Feb. 13, 2009
BALTIMORE - Ashley Alexander hit a fade away jumper from the free-throw line with 15 seconds remaining to lift Loyola past visiting Niagara, 64-63, on Friday night at Reitz Arena.
Niagara's Liz Flooks made a layup off a Erika Harris baseline out-of-bounds pass with just under 30 seconds left to put the Purple Eagles (1-24 overall, 0-14 MAAC) up by one.
Alexander took a handoff on the left side, went around a high ball screen, took a step back at the free throw line and swished the shot to give Loyola (9-15, 4-10) the lead.
She finished with 21 points, a team-high and just one off her career-best of 22 that came earlier this season at UMBC.
"We wanted to get Ashley the ball because she had done a good job of creating off the dribble," Loyola Head Coach Joe Logan said. "Niagara did a good job of defending her and didn't let her get to the basket, but Ashley made the shot when she had to."
On the ensuing possession, Meredith Tolley knocked the ball away from Flooks, and after a scrum on the floor at the free-throw line, Loyola gained possession on a jump ball.
Alexander was fouled on the in-bound pass, but she missed the front-end of 1-and-1, giving the Purple Eagles one more opportunity.
Niagara's Ali Morris drove the left side of the court and missed a running jumper as time expired, securing the win for Loyola.
Neither team led by more than six in the game that saw six ties and 13 lead changes.
The Purple Eagles took a six-point lead, 27-21, with 5:46 left in the first half on a Rachele Folino putback.
After Loyola cut the lead to a point with just over 30 seconds left on two Alexander free-throws, Folino made a layup with 18 seconds left, putting Niagara up three.
Another Folino lay-up - she finished with a game- and career-high 27 points - with 15:34 left in the game gave Niagara a four-point lead, its largest of the second half.
Alexander stole a pass and made a fast-break layup less than two minutes later, tying the score at 41. She then made a driving layup, and free throw after being fouled, to put Loyola up three with just over 13 minutes left.
Loyola led until an Erika Harris made a jumper with 5:30 on the clock, giving the Purple Eagles a 55-54 advantage.
The Greyhounds took the lead right back, as Candice Walker had a steal and layup, and then a pair of free throws, for a 58-55 lead.
Walker matched her season-high with 14 points.
Niagara jumped back in front with 1:49 remaining on two Folino free throws, but Alexander knocked down a pair of shots from the charity stripe to give Loyola a 62-61 advantage with 1:37 left, setting up the final sequence.
In addition to Alexander's 21 and Walker's 14, Tolley scored 11, and Siobhan Prior scored nine for Loyola. Alexander had a career-high five assists, too.
After going 8-of-24 (.333) from the free throw line in its last two games, Loyola made 19-of-21 (.905) from the line against Niagara.
The Greyhounds return to action on Sunday afternoon when they host Manhattan at 12 p.m. on Women In Sports Day in Reitz Arena.