For the first time in program history, the Loyola women’s basketball team is 6-0 to start the season. The Ramblers also now have their longest win streak since head coach Kate Achter took over in the 2016-17 season. Only 19 Division I teams are undefeated as of Dec. 3.
The team’s previous best start was 40 years ago, when the 1979-80 team started 5-0.
Achter took over the team four seasons ago after former head coach Sheryl Swoopes left the program amid allegations that she mistreated players. Ten out of 13 players left the program at the time, leaving Achter to put together an almost completely new team.
In her first two seasons at the helm, Achter’s team won a total of nine out of 51 games. Last year, the Ramblers finished seventh out of 10 teams in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 13-18 overall record.
The Ramblers have only played one game at home so far in the regular season. The team is coming off a four-game road stretch where they traveled almost 5,000 miles.
However, most of the teams the Ramblers have faced this season had lower Rating Percentage Index (RPI) rankings last season. The 2018-19 RPI — a metric the NCAA uses to rank teams based on their record compared to strength of schedule — put Loyola 254th out of 353 Division I teams and above four of six teams.
This season, the Ramblers have beat University of Detroit Mercy, University of Vermont, Eastern Illinois University, Chicago State University, University of Missouri-Kansas City and University of Portland. Only No. 189 Portland and No. 228 Missouri-Kansas City ranked above the Ramblers.
Two of the games have been won in overtime — 72-67 against Missouri-Kansas City Nov. 22 and 78-64 against Portland Dec. 1.
The Ramblers will have a tougher stretch ahead of them until conference play begins Jan. 3 against Missouri State University. Out of the five remaining non-conference games, four will be against teams that ranked higher than Loyola in the 2018-19 season.
The Ramblers are set to take on Dartmouth College at Gentile Arena Dec. 4. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+.