March 11, 2009
Injuries and personnel losses dampered what was a promising season, but the Loyola women’s basketball team emerged from the 2008-2009 campaign with a strong outlook for the future.
The Greyhounds won seven of their first nine games and eight of 11, but the loss of Erica DiClemente and Miriam McKenzie took its toll on the depth that Head Coach Joe Logan’s squad showed early on. Loyola finished the season with a 10-20 overall record, 4-14 in the conference, but the Greyhounds showed they will be a powerful team next season.
Despite their struggles late in the year, Loyola showed in two of its last three games that while seniors Siobhan Prior and Ashley Alexander will be missed, a host of returnees will buoy the team in 2009-2010.
The Greyhounds put on a stellar second-half performance in the MAAC Championships First Round against Manhattan to earn a victory and advance to the Quarterfinals where they eventually lost to Marist.
In that game, junior post Kaitlin Grant scored 24 points, matching her career-high, and pulled down 11 rebounds, while sophomore post Meredith Tolley had 13 points and seven boards against the Jaspers. That, combined with Candice Walker’s five assists and a steal, showed Loyola fans that the future remains bright.
Those three players lead a group of 11 players that will return next year and join first-year players Katie Sheahin and Alyssa Sutherland who signed National Letters of Intent in the fall.
Prior led the Greyhounds this season with a 12.8 points per game average, while Alexander returned from an early-season leg injury to average 8.0. Prior also became the first Loyola player to make 100 or more 3-pointers in her career since the Greyhounds joined the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in 1990.
While Alexander and Prior will be missed, a corps of returning players will be back next season. Grant was second on the team with an 11.2 points per game average, and she led the Greyhounds with 8.1 rebounds per game.
Tolley finished the second by averaging 9.2 points per game and led the team with a .339 percentage from 3-point range. Walker dished out 74 assists and scored 5.8 points per game. Erica DiClemente and Miriam McKenzie averaged 9.2 and 5.0 points per game, respectively, in limited early action.
Following are more terrific highlights from the 2008-2009 season:
- Prior became the first Loyola player since 1997-1998 to score 20 or more points five times during the season.
- Grant recorded three 20-plus point games, scoring her career-high 24 in two different games against Manhattan.
- Tolley and Alexander also crossed the 20-point threshold once each.
- Grant finished the year with seven double-doubles.
- The Greyhounds made 11 3-pointers in December at UMBC, the most by a Loyola team since joining the MAAC in 1990.
- The teams’ .594 field-goal percentage in back-to-back games against Manhattan and Rider was a new school record for shooting in a two-game stretch.
- Grant tied a school record with eight steals against Rider on January 16. She matched the 1990 mark set by Kiah Stokes against William and Mary and set a Loyola high in MAAC play.
- Grant finished fourth in the MAAC in field-goal percentage (.486), fifth in rebounds per game (8.1) and tied for fifth in steals per game (1.8).
- Alexander was fifth in the conference in free-throw percentage (.809).
- The Greyhounds set a school record in attendance, drawing 7,951 fans to their games.
- Loyola’s home attendance went up 23-percent from 2007-2008.
- The program raised over $1,500 for the WBCA/Kay Yow Cancer Fund through it’s Pink Zone program.