(New Orleans, La.) The Loyola University New Orleans women’s basketball team earned first place in the SSAC West division with a 77-49 victory over Blue Mountain College on Saturday afternoon in The Den.
Junior Megan Whittaker was the top scorer for the Wolf Pack, contributing 17 points to the win. Senior Jasmine Brewer notched 16 points and led Loyola on the glass with nine rebounds. Additionally, Brewer snagged four steals. Junior Janeicia Neely joined them in double figures with 11 points and matched freshman Kylah Jones’ six assists to pace the passing effort.
The Wolf Pack (20-10, 14-6 SSAC) concluded the first half with a slim 31-29 lead over the Toppers (11-15, 8-12 SSAC). Sophomore Shayne Charles opened the second half with a three-point shot to extend the Loyola lead to five, but Blue Mountain junior Kati Prince nailed a three from the other end of the court to make it a two-point game. The Wolf Pack offense took off on a 16-point run following the Prince three to pull ahead 50-32 at the 14:49 mark and remain in control for the rest of the game.
Freshman Bryana Davis bucketed a field goal in an attempt to awaken the Toppers offense, but the Pack answered with 19-6 spurt and widened the gap to 29 points as the score reached 69-40 following a field goal from Loyola freshman Meghan Temple off a feed from Brewer with 2:55 on the clock. The Wolf Pack earned their largest lead of the game through a shot from behind the arc made by junior Alexis Ambeau with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game. BMC sophomore Bradi Beard closed the contest with a field goal, but the Pack left The Den victorious.
Senior Anna Brook Page paved the way for the Toppers with 17 points and six rebounds. Senior Kyesha Clark netted 10 points and three rebounds. Prince collected a team-best nine boards and led the offense with three assists.
The game reached four separate ties in the opening half as both teams matched up evenly throughout the first 20 minutes of action. The Pack earned an early four-point lead when Charles sunk two free throws with 17:25 to play in the half. The Toppers captured their first lead of the game through a Page field goal which put them on top, 7-6. Loyola seized a brief two-point advantage when junior Rebekah Greer and Brewer both made the second shot of their respective free throw opportunities, but freshman Andrea Lewis tied the game at 13 on the Toppers next possession.
The Toppers reached their largest lead of the game when they went up 29-25 on a three-point play from Page, but Whittaker nailed a three to close the half and hand Loyola a 31-29 advantage to end the half.
The win put the Wolf Pack into a four-way tie for first place in the SSAC West Division. With a 4-2 record against the teams in the tie, the Wolf Pack earned the nod and the crown. Loyola earned an automatic bid to the NAIA Division I National Championship held in Frankfurt, Kentucky on March 19-25.