March 1, 2008
Baltimore, Md. - Fairfield's Sabra Wrice split her 18 points evenly between halves to lead all scorers and help the Stags to a 60-43 MAAC win over Loyola in the regular-season finale for both teams Saturday at Reitz Arena.
The win improved Fairfield to 21-8 on the season, 7-11 in the conference, and can be either the No. 3 or No. 4 seed at the MAAC Tournament when it gets underway Thursday in Albany, N.Y. The loss dropped Loyola to the No. 7 seed and means the Greyhounds will play 10th-seeded Rider when the tournament opens Thursday at noon.
"Fairfield did a nice job defensively and we were just a little out of sync and forced the ball too much," Loyola third-year head coach Joe Logan commented after the game. "We need to play better and run our stuff."
The Stags broke open a game tied at 18 with a 13-4 run over a six-minute stretch at the end of the first half. Five different Stags scored during the run, capped off by a pair of free throws by Baendu Lowenthal with 2:44 remaining to put Fairfield ahead, 31-22. Loyola scored six of the final eight points of the half on a conventional three-point play from senior center Vika Sholokhova and a three-pointer from junior guard Siobhan Prior to trail 33-28 at the intermission.
Loyola's momentum continued at the start of the second half, pulling within two at 33-31 when senior guard Tynisha Davis drove for a layup with 18:26 left. But Fairfield ripped off the next 13 points of the game to seize control, going up 46-31 with 14:27 remaining as Lowenthal scored eight of the points, including the 1,000th of her Fairfield career.
The Greyhounds got the deficit below double figures just once at 46-37 when senior forward Meghan Wood scored on an offensive put-back with 8:38 remaining. Fairfield scored the game's next seven points for a 53-37 lead with 5:25 left and held its largest lead of the game with the final margin.
Lowenthal finished with 15 points and Lauren Groom added 10 for Fairfield. No Loyola player was able to reach double figures, although seniors Davis, Sholokhova and Wood all tallied nine in their final Reitz Arena appearance and Sholokhova grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. The Greyhounds scored just four second-half field goals in tallying 15 points after the intermission and finished with 24 turnovers against just 10 Fairfield turnovers.