Upcoming in Gray Wolves Basketball: After taking two weeks off to celebrate the Christmas holiday, Lourdes women's basketball team returns to the hardwood Dec. 28-29 at the Saint Xavier Christmas Classic in Chicago, Ill. The Gray Wolves will face Robert Morris (Ill.) on Saturday in the opening round before returning to action on Sunday against host, and eighth-ranked, Saint Xavier.
Head Coach Karen McConnell: In her first season both on the Lourdes bench Karen McConnell has a 3-9 (.250) record. Overall as a women's collegiate head coach, McConnell has a 283-256 (.525) record in her 21st season. She is only the second head coach in Lourdes program's history.
Series Notes: Lourdes has never played either Robert Morris (Ill.) or Saint Xavier in women's basketball. The Gray Wolves are 2-1 all-time against teams from the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, having downed Holy Cross (Ind.) earlier this season and posted a 1-1 mark against Indiana-South Bend, winning last season and falling in 2011-2012.
Wrapping Up Last Week: Lourdes and Indiana Tech were tied at halftime last Saturday (Dec. 14) in Fort Wayne, Ind., but the Warriors went on a 20-4 run late in the second half to score an 88-69 victory over the Gray Wolves. Lauren Tilden made five three-pointers on her way to a game-high 23 points while Tarynn Hampton added 16 points for the Gray Wolves. Emily Orsini scored 10 points for Lourdes while Tiffani Blackman grabbed a team-leading 13 rebounds in the loss.
Scouting Robert Morris (Ill.): The Eagles have dropped three of their last four games following a 104-69 setback against Saint Xavier last Saturday (Dec. 14) afternoon. Robert Morris faces Trinity International on Dec. 21 before battling Lourdes one week later. Tikeyiah Johnson leads the Eagles in scoring, averaging 17.1 points per game. Jailyn Norris adds 15.1 points per contest while Yolanda De La Toree tallies 13.1 points and a team-leading 7.4 rebounds per contest. Celeste Jones is the fourth Eagle to average double figures, scoring 12.7 points per night.
Scouting Saint Xavier: The Cougars have won five straight games following an 88-74 victory against #9 Oklahoma Baptist on Thursday (Dec. 19). Saint Xavier faces Briar Cliff on Dec. 20 and Ashford on Dec. 28 before meeting Lourdes. Morgan Stuut leads the Cougars averaging 20.3 points and 12.0 rebounds per game while Suzie Broski adds 14.8 points per night.
Facing Ranked Foes: Saint Xavier, ranked eighth in the nation, will mark the third top-10 team that the Gray Wolves have played already this season. Lourdes lost at home to #4 Saint Francis (Ind.) to open the season and fell at #2 Davenport on Nov. 23. All-time Lourdes is 1-12 against ranked opponents, with the lone win coming at #18 Indiana-Northwestern on Nov. 5, 2011.
Closing Out the Calendar Year: The two games at the Saint Xavier Christmas Classic will wrap up the 2013 calendar year for the Gray Wolves. Lourdes has posted an 8-19 record during 2013, its best calendar year to date.
Crashing the Glass: Tarynn Hampton leads all of NAIA Division II averaging 5.2 offensive rebounds per game. Hampton ranks eighth overall in total rebounding, averaging 10.8 rebounds per night which includes five double-figure rebounding efforts this season. As a team Lourdes ranks fourth in the nation pulling down 16.8 offensive rebounds per contest.
Doing a Little of Everything: Lauren Tilden ranks second on the team for Lourdes averaging 11.3 points per contest. She ranks 25th in the country making 2.8 three-pointers per game, and also leads the team handing out 43 assists in 12 outings (3.6 apg). In addition, the 5-5 guard has pulled down 3.4 rebounds per game and leads the team with 14 steals. She is also second on the squad with four blocked shots.
Orsini Earns First Start: Emily Orsini started for the first time this season at Indiana Tech. Prior to the game, the starting lineup had been altered just once in the first 11 contests. Tarynn Hampton, Lauren Tilden, Tiffani Blackman, and Tiffany Scott have all started all 12 games this year.
Hampton Makes Shots: Tarynn Hampton is shooting a team-leading 49.1% from the floor this season. The senior is the lone Gray Wolf shooting better than 40% from the field.
Lourdes Tabbed 10th in Preseason Poll: The Gray Wolves were selected to finish in 10th place in the WHAC this season in the preseason poll conducted of the league's head coaches. Lourdes was picked just ahead of Michigan-Dearborn, and just behind Lawrence Tech. Davenport was tabbed as the conference's preseason favorite for 2013-2014 after winning the conference title seven straight seasons.
Captains Named: Lourdes has two captains on the roster this season. Serving in the leadership role for 2013-2014 are Tiffani Blackman and Tiffany Scott. Blackman is a two-time team captain while Scott is in her first season as a team captain.
This and That: Lauren Tilden was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line at Indiana Tech after making just 12 of her first 24 attempts this season ... the game against Robert Morris (Ill.) will be just the third neutral site game in program history ... Lourdes is 2-0 in previous neutral site contests ... Tiffany Scott is averaging just over one blocked shot per game ... the Gray Wolves are holding teams to just 30.3% shooting from three-point range.