NEW ORLEANS, La. – The 19th ranked Loyola University New Orleans women’s basketball team (21-2, 11-2 SSAC) will host no. 16 Belhaven (20-6, 13-2 SSAC) on Thursday evening in a huge conference matchup in The DEN for the Wolfpack’s annual Cancer Awareness game. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. CT.
“We have played every game up until this point as it were a championship game,” said head coach Kellie Kennedy. “In order to be a champion, we have to play like a champion. We have played every opponent as if they were a championship team. To our credit, we have handled each game with maturity and validated every opponent. Winning this game would mean a lot to us.”
The event was organized by the Athletics and Wellness Student Leadership council that is comprised of student leaders from each athletic team and student employee staff. T-shirts commemorating the event will be on sale for $10 through Thursday in the Danna Student Center on Loyola's campus from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Shirts will also be on sale at Thursday's game. Anyone purchasing a t-shirt or making a contribution to the effort will receive a coupon for a free serving of gelato from la Divina Gelateria while supplies last. There will also be an auction of autographed basketballs from the team during halftime.
Thursday’s game marks the 35th matchup in the series between Loyola and Belhaven that began in 1996. The Lady Blazers have won the last three meetings against the ‘Pack. Loyola’s last victory against Belhaven came on Saturday, February 20, 2010, by a score of 64-51 in New Orleans.
Thursday’s game will also be the second between Loyola and Belhaven this season, with the first going in the Lady Blazers’ favor 76-70, in Jackson. Loyola finished the game causing 17 turnovers, while the Lacy Blazers only had four. LU also shot a season-low 54.2 percent (13-for-24) from the free throw line and 26.1 percent (6-for-23) from behind the arch.
Last time out, the ‘Pack picked up its 11th SSAC win of the season, topping Faulkner in The DEN, 70-63. The victory marked Loyola’s fourth overall win against the Lady Eagles as they are 4-0 against Faulkner. Senior Keiva Council led a balanced Loyola offensive attack with 19 points. She was followed by freshman Raven Lane with 14 points and sophomores Jasmine Brewer and Amy Moody, who had 13 points apiece. Council also added a team-leading seven rebounds.
For the game, the ‘Pack out-rebounded the Lady Eagles 37-28, and held them to a 42.9 field goal percentage (24-for-56), a 28.6 three-point field goal percentage (4-for14), and a 61.1 free throw percentage (11-of-18) . Offensively, Loyola shot 46.7 percent (21-for-45) from the floor, 33.3 percent (6-for-18) from long range, and 75.9 percent (22-for-29) from the free throw line in the win.
The 16th ranked Lady Blazers enter Thursday’s contest losing its sixth game of the year after an eight-game winning streak. In their game Saturday, Belhaven was edged by William Carey, 80-86, despite the efforts of a 42-point-perfrmance from senior Regena Jackson. Jackson was stellar from the free throw line for BU, hitting 17 of her 18 attempts at the stripe.
On the season, Jackson leads the Lady Blazers in scoring averaging 23.7 points per game which ranks no. 1 in the NAIA. She also ranks second in total scoring with 559 points on the season. Sophomore Erika Leflore leads the team in rebounding, grabbing 6.5 boards per contest.
Tickets will be on sale at the door, $6 for adults and $3 for children. Loyola students who present his or her student ID will receive free admission. Fans can also watch the game on Loyola’s livestream channel at http://www.livestream.com/loyoawolfpack.
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