Dec. 27, 2009
This Week: Villanova's Wildcat Christmas Classic
Drexel Dragons (5-4 overall, 0-0 CAA)
Loyola Greyhounds (4-5 overall, 0-0 MAAC)
When: December 28
Where: The Pavillion (Villanova, Pa.)
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Villanova Wildcats (8-2 overall, 0-0 Big East)
San Francisco Dons (4-10 overall, 0-0 WCC)
Loyola Greyhounds (4-5 overall, 0-0 MAAC)
When: December 29
Where: The Pavillion (Villanova, Pa.)
Non-conference action will come to a close this week, as the Greyhounds play their final two games before beginning Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play after the new year. Loyola will travel up to Philadelphia for Villanova's Wildcat Christmas Classic, kicking things off Monday afternoon against Drexel. The team will then face either the host Wildcats or San Francisco.
DiClemente goes the Distance
Before breaking for the holidays, Loyola put in a solid 81-74 win over cross-town rival UMBC. The Greyhounds rolled out a balanced attack with just one player scoring less than seven points. Erica DiClemente posted a new career-high with a 19-point performance. DiClemente made 6-of-10 from the field and 7-of-8 from the line, surpassing her previous high of 16 set February 19, 2007, at Iona. The redshirt junior also matched her career-high rebound mark with eight and her two steals matched her season-high.
Loyola's 81 points was the most scored all season, and the Greyhounds' 48.1 percent effort from the field was the second-best mark this season and the best since opening with a 50 percent performance at La Salle.
Scouting the Dragons
Drexel has played just three games on the road so far this season and are currently 2-1 away from home, with the one loss coming to Maryland. The Dragons have a deep lineup with three players currently averaging more than 10 points per game and All-America candidate Gabriela Marginean averaging 21.1. The team is efficient offensively, averaging marks of .382, .328 and .816 from the field, the three and the line. However, the Dragons haven't kept up with rebounds. Drexel is averaging five less rebounds a game than its opponents and has been out-rebounded 329-284.
The two teams last met in 2007, when Loyola defeated Drexel 72-62 in the 07-08 season-opener at Reitz Arena.
Scouting the Wildcats
Villanova recently clinched the Big Five Championship with a win at La Salle. The 44-41 victory secured the sweep for the Wildcats, making them the outright winners of the Philadelphia title. The Wildcats have kept scores ultra-low during the current four-game win streak, not allowing an opponent to score more than 43 points. However, Villanova has kept the scores low on both ends, and have yet to top 70 points. Maria Getty and Laura Sweeny are the Wildcats' leading scorers, averaging 11.1 and 10.5 points per game but the team brings a balanced attack on offense and defense.
Loyola won the last meeting between the two teams, defeating the `Cats 49-47 Nov. 11, 2007.
Family Face Off
Senior guard Devon Carey may be guarding a familiar opponent this week, should Loyola play Villanova in the second round of the Wildcat Christmas Classic. Carey's younger sister Jesse is a freshman guard for the Wildcats. Loyola previously played another Carey as well, having played Columbia, where Devon's sister Brooke played, in 2006.
Jesuit Basketball Spotlight
Villanova's upcoming Wildcat Christmas Classic will feature a pair of Jesuit institutions, Loyola and San Francisco. Should the `Hounds face the Dons in `Nova's tournament, it will be the first Jesuit Basketball Spotlight game for Loyola this season. 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.
Scouting the Dons
San Francisco comes into the tournament riding a three-game losing streak, with the most recent loss coming at home to No. 4 Tennessee. The Dons fell to the top-ranked team 89-34 with Rheina Ale turning in a team-leading 11 points. Head coach Tanya Haave is a Tennessee product and played under head coach Pat Summit from 1980-84. Haave was inducted into the Volunteers Hall of Fame in 1995 after a standout career in which she helped the Lady Vols to three Final Four appearances. Ale does the bulk of the scoring for the Dons, bringing in an average of 14 points per game. Donnisha Taylor and Vania Singleterry play strong supporting roles on both offense and defense.
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.
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 15 takeaways, the second-most on the team behind Kaitlin Grant's 29. 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.