(Houston, Texas) The Loyola University New Orleans women’s basketball team topped the University of St. Thomas Houston 76-55 on Saturday afternoon in the Aldine ISD Campbell Center.
The Wolf Pack (8-6) earned their second consecutive victory with the win, going 2-0 since returning to action following the holiday break. Loyola opened the second half with a 35-25 advantage over the Celts (6-8). Following a two-point play in the paint by St. Thomas sophomore Rebekah Douglas, junior Janeicia Neely responded with a bucket and a free throw to widen the gap to 10 points, Loyola’s first double digit lead of the half.
A putback by freshman Meghan Temple sparked an eight-point run for the Wolf Pack as they increased their lead to make it a 46-29 game with 16:02 remaining. Neely nailed a three-pointer at the 9:31 mark, fueling a seven-point burst for Loyola. Sophomore Shayne Charles capped the offensive surge with a fast break layup as a result of a turnover forced by freshman Jackie Anderson. The play earned Loyola its largest lead of the game, a 27-point edge, putting the Pack up 67-40 with 6:15 left to play.
Senior Chelsea Davis managed to reduce the Celts’ deficit to 19 points following a three-point play at the foul line, but with less than two minutes on the clock, time expired before St. Thomas could attempt a second half comeback. Freshman Caroline Gonzalez closed the game nailing two free throws to secure the 76-55 victory for the Pack.
Neely produced a team leading 16 points and six assists for Loyola. She chipped in with four rebounds and two steals. Senior Jasmine Brewer and junior Megan Whittaker contributed 12 points apiece while Gonzalez added eight. Gonzalez and Brewer collected seven and eight rebounds respectively to pace the Pack on the glass.
Davis tallied a double double for the Celts, turning in 20 points and 14 rebounds to lead her squad in both categories. Senior Gaby Guzman joined her in double digits with 11 points and notched a team best three steals. Sophomore Maghen Lormand aided the St. Thomas offense with eight points and seven assists.
The Celts started the game with a six-point scoring streak, gaining an upper hand early, until Temple earned two Wolf Pack points from underneath off a feed from Neely. St. Thomas retained a lead for the first six and a half minutes of action only to be thwarted by Brewer who converted a Celts turnover into a Loyola bucket, putting the Pack up 9-8 at 13:35. Davis would regain a brief lead for the home team after sinking two free throws, but Whittaker quickly responded, burying a three-pointer and putting the Pack up 12-10. Following the long distance shot, Loyola strung together a seven-point stretch, and St. Thomas did not lead for the rest of the contest. The Wolf Pack entered the locker room with a comfortable 35-25 lead.
Loyola will travel to Emmanuel College on Friday, Jan. 10 for a 4:30 p.m. tipoff and continue their road trip to Southern Wesleyan University for a 2:00 p.m. contest on Saturday, Jan. 11 as they reenter conference competition.