The Loyola Marymount women’s basketball team opens West Coast Conference play tonight against Santa Clara at 5.
The Lions (7-7) will play the opening game of a men’s-women’s doubleheader at Gersten Pavilion at 5. On Saturday, the Lions play host to San Diego at 5.
Santa Clara has the WCC’s best preconference record at 12-2. They feature a backcourt of sophomore Melissa King, who averages 16.8 points and 6.1 assists and is shooting 52%, and Julie Leinert, who averages 15.3 points and ranks among the WCC three-point leaders at 38%.
Loyola is 3-3 since all-star guard Kristen Bruich left the team. Lynn Flanagan ranks among conference scoring leaders at 16.8 points and center Tricia Gibson leads the WCC in rebounding at 10.2. Forward Joelle Longobardi is third at 8.8.
The Lions are 7-2 at home, where they average nearly 82 points per game. However, their scoring average has dipped to 72 points in the past six games.
San Diego (5-8) plays at Pepperdine (7-7) tonight.
In the WCC race, St. Mary’s (11-3) is favored, led by two-time WCC player of the year Anja Bordt. The Gaels, who open conference play at home tonight against Gonzaga, are the only WCC team with a winning road record at 4-3. They lead in the WCC in scoring at 82.5 points a game and Bordt is the individual scoring leader at 20.8.