(New Orleans, La.) The Loyola University New Orleans women’s basketball team halted a second half rally and secured a 67-59 victory over the University of Mobile in The Den Thursday evening in a battle of two teams receiving votes in the latest NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll.
The Wolf Pack (16-9, 10-5 SSAC) scoring effort was spread across the board as three players turned in double figures. Junior Megan Whittaker and sophomore Shayne Charles paced the offense with 11 points each. Senior Jasmine Brewer contributed 10 points and matched freshman Meghan Temple’s team-best eight rebounds. Freshman Kylah Jones and junior Rebekah Greer combined for 18 points and five boards. Junior Janeicia Neely bucketed eight points and collected six assists.
Despite the Rams (16-7, 10-5 SSAC) outscoring Loyola 35-33 in the second half, the Wolf Pack held on in the last few minutes of the game to walk away with the win. Loyola entered the second half with a 10-point advantage and rolled to a 46-31 lead following a Whittaker three-point shot at the 15:43 mark. The Rams responded with a seven-point run, but were quickly silenced when Charles nailed a shot from behind the arc. Loyola pieced together a scoring streak of their own and capped a seven-point burst with a Brewer field goal to make it a 56-39 contest with 11:38 remaining.
Loyola captured their largest lead of the night at the conclusion of an eight-point burst when Brewer sunk the first of two free throws, securing a 19-point edge for the Wolf Pack with 5:36 to play. The relentless Rams offense showed no sign of backing down, however, and strung together nine straight points to reduce the Loyola lead to 10 as junior Cierra Anderson completed the backside of a double bonus free throw, marking the game at 64-54 with just over three minutes on the clock.
Mobile continued to chip away at the home team advantage and managed to cut the Loyola edge to six when freshman Kali Koenig put up a jumper for two, but three missed scoring opportunities and a costly turnover hurt the Rams and Mobile was forced to foul, sending Charles to the line for Loyola who went one-for-one. Mobile sent Brewer to the line with just five seconds left where the senior captain buried a free throw to seal the deal for the Wolf Pack and complete the 67-59 win.
The Rams earned the early edge in the first half, leading by seven within the first 4:51 of the contest. Loyola allowed Mobile to extend their lead to nine following a junior Jakela Johnson two-point shot, but Jones drove down the lane on Loyola’s next possession and fueled a 12-0 run for the Pack as Loyola stole the momentum from the visiting team. Sophomore Laura Beth Wright made an effort to put the Rams back on top and nailed a shot from long distance to bring Mobile within one with 6:12 in the half, but Loyola took off running toward the 10-point lead that ended the half and prevented Mobile from regaining the upper hand for the rest of the contest.
Senior Deonica McCormick steadied the Mobile offense with 14 points while Johnson and sophomore Molly Speed each tallied nine. Freshman Jammieca Hudson secured the glass, pulling down six boards for the Rams.
The Rams completed 10 of 16 from the free throw line as opposed to Loyola’s 12-for-22, but the Wolf Pack outshot the Rams from the field and from long range. Despite the Loyola offense being plagued by 23 turnovers, the Pack managed to out hustle the Rams on the glass, 51 to 36.
Loyola will travel to Hattiesburg, Miss. for their next contest where they will take on William Carey University on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 5 p.m.