MORAGA, Calif. — The final week of 2016 represents the first week of West Coast Conference play, as the Saint Mary’s women’s basketball team faces two Southern California foes in Loyola Marymount and San Diego on Thursday and Saturday.
The Gaels (5-6) host the Lions (5-6) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Saint Mary’s travels to San Diego for a 1:30 p.m. game on Saturday. Tickets for Thursday’s WCC opener at McKeon Pavilion are available on the SMCGaels.com tickets website or by calling the SMC Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx. Both games will be live streamed on the Gaels’ Gameday Central page.
Saint Mary’s is coming off a 10-day holiday break. The Gaels last played on Dec. 19 when it fell to CSUN 73-61 in its final non-conference game of the season. Saint Mary’s defeated Northern Colorado 75-65 on Dec. 16. The Gaels are 1-4 this season at home, but have found success on the road with a 4-2 record.
ABOUT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT
The Lions (5-6) have not played since Dec. 17 when it lost its second straight game to close its non-conference slate. LMU is 2-2 this season on the road. They lost 92-45 at Washington State – SMC’s and LMU’s only shared non-conference opponent – to open the season.
Jackie Johnson is the only player in the WCC averaging a double-double, scoring 15.8 points and grabbing 10.8 rebounds per game. She has a WCC-best six double-doubles on the season. Andee Velasco leads the conference with 6.0 assists per game. LMU is getting outscored on average this season, 68.3 to 65.0. It has allowed opponents to collect 41.0 rebounds per game (SMC averages 43.0 rpg).
ABOUT SAN DIEGO
The Toreros (6-4) have lost three of their last five games after beginning the season 4-1. USD is 5-1 at home, its only loss coming on Wednesday versus North Dakota. San Diego also traveled to Washington State this season, falling 83-73 on Dec. 2.
Maya Hood is the Toreros’ spark plug, leading the team in scoring (18.1 ppg), rebounds (8.1 rpg), steals (2.8 spg) and free-throw percentage (85.7 percent). But she did not appear in USD’s 65-61 defeat versus North Dakota. Katherine Hamilton is the Toreros’ next scoring threat at 10.1 ppg. Patricia Brossmann is USD’s next-best rebounder at 4.3 rpg.
SUCCESSFUL IN OPENERS
Saint Mary’s has gotten off on the right foot in conference play for quite a while now. The Gaels have won five straight WCC openers dating to 2011-12. The streak began with an 82-72 win at Loyola Marymount on Dec. 29, 2011.
The Gaels begin the New Year by traveling to BYU on Jan. 5, then turning around and hosting rival San Francisco on Jan. 7.
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