BALTIMORE - The Loyola University Maryland women’s basketball team used a 7-2 run in the final two minutes to hold off the United States Naval Academy, 55-49, at Reitz Arena in both squads’ Patriot League opener.
Colleen Marshall paced Loyola (3-9, 1-0 Patriot League) with 13 points, and junior Nai Brown came off the bench scoring 10 points. Senior Steph Smith led all players with seven rebounds and sophomore Lisa Mirarchi finished with a game-high five assists and four steals.
Loyola’s defense dominated the first half, as the Greyhounds kept Navy off the board for nearly seven minutes following the team’s first two field goals.
Both teams went on to trade baskets, as Navy held a one-point lead going into the under-eight minute media timeout.
Navy used back-to-back treys to give the Midshipmen their largest lead of the contest, 13-9, but Marshall responded with her own 3-point field goal from the top of the key, 13-12. Seconds later, the junior guard forced a Navy turnover and sparked a 12-2 run for the Greyhounds.
Freshman Bri Betz-White utilized Marshall’s steal, giving the Greyhounds a 14-13 lead going into the final media timeout of the first half. Returning to the court, the rookie guard continued the offensive momentum with a pair of free throws, 16-13, with 3:13 left to play in the first half.
Mirarchi continued the run, collecting paint points on an under-the-basket layup, 18-13, while Betz-White capped off the run with her second 3-pointer of the half, 21-13.
The Mids scored one more field goal before entering the locker, but it was the Greyhounds that held a six-point lead at the end of the first half, 21-15.
The defensive presence continued into the second stanza, as Loyola held Navy scoreless for the first five minutes of the half.
The Midshipmen slowly picked away at the deficit, and used back-to-back 3s to pull within one, 28-27, but the Greyhounds continued to fight, never relinquishing the lead for the remainder of the contest.
Loyola’s defense forced 21 Navy turnovers, scoring 22 points of the Mids’ misfortunes.
Both teams knocked down six 3-point field goals, while the Greyhounds outshot the Midshipmen, 34.9 – 32.0 percent.
For Navy (6-6, 0-1), Taylor Dunham contributed a game-high 15 points.
The Greyhounds return to action on Saturday when they travel to the United States Military Academy for a 1 p.m., contest.