EVERGREEN EXTRAS - Freshmen Point Guards Take The Lead For Hoops Teams

Dec. 5, 2007

By Terence Foy Writer

Baltimore, Md. - Oddly, Loyola's men's and women's basketball teams are hitting their stride this season after jumping off from the same point.

Last year, freshman Brett Harvey took over the point-guard duties for Jimmy Patsos' squad and started all but one game. Injured during a summer basketball tour through Europe, Harvey was sidelined until October. Meanwhile, the women's team has said goodbye to seniors Brittany Dunn and Ebony Toliver, a combination that coach Joe Logan relied on to earn a spot in the MAAC Tournament semifinals.

So in come Brian Rudolph and Candice Walker, a pair of freshman who have held down the point guard spots for the Greyhounds thus far

Rudolph has started seven games for the `Hounds and is averaging nearly three assists in 22 minutes per game. He also has provided Loyola with a spark on two occasions, with his defensive presence in powering a comeback against American and with a big second half offensively against Drexel, a game in which he finished with a career-high 10 points.

"He brought us all the way back against Drexel," said Patsos, who likes the steadiness Rudolph brings to the court.

Rudolph comes to Loyola after spending a year at Bridgton Academy in Maine, where he prepared for college after initially committing to play at Providence. After he was named MVP of the New England Prep School League Tournament, Rudolph chose Loyola over Washington State and has made a fast transition into college life.

"I really like it here," he said. "I've tried really hard to meet as many of my classmates as I can, and all of the kids are really cool and laid back. It's my speed."

Walker, on the other hand, didn't have to travel nearly as far.

Graduating from Towson Catholic in June, she was around Loyola most of last winter as Logan's team was putting together an impressive season.

"I was really attracted to the coaching staff," Walker said of her reasons for coming to Loyola. "My head coach at AAU would tell me about Loyola, and I was really close with the point guards here last year. Still, we have a different identity from last year. We're trying to do more than they did last year."

Walker is no stranger to success. Together with Maryland guard Marah Strickland, she led her high school team to an appearance in USA Today's Super 25 rankings.

"She comes from a winning program," Logan said. "She loves to win and she hates to lose. We're not big on moral victories, and she helps keep wins all in perspective - she's got her eye on the big picture."

In seven games, Walker has averaged nearly eight points in helping the `Hounds jump out to a 4-3 record. Her goals are loftier, however, and after not turning the ball over in her first college game - a goal her coaches told her wasn't realistic - Walker's got the big picture all framed up.

And, just like Rudolph, she has plans to be at the focal point.