(New Orleans, La.) The Loyola University New Orleans women’s basketball team managed to pull together a second half rally in the final minutes of play versus the College of Coastal Georgia, but couldn’t hit a game-tying three to force overtime as the Pack fell to the Mariners 72-75 in The Den Friday evening.
Loyola (3-3, 1-2 SSAC) began to chip away at a significant Coastal Georgia (7-0, 3-0 SSAC) lead late in the second half. Junior Rebekah Greer got the ball rolling with a steal, setting up junior Janeicia Neely for a fastbreak layup to put the Pack within seven points, forcing a Mariners timeout with 10:38 to go. Coastal Georgia regained composure to produce back-to-back scoring plays and pull ahead by twelve. A field goal from senior Jasmine Brewer with 8:13 to play sparked a rally for the Pack, cutting the Mariners lead back down to single digits at 67-58.
Following a blocked shot by freshman Meghan Temple and a steal by freshman Kylah Jones, the Wolf Pack took off on an eight-point run, putting the Pack within one with a score of 66-67 at the 3:09 mark. The Mariners pushed back with a six point surge, but a three-point shot from Neely quickly cut the Pack deficit down to four with a minute to go. A Coastal Georgia turnover put the ball into the hands of Jones who was fouled by freshman Gianna Vastola en route to the hoop. Jones went one for one from the line to bring Loyola within three points of tying the game. Greer fouled junior Olivia Melvin who notched two double bonus free throws with 20 seconds left. Jones drove to the basket to put up a quick two points, leaving the Pack down by three with 14 seconds on the clock, but junior Megan Whittaker’s final three-point shot would be blocked by senior Janele Tucker, giving the Mariners the 75-72 win.
In the first half, Coastal Georgia traded points with Loyola for the first 12 minutes of play until the Mariners took off on an eleven point stretch, earning their first double digit lead at 33-20 with 8:06 on the clock as sophomore Janne Tullius sunk the second of two free throws. The end of the first was plagued by foul trouble and turnovers for the Pack, preventing them from closing the gap. Loyola committed five turnovers in comparison to forcing just one from Coastal Georgia, allowing the Mariners to coast to a 46-34 advantage to end the first 20 minutes of play. Whittaker led the offensive effort in the first half with six points while senior Madel Madden tallied 15 for the Mariners.
Whittaker ended the night with a team high 13 points for the Wolf Pack, going four for nine from the field and two for two from the foul line. Neely and Brewer joined her in double digits with 11 and 12 points respectively. Freshman Meghan Temple chipped in with seven points and dominated the glass, collecting 10 rebounds. Neely, Brewer and freshman Caroline Gonzalez split the second best rebounding effort with four apiece.
Madel led the Mariners with 18 points and eight assists. Tucker and senior Krysta Lewis recorded 14 points each, while Vastola and Melvin both added 10. Additionally, Tucker posted eight rebounds.
The women’s team will be back in action tomorrow as they take on Southern Polytechnic State University at 3 p.m. in The Den.