March 6, 2008
ALBANY, N.Y. - Loyola junior guard Siobhan Prior made four 3-pointers and scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Greyhounds to a 57-49 win over Rider on Thursday afternoon in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference First Round at the Times Union Center.
Rider (8-22), the tenth seed, rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to draw as close as three, but Loyola (13-16) held off the charge to advance to the quarterfinals for the third-straight season.
"We knew that they would come out strong in the second half," Head Coach Joe Logan said. "They did the same thing at our place and theirs (during the regular-season). Our kids showed a lot of heart, and Siobhan Prior played very determined."
The seventh-seeded Greyhounds will play No. 2 seed Iona tomorrow on Friday, March 7, at 9:30 a.m. The game will be broadcast live on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN).
Prior's driving lay-up with 1:51 remaining gave Loyola a 56-47 lead and all but sealed the victory.
Rider was just 1-of-3 from the field after that basket, as Loyola closed the win.
Amanda Sepulveda made a jumper in the lane with 3:47 remaining, cutting the Gryehounds' advantage to 51-46, but Tammy Meyers fouled Prior on Loyola's ensuing possession. Prior made 1-of-2 from the line to put Loyola back up by five.
Rider's Janele Henderson, who led the Broncs with 14 points, missed a 3-pointer, but Meyers collected the offensive board. She missed a nearly uncontested lay-up, and Meghan Wood pulled down the board for Loyola.
On the offensive end, Rider knocked the ball out of bounds. On the in-bound pass, Devon Carey found Meredith Tolley wide open on the left win, and the freshman made a 3-pointer that put Loyola ahead by eight.
"The best thing about freshman, sometimes, is that they don't know (how big of a shot it was)," Logan said of Tolley's three. "If she had held the ball for another second, I probably would have been yelling at her to get the ball out. It's a great shot because it went in, but if she misses, it's a chance for (Rider) to cut the lead to four. It's great to have a freshman who has the guts to take that shot."
Rider took a lead early in the game, but Loyola went on a 19-6 run that covered seven minutes, fueled by two threes and a free throw by Prior.
"Siobhan's parents flew in last night, and we knew that she was happy because they're here," Logan said. "They don't get a chance to see her play that often, so she was excited. She made some big threes early. We were back and forth, and she made a big three and was fouled. That gave her some confidence."
Another Prior three with 3:15 to go in the first half put Loyola up by 12, 30-18. Kaitlin Grant made a layup and two free throws in the final two minutes of the half, extending Loyola's lead to 35-22, it's biggest halftime advantage of the season.
Grant finished with 11 points, four rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal off the bench.
Shaunice Parker scored for the Broncs on their first two possessions after halftime, cutting Loyola's lead to nine before Meghan Wood made a jumper to push the advantage back to 11.
Janele Henderson scored four, wrapped around another Parker basket, to pull Rider within five, 37-32, with 16:43 remaining.
Prior and Henderson traded threes on the next two possessions before Stephanie Wisniewski made a turn-around jumper to cut Rider's deficit to three, 40-37, with 13:23 to play.
Grant made two free throws on Loyola's next possession, but Ashley Anderson scored on a jumper to keep the Greyhounds'' lead at three.
Meyers made a three for Rider, but DiClemente hit 18-foot jumpers from the same position at the top of the key, lifting Loyola to a 50-44 lead.
"I needed to do this for the seniors, and (senior Tynisha Davis) really motivated me," DiClemente said. "After my shots started falling. We knew that (Rider) was capable of coming back, but we knew that we had to dictate the tempo and take control of the game."
DiClemente finished with six points and five rebounds, and Wood added nine points and five boards. Tolley had five points and six rebounds, and Walker scored seven to go with a game-high three assists.
Henderson topped Rider with 14 points, while Parker added 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.