March 5, 2006
ALBANY, N.Y. - Despite a tournament-high 21 points from junior guard Brittany Dunn, the Greyhound women's basketball team was unable to overcome a strong first half shooting performance from Marist College (23-6) as the Red Foxes earned their second Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title with a 68-57 victory in the MAAC Championship Game at Pepsi Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Dunn, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, made 8 of 15 shots from the floor and all three free throw attempts in leading Loyola to a second half comeback. She was the lone Loyola representative honored as sophomore Meg Dahlman was named as the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
The Red Foxes used a 13-0 run early in the first half to turn a one-point deficit into a commanding 17-5 advantage with 13:30 remaining. The Greyhounds cut the lead down to seven at 18-11 before Marist went on an 18-0 spurt for a commanding 36-11 cushion with 7:00 left in the stanza. Seven different players made baskets during the run as Marist shot 45.2 per cent from the floor in the opening period for a 16-point lead.
Marist opened the second half with an 8-0 run before Loyola countered with six straight points for a 49-31 margin with 13:14 remaining in the period. Down by 50-32, the Greyhounds began to cut into the deficit and scored 13 of the next 18 points for a 55-45 margin with 8:32 remaining as Dunn scored five points during the spurt.
After Marist extended the lead to 61-49 with 6:18 left, the Greyhound put together an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 61-57 on a jumper by senior Jackie Valderas with 2:03 remaining. The Greyhounds held the Red Foxes scoreless for nearly five minutes but Marist converted seven of eight free throws in the final minute to secure its second MAAC title in three years.
"I credit our kids for coming back," Loyola Coach Joe Logan said. "We were down by 25 and we fought and fought and fought and just kept coming back. We'll try to build on that for next year."
Dunn led all players with her 21 points while Valderas added 11 points and eight rebounds. Junior Jill Glessner added six points and a team-high nine rebounds in 35 minutes of action.
Dahlman recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds while Flores came off the bench to score 14 points, including nine in the first half. Sarah Smrdel, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, recorded a game-high 13 rebounds as Marist held a 48-37 rebounding advantage.
Flores joined Dahlman and Smrdel on the All-Tournament Team while Tiara Headen of Iona and freshman Amanda Cavo of Canisius also were honored.
The Greyhounds end the season with their most wins since the 1998-1999 season and appeared in the MAAC final for the first time in eight years.