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Marist, Niagara And Women In Sports Day On Tap For Weekend

Feb. 18, 2010

Up Next: Marist and Niagara

Marist Red Foxes (20-6 overall, 12-2 MAAC)
Loyola Greyhounds (11-14 overall, 6-8 MAAC)
When: Friday, February 19
Where: Reitz Arena
Time: 7 p.m.

Niagara Purple Eagles (11-14 overall, 8-4 MAAC)
Loyola Greyhounds (11-14 overall, 6-8 MAAC)
When: Sunday, February 21
Where: Reitz Arena
Time: 12 p.m.

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Starting Off
Loyola's tough Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference week continues with top-seeded Marist, Friday night. Sunday, the Greyhounds will take on the MAAC's hottest team when they play Niagara, on Women in Sports Day.

WISD
Loyola athletics will hold its annual Women in Sports Day (WISD) on Sunday, Feb. 21, in conjunction with the Loyola-Niagara game at noon. Athletes from Loyola's nine varsity women's sports will be on hand to conduct campus tours and participate in activities with kids from the Baltimore area that help promote participation in sports and celebrate the accomplishments of female athletes. The game will also be Loyola's "Pack the House" game.

Last Time Out
Loyola battled Iona from buzzer-to-buzzer Wednesday afternoon at Reitz Arena, falling to Iona in the final seconds of the game, 71-70. The Greyhounds jumped out with a 10-point lead in the first half, but Iona battled back, erasing the deficit and overtaking Loyola right before halftime. Five points was the largest lead of the second half, but Iona took one final lead in the last minute of the game and never looked back. Erica DiClemente and Miriam McKenzie both had 19 points, and Katie Sheahin tied her career-high of 15. Alyssa Sutherland and Kaitlin Grant each added in six.

The Red Foxes: Take Two
While Marist has continued its reign over the MAAC this season, the Red Foxes recently showed that they are not infallible. Niagara began a torrid five-game stretch with a 69-59 win that ended Marist's 13-game winning streak on Jan. 31. Two games later, they were edged by Fairfield in Bridgeport, Conn., 61-60. However, the six-time defending MAAC champs have made the case to continue their reign this season with forward Rachele Fitz and guards Erica Allenspach and Corielle Yarde. Fitz, the two-time MAAC Player of the Year, is the conference's leading-scorer, averaging 17.7 points per game, and Yarde and Allenspach are each averaging nearly 15 points per game. Each brings a lot to the table. Fitz can do it all: She leads the MAAC in field goal percentage (57.0), free throw percentage (86.5), and is fourth in rebounds (8.1 per game). Allenspach leads the conference in threes, connecting on 45 percent, and leads her team in steals with 43 (1.8 per game). Yarde's 86.4 percent free throw clip is second in the MAAC and her 22 blocked shots are 12th in the conference and first on the team.

Last Time Against the Red Foxes: Marist 63, Loyola 60
Two games before Niagara put a mark on the Red Foxes' then-unblemished conference record, Loyola nearly had the upset. On Jan. 24, at the McCann Center in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., the Greyhounds kept the game close in the first half, but allowed Marist to pull away and go up by 14 points in the second. However, in the final two minutes of the game, Loyola erased the deficit and held the Red Foxes to just three points. Erica DiClemente and Miriam McKenzie combined for 14 points to bring the `Hounds to within just three points of tying. Rachele Fitz uncharacteristically missed to free throws with 16 seconds left, leaving the door open for Loyola to tie. But McKenzie's three-point opportunity at the buzzer sailed low, and Loyola fell 63-60. McKenzie and DiClemente scored 20 and 19, providing nearly one third of the `Hounds points. The two guards also led Loyola on the boards, with McKenzie pulling down eight and DiClemente grabbing nine. McKenzie also had game-high numbers in steals (three) and assists (six).

The Series
In 38 meetings, the Red Foxes lead the all-time series 25-14. Marist has now won the last six meetings in a row.

Winter Wonderland
Loyola's basketball doubleheader that was scheduled for Friday, Feb. 12, was rescheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 17. The women were slated to face Iona and the men were to follow with a game against Saint Peter's but both games were postponed after the Mid-Atlantic region was hit with back-to-back winter storms. The two blizzards brought record-breaking snowfalls, totaling upwards of 40 inches in some areas of Maryland and Virginia, and forced the mayor to shut down the entire city of Baltimore for a day.

McKenzie makes it Happen
Miriam McKenzie has amassed a streak of 11 double-digit scoring games. McKenzie, who is currently the conference's second-leading scorer with 17.2 points per game has scored 20 or more points nine times this season and has had 19 points four 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 17.8 points per game leads the conference and her 8.3 rebounds per game is sixth.

DiClemente goes the Distance
Erica DiClemente has played a big role in Loyola's wins. In the `Hounds nine wins, DiClemente has averaged 12.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game and 8.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in Loyola's losses. Just one season removed from ACL surgery, the tireless guard leads the Greyhounds in minutes played with 854 (34.2 per game) and has played a career- and team-high 40 minutes in three games this season. Four times this season, she has matched her career-high of 19 points and pulled down 13 boards at Fairfield Jan. 5.

Comeback Kids
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.

Winning Ways
Loyola's loss to Canisius on Jan. 18, snapped a three game winning streak that saw the `Hounds averaging 69 points per game and winning by an average margin of 13.7 points per game.

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 on Jan. 3, 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.

Stolen Goods
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.

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.

Jesuit Basketball Spotlight
Loyola is now 3-4 in Jesuit Basketball Spotlight games after their 72-71 overtime defeat of Canisius. The Jesuit Basketball Spotlight project highlights more than 90 games this season between men 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.