The Loyola women’s basketball team (1-1) couldn’t keep up with No. 24 DePaul University, falling to the Blue Demons 76-67 Dec. 13 on the road. The Ramblers were led by first-year guard Maya Chandler with 14 points.
The Ramblers led DePaul 53-47 heading into the fourth quarter. But Loyola’s six-point lead wasn’t enough, as the Blue Demons outscored the Ramblers 29-14 in the final period to win.
Loyola took a 59-57 lead with 5:12 remaining in the game. But over the next four minutes, DePaul rattled off a 15-0 run to take a commanding 72-59 lead with just 1:09 left to play.
While they woke up near the end of the game, the Blue Demons struggled offensively for much of the game. DePaul shot 18.9 percent from three-point territory — taking a season-high 37 attempts and connecting on just seven. The Ramblers also outrebounded the Blue Demons, grabbing 47 boards to DePaul’s 36.
Loyola head coach Kate Achter said despite the loss, she was impressed with her squad’s play in just the second game of the season.
“Wow, for this being our second game of the year, I couldn’t have been more pleased with the effort, the intensity, the focus and really the execution,” Achter said. “I thought we got some great looks, especially late in that third and fourth quarter. … This one stings because we had our opportunities, but really, really proud of them.”
Turnovers plagued the Ramblers, especially in the fourth quarter. The Ramblers finished with 26 turnovers — including 11 in the fourth quarter — compared to DePaul’s eight giveaways in the game. The Blue Demons were able to convert those turnovers to 23 points, while Loyola scored nine points following a DePaul turnover.
Achter said her squad found success by being patient on offense and not feeding into DePaul’s up-tempo play.
“I think we just took our time, I think DePaul thrives when opponents take quick, bad shots,” Achter said. “For darn near three quarters of the game until the last four minutes of the game, we handled their pressure in the backcourt really well. If [DePaul] can’t convert steals there, then their offense often struggles.”
Individually, Chandler was one of three Ramblers to reach double figures. Junior forward Allison Day scored 11 points to go along with nine rebounds and senior guard Ellie Rice finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Loyola had a much more balanced offensive attack, with nine Ramblers finding the scoring column compared to just six Blue Demons. Additionally, Loyola’s bench scored 26 points while DePaul’s had just three points.
“I think [the balanced scoring] speaks to how together they are that everybody owned their moment,” Achter said. “Not everybody can start for us, and we all know that. But they competed, and when they compete, they have a lot of fun together.”
For DePaul, junior guard Sonya Morris scored a game-high 26 points. Coming into the game, senior guard Dee Bekelja was leading the Blue Demons in scoring this season, averaging 19.0 points per game. The Ramblers held Bekelja to eight points on 3-for-9 shooting.
This is the second consecutive year the Ramblers came close to upsetting DePaul. Last year, Loyola lost 83-76 at Gentile Arena.
Coming into the year, Loyola was picked to finish eighth out of 10 teams in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Preseason Poll. DePaul was tabbed to come in second in the Big East Preseason Poll.
Next, the Ramblers are scheduled to play Division II Purdue University Northwest at Gentile Arena Dec. 18. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN3 and ESPN+.