Survive and advance: Women’s basketball wins against Loyola and looks to American

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Members of the women’s basketball team take on the Loyola Greyhounds.[Photos by Hana Isihara ‘17]

Matthew Barrett

After defeating Loyola in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament, the women’s basketball team will look to avenge both regular season losses against the top seeded American Eagles tonight on their home court.

The game against American should pose as a challenge for the team. Recently, two American players—Jen Dumiak and Shaquilla Curtis—were awarded both Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the Patriot League. Their coach, Megan Gebbia, was awarded Coach of the Year. Their high-octane offense averages 63.4 points per game and their defense allows just 53.3 points per game.

The Leopards lost to Eagles by margins of 16 and 19 points during the regular season.

“We’re going to have to make our shots and make some stops, that’s for sure,” head coach Dianne Nolan said. “There a team where you can’t have empty possessions. We’ll have a game plan in place for them. You got to play good teams to get to a championship and this is the next hurdle. We know what they can do and we know what we’re capable of doing. We haven’t played our A game against them and we’re ready to do that…They’re waiting for us and we’ve got one under our belt.”

That game under the team’s belt was a 12-point victory by Lafayette against Loyola last Wednesday.

The first half of the game was a back and forth between both teams with four lead changes. Despite senior Emily Homan’s three fouls and not scoring, Lafayette still had a five point lead at halftime. Loyola hit a half court desperation heave as time expired at the end of the half, making the score 29-24.

The Leopards never turned back after halftime, holding the lead for the entire second half.

“You kind of just don’t even talk about it [on the buzzer beater] and play on,” said Nolan. “We knew we were going to go to more zone in the second half, because we felt that they were going to attack right away both Emily and Ashley. We talked about being patient on offense, and setting screens and positioning down low to really set ourselves. I thought Emily did a really good job in the second half of getting her feet set and looked focused on the block. Ashley did a great job of spacing out and getting some shots off.”

The game ran away from the Greyhounds when the Leopards took a 14-point lead with 12:56 left. Loyola only cut the deficit to just eight points after that. Leading the way for the team was sophomore forward Ashley Lutz, who recorded a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Junior Jamie O’Hare added 16 points, four rebounds and four assists. Senior Linnel Macklin also scored in the double figures with 12 points.

The Lady Leopards were coming off back-to-back loses to close out the season at both Colgate and Army. Against Colgate, guard Jamie O’Hare led the Leopards with 11 points and senior Maddie Peabody led the way with 10 rebounds. Just three days after the loss to the Red Raiders, the team took to the court against Army and lost again by a margin of 13 points. Seniors Emily Homan and Linnel Macklin each added 12 points for the Leopards.

But the win against Loyola Wednesday night comes as nothing new for the Lady Leopards—they defeated them twice in the regular season. Anything is possible in tonight’s game against American, a team that already has defeated Lafayette twice.