The Loyola women’s basketball team (15-10, 6-8) dropped to 6-8 in Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) play after falling to Valparaiso University 70-57 at Gentile Arena Saturday afternoon.
The Ramblers struggled to control the ball during the game, giving up 31 turnovers during the four quarters. This is nearly double the 15.2 turnovers Loyola has averaged per game during conference play.
“Overall, we need to get better and I don’t feel like we’re doing that right now,” Loyola head coach Kate Achter said. “When it got physical, our toughest faded… I’m really disappointed in the effort.”
Loyola started the first quarter strong and were able to hold onto the lead throughout the first half, ending the second period with a score of 32-27.
However, the Ramblers lost the lead with 1:09 remaining in the third thanks to a pair of three-pointers from Valparaiso, which managed to hold onto the lead until the end with a final score of 70-57.
Prior to this game, the Ramblers were 11-0 when holding opponents to 40 percent shooting or lower from the field. Although they kept the Crusaders to 37.5 percent shooting, Loyola recorded 32 personal fouls that allowed Valparaiso to bring in 28 points from free throws.
This was the first time Loyola and Valparaiso faced off since the Crusaders knocked off the Ramblers in the final minutes in Valparaiso Jan. 24 and Achter said her players need to “grow up.” Both teams have four more regular season games before heading to the MVC Tournament, Hoops in the Heartland, in Moline March 12.
“Regardless of where you finish in the league, it’s tough when it comes tournament time,” Achter said. “We need to regroup and figure out our toughness and who we really are as a program in order to make a run in March.”
Both teams came into the game tied for sixth in the MVC with a record of 6-7 in conference play. After the game, Valparaiso moved to fifth in the conference while Loyola moved to eighth.
The game was played on the Loyola program’s inaugural Pride Day at Gentile, which celebrated LGBTQIA+ pride, and was also in partnership with GiGi’s Playhouse.
GiGi’s Playhouse is an organization that develops achievement centers for youth with Down Syndrome across the country, including one located in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood. Achter said partnering with GiGi’s was special to her because her daughter, Reese, has Down Syndrome.
“[GiGi’s playhouse] is a really important organization to my family because it is a resource that we use every week with my little one Reese,” Achter said. “The fact that GiGi’s could rally around us for a day when they could be doing anything else in Chicago is really remarkable.”
Next, the Ramblers are set to face off against Drake University Feb. 28 at Gentile Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.