Strong Defense Paces Loyola To Win Over Siena

Jan. 15, 2012

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BALTIMORE - The Loyola University Maryland women's basketball team played stifling defense, holding the visiting Siena Saints to 27.1-percent shooting to pick up a, 55-45, victory at Reitz Arena on Sunday afternoon.

The win moved Loyola to 6-11 overall and 2-4 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference while the loss dropped Siena to 4-11 overall and 2-4 in the MAAC.

Katie Sheahin led Loyola with 19 points and nine rebounds, while Kara Marshall had 14 and Miriam McKenzie had 10 points and eight boards. The trio combined for 43 of Loyola's 55 points, just eight days after the three scored 54 points against the Saints in Loudonville, N.Y.

The 45 points were the fewest Loyola had ever allowed against Siena in a series that dates back to 1985. The Greyhounds have won five-straight over the Saints and are 9-5 under head coach Joe Logan.

The Saints, who lost to Loyola for the second time in eight days, were led by Lily Grenci who had a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

The Greyhounds led by as many as nine in the first half after going on a 9-0 that took the game from a 7-7 tie, to a 16-7 Loyola lead with under 10 minutes remaining.

Four different players scored during the stretch, including Sutherland, Offodile, Sheahin and Nicole Krusen.

Sheahin dominated the offensive end of the floor for Loyola, and was the only Greyhound to hit more than one shot in the half. She finished with 10 in the frame along with two assists and two rebounds.

Siena outscored the Greyhounds 14-5 over the final 9:45, knotting the game at 21 at the break despite shooting just 6-for-24 over the first 20 minutes. Grenci paced the Saints attack, scoring 12 in the first half including the game tying bucket just before the buzzer sounded.

Siena held the lead for much of the second half after starting the final period on a 9-3 run to take a 30-24 lead.

The Greyhounds showed their resiliency, drawing even with the Saints with a quick 5-0 spurt, capped by a McKenzie layup to put the scored at 33-33 with 9:09 remaining.

Less than a minute later, Sheahin gave Loyola its first lead of the second half, knocking-down a deep 3-pointer from the right win that put the Greyhounds on top 36-35. Loyola would not trail for the rest of the game.

Sheahin's trey was part of a 14-2 Loyola run where the squad took a seven point lead at 42-35 with 4:36 left. The Greyhounds hit seven-straight free throws during the stretch, including three from Marshall, two from Sheahin and two from Nneka Offodile. Offodile, who made her return to the starting lineup, finished with six points.

Marshall was outstanding from the stripe, going 9-for-12 in the game and hitting eight in a row at one point to help Loyola put the game away.

The Saints pulled within three points with less than three minutes left, as Cristina Centeno hit a 3 and Grenci finished a layup in the paint to cut the Greyhound advantage to 44-41.

Siena had the ball with a chance to tie the game, but Tehresa Coles missed a layup and Marshall grabbed the rebound and pushed the ball down the floor to McKenzie who hit a 15-foot jumpshot on the break to put the home team up five with less than two minutes on the clock.

Alyssa Sutherland iced the game on the ensuing possession, making a huge steal off a pass from Coles and starting a fast break where she dished off a pass to Sheahin who finished an easy left-handed layup, to put the Greyhounds up seven at 48-41 with 1:27 left.

Sutherland had a team-high four assists while also contributing three steals to the win.

The Greyhounds went seven-of-eight from the free throw line in the final minute, with Marshall hitting four, to close out the victory.

Loyola outrebounded Siena 36-33 in the contest and scored 18 points off 21 Siena turnovers.

Loyola hits the road on Friday to take on MAAC preseason favorite Marist at 6 p.m. on ESPNU. Scott Braun and Julianne Viani will have the call.