In a close, defensive game against Eastern Illinois University, the Loyola women’s basketball team hung on to continue its undefeated home stand in a 58-48 win.
The game started with Loyola winning the tip-off. However, Loyola was unable to score first. After numerous missed shots from both sides of the ball, Eastern Illinois’s Lariah Washington put up the first points of the game with a two-point jumper.
Eastern Illinois quickly followed up with a lay-up from Kira Arthofer. It took Loyola a while to respond, failing to put points on the board until three and a half minutes into the game with a layup by junior guard Sam Galanopoulos.
The first period of the game was defense heavy, with both teams pressuring the other into shooting low into the shot clock countdown. Each team also forced the other into a handful of turnovers — Loyola with five turnovers in the first period and Eastern Illinois with seven.
Turnovers and missed shots continued into the second period, making for a low scoring defensive game.
“Whether it’s on the offensive side of the ball or the defensive side of the ball, you got to stay tight [and] locked in with what you’re doing,” Galanopoulos said about how the team stays focused during close games. “At the same time, try to stay loose … and play with what we do.”
A highlight of the second period came from graduate guard Bre Hampton-Bey when she crossed the 1,000 points in her collegiate career threshold to tie the game around the three minute mark.
After Eastern Illinois regained the lead with two free throws by sophomore forward Sitori Tanin, Loyola tied Eastern Illinois 26-26 heading into halftime. At the half, the Ramblers led with a 37.9 shooting percentage versus the Panthers’ 32.3 shooting percentage.
The third period of the game was a turning point for Loyola. Although Eastern Illinois scored first in the second half with two free throws, Loyola went on to dominate in terms of scoring. With three seconds remaining and a steal jumper combination from Hampton-Bey, Loyola outscored Eastern Illinois 14-7 in the third period.
“We made an adjustment to what we were running,” Loyola head coach Kate Achter said about the team coming out strong during the third period. “We didn’t give up any easy scores.”
The last period of the game continued to be an aggressive defensive matchup. Eastern Illinois came within two points of the Ramblers, scoring 15 points in the final period. Loyola, however, was able to hold on to the lead.
In the end, the Ramblers beat the Panthers 58-48 and won the matchup with 32 defensive rebounds and 6 deadball rebounds compared to Eastern Illinois’s 26 defensive rebounds and 1 deadball rebound.
The Ramblers are set to travel to Mount Pleasant, Michigan to take on Central Michigan University Dec. 11. The game will begin at 12 p.m. and be broadcast on ESPN 3.