Jan. 24, 2010
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - Loyola nearly did the unthinkable Sunday afternoon in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., endangering Marist's 11-game win streak and undefeated Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference record in a span of just three minutes and 14 seconds.
After playing close throughout the majority of the game, Marist broke through with a lead toward the end of the second half. With the Loyola offense struggling to keep up, the Red Foxes went on to build a 12-point lead with just four minutes to go.
With 3:14 left in the game, Marist's Elise Caron sunk two free throws to solidify the lead for the home team. Two minutes later, Miriam McKenzie made two free throws but two more by Caron shortly thereafter had Loyola presumed done.
But less than a minute later, the Greyhounds had a McCann Center crowd of 2,163 on its feet.
A three by McKenzie and two free throws by Erica DiClemente cut Marists' lead to eight points, putting the score at 62-54 with 1:11 left to play. Two more shots at the stripe by DiClemente cut the lead to six, and two more by McKenzie cut it to just four.
Down by just five with 27 seconds left, Devon Carey missed a three but DiClemente grabbed the rebound and hit a text-book fadeaway from the middle of the paint.
Now up by just three with only 17 seconds to go, Rachele Fitz, Marists' leading scorer and one of the MAAC's top free throw shooters, uncharacteristically missed two attempts from the line, opening the door back up for Loyola.
The attempt to tie was then left in the hands of Loyola's leading scorer, McKenzie. But under heavy double-team coverage, McKenzie's three-point attempt at the buzzer missed short, and the Greyhounds fell to Marist 63-60.
"To be down by 12 with under two minutes to go in the game and to have a chance to tie on the last possession is a credit to how hard our kids played," said Loyola head coach Joe Logan. "I'm proud of how our team bounced back."
McKenzie and DiClemente combined for 16 points in Loyola's final rally, and led all scorers with 20 and 19 points, respectively. McKenzie pulled down eight rebounds and had a block and game-highs in assists (six) and steals (three).
DiClemente finished one rebound shy of a double-double and had two key steals. She has now matched her career-high of 19 points three times this season.
Fitz led the Foxes with 18 points and grabbed a game-high 11 boards. Yarde had 17 points and Erica Allenspach had nine and a pair of blocks.
"The biggest lesson learned is that you have to come ready to play every night in this league with great coaches and great players," Logan said.
The loss comes just two days after suffering the worst one of the season - a 59-33 rout by Siena - and is the third in a row. Loyola fell to .500 in the conference (4-4) and is now 9-10 overall.
The Red Foxes, who are currently not ranked but are receiving votes in both polls, remain undefeated (8-0) in the MAAC (16-4 overall), and has not lost since December 9 when they fell to No. 16 Oklahoma.
"We're going to learn from this tough weekend and apply these lessons to the last ten games of the regular season." Logan said.