Women's Basketball

Allison Saves the Day: Loyola Women’s Basketball Holds Off Vermont 78-76

Alanna Demetrius | The PhoenixAllison Day finished with 19 points against Vermont.

Sophomore forward Allison Day hit the game-winning layup to lift the Loyola women’s basketball team (2-0) over the University of Vermont 78-76 at Gentile Arena Friday afternoon. Day’s shot came with just .4 seconds on the clock, and she finished with 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting in the game.

With three seconds left in a tie game, Vermont turned the ball over. Loyola called a timeout, and Day’s game-winner came directly after the inbounding pass following the timeout. After the game, Day said Loyola head coach Kate Achter asked her if she wanted to win the game.

“After we got the stop and came back down [on offense], Coach Kate asked if I wanted to the game and of course I said, ‘Yeah,’” Day said. “Going [to my] right is the way I want to go so it was a routine shot.”

Junior forward Abby O’Connor led the Ramblers in scoring with 23 points on 10-for-19 shooting. O’Connor also led the team with seven rebounds and was tied for the most assists for the Ramblers with four.

First-year guard Jala Johnson also scored in double figures for the Ramblers, finishing with 10 points on 5-for-13 shooting.

The Ramblers struggled at times defensively. The Catamounts shot 56.6 percent in the game, including 10-for-19 from three-point territory. However, the Ramblers also forced 18 Vermont turnovers while only committing seven turnovers themselves.

“We were not perfect, and I certainly don’t expect our group to be this early in the season,” Achter said. “But you can tell how much maturity they have.”

The Ramblers ended the third quarter on a 12-1 run to give them a six-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. But Vermont managed to pry itself back into the game and take a 70-69 lead with 4:37 left in the game. The game went back-and-forth until Day’s game-winner. She had seven of the Ramblers’ 16 fourth quarter points.

Ramblers Janae Gonzales (far left), Tiara Wallace (second from left), and Jala Johnson (far right) react as Allison Day’s game-winning layup goes through the hoop.

Vermont had four players score in double figures led by first-year guard Emma Utterback who had 19 points.

Vermont’s Hanna Crymble scored 16 points, grabbed five rebounds and tallied six assists. The senior forward was voted to the America East Preseason All-Conference team. O’Connor said playing against Crymble was helpful for Loyola.

“I think they pushed us a lot, especially inside with [Crymble],” O’Connor said after the game. “She played really well for them. In the rest of [the] non-conference [season] and in conference [play], we see some really good post players so getting a chance to defend her will help us in the future.”

The loss drops Vermont to 0-2 on the season. The Catamounts were 11-18 last season, and picked to finish sixth out of nine teams in the America East preseason poll this season. Meanwhile, Loyola was picked to finish seventh in this year’s Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll after going 13-18 last season.

“Coach Kate asked if I wanted to the game and of course I said, ‘Yeah.’”

— Allison Day, sophomore forward

Only 232 people were in attendance for the Ramblers’ win. The game between the Ramblers and the Catamounts was played at noon due to scheduling conflicts for Vermont, according to Achter. However, Achter said the unusual tip-off time wasn’t an issue for her players.

“We practice everyday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., so this was right in our wheelhouse,” Achter said. “They actually got to sleep in a little bit more today. … We kept it as routine as possible.”

The Ramblers now have a nearly month-long road schedule before they return to Gentile Arena. Next on the schedule is Eastern Illinois University Nov. 13 in Charleston. Tip-off is scheduled for noon and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

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