Feb. 16, 2010
Up Next: Iona and Marist
Iona Gaels (13-10 overall, 9-3 MAAC)
Loyola Greyhounds (9-11 overall, 4-6 MAAC)
When: Wednesday, February 17
Where: Reitz Arena
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Marist Red Foxes (19-6 overall, 11-2 MAAC)
Loyola Greyhounds (9-11 overall, 4-6 MAAC)
When: Friday, February 19
Where: Reitz Arena
Time: 7 p.m.
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The Greyhounds will face three of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference's top four teams this week during a three-game home stand. Loyola will play second-place Iona, first-place Marist and fourth-place Niagara in a span of just five days, starting Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., with the Gaels.
Loyola's basketball doubleheader that was scheduled for Friday, Feb. 12, has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 17. The women were slated to face Iona and the men were to follow with a game against Saint Peter's but both games were postponed after the Mid-Atlantic region was hit with back-to-back winter storms. The two blizzards brought record-breaking snowfalls, totaling upwards of 50 inches in some areas of Maryland and Virginia, and forced the mayor to shut down the entire city of Baltimore for a day.
Last Time Out
Loyola never trailed Sunday, in Lawrenceville, N.J., as the 'Hounds defeated Rider 68-65. The Greyhounds fought off two furious rallies, holding on to narrowly edge the Broncs. Rider nearly tied the game late in the first half, and three times in the second the Broncs came to within two points of tying. But Miriam McKenzie and Katie Sheahin combined to make eight free throws in the final minute to effectively stop the Broncs cold. McKenzie recorded a double-double, her eighth of the season, with 18 points and 10 rebounds, leading a balanced Loyola attack. Kaitlin Grant and Erica DiClemente scored 13 points each, and Devon Carey finished one point off of her career-high with 10. Katie Sheahin filled out the stat sheet with nine points, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
The Gaels: Take Two
There's no getting around the fact that Iona is a strong, deep team. Defense is the Gaels' strength, and they press extremely hard from start to finish. Iona's two leading scorers, guard Thazina Cook and center Anna McClean, are averaging nearly eight rebounds per game each. McClean and forward Anda Ivcovic defend well down low, and the duo are arguably the best post combination in the MAAC. However, the Gaels defend in the paint much better than from mid-range and three-point distance, and the Greyhounds were able to beat them back in January with an efficient outside game. Point guard Suzi Fregosi is very quick and athletic and distributes very well. Fregosi's five assists per game is tied for first in the conference with Manhattan's Michelle Pacheco and her 119 total assists is second behind Pacheco's 124. She's also a threat from the field, shooting .415 - third on the team and second amongst the starting five. Veteran swingman Catherine Lutz and freshman guard Diana Hubbard give Iona viable options off the bench as well.
Last Time Against the Gaels: Loyola 71, Iona 59
The Gaels suffered recent losses to Marist and Siena, but until then, the Jan. 3 loss in New Rochelle, N.Y., to Loyola was the only blemish on Iona's conference record. Loyola shot 56.7 percent in the first half to jump out to a 42-34 halftime lead. The Greyhounds dominated in the second half, going up by as much as 17 points in the middle of the half. Loyola's starting guards controlled the game. Miriam McKenzie scored 20, pulled down seven boards and had a career-high seven assists. Erica DiClemente turned in 12 points, eight rebounds and two assists and point guard Devon Carey added in 12 points and four assists.
This will be the 48th meeting between the two opponents. Loyola holds the edge in the all-time series, leading 31-16 after winning the last meeting.
Snapping the Streak
Loyola's win over Iona snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Gaels. The streak was the longest losing streak against any MAAC Opponent and was the first win over Iona since January 25, 2007.
McKenzie makes it Happen
Miriam McKenzie has amassed a streak of 10 double-digit scoring games. McKenzie, who is currently the conference's second-leading scorer with 17.1 points per game, has scored 20 or more points nine times this season and has had 19 points three times. The sophomore guard out of Columbia, Md., also leads the 'Hounds with eight double-doubles. So far this season, McKenzie has been named MAAC Player of the Week once and to the Jesuit Basketball Spotlight's honor roll twice. In MAAC play, McKenzie's 17.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game leads the conference.
DiClemente goes the Distance
Erica DiClemente has played a big role in Loyola's wins. In the 'Hounds nine wins, DiClemente has averaged 12.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game but just 8.1 points in Loyola's losses. Miriam McKenzie is the only player averaging double-digit points in both wins and losses. However, the redshirt junior guard leads the Greyhounds in minutes played with 816 (34.0 per game) and has played a career- and team-high 40 minutes in three games this season.
Loyola has overcome double-digit deficits of 18, 14 and 13 points this season, but won only one of those games. Early in the season, the 'Hounds overcame an 18-point halftime deficit at Mount Saint Mary's, and went on to record a dramatic last-minute 48-45 victory. The 'Hounds overcame a 13-point Canisius lead at home on Jan. 18, and at Marist the following weekend, Loyola managed a 16-point rally in a span of just two minutes but fell short by three points in the final seconds of play.
Loyola's loss to Canisius on Jan. 18, snapped a three game winning streak that saw the 'Hounds averaging 69 points per game and winning by an average margin of 13.7 points per game.
History Didn't Repeat Itself
There have been just three Loyola wins at Saint Peter's Yanitelli Center in program history, with the most recent being a 69-59 victory Jan. 10. It was the first time in three seasons and the second win in Jersey City since 1994.
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.
Glessner Scores for Gimle
Former Greyhound Jill Glessner recently finished out 2009 as the top scorer in the Norwegian Kvinnligaen league. Glessner, a guard out of Mechanicsville, Pa., who played at Loyola from 2003-2007, averaged 22.1 points per game and helped lead her team, Gimle, to a first-place, 7-1 record. Last year, Glessner led the English Basketball League in scoring and was named Import Player of the Year.
Jesuit Basketball Spotlight
Loyola is now 3-4 in Jesuit Basketball Spotlight games after their 72-71 overtime defeat of Canisius. The Jesuit Basketball Spotlight project highlights more than 90 games this season between men 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.
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 48.6 percent field-goal clip 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.