ATHLETICS | Loyola Marymount University on Feb. 29 will unveil a statue of the late college basketball legend Hank Gathers, who was part of the record-breaking, high-scoring 1989-90 team that became one of the most unforgettable and inspiring stories in college basketball history. This men’s college basketball season marks the 30th anniversary of the Lions magical run to the Elite Eight after Gathers’ tragic death after collapsing on the court.
The statue will be dedicated in front of LMU’s Gersten Pavilion at 4 p.m., prior to the Lions’ final regular season home game against San Francisco at 5 p.m. Former LMU head basketball coach Paul Westhead and members of the 1989-90 team will be on campus for the ceremony and game. The team will be recognized at center court at halftime. In recognition of the 1989-90 team’s unprecedented accomplishments, current players will wear special-edition throwback uniforms. All fans are invited to attend the statue unveiling ceremony. Donations are still being accepted at any level to help fund the statue, which include an opportunity to have your name etched on the back of the base of the statue. For more information about how to be a part of this project, visit Hank44.lmu.edu.
Eli Scott grabbed nine rebounds on Thursday night to become the 26th Lion to collect 500 or more rebounds in their career. The junior totaled 504 career boards following LMU’s 62-50 loss at Pacific. In the home edition of the PCH Cup, the Lions had big leads, major runs, and key moments as LMU men’s basketball team played in their first overtime game of the season. The Lions lost to Pepperdine, 68-67, on Saturday afternoon. Only one game is scheduled for the Lions this week, a trip to Spokane to face the No. 2 Gonzaga Bulldogs on Thursday night on CBS Sports Network.
The Loyola Marymount University women’s basketball team returned home to Gersten Pavilion for the first time in almost three weeks on Thursday night to host Saint Mary’s, which ended in a 70-61 loss for the Lions. LMU then lost its game against University of the Pacific on Saturday afternoon, 87-70. The Lions will head up north this week to take on San Francisco and Santa Clara.
The LMU women’s tennis team picked up its first home win, as the team cruised by Oregon, beating the Ducks 6-1 on Friday afternoon at LMU Tennis Center. The Lions will take a two-week hiatus and will return on February 16 to host University of Utah.
LMU men’s tennis took UC Santa Barbara the distance on Saturday, before falling at home to the Gauchos, 4-3. The Lions will host San Diego State University next Saturday at LMU Tennis Center.
The No. 16 LMU women’s water polo team had a tough pair of opponents in Saturday’s UCLA Mini Tournament. The Lions (3-3) opened the day against No. 14 Long Beach State and closed out the tournament against the No. 1 team in the country, USC. The Lions next travel south, to compete in UCSD’s Triton Invitational on Feb. 8-9 in La Jolla.
The Lion softball team has been picked to finish second in the West Coast Conference by the league’s head coaches, announced by the conference on Wednesday. The Lions received 21 votes to place second, right behind BYU, which received 25. LMU ended its 2019 season finishing just one game behind the Cougars. The Lions put together an impressive 40-21 season and 11-4 in conference play, which led them to their NISC Regional title. Four key returners were selected to the 2020 All-WCC Preseason Softball Team, including, Megan Dedrick, Andrea Gonzalez, Molly Grumbo and Linnay Wilson.
Earlier in the week, softball alum Sam Fischer signed to play professionally with the California Commotion in the National Pro Fastpitch League, announced by the team on Monday. Fischer was a three-time All-Pacific Coast Softball All-Conference selection, while also earning PCSC player of the year twice. The infielder holds the record for batting average, home runs, RBIs, total bases, slugging percentage, on base percentage, runs scored, doubles and walks. In her 2012 season, Fischer led the nation in batting average and slugging percentage with a .492 and .665, respectively. LMU inducted Fischer into the LMU Sports Hall of Fame in 2019, retiring her number 52 jersey.
The LMU women’s swim team traveled to St. George, Utah, to take on the Dixie State Trailblazers over the weekend for their last swim meet before heading to the Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference Championships in a few weeks. LMU will now begin their preparation for the PCSC Conference Championships at East Los Angeles College on Feb. 12-16. LMU was recognized by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association by being named to its Scholar All-America team for the fall 2019 semester. The CSCAA selected a record 762 programs from 480 institutions, highlighted by the Lions 3.63 GPA. LMU’s fall semester GPA ranked 24th among all Division I swimming programs nationwide and was No. 1 in California.
The United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association recognized both the men’s and women’s cross country teams with All-Academic Honors. Overall, there were 191 men’s and 237 women’s teams that received All-Academic honors in NCAA Division I. The LMU men’s team garnered the honor with a 3.14 GPA and the women’s team with a 3.31 GPA for head coach Scott Guerrero’s Lions.