Huge Second Half Run Lifts Loyola To Win At Niagara

Jan. 29, 2012

Final Stats

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. -  The Loyola University Maryland women's basketball team outscored Niagara University 21-3 over the final 7:38 of the game to take home a, 68-48, win at the Gallagher Center in Niagara University, N.Y. on Sunday afternoon.

The win moved Loyola to 8-13 overall and 4-6 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference while Niagara fell to 7-15 overall and 4-6 in the MAAC. It was the first 20-point win for the Greyhounds since they defeated Niagara, 67-41, on Feb. 14, 2011.

Kara Marshall and Alyssa Sutherland each had career-highs in the game as four Greyhounds scored in double figures for the second time this season. Marshall finished with a game-high 22 points while Sutherland added 18, Katie Sheahin had 11 and Miriam McKenzie had 10.

Marshall posted her second-straight 20-point performance after having a career-high 21 against Canisius on Friday night.  She also added four rebounds while shooting eight-of-12 from the floor and hitting five 3-pointers for the second time this season.

Sutherland finished six-of-nine from the floor, hitting five-of-five from the free-throw line and grabbing seven rebounds while handing out five assists. The Greyhounds finished with 18 assists on 21 made field goals.

Sheahin finished with six steals for the second-straight game, giving her 246 for her career and moving her into second on Loyola’s all-time career steals list, just four behind Lorrie Schenning for the career record.

The Greyhounds shot a season-best 50-percent from the field in the game including 57.1-percent in the first half. Loyola played high-pressure defense, forcing Niagara into 19 turnovers while allowing them to shoot just 34.7-percent from the floor.

Loyola led from start to finish in the contest, but not without a challenge from the Purple Eagles.

Trailing by 10 in the second half, Niagara closed to within two points in the second half after an 8-0 run that put the score at 47-45 with 7:38 remaining. Chanel Johnson and Meghan McGuiness hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Gatto finished the run with a layup.

The Greyhounds dominated the remainder of the game, scoring 21 of the game’s final 24 points. Marshall started the stretch, hitting a 3-pointer from the right corner after a timeout off an inbounds pass by Sutherland to extend the lead to five.

Shy Britton responded with a layup in the lane for Niagara to cut the deficit to three, but that would be the last field goal the Purple Eagles would make over the final 6:51 of the contest.

After that, Nneka Offodile hit Sutherland with two-straight one-handed bounce passes that freed Sutherland for open layups, including a classic three-point play that put Loyola on top by eight at 55-47 with just under six minutes remaining.

Offodile finished with five points, four rebounds and three assists.

The Greyhounds did most of their scoring from the free-throw line over the final five minutes, hitting eight-of-nine and finishing 19-of-23 from the charity stripe in the game to close out their largest margin of victory this season.

Loyola led by seven at 30-23 at halftime after shooting a season-best, 57.1-percent from the field.

The Greyhounds jumped out to a big lead for the third-straight game on the road trip, hitting five of their first six shots from the field to go up 12-2 over the first five minutes of the game. Marshall sparked the team by scoring the first seven points for the Greyhounds and finished the half with 12 on four-of-six shooting.

Defensive pressure was a big part of the strong first half for Loyola, as the squad forced the Purple Eagles into 15 turnovers while holding them to 38.1-percent shooting.

Niagara closed to within six points at 17-11 with 8:19 remaining in the first half after Chanel Johnson and Kayla Stroman scored back-to-back buckets

The Greyhounds responded with a 7-0 spurt that gave the team its biggest lead of the half at 24-11 with 6:37 left. The run began with Marshall burying a deep 3-pointer from the right wing. Sutherland then hit a pair of free throws, and Sheahin closed out the run with an easy layup inside off a great lead pass from Sutherland.

Niagara scored 12 of the final 18 points of the half to cut the deficit to seven heading to the locker room.

The win marked the second-straight for Loyola at the Gallagher Center and gave the team its fourth win in the last five tries over Niagara. The Greyhounds also improved to 3-0 against MAAC opponents when facing them for the second time this season.

Loyola begins a four-game homestand on Thursday night, Feb. 2, when the Greyhounds host Canisius at 7 p.m. at Reitz Arena.