(New Orleans, La.) The Loyola University New Orleans women’s basketball team defeated #18 Bethel University, 66-65, in overtime, entering them in a four-way tie for first in the SSAC West division.
Four Wolf Pack (19-9, 13-5 SSAC) players notched points in double digits. Senior Jasmine Brewer paced the Pack with 18 points,11 rebounds and three assists, recording her seventh double-double of the season. Brewer went six for 11 from the field, one for one from three-point range and five for six from the line. Junior Megan Whittaker bucketed 17 points, while junior Janeicia Neely and freshman Kylah Jones tallied 12 points apiece. Neely collected eight boards and dished out a team-best seven assists.
With the game knotted at 60, the Wolf Pack and the Wildcats (20-8, 13-5) entered overtime. Brewer notched the first two points of the extra minutes on a putback to give Loyola the early overtime lead. Bethel senior Katie VanDyke drained a three on the other end of the court to swing the momentum to the Wildcats’ side. Junior Porshia Blue committed a turnover on Bethel’s next possession and Brewer dished the ball to Jones off the steal where Jones was fouled and sent to the line for a one and one opportunity. Jones missed the front side of the bonus free throw and Bethel collected the defensive rebound.
After nearly two and a half scoreless minutes from both squads, Jones found herself at the line again where she missed the first of another set of bonus free throws, but sophomore Shayne Charles collected the offensive rebound and completed the putback to place Loyola ahead, 64-63 with 1:06 remaining. Brewer sent Bethel junior Tayla Foster to the line where Foster nailed two double bonus free throws and regained a one-point lead for the Wildcats. On the next Loyola possession, Neely missed a field goal but Brewer was waiting under the hoop where she collected the rebound and lofted another putback to earn a 66-65 edge for the home team. Sophomore Jackliann Street tossed up the final field goal attempt for Bethel, but couldn’t find the mark. Charles secured the final rebound of the game just as time expired and the Wolf Pack sealed a 66-65 overtime win.
Street paced the Wildcats with 24 points, eight boards, five assists and four steals. Foster followed closely with 22 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.
In the opening half, Neely sunk back-to-back jumpers and Whittaker drained a long distance three to earn Loyola an early 7-0 edge to start the game. Bethel responded with four straight points to reduce the Loyola lead to three with 16:22 left in the first, but Brewer converted a Bethel turnover into two Wolf Pack points to make it a 9-4 game. Foster completed a three-point play to reduce the Loyola advantage to two and followed up with a field goal to knot the game at nine. Whittaker answered with a three-point shot that would spark a nine-point run for the Pack and bring them ahead, 18-9.
Street sunk a three on the following Bethel possession to break the Loyola scoring stride and jump started an offensive burst for the Wildcats as they scored nine consecutive points to tie the game at 18. Neely broke the tie with a shot from behind the arc to place the Wolf Pack on top, 21-18. Bethel earned their first lead of the game following a bonus free throw from junior Porshia Blue and the Wildcats found themselves leading the Pack 25-24. Foster sent Brewer to the line at the other end of the court where the senior pulled the Pack ahead, 26-25 with 3:14 on the clock. A three-pointer from Bethel junior Katie VanDyke earned the Wildcats a two-point lead, their largest edge of the game, but Loyola entered the locker room holding onto a 29-28 advantage.
Foster opened the second half with a three-point play for the Wildcats, giving Bethel a 31-29 lead. Whittaker quickly responded with a three for the Pack to make it a 32-31 contest in favor of the home team. Street found the hoop from long distance on the next two Bethel possessions to give the Wildcats a three-point edge, but Whittaker sunk her fifth three-point shot of the night to tie the game at 39 with 16:15 to play in the half. Street nailed a jumper on the other end to break the tie and put the Wildcats in front by two. Neely knocked down a three for the Pack, but Foster completed a Bethel field goal to snag a 43-42 lead for the visiting team.
A Whittaker fast break layup off a Charles steal sparked a four-point spurt for the Pack as the home team surged to a 47-43 lead. The Wildcats managed to tie the game at 49 with a Foster field goal at the 7:54 mark. Street nailed one of four three-point field goals made on the night to bring the Wildcats back up 54-53 with 4:21 on the clock and the Bethel offense found their stride, putting up seven straight points to make it a 58-53 game with less than three minutes in the half. Neely hit a jumper to pull the Pack within two, forcing Bethel to call timeout.
Street nailed a field goal after the break to extend the Bethel lead to five, their largest of the game. Freshman Cayla Sheets missed a bonus free throw opportunity on the following Wildcats possession and Brewer collected the rebound. Jones sunk a three-point shot to put the Pack within reach, making it a 60-58 game with 35 seconds on the clock. Jones forced a costly Bethel turnover with 17 seconds on the clock and was fouled by Street. She went two for two from the foul line to tie the game at 60 and send it into overtime.
With the win, the Wolf Pack defeated their sixth ranked opponent of the season. They have collected five consecutive wins and have two games remaining in the regular season.
Loyola will travel to Belhaven University on Thursday, Feb. 27 for a 5:30 p.m. contest.