Women's Basketball Holds Off Norfolk State For 61-58 Road Win
NORFOLK, Va. -
Molly Taylor hit a 3-pointer from the corner to put the Loyola University Maryland women’s basketball team ahead of Norfolk State with 17 seconds to go, before Stephanie Karcz’s steal and Alexis Gray’s free throws sealed the Greyhounds’ 61-58 win over the Spartans Tuesday afternoon at Joseph Echols Hall.
Gray scored 14 of her career- and game-high 21 points in the third quarter, erasing a one-point halftime deficit and giving the Greyhounds (2-3 overall) a 52-42 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
The Spartans (1-2) limited Loyola to just two free throws throughout the first seven minutes of the final period, as they worked to get back into the game, tying the score at 54, before taking a 55-54 lead with 3:21 on the clock. Gray’s jumper at 2:37 regained the lead for Loyola, but Norfolk State drained a 3-pointer to pull ahead 58-56 with 1:09 to play.
Gray missed her long-range opportunity to put the Greyhounds back in the lead after that, but Taylor blocked the Spartans’ layup and Karcz stole the ball from Norfolk State, setting up Taylor’s 3-pointer in the corner. Karcz again picked the Spartans’ pocket on their next possession, with eight seconds to go, putting Norfolk State in a situation to need to foul, as they were down by one with five seconds to play. The Spartans sent Gray to the charity stripe, where she sunk both attempts, giving the Greyhounds a three-point advantage, 61-58.
Norfolk State missed its desperation jumper as time expired and Karcz grabbed the rebound to secure the victory for Loyola.
In addition to Gray’s third-quarter heroics, Karcz paced the Greyhounds with a double-double through the first half, finishing the first two quarters with 10 points and 11 of Loyola’s 15 rebounds. She started her scoring after Norfolk State’s first basket, tying the game for the first of six times throughout the first period.
Gray’s 3-pointer to open the second quarter gave Loyola a three-point advantage, 15-12, marking the largest spread for either team at that point. Courtney Vannoy then hit a jumper following a pair of free throws by the Spartans to maintain the three-point lead, but a 7-0 run for Norfolk State pushed the home team ahead, 21-17.
CaLee Gelbaugh’s free throws pulled Loyola within one at the 6:46 mark of the second quarter, but back-to-back 3-pointers by the Spartans gave them their largest lead, a seven-point spread at 27-20.
Norfolk State answered Vannoy’s free throws with another basket at the 2:29 mark, but Karcz and Vannoy combined to score the final six points of the half to bring Loyola within one, 29-28, at the halftime break.
In addition to Gray’s 21 points, Karcz led all players with a career-high 17 rebounds, eight steals and six assists. The sophomore also chipped in 16 points to mark her first double-double of the season and the sixth of her career.
Vannoy rounded out Loyola’s scoring leaders, as she reached double figures in scoring for the first time in her career, finishing with 10 points.
Kayla Roberts led Norfolk State with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Loyola will return to Virginia on Saturday when it faces William & Mary at 3 p.m.