(New Orleans, La.) The Loyola University New Orleans women’s basketball team allowed a six-point lead at the end of the first half to slip away as they fell to Belhaven University, 69-65 in The Den Thursday evening.
The Wolf Pack (14-9, 8-5 SSAC) had three players in double figures. Freshman Kylah Jones paved the way for the Pack with 18 points and four steals. Senior Jasmine Brewer turned in 12 points and collected seven rebounds. Junior Megan Whittaker tallied 11 points and four boards. Additionally, freshman Meghan Temple matched her career-high 10 rebounds.
The Blazers (10-13, 4-9 SSAC) converted just one for four from the free throw line in the first half and 10 for 15 in the second, but Belhaven outhustled Loyola on the boards 50-39 and the Pack could not get many of their shots to fall in the final 20 minutes of the contest.
Loyola entered the second half with a 35-29 lead. Their advantage did not last long however as the Blazers recorded the first eight points of the half, holding their opponent scoreless through the first seven minutes of the half. Brewer knotted the game at 37 with a field goal and put the Pack up by one as she completed a three-point play with 12:40 to go, but Loyola could not hang on to the lead as freshman Ariel Wilson nailed a Belhaven three to earn the Blazers a one-point lead. Jones responded with two points to tie it up at 40, but Belhaven freshman Candler Gregory buried a three to put the visitor’s up by three.
Following another tie at 45, Brewer sunk a two-point shot to put the Pack up by two at the 12:26 mark. Whittaker attempted to start a rally and tallied two of her own on the next scoring play, but Wilson answered with a field goal and Belhaven junior Kayla Campora scored from long distance to silence the Loyola offense. The Blazers stretched their lead to three, 52-49, when Wilson added another field goal with 8:42 remaining.
Jones managed to tie the game at 54 when she completed the back side of a bonus free throw. Senior Erika LeFlore tallied a miss and a make at the free throw line to recapture the Belhaven lead, but Jones hustled down the floor on the next Loyola possession to complete a layup and hand Loyola a one-point edge. The Loyola lead did not last long however as Wilson bucketed two more points and the Pack did not lead for the rest of the game.
The Blazers pulled ahead by five with 48 seconds remaining, but the Pack managed to reduce the deficit down to one when Jones turned in a field goal with 32 seconds to play. From that point on, Loyola was forced to foul, sending junior Kenya Wright and Wilson to the line where they netted a combined three points to secure the win.
Wilson finished the night with a team-leading 22 points and seven boards. LeFlore boosted the Blazers on both sides of the ball, notching 12 points and grabbing 16 rebounds to secure the double-double. Junior TaShayla Steede chipped in with 10 points and six boards.
Falling behind by six points with 10:42 left in the first, the Wolf Pack bounced back, scoring five straight to make it a one-point game. The Blazers battled back, leading by four following a three-pointer from Wright with less than six minutes in the half, but back-to-back scoring plays from Temple and Jones made it 22 all with 5:14 on the clock. The Wolf Pack reached a seven-point lead, their largest edge of the game, following a Whittaker shot from downtown with three minutes to go before the break. They closed the half at a six-point advantage.
The Wolf Pack hits the road to Pulaski, Tenn. on Saturday, Feb. 8 for a 2 p.m. tilt with #21 Martin Methodist College.