2023-24 Women’s Basketball Preview: Ramblers Look To Continue Building

The program will officially start the season with eight new additions including two first-years and four transfers.

Loyola women’s basketball’s 2022-23 inaugural season in the Atlantic-10 Conference was a difficult campaign. Led by new head coach Allison Guth, the team scraped by with a record of 6-24 and 1-15 in conference play before falling to Duquesne University in the first round of the A-10 conference tournament, falling short by a single point. 

A rough entrance was expected, as the team simultaneously underwent a transition phase between new coaching staffs and was forced to adapt to stronger competition than they faced in the Missouri Valley Conference. At the end of the season, inconsistent shooting, injuries and an inability to match opponents’ physicality plagued the team.

The New Additions

The program will officially start the 2023-24 season with eight new additions. The new group comprises two new assistant coaches, two first-years and four transfer students. 

Aaliyah Moore — a fourth-year — joins the squad after transferring from Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. During her third season at Saint Francis, the 6’0” forward made serious noise in the Northeast Conference, earning Second Team All-NEC and eight-time NEC Prime Performer awards in all 29 starts. She is officially ranked tenth in single-season program history with 295 rebounds and ranked 17th in the entire NCAA with 10.2 rebounds per game in 2022-23.

Alyssa Fisher — a graduate student — joins Loyola after four solid years at Saint Francis College in Brooklyn, New York. As a 5’7” guard, Fisher was an effective scorer in her fourth-year season, averaging a team and personal best of 16.1 points per game. She notably achieved two career-high 30-point performances last year — two of her 22 double-digit scoring performances — including nine with a minimum of 20 points. Fisher also earned nine Northeast Conference Player of the Week honors and was named NEC Most Improved Player.

Thoranna Hodge-Carr is a 5’8” senior guard, the Icelandic native Hodge-Carr joins Loyola after a previous stint with Iona University in New Rochelle, New York. In 33 starts with the team during her third-year, she averaged 7.2 points per game on a 52.1 shooting average, with a notable 55 steals and ten double-digit scoring games. Before Iona, Hodge-Carr performed professionally in the Iceland Basketball Association for Keflavík’s women’s team — helping to secure a national championship — and also made several international appearances for Iceland.

Ali Berg — a 6’1” graduate student — transferred to Loyola after four seasons at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. In her fourth-year campaign, the guard and forward combo started in all 30 games, where she averaged a career best 7.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.4 blocks per game and 0.3 steals per game. She scored double-figures in eight games, shooting nearly 40% from three-point range and over 72% from the free-throw line.

Audrey Deptula, a 6’0” guard, was officially announced as a recruit by Coach Guth May 3. Prior to signing with Loyola, Deptula played at Middleton High School in Middleton, Wisconsin where she was ranked the 21st overall recruit in the state and 7th in the guard position and served as a team captain. Upon her commitment to Loyola, she averaged 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game. She was also named to the Big Eight All-Conference First Team and received All-Area Honorable Mention honors. 

Maddie Petroelje, before committing to Loyola, played at Hudsonville High School in Hudsonville, Michigan. During her time at Hudsonville, the 6’1” first-year guard was ranked as the top guard and the second-overall recruit in the state. Upon her commitment, Petroelje averaged 13.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.2 assists and earned First Team All-State and All-Conference honors. She has also led Michigan in three-point percentage shooting and is ranked among the top 20 leading three-pointer shooters in Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan history.

Simon Harris was named as a new addition to the coaching staff as an assistant coach June 15. Harris previously served as the head coach for the East Tennessee State University’s women’s basketball program during the 2021-22 season. Harris rejoined the A-10, formerly coaching at University of Dayton from 2011-2018. Harris also has strong recruiting experience, bringing in multiple commitments within the ESPN Top-100 ranking during his time with Dayton, Ohio State University and North Carolina State University. 

Jenna Rubino-McCormick was announced by Guth as a new assistant coach and director of player personnel a few days after Harris June 21. Rubino-McCormick previously worked with the Illinois Dream AAU 16/17U squad, with a focus on strategy development and player fundamentals. She also has previous professional playing experience in the WNBA with the Chicago Sky and Famila Schio in the Italian Serie A basketball league.

Games to Watch Out For

The Ramblers’ 30-game season will officially start Oct. 29 in an exhibition against Roosevelt University at Gentile Arena. 

Two inner-city games to look out for are scheduled for late November, when the Ramblers go down the Red Line to take on DePaul University Nov. 26 and travel up north to Northwestern University Nov. 29.

Graduate forward Emma Nolan and graduate guard Sam Galapolous mentioned several games to be aware of, which includes a non-conference matchup away versus Iowa University Dec. 21.

Within the conference, Nolan and Galanopaulous also expressed excitement for their games against St. Louis University Jan. 3 and Feb. 14, as well as games against expected conference leaders University of Massachusetts Jan. 17 and Feb. 21 and a single game versus the University of Rhode Island Jan. 10. 

The regular season will end with the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships in Henrico, Virginia from March 6-10.

Coach Guth’s Corner 

Guth said she will look to improve the program in her second season and made several comments regarding the summer’s recruitment process and the goals of the team moving forward.

In her initial takeaway of last year’s season, Guth said losing so many games served as a valuable learning experience. She specifically noted the “wide awakening” to the A-10 and its increased game speed but lauded the squad for remaining committed to the process and working together, even through the losses.

Guth also spoke to how the improved level of collegiate experience from new additions was a focal point of their transfer process. She stressed this would be simultaneously managed with the recruiting of high school players and hopes the program will be able to mature more successfully and build a good culture.

Guth said while maintaining the goals of focusing on the process and development, the team hopes to establish itself as a solid part of Loyola culture.

“What’s important to us is that we represent our school in a really positive way by playing a brand of basketball that we think is exciting,” Guth said. “And I’m telling you right now, hands down, you’d wanna buy a ticket to watch these women play ‘cause they’re gonna leave empty and they’re an exciting product on the floor.”

Featured image courtesy of Steve Woltmann | Loyola Athletics

Alexander Sciarra

Alexander Sciarra