March 5, 2010
ALBANY, N.Y. - A 58.1 percent effort from the field in the first half helped No. 3-seeded Fairfield to a big opening - too big of an opening for the sixth-seeded Greyhounds to overcome Friday afternoon, as Loyola fell 70-66 in the quarterfinal round of the 2010 Citizens Bank Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships at the Times Union Center, in Albany N.Y.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Greyhounds, while the Stags extended theirs to eight games. Fairfield now moves on to play in Saturday morning's 9:30 a.m., semifinal against No. 2-seeded Iona. Loyola will end the season at 14-16, while Fairfield stays alive with an 18-12 record.
Loyola scoring leader Miriam McKenzie turned in one final 20-point performance for the `Hounds, and pulled down six boards to lead her team one final time this season. Freshman Katie Sheahin had 14 points, three rebounds and three steals in her first collegiate postseason appearance. Erica DiClemente scored nine points for Loyola and Meredith Tolley finished with eight.
Senior forward Kaitlin Grant finished with just two points and four boards, ending her four-year career as a Greyhounds No. 19 on Loyola's all-time scoring list and No. 7 all-time in rebounds. Her 75 career steals tie the program record.
Stephanie Geehan dominated for Fairfield (18-12), putting in game-high numbers with 22 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks. A quintet of Fairfield players scored in double-digits while both Geehan and Taryn Johnson pulled down double-digit boards. The Stags crashed the boards hard, out-rebounding Loyola 43-29.
Loyola out-shot the Stags from the field in the second half, connecting on 12 shots from the field and five from behind the arc, while holding Fairfield to just eight from the field and a pair of threes, but it wasn't enough to overcome a 22-point first-half deficit.
Outdone 18-8 from the field in the first half, Loyola struggled out of the gate. The `Hounds shot just 27.6 percent while their opponents torched the court. However, in the second half the Loyola defense wasted no time employing a full-court press, and was successful, holding the Stags to just three points in the first five minutes of the half. The Greyhounds forced four early turnovers, using them to go on a 15-3 opening run.
DiClemente and Tolley jump-started the Greyhounds in the first minute of the second half. DiClemente intercepted an in-bound pass on the Loyola end of the court and dished it off to an unguarded Tolley for a trey.
Grant and McKenzie then put in back-to-back layups to bring the score up to 47-29 just two minutes into the second half. A McKenzie free throw followed, cutting the Stags' deficit to 17 early on.
Another triple by Tolley brought Loyola back to within 10 with 13:08 left in the game. Fairfield then took off on for an eight-point rally, but the Greyhounds matched them and did them one better, scoring nine over the next four minutes.
With 4:27 left on the clock, Sheahin knocked down a three, leaving Loyola trailing by just nine. Two minutes later, a layup by McKenzie again but Loyola back by just nine, 60-51. But a three by Katelyn Linney pushed the Stags' lead up to 12. A free throw by Desiree Pina and two by Linney a minute later gave the Stags a 15-point advantage with just under two minute left to play, pushing the game out of reach of the sullen Greyhounds.