What went down: The Loyola women’s basketball team (5-18, 3-10) continued its three game homestead against Missouri State Friday night. After a rocky first five minutes, the Ramblers kept the game close, but lost to the Bears 69-58.
How it happened: Missouri State had the lead early on, but Loyola gained momentum and trailed the Bears by three points going into halftime. Although the Ramblers outscored the Bears in the third quarter and took a two-point lead in the fourth quarter, it wasn’t enough to win.
Analysis: The Ramblers had a rough first quarter but increased their field goal percentage in the second half, finishing at 48 percent for the game. They also led the Bears in rebounds for most of the game but ended up tying at 30 apiece. Turnovers set the teams apart — Loyola committed 21 turnovers compared to Missouri State’s five.
Redshirt senior guard Jessica Cerda led Loyola with 16 points while also grabbing four rebounds in 36 minutes. She’s currently the second highest scorer on the team after first-year forward Abby O’Connor, averaging nine ppg.
O’Connor carried the team in rebounds with seven and added 14 points in 36 minutes. First-year guard Ellie Rice — who matched O’Connor for shots — got five rebounds but only ended up playing 28 minutes due to an ankle injury in the fourth quarter.
First-year center Kat Nolan played a season-high 25 minutes, scored a season-high eight points and grabbed three rebounds in the effort. Nolan shot 4-for-4 in the field and is now averaging 2.5 ppg and 3 rpg.
The Ramblers managed to stay within 13 points of Missouri State the entire game and held Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Player of the Year Liza Fruendt to 10 points, six less than her 16 ppg average.
Achter’s thoughts: In the postgame press conference, Achter said she was proud of the team’s effort and thought the loss could be a turning point for this team.
“We do keys pre-game and one of them was prove you are a better team than you were the last time you played these guys,” Achter said. “To say that we have improved as a group, I think today just shows you how much we have grown in a month.”
What’s next? Loyola is scheduled to take on Southern Illinois University at Gentile Arena Feb. 18.