Dec. 17, 2009
Baltimore, Md. -
This Week: UMBC
UMBC Retrievers (4-4 overall, 0-0 America East)
Loyola Greyhounds (3-5 overall, 0-0 MAAC)
When: Sunday, December 20
Where: Reitz Arena
Time: 2 p.m.
After closing out a six-game road stretch with losses to Towson and No. 18/25 Maryland, the ladies broke for exams. The Greyhounds will host local rival UMBC this weekend at Reitz Arena in their first home game since the home-opener against Army back on Nov. 15. Loyola is currently 1-0 at Reitz Arena this season after a second-half run led to a convincing 63-48 win over the Black Knights.
Tigers and Terps
Towson rallied from a 14-point deficit at the Towson Center Dec. 3, to come from behind and defeat the Greyhounds in a last-second thriller. The Tigers' Simona Petronyte netted an awkward three-pointer with just five seconds left to take a 65-68 lead. Kathleen Excellent knocked down a free throw to put the Greyhounds down by just two, but after a foul against Alyssa Sutherland with just a second left, Loyola was left without enough time to tie it up.
A few days later in College Park, Loyola played then-No. 22-ranked Maryland close through most of the game. But the Terrapins' Tianna Hawkins and Diandra Tchatchouang took off and the Greyhounds were unable to contain the two forwards. Devon Carey matched her career-high of 11 points to lead the team.
Scouting the Retrievers
UMBC is a strong offensive team. Coming into the game, the Retrievers are averaging nearly 70 points per game (68.0). However, the defense is shaky, allowing nearly the same. Three of UMBC's four wins have been by just a handful of points while all four losses have all been by a margin of a least nine points. The team is strong from the field, with most players shooting well over .400, and good from beyond the arc though less accurate. While guards Michelle Kurowski and Carlee Cassidy are the only two starters averaging more than 10 points per game the Retrievers boast two players averaging double-digits off the bench.
The Greyhounds have historically had success when facing their fellow canine foe, leading the all-time series 21-10 since the second season of the program in 1972. Loyola comes into the contest having won the last two meetings.
Senior forward Kaitlin Grant's 12 steals against Mount St. Mary's 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.
Miriam McKenze 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.
Sutherland Steals the Show
In limited action off the bench, freshman forward Alyssa Sutherland has managed 10 takeaways, the second-most on the team behind Kaitlin Grant's 24. 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.
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.
The Greyhounds added two new freshmen to the mix this season. Katie Sheahin and Alyssa Sutherland come to Evergreen after standout prep careers. Sheahin, a guard out of nearby Brookeville, was a decorated player at Our Lady of Good Counsel. During her time with the Falcons, Sheahin was named Team MVP and helped her team to a 2005-2006 WCAC Championship and a No. 1 final ranking by the Washington Post. Sutherland, a forward, was a three-sport athlete at West Genesee High School in Syracuse, N.Y., and set the school's all-time scoring record. Both come from athletic backgrounds. Sutherland's mother played soccer at LeMoyne College and her father was an All-American wrestler at Buffalo. Sheahin's father played football for Ole' Miss and her two older brothers currently play football at Salisbury and Towson.