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Redshirt senior forward Bree Alford, pictured above in a home game against San Francisco, had 10 points, six rebounds and five steals in Thursday night's 69-56 win over St. Mary's.

The LMU women’s basketball team improved to 16-11 and 9-6 in conference play by knocking off the St. Mary’s Gaels 69-56 at Gersten Pavilion on Thursday, Feb. 21. Here are three major takeaways from the win.

3. The Lions were able to weather multiple storms.

Over the course of the game, St. Mary’s put together two major runs that threatened LMU’s chances to win. In the first run, St. Mary’s closed the first quarter with a 9-1 stretch that had the potential to give the Gaels momentum for the rest of the game. In the second run, St. Mary’s scored the first nine points of the second half, at which point it appeared as though they could pull away. On both occasions, however, the Lions stayed calm and didn’t force anything, instead playing tough defense, scoring inside and getting to the free throw line to maintain their edge.

2. Turnovers were the key to the defensive effort.

It isn’t hard to figure out why the Lions held St. Mary’s to 56 points and why the Gaels failed to score more than 15 points in any quarter. LMU forced a remarkable 28 turnovers, and did so in a variety of ways. From intercepting passes to stripping the ball away to stepping in driving lanes and forcing travels, the Lions constantly kept St. Mary’s uncomfortable and made life difficult for the Gaels. Eight LMU players recorded at least one steal, with redshirt senior forward Bree Alford leading the way with five.

1. Rebounding is a glaring issue.

Although the Lions were mostly solid in the victory, the team’s effort on the glass was often careless and lackadaisical and this showed up in the box score. The Lions allowed 19 offensive rebounds while grabbing just 10 of their own and in total were out-rebounded 48-32. Although St. Mary’s was largely unable to capitalize on these offensive boards, scoring just nine second-chance points, LMU’s rebounding has been inconsistent at best all season and will be a key place to improve for the team as they head toward the end of the regular season and into the conference tournament.

The Lions continue their season with their final home game as they play Pacific on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. The game is Senior Day, with the team’s five seniors being recognized before the game tips off.

This is the opinion of Alex Hutton, a sophomore journalism major from Oakland, California. Tweet comments to @LALoyolan or email comments to mrodriguez@theloyolan.com.

Sports Editor

Alex Hutton is a senior journalism major from Oakland, California. He is a diehard fan of the Warriors, Giants, 49ers, Sharks, Cal Bears and LMU Lions. He lists getting his plays produced and meeting Paul McCartney as among his current life goals.

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