The Loyola women’s basketball team (2-1) coasted to an 80-61 victory over Purdue University Northwest at Gentile Arena Dec. 18. Loyola junior forward Allison Day led the Ramblers with 18 points on 6-for-6 shooting from the field and 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
The Ramblers started the game on a 12-0 run and didn’t relinquish the lead.
Loyola head coach Kate Achter used the comfortable lead against a Division II opponent as an opportunity to get several players playing time. Achter played 13 different Ramblers in the first quarter alone, including Bre Hampton-Bey.
“We really tried to sprinkle around the minutes to make sure a lot of our kids were getting valuable experience,” Achter said. “We’re still trying to shake out some lineups, especially with recently getting [Hampton-Bey] eligible and a lot of our players fighting back from injury.”
Hampton-Bey transferred to Loyola from the University of Massachusetts over the summer and just became eligible after the NCAA ruled all Division I basketball transfers are immediately eligible this season. This ruling is an effort to maximize student-athlete flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the NCAA’s press release.
In her debut for the Ramblers, Hampton-Bey scored six points and dished out three assists.
Loyola rode a 28-15 second quarter to take a 19-point lead into halftime. Heading into the final quarter, the Ramblers held a 24-point lead. Purdue Northwest outscored Loyola 20-13 in the fourth quarter, but Loyola’s lead never shrunk below 18 points.
First-year forward Sitori Tanin chipped in 13 points and six rebounds. First-year guard Maya Chandler and sophomore guard Sam Galanopoulos each scored 11 points, with Chandler also contributing seven rebounds.
“The first possession of the game, Sam [Galanopoulos] passed up a layup in transition, and I calmly called her over and said ‘Hey, you’ve got to be aggressive,’” Achter said. “We’re always telling our guards to be aggressive.”
After the game, Day said the goal coming into the matchup was to have 10 more rebounds than the Pride. Loyola outrebounded Purdue Northwest by 17. Offensively, she said she got the ball in good places to score.
“The guards really looked for me a lot inside, so that really helped,” Day said. “We’ve really been working as a post group to seal when we can that way we can get the ball and either score ourselves or kick it out to the guards, so that worked well.”
In addition to winning the rebounding battle, Loyola scored 40 points in the paint, while Purdue Northwest managed 30 points in the paint.
This was the Pride’s first game of the season. Purdue Northwest was tabbed to finish fifth out of six teams in the North Division of the Division II Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). The Pride’s sophomore guard Savaya Brockington was named to the All-GLIAC Team, but Loyola held her to 11 points on 5-for-17 shooting with three turnovers.
“We talked about her being their best player, and for someone who’s 5-foot-3 on the roster, she’s awfully mighty,” Achter said. “We knew that she’d find a way to limit them as best that we could. And I felt like we made her take some difficult shots, and that was really the goal.”
Meanwhile, Loyola was picked to finish eighth out of 10 teams in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) preseason poll.
The Ramblers aren’t scheduled to play again until the start of MVC play against Indiana State University Jan. 1 at Gentile Arena. Tip-off is set for 12 p.m.