March 2, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Loyola University Maryland women's basketball team had four players score in double figures but fell, 77-63, to Niagara in a quarterfinal game of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass., on Friday afternoon.
The Greyhounds finished the season 13-17 overall and 9-9 in the MAAC while Niagara moves on to face No. 1 seed Marist in the semifinals Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m.
“I’m proud of how hard we played,” said head coach Joe Logan. “We were banged up and we’ve been banged up all season. I think we need to get healthy and do a better job of staying healthy moving forward.”
Katie Sheahin led Loyola with 21 points to go with eight rebounds and four steals. Miriam McKenzie added 14 points and eight rebounds, while Alyssa Sutherland ended with 12 points and Kara Marshall had 11.
Five Purple Eagles tallied in double figures, led by Kayla Stroman who had 14 points and seven steals. Lauren Gatto and Val McQuade each had 12 points in the contest, with Chanel Johnson added 11 and Shy Britton finishing with 10.
Niagara’s defense was the key in the contest, as the Purple Eagles forced Loyola into 18 turnovers and converted those into 25 points. Niagara also held Loyola to 30-percent shooting in the second half and 36.8-percent for the game. The Greyhounds connected on just four-of-21 from 3-point range.
“Niagara played great defense,” said Logan. “We had a tough time getting to the basket and when we did get to the basket, they did a good job contesting.”
The Purple Eagles jumped out to a 12-4 lead at the 14:37 mark, forcing Loyola into six turnovers and knocking down a pair of 3-pointers.
The Greyhounds fought back with a 10-2 run to knot the game at 14 with 11:36 left in the first half. Sheahin had five points during the stretch including a free-throw that tied the contest.
That would be the last time the teams were tied, as the Purple Eagles never trailed in the game.
After taking a 35-30 lead into halftime, Niagara held the Greyhounds scoreless for the first three-plus minutes of the second half and had an eight-point lead at 38-30 with less than 17 minutes remaining in the game.
The Greyhounds never went away in the contest, and cut the deficit to a one possession game numerous times throughout the second half, but were never able to gain the advantage.
Loyola got as close as one-point after a 7-2 spurt that put the score at 47-46 with 9:44 reamaining. Sutherland hit a jumper and a pair of free throws and Sheahin hit one-of-two from the charity stripe as part of the run.
Niagara then built a double-digit lead, going on top 59-49 with a Meghan McGuinness 3-pointer at the 6:34 mark.
The Greyhounds made one more run to get back into the contest, as an old-fashioned three-point play by Sheahin cut the deficit to four at 63-59 with 3:54 left.
The Greyhounds would trail by four points one more time after another Sheahin layup, but the Purple Eagles continued to answer every Loyola run. Niagara closed out the game with solid free-throw shooting and finished 27-of-33 from the stripe in the contest.
Loyola finished with a .500 record in conference play for the fifth time in the last seven seasons. The team dropped to 12-6 all-time in the MAAC quarterfinals.
- Loyola hit a 3-pointer for the for the 157th-straight game
- Katie Sheahin scored in double figures for the 11th-straight game and recorded a steal in her 41st-straight game.
- Loyola lost for just the second time in its first game of the MAAC tournament under Logan. He is now 5-2 in MAAC Championship openers.