What went down: The Loyola women’s basketball team (6-19, 4-10) finished its three-game homestand against Southern Illinois University Sunday afternoon. The Ramblers quickly took the lead and never trailed en route to a 62-53 victory.
How it happened: In the annual “pink game” to raise awareness for breast cancer, Loyola came out aggressively against Southern Illinois and took a 35-30 lead into halftime. The Salukis tied the game three times, but Loyola held on and was able to secure the win.
Analysis: The Ramblers outscored the Salukis in every quarter and had a strong defense which shut down Southern Illinois’ offense. Loyola led in rebounds for most of the game and won the turnover battle.
Redshirt senior guard Jessica Cerda scored a team high of 19 points. She went 5-for-11 from the field and 4-for-7 from beyond the three-point line. Her offense was strong and she also managed to grab three rebounds. Cerda is now averaging 9.6 ppg.
Senior forward Katie Salmon led the team in rebounds with nine. She also scored four points in the 38 minutes she played. First-year forward Kat Nolan saw more minutes in her first career start, tallying four points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal in 30 minutes.
First-year forward Abby O’Connor scored 14 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished four assists. O’Connor has scored 14 points in the last two contests and continues to make a difference for the Loyola offense.
Loyola was without first-year guard Ellie Rice, who suffered an ankle injury during the loss to Missouri State University Feb. 16. In the postgame press conference, head coach Kate Achter said Rice had no structural damage and the injury wasn’t serious.
Achter’s thoughts: After the game, Achter said she thought her team stepped up without Rice in the rotation.
“I asked our kids to prove that we actually did grow a bit in the course of a week,” Achter said. “Down a key person in Ellie Rice, we just found ways to keep stepping up. Great resiliency, the togetherness was off the charts on a really important day for our program for breast cancer awareness. [I’m] really happy for our kids today.”
What’s next? Loyola is scheduled to take on University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana Feb. 23.