Heart of a Lion

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

It came as no surprise that her side chose Chelsey Gipson to participate in the three-point shooting contest to tip off Loyola Marymount University’s basketball “Madness” event last Thursday night.   

Repeating what she did thousands of times in games and practices inside the Palisades High gym, the 5-foot-7 guard swished jumper after jumper from behind the arc to help Team Blue beat Team White in the fun intrasquad competition at Gersten Pavilion.

“College is definitely different from high school, where you’re used to being the best on your team,” said Gipson, who is expecting big things in her sophomore season. “Last year, it was all about learning whether it was on the court, living on my own for the first time—the whole experience!”           

Gipson played in 20 games as a freshman, scoring 100 points (an average of five a game) with 18 three-pointers, 35 rebounds and 26 assists. She also made a guest appearance on Steve Nash’s You Tube series “Give and Go” and was fortunate enough to get some basketball tips from the former Santa Clara and NBA superstar.

“The one aspect of my game I’ve worked on most is attacking the basket and being more aggressive,” added Gipson, whose Lions were 19-11 overall last year, 11-7 in the West Coast Conference. “The system we run is similar to what we ran at Palisades. I’m known for outside shooting but my coach says I can do everything and I want to be a complete player.”    

A two-time City Player of the Year and the 2016-17 Palisadian-Post Cup Award winner as the outstanding senior athlete at Palisades, Gipson put the ball through the hoop as well as any player in program history, leading the Dolphins to three consecutive City Open Division finals (winning two) after transferring from Los Angeles Windward, where she helped the Wildcats capture the Southern Section Open Division championship while making the CIF All-State freshman team in 2014.

Gipson averaged 24.4 points, 3.1 steals, 4.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists her senior year at Palisades and finished the season ranked second in the nation in three-pointers made with 147 (two behind Destiny Littleton of La Jolla Bishop’s) and third in scoring among Division I players in California with 856 points. She was the Wooden Award City Player of the Year.

Loyola Marymount opens the 2018-19 season Nov. 6 versus UCLA.