Nov. 29, 2008
BALTIMORE - Trailing by 10 with under 10 minutes to play, the Loyola women's basketball team went on a 16-0 run to rally past visiting Bucknell. The Greyhounds pulled away for a 61-52 non-conference victory at Reitz Arena.
Loyola (3-2) made 15-of-16 free throws in the final 9:49 with Alex Berlin connecting on 11-of-12. Berlin finished with 14 points, a career-high, all coming in the second half.
Kaitlin Grant led all players with 19 points and was 7-of-8 from the line. She also led the Greyhounds with nine rebounds.
"This was a good team effort for us," Head Coach Joe Logan said. "The depth that we have been talking about all year began to show today. Everyone made a contribution for us today, whether was Mallory Lawes getting an offensive rebound and making a layup, or Alex Berlin going 11-of-12 from the free-throw line."
Bucknell (3-2) took a 42-32 lead with 10:03 left on a 10-foot jumper by Lauren Schober.
On the ensuing possession, however, Berlin was fouled by Trisha Krewson and went to the free-throw line for the first time in the game.
After Taylor Phillips missed a jumper on the offensive end for the Bison, Siobhan Prior beat her defender to the baseline and made a 10-foot jumper from the short-corner.
Two missed layups by Bucknell, the second when Meredith Tolley recorded one of her career-high five blocks for the Greyhounds, led to another Loyola possession.
Grant skipped a pass to Tolley on the right side of the perimeter, and Tolley hit a 3-pointer with 8:35 to go, cutting Bucknell's lead to 42-39.
Bucknell missed another jumper, and Grant was fouled, sending her to the line where she made a pair to pull Loyola within one, 42-41.
Joyce Novacek was called for an offensive foul, and Grant pulled down an offensive rebound and converted the put-back to give Loyola its first lead, 43-42, since the 18:15 mark in the second half.
The teams traded missed baskets on their next possessions, but Berlin made two free throws for Loyola at 5:23 to put the Greyhounds up three.
After Bucknell missed layups on its next two possessions, wrapped around a Loyola turnover, Lawes found Berlin wide open in front of the Loyola bench.
The sophomore buried a 3-pointer to put Loyola up 48-42 with just over four minutes to play.
Novacek finally broke the Bison drought, making a turnaround layup with 3:36 to play. Loyola held Bucknell to 0-of-9 from the field, and the Greyhounds forced two Bison turnovers, during the stretch that covered 5:44.
Bucknell cut the Loyola lead to four on two occasions, both on Novacek baskets, but the Greyhounds had an answer for both. Berlin made two free throws with 3:27 to go, and Lawes rebounded a Tolley 3-point miss and made a layup with 1:58 to go.
Schober and Amanda Brown cut the Loyola lead to six after that, but Berlin made 5-of-6 from the line and Lawes hit two free throws with 20 seconds left to ice the win.
"I was proud of the way that we came back because Bucknell out-hustled and out-played us for a while and built a 10-point lead," Logan said.
Loyola led for much of the first half, but Bucknell took a 20-18 advantage on a Schober three with 2:53 to play before the break.
Grant stole the ball from Krewson and went coast-to-coast for a layup that tied the game at 20-20 with 1:41 remaining.
She then hit a pair of free throws 18 seconds later, and she converted a layup with 23 ticks before the half.
Loyola went on to take a 26-20 advantage at the second-half buzzer, after Grant rebounded a Brown miss, fed Siobhan Prior with an outlet pass, and Prior found Erica DiClemente under the basket for a layup with a second left.
Novacek scored 10 in the second half and led the Bison with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Brown had 11, and Le'Le' Leseur finished with 10 points and nine rebounds off the bench.
Berlin set career-high marks in several categories, including points (14), free throws (11) and free-throw attempts (12).
"Alex is working extremely hard everyday in practice," Logan said. "She is doing it all, especially on the defensive end. Today, she got her points from the free-throw line, but she has also been able to really focus on her defense. She has stepped into a role as a bit of a defensive stopper for us. One good thing about being as young as we are is that we are evolving as a team."
Loyola continues its home stand with a 7 p.m. game on Monday, December 1, in Reitz Arena against Mount St. Mary's.