against Rutgers on Dec. 19. Senior captain Jessica Spicer led the team in scoring for the first time (6 points) while sophomore LaKeisha Wright finished with a team-best six rebounds to lead the Leopards on the boards for the first time.

THE LAST TIME...(courtesy of Coach Pat Fisher): The last time Lafayette faced a nationally ranked opponent, as the team did against No. 14 Rutgers on Dec. 19, was during the 1990-91 season when the Leopards took on No. 1 Virginia at the Cavalier Classic in Charlottesville, Va. Lafayette lost a 103-41 decision.

12 GAMES OF CHRISTMAS: Lafayette played 12 games before Christmas--a first in program history. The Leopards played 11 games before the 25th in 2006 and have played 10 games before Dec. 25 three times (1998, 2000, 2007).

WHAT AN HONOR: Senior Cristin Zavocki averaged 16.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game during the week of Dec. 1 as she helped lead the Leopards to a 3-1 record. She reached double figures in all four games, including a season-high 21 against Marist, and was the leading scorer in two of them. For her efforts, she earned an honorable mention from the Patriot League on Dec. 8. She is the first Lafayette player to receive a weekly accolade from the league.

PLEASE LOCK UP ALL VALUABLES: The Leopards had a season-high 11 steals in the win over Bryant. Senior Jessica Spicer led the team with a season-high four and now has 135 for her career.

MORE THAN MARGINALLY GOOD: The 21-point victory against NJIT on Dec. 5 was the team's largest margin of victory since a 76-49 win at Colgate on Jan. 31, 2001. The Leopards also won a 21-point decision last season against Morgan State (83-62).

OFF AND ON: Starting Nov. 29, the Leopards began a stretch in which they played five games in nine days. The stretch began against UTPA and ended on Dec. 7 against Bryant. The schedule dictated that Lafayette played a game every other day. The last time Lafayette played five games in nine or fewer days came in 1999 when the Leopards played five games in eight days (Nov. 27-Dec.4 against Georgetown, Delaware, Princeton, Air Force and Penn).

OFFENSIVE OUTPOURING: With their 70 points against NJIT, the Leopards surpassed the 60-point mark for the first time this season. The 70 points were also the most scored in a regulation game since Jan. 4 of last season (70-54 win vs. La Salle).

NOT SO SWEET SIXTEEN: It took Lafayette seven games to break the 60-point mark with its 70-49 win over NJIT on Dec. 5. The last time a Lafayette team started the season without scoring 60 or more points in at least seven games was in 1994-95 when it took the Leopards 16 games to reach that mark (80-66 loss against Bucknell).

CALL OFF THE SEARCH: On Dec. 3, Lafayette finally recorded its first game of the season in which three players reached double figures. In the overtime win against Penn, the Leopards' sixth game of the year, Elizabeth Virgin had 17 points, Cristin Zavocki scored 15 and Jessica Spicer added 13. The longest stretch the Leopards went last season without three or more players reaching double digits was seven games (Jan. 26-Feb. 20).

HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?: The 114 combined points scored by Lafayette and Penn in the 59-55 overtime Leopard victory were the fewest scored in a single overtime game in team history. The previous low of 124 points had been reached twice before, with the most recent a 64-60 overtime win at Fordham on Feb. 19, 1994.

BACK-TO-BACK, BELLY-TO-BELLY: Cristin Zavocki's 21 points at Marist on Dec. 1 marked the second straight game in which she led the team in scoring. The senior Psychology major scored a then-season high 15 points in the team's home opener on Nov. 29 before erupting for 21 against the Red Foxes.

WHAT SOPHOMORE SLUMP? Sophomore Elizabeth Virgin's 18 points against Marist marked a career high. Thirteen of those points came in the second half.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME: With the 57-51 win over UTPA on Nov. 29, Lafayette has now won five straight home openers. The streak began with a 63-47 win over Radford on Dec. 2, 2004.

RAINING THREES: Lafayette's 44.4 percent showing (min. 10 attempts) from three-point range against Mount St. Mary's on Nov. 25 was a season high. Cristin Zavocki led the team with a 3-for-7 showing from beyond the arc to account for all nine of her points.

WALK A MILE, OR 3000, IN MY SHOES: Lafayette wrapped-up its four game, season-opening road trip on Nov. 25, the longest stretch of away games this year. In a span of 10 days and four games, the Leopards traveled 3,262 miles (all miles roundtrip totals): Murfreesboro, Tenn. (1632 miles), Cullowhee, N.C. (1336 miles) and Emmitsburg, Md. (294 miles).

The last time Lafayette opened the season with four straight road games was in 2001 (at Sacred Heart, at Fairleigh Dickinson, at Binghamton, vs. Long Island).

JUMPING FOR JACKSON: Sophomore Lauren Jackson had two career games in the consolation round of the WNIT. On Nov. 21, she scored a then-career high 10 points against Western Carolina on 4-of-10 shooting. Twenty-four hours later, she surpassed that mark with 11 points against UC-Riverside to lead the team in scoring for the second straight game.

SIMPLY THE BEST: The Leopards shot 58.3 percent (21-of-36) in their season opener at Middle Tennessee on Nov. 15. That stands as the best single-game showing in the Patriot League this season, topping American's 57.4 percent (31-of-54) effort against Rhode Island..

NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT: For the second straight season opener, all three of the Leopards' freshmen saw action: Melissa Downey, Sarah McGorry and Alexandra Serowoky. Serowoky led the trio with five points against Middle Tennessee.

WELCOME TO THE WNIT: Lafayette earned the program's first-ever invite to the Preseason WNIT. The invitation came following a 14-16 2007-08 campaign, the winningest season in a decade for the Leopards.

The WNIT was played in the format that was introduced in 2007, where each team was guaranteed to play three games. The tournament opened on Friday, Nov. 14. The winning teams advanced to the second round of play while teams that lost in the first two rounds played consolation games last weekend. The championship was played on Sunday where No. 4 North Carolina defeated No. 2 Oklahoma 80-79 to win the title.

HAVE A QUESTION? OUR TEAM CAN PROBABLY ANSWER IT: If you have a question about almost any topic ranging from psychology to computer science, chances are one of the 15 players on Lafayette can answer it. There are nine different majors represented on the roster and one player (Amanda Smith) is a double major. Here's the breakdown of the majors and how many players are in each. See pages 9-16 for each player's major.

COMING TO YOU LIVE: History was made on Nov. 4, 2008, for a multitude of reasons, the most obvious of which was the election of the United States' 43rd President, Barack Obama. History was also made that night on the campus of Lafayette when the College televised a presidential election for the first time in school history.

Junior Amanda Leone played a large role in the telecast, serving as Political Director where she oversaw a group of students who researched various aspects and key issues of the election.

ALL-TIME RECORD: The program, now in its 36th season, has played 897 games, compiled an overall record of 412-484 (.459) and recorded five 20-win seasons.

SMITH ON THE SIDELINES: Head coach Tammy Smith is in her eighth season at Lafayette and 13th overall as a head coach. In 2007-08, she directed the Leopards to their most wins (14) and league victories (6) in a decade.

Smith is the fourth head coach in Lafayette's 35-year history. She has a career record of 159-235 (.404), which includes a 113-68 mark and two NCAA Tournament appearances in seven seasons at D-III Muhlenberg.

FRESH FACES: Lafayette welcomed three freshmen to the squad this fall: Melissa Downey, Sarah McGorry and Alexandra Serowoky. Downey, a 5-8 point guard from Havertown, Pa., was a four-year starter at Cardinal O'Hara High School. Downey's squad won the Philadelphia Catholic Championship her freshman and sophomore seasons, and she earned Second Team All-Delaware County honors during her high school career.

A 6-0 forward from Doylestown, Pa., McGorry was a four-year starter at Mount St. Joseph Academy. She scored her 1,000th career point during her senior season, during which she also shot 80 percent from the free throw line. As a junior, McGorry averaged 13 points and six rebounds per game.

Serowoky hails from Dearborn, Mich. and was a four-year letterwinner at Ladywood High School. Serowoky, who stands at 6-1, saw time as both at both forward and center. As a junior, she earned a spot on the Free Press Top 25 Preseason List and was later named an All-Catholic League and All-Area player.

STRIVE FOR FIVE: All five of the team's seniors--Laura Cullen, Emily Garner, Meaghan Malone, Jessica Spicer and Cristin Zavocki--were chosen by their teammates to serve as captains for the 2008-09 season.

FEELS LIKE THE VERY FIRST TIME: The Leopards will play at least seven new opponents this year: Bryant, Marist, Middle Tennessee State, Rider, Rutgers and Virginia Tech. At the Virginia Tech Classic in December, the Leopards will play either Liberty or North Carolina A&T on the second day of the tournament for the first time, in addition to facing first-time opponent Virginia Tech on the opening day.

2008-09 PATRIOT LEAGUE PRESEASON POLL: The Leopards were picked to finish sixth in the Patriot League's preseason poll. Lafayette received 38 points. Holy Cross garnered the top spot with 90 points, including eight first place votes. Lehigh took the second spot with 83 points (six first place votes) and American was chosen to finish third, receiving 75 points with two first place votes. Bucknell took fifth with 53 points. Navy and Colgate rounded out the seventh and eighth spots with 35 and 14 points, respectively.

LAFAYETTE vs. the PATRIOT LEAGUE: Lafayette has played 342 games all-time against the seven other current members of the Patriot League and is 150-192 (.439) in those contests. The Leopards own an 84-155 (.352) overall record since joining the league in the 1990-91 season.

American	3-17
Army	21-23
Bucknell	33-28
Colgate	28-22
Holy Cross	7-40
Lehigh	40-31
Navy	18-31
TOTAL	150-192

PENNSYLVANIA PLAYERS: Three players with local connections - Melissa Downey (Havertown, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara), Amanda Leone (Easton, Pa./Easton) and Sarah McGorry (Doylestown, Pa./Mount St. Joseph Academy) - are on Lafayette's 2008-09 roster. Two of those players--Downey and McGorry--are freshmen, while Leone returns for her junior season.

REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD: There is no denying the chemistry between seniors Jessica Spicer and Emily Garner on the court. Perhaps that is because the two have a long history of playing ball together, beginning with an AAU stint when the girls were just 10 years old. They played on the same AAU team in Fairfax, Va., while also both making the varsity team at Robinson High School as freshmen. Midway through their sophomore year, Spicer's family moved to Illinois, but the duo reunited at Lafayette for the 2005-06 season.

ACADEMIC ACCOLADESSix members of the basketball team were named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll in 2007-08. Maureen Johnson '08 led the group with a 3.80 grade-point average (GPA) during the spring semester.

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR: Lafayette dropped nine games by 10 points or fewer last season, which included overtime losses at Holy Cross (77-70) and vs. American (60-57). In total, the Leopards played three overtime games with their one extra-session victory coming against Bucknell (64-58).

SUPREMACY FROM BEYOND THE ARC: Last season, Cristin Zavocki set a Lafayette women's basketball record with eight threes against Fairleigh Dickinson on Jan. 8. Against Holy Cross, she came close to re-writing the record books yet again. Zavocki drained six more treys (6-of-8) against the Crusaders to account for all 18 of her points.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2007-08 CAMPAIGN:
• Lafayette's 14 wins doubled the win total from 2006-07 and also marked the most single-season victories in a decade • The six league wins were the most in 10 years
• Second in the Patriot League in field goal percentage (.395)
• Held four opponents under 50 points on five different occasions. It was the first time since the 1993-94 season the Leopards gave up 50 or fewer points five times in a single season
• Senior Vanessa Van De Venter was named to the All-Patriot League First team and LaKeisha Wright earned a spot on the league's All-Rookie team.

LAFAYETTE ON TELEVISION: For the 13th straight season, Lafayette features the most expansive television package in the Patriot League. This winter, 10 of Lafayette's women's basketball games will be televised during the 2008-09 season, with the possibility of three more games being added during the three rounds of the Patriot League Tournament in March. All 10 telecasts will be produced by the Lafayette Sports Network (LSN), which annually produces the most expansive and highest quality television packages in the Patriot League. Each of those broadcasts will air live regionally to more than 10 million viewers on RCN-4 and WBPH-60.

As an element of Lafayette's long-term multi-media agreement with CSTV, all LSN telecasts are streamed live on the internet and available worldwide through LSN All-Access on GoLeopards.com. Lafayette was the first of the CSTV.com partners to make live video streaming available to fans everywhere when the 2000 Lafayette-Lehigh football game aired live on GoLeopards.com

Emmy-nominated local sports broadcaster Gary Laubach will handle all of the Leopards' play-by-play duties for the 12th straight season. Former Lafayette men's basketball coach John Leone will provide color analysis for the 11th season. In his eighth year as a member of the announcing crew is RCN's Dan Mowdy, who will report on the Leopards from the sideline.

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