What went down: The Loyola women’s basketball team (7-23, 5-13) took on Valparaiso University in the first game of the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) tournament Thursday afternoon. The Ramblers fell to the Crusaders 63-46, marking the end of the season.
How it happened: In the first play-in game of the tournament — also known as “Hoops in the Heartland” — the No. 8 seed Valparaiso and No. 9 seed Loyola played each other in an action-packed game. While the Ramblers only trailed the Crusaders by six going into halftime, they were never able to come out on top.
Analysis: The Ramblers’ high amount of turnovers — 16 — and low shooting percentage led to their loss. They went 15-for-54 from the field — including 3-for-20 from behind the three point line. Only their free throw percentage was above 30 percent, going 15-for-17 from the charity stripe.
Redshirt senior guard Jessica Cerda scored 11 of Loyola’s 46 points, but wasn’t finding success from the three-point line. She went 2-for-10 in the game, which is less than her 35.6 percent average. The second-highest scorer on the team was first-year guard Ellie Rice, who managed to score 10 points and snag four rebounds against the Crusaders.
Senior forward Katie Salmon scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds. But, she committed a game-high four turnovers in the game.
First-year forwards Abby O’Connor and Kat Nolan grabbed 10 rebounds each, which helped Loyola lead the game in rebounds 39-35. Both players were present offensively and defensively scoring eight and six points, respectively. Earlier in the week, O’Connor was named to the MVC All Freshman team.
While Loyola had Rice back in the game today, it was without two key players — first-year guard Kailyn Strawbridge and sophomore guard Lauren Segars — due to injuries. In the first quarter, sophomore guard Tiara Wallace had already managed to obtain three fouls, causing head coach Kate Achter to pull her for the rest of the quarter.
Valparaiso will now play No. 1 seed Drake in the Hoops in the Heartland quarterfinals March 9.
What’s next: Loyola will now head to the offseason and is slated to bring back nine of 12 letterwinners to the roster next year.