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Women's Basketball Closes Out Four-Game Road Trip At Fairfield

Jan. 4, 2010

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Up Next: Fairfield and Rider

 

Fairfield Stags (7-5 overall, 1-0 MAAC)
Loyola Greyhounds (6-6 overall, 1-0 MAAC)
When: Tuesday, January 5Where: Alumni Hall (Fairfield, Conn.)Time: 7 p.m.

Rider Broncs (2-10 overall, 0-1 MAAC)
Loyola Greyhounds (6-6 overall, 1-0 MAAC)
When: Friday, January 8Where: Reitz ArenaTime: 11:30 a.m.

Starting Off
A balanced scoring effort and a strong defensive performance led the `Hounds to a 71-59 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference-opening win at Iona Sunday afternoon. Miriam McKenzie had a game-high 20 points, a career-high seven assists and pulled down seven boards. Tuesday, against San Francisco in Villanova's Wildcat Holiday Classic, McKenzie scored 21 with 11 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. Erica DiClemente and Devon Carey balanced out Loyola's lineup against the Dons. DiClemente was two rebounds shy of a double-double with 12 points and Devon Carey finished with 10. Loyola broke away early in the first half with a 56.7 percent shooting performance. Defense held the Gaels to just a 31 percent clip from the field and allowed just two of 13 three pointers.

Snapping the Streak
Loyola's win over Iona snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Gaels. The streak was the longest losing streak against any MAAC Opponent and was the first win over Iona since January 25, 2007.

Scouting the Stags
While Fairfield was picked to finish in sixth place, just ahead of Loyola, in the preseason MAAC poll, the Stags are currently second place. They solidified their standing with a 57-49 win over Saint Peter's in the conference-opener Sunday afternoon. Freshman point guard Katelyn Linney scored a game- and career-high 22 and the Stags went 8-for-10 from the line in the final minute of play to outlast the Peahens. Linney is having a strong freshman campaign, averaging 9.1 points per game as a full-time starter. Fairfield wrapped up non-conference with two losses in Iowa State's Cyclone Challenge. The Stags lost a close one to Missouri-Kansas City in the opener before falling to Iowa State 67-37. Despite trailing by just four points at half-time, the Stags struggled to get a shot off in the second half, being held scoreless through the first seven minutes. The Cyclones held the Stags to just 10 points in the second half. Stephanie Geehan led with 15 points and was named to the all-tournament team. Geehan has been one of the top performers in the MAAC so far this season and leads the team averaging 15.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game.

The Stags have gone 4-1 at home this season, splitting time between Alumni Hall on campus and the Arena at Harbor Yards in nearby Bridgeport. Sacred Heart is the only team to beat Fairfield at home so far, doing so with a 75-51 win on Dec. 13.

The Series
Loyola has traditionally struggled against the Stags, with Fairfield leading the all-time series 30-16. Fairfield has defeated Loyola in the teams' last six meetings.

Jesuit Basketball Spotlight
The `Hounds game against San Francisco in Villanova's Wildcat Holiday Classic was the first Jesuit Basketball Spotlight game for Loyola this season. Fairfield will be the next Spotlight game. The Jesuit Basketball Spotlight project highlights more than 90 games this season between men's and women's teams from the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities across the United States. Jesuit Catholic colleges and universities in the United States have more than 200,000 students currently and more than 1.7 million living alumni. For more information on Jesuit higher education in the United States, go to www.ajcunet.edu.

Field Trip Day Change
The time for Friday morning's game against Rider has been pushed back by 30 minutes to 11:30. Friday is also Field Trip Day.

Snapping the Streak
Loyola's win over Iona Sunday afternoon snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Gaels -- the longest streak against a MAAC opponent. The last win over Iona came on January 25, 2007.

McKenzie's Magic
Miriam McKenzie put in two 20-point performances in a row last week (vs. San Francisco and at Iona). McKenzie has now had 20 points or more five times this season and has scored at least 10 in every game but one. The only other Loyola player to have hit the 20-point mark in a game this season is Meredith Tolley, who scored 22 at Navy November 20. McKenzie also extended her career-highs in rebounds and assists last week with 11 rebounds against San Francisco and seven assists at Iona... McKenize staged a coming out party during opening weekend. Making the most of her first two career starts, the sophomore guard out of Columbia, Md., put up a total 44 total points, 15 rebounds and four assists in the first two games of the 2009-2010 season. In the opener at La Salle, McKenzie more than doubled her previous career-high of 11 points with 23 in the Greyhounds' 69-55 win over the Explorers. McKenzie broke out early, putting up 18 easily in the first half. She nearly bested that performance two days later in Loyola's home opener, posting her first career double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

DiClemente Goes the Distance
Erica DiClemente has played a big role in Loyola's wins. In the `Hounds six wins, DiClemente has averaged nearly 12 points per game but just 7.7 in Loyola's losses. Miriam McKenzie is the only player to average double-digits in both wins and losses.

Stolen Goods
Senior forward Kaitlin Grant's 3.3 steals per game put the senior forward on pace to break Loyola's single-season record of 75 set by Lorrie Schenning in the 1988-89 season. Grant's 12 steals against the Mount on Nov. 28, was the most steals in a Division I women's basketball game since Georgia Tech's Jillian Ingram recorded an identical number Feb. 29, 2008. The senior forward tied for 16th on the NCAA DI single-game list. Just seven players have recorded 13 steals and eight have recorded 14. Grant now holds the all-time school record for a single game. The previous women's record was eight, which she matched last season, while the men's record was 10.

Sutherland Steals the Show
In limited action off the bench, freshman forward Alyssa Sutherland has managed 20 takeaways, the second-most on the team behind Kaitlin Grant's 39. Sutherland started the season off with four against Army in Loyola's home-opener, keying a second-half surge for the Greyhounds. Sutherland has excelled in transition, taking most of those steals to the hoop for fast break layups. Against Tulane in the Navy Classic, Sutherland put up career-high numbers in points (seven) and rebounds (six) while grabbing a game-high three steals.

Going Postal
The first week of play featured two dominant post players on opposing teams and Loyola's senior post player Kaitlin Grant making big contributions. Grant put in two double-digit performances with 19 points at La Salle and 16 against Army. The defense of Grant, Erica DiClemente and Meredith Tolley nearly shut down post players Morgan Robertson (La Salle) and Erin Anthony (Army), limiting the two players to little more than free throws. Backup post player, freshman Alyssa Sutherland, also stepped up with four big steals in the second half against Army.

Grant Gets Preseason Nod
Kaitlin Grant was named preseason all-conference at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference media day in New York, N.Y., last week. Grant was nominated to the conference's third team. Grant has played in all of Loyola's 90 games over the past three seasons and was last year's team MVP. The senior forward averaged 11.2 points per game and led Loyola with 8.1 rebounds per game and 55 steals and was second on the team with 97 assists. One of the MAAC's top rebounders last season, Grant had seven double-doubles and her team-high .486 field-goal percentage was fourth in the MAAC.

Lucky No. 7
The Greyhounds were picked seventh in the coaches' poll during last months' Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference media day, in New York, N.Y. Loyola received a total of 49 points in the poll. With 100 points, four-time defending champion Marist was unanimously picked as the conference's champs for the upcoming season and the Red Foxes' Rachele Fitz was touted as the preseason Player of the Year choice. Fitz has taken top honors in the MAAC the past two seasons and was named Rookie of the Year after her freshman season. Iona received 90 points and was the unanimous second place pick.