The Loyola women’s basketball team sits at the bottom of the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) standings with only one conference win and two total all season. With just four games left in the Ramblers’ regular season, here is the current MVC standings.
1. Drake University (22-4, 15-0)
The Bulldogs have used a combination of their No. 1 offense and No. 4 defense to allow for zero MVC losses this season. On the offensive end, Drake averages 83.1 points per game and is shooting a conference-high 49.1 percent from the field. On the other end, the Bulldogs have only allowed 63.2 points per game. MVC and Drake’s leading scorer, senior forward Lizzy Wendel, has averaged 20.9 points per game. First-year guard Becca Hittner leads the team with 101 of its 713 defensive rebounds.
2. University of Northern Iowa (20-6, 13-2)
The Panthers have relied on a solid offensive game and key defensive players to remain one of the conference’s top contenders after finishing in second at last season’s MVC tournament. With the team’s defense and offense both ranked No. 2 in conference, Northern Iowa scores an average of 66.8 points against conference foes, while only allowing 57.4 points per game. Senior guard Madison Weekly has made the difference offensively for the Panthers, averaging 15.3 points per game and ranked third in the conference in scoring. In addition to Weekly, redshirt sophomore guard Ellie Herzberg averages 11.8 points. On the defensive end, senior forward Hannah Schonhardt leads the team with 146 defensive rebounds and Herzberg has added 23 steals in MVC play.
3. Missouri State University (14-11, 10-4)
While MSU’s No. 3 defense has been better against conference opponents, it relies on its No. 5 offense to carry the team. In addition to the Bears’ -0.52 turnover margin, they average seven steals per game. While the Bears have a more effective offense, Missouri State still only has a 1.9 scoring margin, averaging 63.8 points per contest, compared to the 61.8 points it lets in. Junior guard Liza Fruendt leads the Bears, averaging 15.2 per game. Trailing behind Fruendt, senior guard Lexi Hughes is averaging 9.5 points per game.
4. Wichita State University (12-13, 7-7)
Although the Shockers are shooting 43.2 percent from the field, good for second in the MVC, their lack of offensive opportunity leaves them with a -0.8 scoring margin. The team’s offense averages 64.5 points per conference game. Junior forward Rangie Bessard is the team’s key player, averaging 16.3 points per game. The Shockers’ defense ranks second in steals with an average of 9.6 per game and ranks sixth in the conference with 3.2 blocks per game.
5. Indiana State University (12-13, 6-8)
Indiana State has a -1 scoring margin, which ranks them sixth in the MVC, and a -1.88 turnover margin, causing them to fall short offensively. The Sycamores have averaged 55.8 points per conference game and shot 37 percent from the field. Junior forward Ashley Taia leads with 12.4 points per game and is among the top rebounders on the team. The Sycamores rank third in the MVC with 3.7 blocks and fifth with 8.5 steals per game. Junior forward Wendi Bibbins has accumulated 150 defensive and 58 offensive rebounds, making her the leading rebounder on the team.
6. Southern Illinois University (12-13, 6-8)
While the the Salukis have remained relatively on par with their opponents, their edge has come from not making small mistakes. Southern Illinois averages 64.3 points per game and is shooting 34.5 percent beyond the arc. Despite their offensive efforts, the Salukis have 12.5 turnovers per game, giving the team a -1.8 turnover margin. Redshirt senior point guard Rishonda Napier is the team’s leading scorer with an average 13.9 points per game.
7. Bradley University (10-16, 6-9)
Bradley’s lack of an overall strong offense and defense hinders its performance. The team allows 9.3 steals per game, which translates into a -2.96 turnover margin. The Braves’ defense has allowed 67.2 points per game, while they average 61.1 points per game. Senior forward Leti Lerma leads the team in rebounds and averages 10.7 points per game. One of the bright spots of the team is its rebounding; the Braves are second in the MVC in rebounds per game.
8. University of Evansville (9-16, 4-10)
With a -5.9 scoring margin, the Purple Aces’ offense has lacked the firepower to put points on the board. Senior guards Camary Williams and Sara Dickey lead the team’s offensive efforts, averaging 14.6 points per game each. As a whole, the team averages a 61.2 points per game and is ranked eighth in the MVC with a 37 percent field goal average.
9. Illinois State University (7-19, 4-11)
Illinois State has the worst field goal shooting in the conference, shooting 33.4 percent from the field. Senior guards Brechelle Beachum, who averages 11.8 points per game, and Taylor Stewart, who averages 11.9 points per game, lead the team in points with the next player almost five points behind them. Although junior forward Hannah Green has been responsible for 38 conference blocks and Beachum leads in steals with 37, Illinois State lacks defensive power from each of their players as they are ranked ninth in the MVC for scoring defense.
10. Loyola University Chicago (2-23, 1-13)
The Ramblers, while scoring an average of 48 points per game, are ranked ninth in shooting, averaging 34.3 percent from the field. Loyola is ranked 10th for its rebounding average of 31.2 per game, which can limit the team’s opportunities to put more points on the board. Leading the Ramblers in conference points is junior guard Katie Salmon, who averages 8.8 points per game, and sophomore guard Brandi Segars, who averages 7.4 points per contest.
As the regular season comes to an end, head coach Kate Achter said the team is going to focus on becoming better scorers, trusting in its offensive plan and working on basic skills.
“Next year, we’re going to run the same stuff,” said Achter. “We’re going to have different pieces, but this is the way I’m going to coach it from here on out. We’re going to have to find a way to get it done.”
The Ramblers are scheduled to travel to Wichita, Kansas, to take on Wichita State University on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m.