Dec. 5, 2011
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Loyola University women's basketball team dropped a 70-60 decision to Lehigh University on Monday night in Bethlehem, Pa.
Lehigh (4-6), which was picked to finish second in the Patriot League in the Preseason Coaches' Poll, shot 47.1-percent from the field in the game and got a game-high 16 points from Kelly Peterson. The Mountain Hawks had seven players score six or more points.
Loyola (3-4) had three players score in double figures, led by Miriam McKenzie who had 15 points, six rebounds and a career-best six steals. Kara Marshall had 10 points while Nneka Offodile matched a career-high with 10. Nai Brown scored eight off the bench.
The Greyhounds had difficulties finding an offensive rhythm in the contest, shooting 31.0-percent from the floor in the game, but did connect on 18 of their 21 free throw attempts (85.7-percent). The team entered the contest ranked in the top-40 in the country in free-throw shooting at 73.6-percent.
Loyola also used pressure defense to force Lehigh into 22 turnovers, the second-most for a Greyhound opponent this season. Of the 22 giveaways, 14 were caused by steals. McKenzie led the team with six while Katie Sheahin had four and Marshall had three.
The Greyhounds knotted the game twice, the last coming with 17:24 left in the first half at 4-4 following a McKenzie driving layup. The Mountain Hawks then went on a 12-0 run to claim a 16-4 lead at the 12:14 mark and never relinquished the lead. Emily Gratch had four during the stretch while Alexa Williams had three.
Williams and Gratch had six rebounds each to lead Lehigh, which outrebounded Loyola 42-30 in the contest.
McKenzie led Loyola with eight points in the first half, while Offodile and Marshall each had six. McKenzie also added three rebounds and Sheahin had four assists.
The Greyhounds forced Lehigh into 14 first-half turnovers, scoring 12 points off those giveaways.
The Mountain Hawks led by as many as 14 in the first half, taking a 25-11 advantage with 4:42 remaining after a layup by Katie O’Reilly.
Loyola fought back with 10-2 run that cut the deficit to six at 27-21 with just over two minutes remaining in the half.
Marshall sparked the Greyhounds with 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions from the left wing. Offodile followed with a layup off a great lob pass by McKenzie, and McKenzie finished the stretch with a breakaway layup down the right side.
Following a timeout, the Mountain Hawks put together an 8-2 run to end the half, capped by a layup at the buzzer by Kelela Blake, putting the score at 35-23 as the teams went to the locker rooms.
The Greyhounds made small runs at the Mountain Hawks in the second half, but were unable to mount a comeback.
McKenzie drained a 3 from the right wing with 17:01 remaining in the contest the brought Loyola with 10 at 40-30. The Greyhounds forced a turnover of the ensuing possession and had a chance to get within single digits, but Marshall had a 3-point attempt roll around the rim and fall out.
Lehigh led by as many as 21 in the contest twice, the last coming after a 3-pointer by Aly Byorick that put the Mountain Hawks on top 62-41 with 7:13 left. Lehigh was 8-of-18 shooting from downtown in the contest.
The Greyhounds were sparked by the team’s bench play in the second half, with Brown scoring eight, Krusen scoring three and Cierra Darden notching her first collegiate point.
Loyola finished the game strong, outscoring Lehigh 15-4 over the final 5:23 of the contest. Sheahin had six points over the final five minutes while Alyssa Sutherland had four.
The Greyhounds continue their road trip on Saturday, December 10, when they head to Emmitsburg, Md., to battle Mount St. Mary’s at 4:30 p.m. in the second game of a doubleheader with the men’s team.