Jan. 11, 2008
BALTIMORE - Rachele Fitz made two free throws with 3.7 seconds left to give Marist a 61-59 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference victory over host Loyola on Friday night in front of 582 fans at Reitz Arena.
Fitz was fouled by Loyola's Vika Sholokhova in a scramble for a rebound, sending the Red Foxes' leading scorer to the line.
Loyola (7-7 overall, 2-2 MAAC) took a 3-point lead, 59-56, with 40.5 ticks left as Candice Walker threaded a pass through the lane to Sholokhova for a lay-up.
On the ensuing possession, Fitz kicked the ball out to the left wing where Julianne Viani knocked down a 3-pointer with 27.5 remaining to tie the score at 59-59.
The Greyhounds played for one shot, and Sholokhova found space on the left block. She drew contact from two Marist players, but no foul was called on the missed shot. As Sholokhova went after her own rebound, she knocked Fitz out of position and was whistled for the violation.
Fitz, who was 7-of-8 from the free throw line in the game, made both attempts. Meghan Wood attempted a three-quarter court pass, but it was intercepted by Fitz, and Marist (14-2, 4-0) ran out the final seconds.
The win for the Red Foxes snapped Loyola's two-game home court winning streak over the two-time defending MAAC champions.
Sholokhova led all players with 22 points, tying her career-high set January 25, 2007, against Iona. She also led all individuals with 11 rebounds to notch her third double-double of the season.
Walker scored 16, matching her career-high, as well. She also set new a career-best with six assists.
"I am really happy with the strides that we made this week," Head Coach Joe Logan said. "We had great focus, both on offense and defense. We have struggled taking what we've done in practice through to the games, but we did that tonight."
Fitz scored 21 points to lead Marist, while Viani had 11 and five assists. Meg Dahlman scored her 1,000th career point in the first half and finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Loyola took a seven-point lead, 21-14, with 6:53 remaining before the half as Erica DiClemente reversed the ball to Sholokhova, who canned a 3-pointer from the left side. She had 17 points in the first half.
Marist scored the next six, as Viani cut Loyola's advantage to 21-20 with 4:58 left on an 18-foot jumper off a ball screen.
Sholokhova grabbed two offensive rebounds in Loyola's final possession of the half, made a putback lay-up and was fouled. She made the free throw with a single second remaining on the first-half clock to send the Greyhounds to the locker room with a 30-25 lead.
The teams traded leads through the first eight minutes of the second half, but Walker took a high-low pass from Wood and made a 3-pointer on the right side to give Loyola a 43-40 lead with 11:29 to play.
"We worked so hard over the last four days. We had team meetings; we met with the coaches; we practiced," Walker said. "It paid off because we played like a true team tonight."
Lynzee Johnson had the answer for Marist, making a three of her own on the next possession. Sholokhova put the Greyhounds back up, 45-43, with a layup at the 10:42 mark.
From there, however, Marist would hold Loyola without a field goal for 3:34, going on an 8-1 run to take a 51-46 lead.
Dahlman made a layup off a feed from Viani to put Marist ahead by three with 4:55 to play.
The Red Foxes slowed Loyola's offense on the ensuing possession, but Walker hit a 23-foot 3-pointer with two on the shot clock to tie the game at 55-55 with 4:21 left.
"In high school, I was more on an inside and outside player, but in college, I quickly learned that I had to learn to become a set shooter," said Walker. "I worked with different people all week getting the ball passed outside to me and hit the 3-pointer."
Walker made four 3-pointers in the game, the most she's had in a game during her brief collegiate career.
Erica Allenspach made one-of-two free throws following the under-four minute media timeout. The teams traded missed shots and defensive rebounds before Walker pulled-up for a 10-foot jumper with the shot clock at six to give Loyola a 57-56 advantage.
Loyola posted a season-high 16 assists, but the Greyhounds went to the free throw line just seven times to Marist's 20.
The Greyhounds continue MAAC action on Sunday, January 13, 2008, when they travel to Lawrenceville, N.J., for a 1 p.m. game at Rider University.