Nov. 19, 2008
Match-Up: Lafayette at Western Carolina
Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m.
Site: Cullowhee, N.C.
Arena: Ramsey Regional Activity Center (7,826)
All-Time Series: 1-0
Coach Smith vs Western Carolina: 0-0
THE MATCH-UP: Lafayette and Western Carolina meet in the consolation round of the preseason WNIT. The Leopards lost their first round game, 85-47, to Middle Tennessee State while the Catamounts dropped a 95-56 decision to No. 4 North Carolina in their opening game.
These teams have faced each other just once in their histories, with Lafayette earning a 68-67 win on Dec. 29, 1998 in Western Carolina. The Catamounts compete in the Southern Conference and are coming off a 25-9 showing in 2007-08.
WELCOME TO THE WNIT: The WNIT will be played in the format that was introduced in 2007, where each team is guaranteed to play three games. The tournament opened on Friday, Nov. 14 and Saturday, Nov. 15 with first-round games. The winning teams advanced to the second round of play on Nov. 16-19. Teams that lost in the first two rounds play consolation games this weekend, from Nov. 21-23.
The semifinals will be held on Nov. 19-21 and the championship is set for Sunday, Nov. 23. All games are played on home campuses and are announced after each round.
NEXT UP: Depending upon the outcome of Friday's contest, the Leopards will either face Liberty or UC-Riverside tomorrow.
SCOUTING LAFAYETTE: Lafayette shot over 58 percent from the field in Saturday's loss to MTSU but turnovers proved too costly to overcome as the Leopards dropped the 38-point decision. Emily Garner and LaKeisha Wright posted double-digit scoring totals with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Lafayette returns 12 players from a 2007-08 team that finished with the most wins since the 1997-98 campaign. The team's second and third leading scorers from a year ago return in senior Cristin Zavocki (9.3 ppg) and Wright (9.2 ppg). The team is a mix of upper and underclassmen, with five seniors, four juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen on the roster. Head coach Tammy Smith returns for her eighth season at the helm of the program.
50-50: The score may not have indicated it, but the Leopards had an impressive shooting performance in their season opener at MTSU. Lafayette shot 58.3 percent from the field, easily eclipsing the Blue Raiders' mark of 45.6 percent. It had been nearly a year since the Leopards shot over 50 percent from the field--the last time they did so was on Jan. 8 of last year against Fairleigh Dickinson.
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.
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.
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.
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 154-228 (.403), which includes a 113-68 mark and two NCAA Tournament appearances in seven seasons at D-III Muhlenberg.
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.
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. No matter which team Lafayette faces on Saturday, it will be the first-ever meeting with that squad. Also, 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.
ALL-TIME RECORD: The program, now in its 36th season, has played 886 games, compiled an overall record of 407-477 (.460) and recorded five 20-win seasons.
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.
BUILDING BLOCK: Senior Emily Garner enters tonight's game with 25 career blocks. She needs four more to tie Chris Sieling '94 and Stephanie Hayes '94 for ninth all-time.
ACADEMIC ACCOLADES: Six 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.
HOOPS FOR HOPE: Members of the Lafayette women's basketball team hosted a charity shoot-a-thon called Hoops for Hope on Sept. 28 at Kirby Sports Center. The Leopards hosted the event in honor of two of the team's off-court heroes--Kasey Keenan and Lauren Loose, daughter of Lafayette football defensive coordinator John Loose. All proceeds from the event went directly to two pediatric cancer foundations--Kasey's Krusaders and Lauren's First and Goal.
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.
Holy Cross 7-40
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.