(Jackson, Miss.) The Loyola University New Orleans women’s basketball team dropped a two-point decision to Belhaven University, 49-47 Thursday evening.
Freshman Kylah Jones and junior Megan Whittaker led the scoring effort for the Wolf Pack (19-10, 13-6 SSAC), posting 10 and 12 points respectively. Jones paced the offense with five assists. Freshman Jackie Anderson bucketed a career-high nine points. Senior Jasmine Brewer secured a team-best nine rebounds.
Loyola entered the second half with a 24-15 lead over the Blazers (14-15, 8-11 SSAC). The home team quickly cut the Loyola lead to five after sinking back-to-back field goals to open the half. Whittaker responded with a three-point shot to pull the Wolf Pack ahead by eight with 18:03 remaining in the game, but Belhaven strung together a 9-1 run to swing the momentum in their favor.
Freshman Ariel Wilson nailed a shot from behind the arc with just over 10 minutes left in the game to earn the Blazers a 33-32 lead, their first advantage of the half. A back and forth scoring battle ensued for the remainder of the game, producing five separate ties. Loyola sophomore
Shayne Charles sent Wilson to the line, and with 2:28 to play, Wilson sunk both free throws to give the Blazers a 47-44 edge. Whittaker knotted the game at 47 with a shot from behind the arc, but Belhaven junior TaShayla Steede posted two points from the field and thus provided the Blazers with the game-winning bucket. The Blazers defense was able to shut down the Loyola offense for the final 1:50 of the game.
Three Blazers players tallied double-doubles. Steede notched 20 points and collected 11 rebounds. Senior Erika LeFlore turned in 11 points and pulled down 12 boards. Additionally, she led the passing effort with three assists. Wilson scored 10 points and secured 11 rebounds.
Belhaven led for the first 10 minutes of the half until Brewer converted a Blazers turnover into a Loyola layup on a fast break to tie the game at
10, sparking a seven-point run which led to a 15-10 Wolf Pack advantage at the 7:41 mark. Freshman Ce-Ce Pittman nailed two Belhaven free throws to reduce the Loyola lead to three, but Whittaker responded with a timely bucket from long distance to put the Pack up 18-12 with 6:03 in the first.
Loyola earned their largest lead of the game just before the first half came to a close when Brewer went two-for-two from the free throw line to give the Wolf Pack a 24-15 lead as they entered the locker room.
The Wolf Pack will close out the regular season in The Den on Saturday, March 1 when they host Blue Mountain College at 2 p.m.