Women's Basketball

Loyola Women’s Basketball Non-Conference Schedule: What You Need to Know

Steve Woltmann | Loyola AthleticsJanae Gonzalez drives to the basket in Loyola’s 63 - 40 in Loyola’s season opener win.

Before it begins Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) play at the end of December, the Loyola women’s basketball team has a long list of non-conference competitors to face.

The Ramblers have already started their season with an even record of 1-1. They were projected to finish seventh out of 10 teams in the MVC in the wake of seeing their first postseason appearance in program history.

Loyola flew past University of Detroit Mercy 63-40 during the season opener at Gentile Arena Nov. 9. Meanwhile, the Ramblers fell on the road to DePaul University 87-53 Nov. 12.

With the first two games of the season behind it, the team will next compete against a line of competitors across several conferences before beginning MVC against Missouri State University on the road Dec. 31.

Northwestern University

The Ramblers will head north to Evanston to face Northwestern first. This will be the ninth time that Loyola will play Northwestern since 2006, with the Wildcats going undefeated in the series 8-0.

One player to look out for from the Wildcats is senior guard Veronica Burton. The two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year is returning for her fourth year at Northwestern.

Burton led the nation with 97 steals during the 2020-2021 season and was named to both the Coaches and Media All-Big Ten Team. She will be in action with the rest of the Wildcats against the Ramblers Nov. 17 at Evanston, Illinois. The game is scheduled for 7 P.M. set to be broadcast on Big Ten Plus.

Chicago State University (CSU)

Loyola will return home to Gentile Arena to face Chicago State Nov. 20. The Cougars were selected to finish 13th out of 13 teams in the Western Athletic Conference.

The Ramblers and the Cougars have met 14 times since 2004, with Loyola capturing ten straight victories over Chicago State from 2008 to 2020.

The Cougars return three players and welcome six transfers, along with two first-year players. Included is senior forward Christina Britter, who averaged 8.6 points per game last season shooting 48% from the field, and sophomore guard Ana Haklicka who tracked 11 steals and 32 assists last season. 

Chicago State did lose its lead scorer and team MVP from last season, Nadia Thorman-McKey, who brought in 179 points in the 2020-21 season.

University of St. Francis

The Ramblers will stay in Rogers Park where they will next compete against St. Francis Nov. 24. St. Francis plays in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as a member of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

The Fighting Saints are the only new competitor for Loyola this year and are the only team that competes outside of the NCAA. St. Francis ended its 2020-2021 season with an overall record of 23-6.

Returning to the Fighting Saints roster is graduate forward Andriana Acosta, who has already logged four double-doubles this season. Acosta most recently recorded 15 points and 12 rebounds during the team’s victory over Trinity International University Nov. 13.

Miami University

Loyola will close out its three game homestand against another new competitor, Miami University. The Redhawks were selected to finish 11th out of 12 teams in the Mid-American Conference (MAC).

Miami University  went 4-20 last season despite having All-MAC Second Team selection junior guard Peyton Scott on the roster. During the 2020-2021 season, Scott averaged 21.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per contest. Sophomore guard Katie Davidson followed up Scott in leading the team with assists, racking up 45 during the 2020-21 season. 

Scott also scored in double digits in 23 out of her 24 appearances for the Redhawks last season, including four 30 point games. 

Miami University will travel to Chicago to face the Ramblers Nov. 28.

Dartmouth College

The Ramblers will head east to Hanover, New Hampshire Dec. 3. to play Dartmouth for the fourth time since 2013. Loyola holds the lead in the series over the Big Green 2-1.

Dartmouth was selected to finish seventh out of eight teams in the Ivy League, even though the Ivy League didn’t compete in intercollegiate play during the 2020-2021 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Big Green roster is full of newcomers to intercollegiate play with nine first-years and sophomores. Of the returning players, senior guard Katie Douglas led Dartmouth with an average of 7.5 points per contest.

So far this season, the 0-3 Dartmouth team has averaged 44 points per game compared to its opponents’ 72.7, shooting just under 30% from the field.

Vermont University

Although Loyola has only faced Vermont once, the Ramblers are looking to remain undefeated against the Catamounts when they travel to Burlington Dec. 5. Loyola and Vermont last faced off during the 2019-2020 season, where Loyola came out victorious with a final score of 78-76.

Vermont is slated to finish fourth out of 10 teams in the America East Conference after ending the 2020-2021 season with an overall record of 4-2 — shortened due to their decision to withdraw for the rest of the season.

Vermont is slated to finish fourth out of 10 teams in the America East Conference after ending its shortened 2020-2021 season with an overall record of 4-2.

One player to look out for from the Catamounts is sophomore forward Anna Olson, who was named to the America East All-Conference Team. Olson earned the America East Rookie of the Year title and averaged 13.3 points per game during her first-year campaign.

Eastern Illinois University

Loyola will return to Gentile Arena for a series tie-breaking game against Eastern Illinois. The two teams have competed against each other six times since 2007, with the series currently tied at 3-3.

Eastern Illinois competes in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC), where future MVC member Belmont University currently plays. The Panthers were selected to finish seventh out of 10 teams in the OVC, while Belmont was predicted to finish first.

The Panthers had two selections to the All-OVC Preseason Team, including senior forward Abby Wahl, who led Eastern Illinois with 14.5 points per game during the 2020-2021 season. 

Despite the Panthers’ junior forward Morgan Litwiller missing part of last season due to an injury, she managed 18 steals, ten blocks and 80 rebounds during her 18 starts, where she averaged just over 26 minutes on the court.

Wahl, Litwiller and the rest of the Eastern Illinois roster will travel to Rogers Park to face the Ramblers Dec. 8.

Central Michigan University

The Ramblers will look to even out the series with Central Michigan during their visit to Mount Pleasant, Michigan Dec. 11. CMU currently leads the series 2-3, with the two teams meeting for the first time in 2008.

The Chippewas are the second MAC contender that Loyola will face and were selected to finish sixth in the conference. CMU ended the 2020-2021 season with an overall record of 18-9, going 16-3 in conference play.

The team has a special weapon in their three-point shooting, sinking an even 10 per game with 35.5% accuracy — though the team lost their leading three-point scorer in Maddy Watters who landed nearly 44% of her shots from beyond the arc.

Making the All-MAC Preseason Team was junior guard Molly Davis, who averaged 20.8 points per contest during her sophomore season. Her scoring ability landed her at 23rd in the nation in the category and contributed to the team’s MAC Tournament win last season.

Cleveland State University

Loyola will end non-conference play on the road in another series tie-breaking game, this time against Cleveland State. The series, which began in 2004, is currently tied at 10-10 and either the Ramblers or the Vikings will take the lead in the series Dec. 21.

The Vikings play in the Horizon League, which Loyola used to compete in before joining the MVC in 2013. Cleveland State was chosen to finish in the top half of the league, ranking sixth out of 12 teams.

The Ramblers will have to watch the boards against the Vikings, as they grabbed an average of 44 rebounds per game last season. Cleveland State’s junior forward Amele Ngwafang and redshirt senior forward Nadia Dumas averaged 7.3 and 8 rebounds per game respectively.

Cleveland State returns sophomore guard Destiny Leo, who ended her first-year campaign as the Horizon League Sixth Player of the Year. Leo averaged 11.4 points per game and 51 total three-pointers during the 2020-2021 season with just under 60% accuracy.

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