FRANKFORT, Ky. – The 24th ranked Loyola University New Orleans women’s basketball team fell 74-63 in the first round of the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship on Thursday from the Frankfort Convention Center. With the loss, the Wolfpack will end the season with a 23-6 record, while the Lady Warriors move on to the second round with a 28-4 record.
Senior Keiva Council had a tournament-best 34 points off a 50.0 three-point field goal percentage (6-for-12) and a perfect 100.0 free throw percentage (10-for10). This is the sixth time Council has scored 30 or more points this season. She finished her outstanding career at Loyola with 1,844 total points, ranking her third at Loyola in all-time scoring. The WBCA All-American also added four steals, four rebounds and two assists.
Less than 30 seconds in the game, Lewis-Clark State scored on back-to-back possessions to give the Lady Warriors a quick 5-0 lead. The strong Lewis-Clark interior defense held LU without a basket for over three minutes until Council broke the silence with a three-pointer at the 16:54 mark.
Loyola took its first lead 90 seconds later after an Amy Sprout layup putting the ‘Pack ahead 7-5. From there, the Wolfpack went on a 14-8 scoring run as it extended the advantage to five at the 12:31 point. The Lady Warriors responded with a 6-0 run over the three minutes to put them within two; however, back-to-back Megen Berner layups and a Council three gave Loyola its five point lead back.
With 1:41 left in the first, Loyola took its largest lead of the game after Council made two bonus free throws putting the score at 31-22. The Lady Warriors quickly bounced back scoring nine points off of three threes with less than a minute remaining to end the half giving Loyola a 33-31 lead heading into the break.
Lewis-Clark State picked up where it left off, starting the second half on an 18-11 run giving the Lady Warriors a three point lead with 16:22 left in the game. Loyola trailed by less than five points over the next several minutes before Lewis-Clark State expanded its lead to 11 as senior Jasmine Stohr converted on an old fashioned three-point play with six minutes remaining setting the score at 66-55. From there, the Lady Warriors continued its scoring rampage going on an 8-0 run that included back-to-back three pointers from Stohr and fellow senior Tasha Bishop. Loyola finished the game with baskets from its two seniors, Council and Sprout, but the ‘Pack could not overcome its double-digit deficit.
Lewis-Clark State had four players in double-figures with Bishop leading the way with 23 off of a 53.3 field goal percentage and a 58.3 three-point field goal percentage. She also contributed seven boards, four assists, and two steals. She was followed by Stohr with 19, senior Kirsi Voshell with 12, and senior Alyssa Fierro with 10. Voshell also added a game-high 12 rebounds.
For the game, Loyola only shot 29.4 percent hitting 20 of its 62 attempts, while Lewis-Clark State connected on 56.6 percent of its shots going 30-for-53. The Lady Warriors had 11 three-pointers in the game compared to the ‘Pack’s eight, and also capitalized on the boards as Lewis-Clark State grabbed 41 rebounds while Loyola only had 31.
Loyola finished the 2011-12 season with a 23-6 record overall and a 14-4 SSAC record. This is the Wolfpack’s seventh 20 or more win season and head coach Kellie Kennedy’s third. This year was also the ‘Pack’s fifth appearance in the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship. LU finished the season ranked nationally in an impressive 14 categories, including no. 1 in field goal percentage (46.7 percent).