Rome, Ga.- Turnovers plagued the Loyola University New Orleans women’s basketball team as the Wolfpack fell to Southern Poly State 60-44 in the finals of the Southern States Athletic Conference women’s basketball tournament on Saturday evening.The Hornets never trailed in the game as Marisa Stotler gave SPSU a 2-0 lead on the opening possession. After a Loyola turnover, Brittany White extended the edge to 4-0 just two minutes into the game.
Loyola responded to tie the score for the first and only time of the evening with a three pointer from Jackie Padilla to make it 8-8 at the 15 minute mark. Tara Hay handed Poly the lead for good two minutes later with a three pointer for an 11-8 advantage.
The Hornets pushed the first half margin to five points on two occasions over the last nine minutes of the half. The last came on another long range jumper by Hay at the 6:35 mark. She finished with 15 points on 5 of 8 shooting from behind the arc.
Amy Moody cut the deficit to a point with 1:36 left in the half as she converted a three point play. A bucket by Crystal Davis gave SPSU a 24-21 lead at the break.
After a Brittany White put-back in the opening seconds of the second half, Loyola’s Molly Emig cut the lead to two points with a three pointer. After the teams traded baskets, the Hornets increased their margin over the next nine minutes. White, who had 17 points in the game, made it a 12 point contest with a jumper off another Loyola turnover with 10:35 to play.
The Wolfpack would get as close as eight points with a pair of free throws by Moody with 7:47 to play. Poly went on a 17-5 run over the next six minutes to secure the win and the SSAC championship.
Poly enjoyed a sizeable advantage in the turnover battle outscoring Loyola 19-2 in points off giveaways. The Wolfpack had 20 turnovers in the game, while only forcing SPSU into 10.
For Loyola, Moody led with 12 points and Jasmine Brewer added 10. Keiva Council grabbed a game high nine rebounds.
Marisa Stotler led Southern Poly with 18 points and six rebounds. The victory gave the Hornets a berth into the NAIA National Tournament and improved their record to 29-4 on the season. They are currently 19th in the latest NAIA national poll.
The Wolfpack, now 20-12 on the season, secured the sixth 20 win season in the program’s history yesterday. Loyola will await the announcement of at-large teams for the NAIA National Tournament. The field of 32 teams will be announced on March 9 at 6 p.m. on a live broadcast on www.victorysportsnetwork.com.
For more information on Wolfpack athletics, please see http://wolfpack.loyno.edu.
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