(New Orleans, La.) The Loyola University New Orleans women’s basketball team pieced together a strong second half and topped William Carey University 61-44 in The Den Saturday afternoon to earn their seventh win out of their last eight contests.
Following a road win over #23 Mobile, the Wolf Pack (13-7, 7-3 SSAC) returned home to secure a victory over the Crusaders (4-9, 3-7 SSAC) and knot the all-time series with William Carey at 18. Senior Jasmine Brewer and freshman Kylah Jones tallied 16 points apiece and combined for seven rebounds with Brewer collecting a team-high five boards. Brewer has reached points in double figures in Loyola’s last 12 match ups. Jones had a stellar shooting game, going four-for-four from the field, two-for-two from three-point range and nailing six of seven free throws. Junior Megan Whittaker was solid from long distance, racking up 12 points from behind the arc.
Loyola struggled in the first half, committing 14 turnovers and shooting just 45% from the field. Although the Crusaders led for the majority of the first, the Wolf Pack rallied at the end of the half and entered the locker room with a 31-20 advantage. The Crusaders hoped to strike back quickly and opened scoring in the second half with a field goal from junior Ciera Sibley, but Brewer responded with a free throw to boost the Loyola lead back up to double digits. Back-to-back threes from Whittaker ignited the Wolf Pack offense as they went up 38-25 with 15:25 to go.
Jones sunk two foul shots in the middle of the half which sparked a six-point run for Loyola as they eased to a 19-point advantage, their largest lead of the game. Brewer capped the run with two free throws to make it a 46-27 game at the 9:17 mark.
A foul called on Loyola sophomore Shayne Charles with less than five minutes to play sent Sibley to the line where she completed both bonus free throws. Freshman Jackie Anderson turned the ball over on Loyola’s next possession, creating a steal opportunity for William Carey junior Tisa Smith who set up a senior Haleigh Arcement field goal to reduce the Loyola lead to 11 at 49-38 with 4:29 on the clock. Loyola showed no signs of waivering however as Whittaker bucketed a timely three and the Pack went on a five-point run to stifle the Crusaders’ offensive surge.
The Wolf Pack led by 19 once more as freshman Caroline Gonzalez notched a three off the bench with less than a minute to play. Smith closed the game with a two-pointer for the Crusaders, but Loyola ended the night with the conference win.
Jones led the Pack with 12 points in the first half while Sibley steadied the Crusaders with eight. William Carey attempted 34 shots from the field as Loyola managed to take just 20, however the Crusaders only sunk 29.4% of their two-point shots and remained scoreless from long distance and from the free throw line through the first 20 minutes of the game. The Wolf Pack found themselves down by five with 12:43 in the first, having already committed six turnovers. They trailed William Carey through most of the first half until Jones netted a three-pointer to bring the Pack up 22-20 at 3:09. The bucket started an 11-point stretch for the Pack that extended to the end of the first half as they held the Crusaders to 20 at the break.
Sibley turned in an all-around performance for the Crusaders, leading her squad with 16 points and eight rebounds. Arcement contributed 10 points while Smith added eight points and tossed in four assists.
The Wolf Pack will seek their next victory on the road as they head to Spring Hill College on Thursday, Jan. 30 for a 5:30 p.m. tipoff.