Feb. 8, 2010
Up Next: Niagara and IonaNiagara Purple Eagles (9-13 overall, 6-5 MAAC)
Loyola Greyhounds (10-12 overall, 5-6 MAAC)
When: Monday, February 8
Where: Gallagher Center (Niagara University, N.Y.)
Time: 7 p.m.
Iona Gaels (13-10 overall, 9-3 MAAC)
Loyola Greyhounds (10-12 overall, 5-6 MAAC)
When: Friday, February 12
Where: Reitz Arena
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Loyola snapped a four-game losing streak Saturday with a 72-71 overtime win at Canisius. The Western New York road swing continues tonight with a 7 p.m., Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference contest at Niagara.
Last Time Out
The Greyhounds held on Saturday afternoon to win their first overtime game of the season at Canisius. With just five seconds left, Kaitlin Grant grabbed a diving pass from Miriam McKenzie and laid it in past a diving Ellie Radke to secure the 72-71 victory.
It was a tough, hard-earned victory, as the Griffs aggressively rallied to come back from a 14-point deficit and take a second-half lead. Canisius dominated possessions in the second half by crashing the boards hard, giving the Greyhounds few chances to hold off the attack.
Canisius tied the game twice in the final four minutes, and took a 58-56 lead before a layup by Alyssa Sutherland tied it up again. Two free throws by Brittane Russell with 17 seconds left in regulation sent the game into overtime.
McKenzie and Grant both finished with double-doubles, with McKenzie scoring 20 points and 10 rebounds and Grant getting 16 points and 10 rebounds. Merdith Tolley and Erica DiClemente rounded out the order for Loyola with 12 and 10 points each.
Scouting the Purple Eagles
Niagara has gone from conference cellar-dwellers to one of the MAAC's hottest teams after upsetting Marist last Sunday at home. The Purple Eagles, who opened the regular season on a six-game losing streak and conference play on a four-game losing streak, are now 6-5 and tied for third place in the MAAC after winning their last four straight. The win against the Red Foxes last weekend halted a 13-game winning streak, which was the longest in the nation. The Eagles were led by reserve forward Jaclyn Konieczka -- who has averaged just 4.6 points in 18 minutes per game this season -- who scored a career- and game-high 21 points and pulled down six rebounds, and freshman guard Kayla Stroman, whose 15 points, five rebounds, eight assists and two steals led her to a MAAC Rookie of the Week award.
The hot streak started with a 65-63 overtime win over Siena last Friday, and continued with wins over Marist and rival Canisius. Saturday, the Eagles dealt Rider a convincing 68-56 loss. All four wins came at home, and Niagara is 6-6 this season at the Gallagher Center.
Stroman has been strong for the Eagles in freshman campaign, leading the team with 44 steals and 96 assists, and averaging 8.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. But Niagara has been primarily led by veterans Liz Flooks (13.5 points and five rebounds per game) and Jen McNamee (11.3 points per game).
This will be the 42nd meeting all-time between the two teams. Niagara currently leads the series 28-11 and won the last meeting 70-65, in Niagara University N.Y.
McKenzie makes it Happen
Miriam McKenzie has scored 20 or more points 10 times this season and has had 19 points three times. The sophomore guard out of Columbia, Md., also leads the `Hounds with seven double-doubles. So far this season, McKenzie has been named MAAC Player of the Week once and to the Jesuit Basketball Spotlight's honor roll twice. In MAAC play, McKenzie's 17.4 points per MAAC game leads the conference and her overall average of 17.1 points per game is second in the MAAC.
Loyola's Feb. 6, overtime win at Canisius snapped a five-game losing streak that began at home against Canisius on Jan. 18. But four of the five losses came by just a handful of points in the final minutes of play and the `Hounds only lost by an average margin of 4.5 points.
DiClemente goes the Distance
Erica DiClemente has played a big role in Loyola's wins. In the `Hounds nine wins, DiClemente has averaged 12.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game but just 8.2 points in Loyola's losses. Miriam McKenzie is the only player averaging double-digit points in both wins and losses. However, the redshirt junior guard leads the Greyhounds in minutes played with 749 (34 per game) and has played a career- and team-high 40 minutes in three games this season.
Loyola has overcome double-digit deficits of 18, 14 and 13 points this season, but won only one of those games. Early in the season, the `Hounds overcame an 18-point halftime deficit at Mount Saint Mary's, and went on to record a dramatic last-minute 48-45 victory. The `Hounds overcame a 13-point Canisius lead at home on Jan. 18, and at Marist the following weekend, Loyola managed a 16-point rally in a span of just two minutes but fell short by three points in the final seconds of play.
Glessner Scores for Gimle
Former Greyhound Jill Glessner recently finished out 2009 as the top scorer in the Norwegian Kvinnligaen league. Glessner, a guard out of Mechanicsville, Pa., who played at Loyola from 2003-2007, averaged 22.1 points per game and helped lead her team, Gimle, to a first-place, 7-1 record. Last year, Glessner led the English Basketball League in scoring and was named Import Player of the Year.
Loyola opened MAAC play this season by winning four of the first five games and going on a three-game winning streak. The `Hounds avered 69 points per game and won by an average margin of 13.7 points per game during the streak.
History Didn't Repeat Itself
There have been just three Loyola wins at Saint Peter's Yanitelli Center in program history, with the most recent being a 69-59 victory Jan. 10. It was the first time in three seasons and the second win in Jersey City since 1994.
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.
Senior forward Kaitlin Grant's 12 steals against the Mount 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.
Jesuit Basketball Spotlight
Loyola is currently 3-3 in Jesuit Spotlight games after an overtime win at Canisius Saturday, Feb. 6. 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.
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 48.6 percent field-goal clip 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.
Loyola is once again participating in the Pink Zone Initiative in order to help gain awareness and find a cure for breast cancer. Proceeds will be donated to the Kay Yow/WBCA Breast Cancer Fund. Buy your Pink Zone raffle tickets at the Loyola University box office.