Women’s Basketball Drop Season Opener to UIC

Loyola’s highest scorer in the loss was graduate guard Alyssa Fisher with 14 points.

The Loyola women’s basketball team (0-1) lost 67-51 to University of Illinois Chicago (1-0) in a Taylor Swift-themed opening night Nov 6. Loyola’s highest scorer in the loss was graduate guard Alyssa Fisher with 14 points, followed closely by fourth-year forward Sitori Tanin with 12.

UIC fourth-year forward Jadia McCloud won the opening tip-off and scored first with a strong driving layup from graduate guard Dais’Ja Trotter. The Flames quickly added four more points off a jump-shot and layup from fourth-year guards Danyel Middleton and Kristian Young to extend their six-point advantage.

Loyola finally got on the board when Fisher made a single shot at the free throw line. The Flames then went on another six-point run thanks to another layup by McCloud and two second-chance layups by fourth-year guard Keimari Rimmer, making the score 12-1.

With about four and a half minutes left in the quarter, graduate forward Ali Berg got Loyola two more points from a successful trip at the line. On the next immediate possession, McCloud was fouled after a tough layup and converted the following free throw shot.

After another Loyola possession ended with a turnover UIC third-year forward Makiyah Williams took advantage and drove in another layup, making the score 17-3.

The final three minutes were marred by offensive miscues and increased defense as UIC added on four more points via a jumper by third-year guard Krystyna Ellew and a layup from Trotter. The quarter ended with UIC up 21-3, but the most noticeable item of interest was Loyola’s abhorrent shooting as the team didn’t score a single basket on 15 attempts.

Head coach Allison Guth commented on the unexpected first quarter shooting and what it meant moving forward.

“I gotta tell you, I haven’t seen us go 0 for 15,” Guth said. “We were making buckets unbelievably against our practice squad this week. So for us, it’s gonna be confidence a little bit on the offensive end, making sure our offensive execution can do what it needs to do.”

Entering the second quarter, Loyola scored first off a layup from Tanin, who faked-out a defender in the post. The Flames immediately responded with a three from Trotter, who then scored on the next possession with another layup to increase UIC’s lead to 26-5.

A minute and a half into the second quarter, an overhead dish from Berg to Tanin gave the Ramblers another two points, before both teams lost respective possessions to offensive miscues. in the following minute. Trotter converted another layup to maintain UIC’s 21-point differential.

Following Trotter’s layup, the Ramblers’ offense exploded, going on a 13-point run over the next four minutes and 40 seconds. Second-year guard Kira Chivers’ three-pointer and two layups from Tanin highlighted the scoring. 

Second-year guard Mallory Ramage, graduate forward Emma Nolan and graduate guard Sam Galanopoulos also recorded layups at the basket to bolster the Ramblers. UIC stopped the run when Williams nailed a three-pointer ending the first half at 31-20 in favor of the Flames.

The Flames lost initial possession on a turnover to start the third quarter but recollected and scored first with a three point shot by Trotter. Tanin was the next to score with a layup and proceeded to block UIC’s next attempt, kickstarting a downcourt movement that ended in a layup from fourth-year guard Thoranna Kika Hodge-Carr on an assist from Nolan. A media timeout signaled the Ramblers only behind 10 at 34-24.

Both sides remained hot as each team was able to score four respective points in their possessions, which included Hodge-Carr and Fisher driving in the lane for layups bringing the score to 38-28.

A three-pointer from Hodge-Carr gave Loyola breathing room before UIC responded with an eight-point run over the course of a minute and a half. The final minute saw lone free throws by Chivers and Trotter, a driving layup by Tanin and a buzzer-beating two point jumper from Williams to end the quarter 49-34.

UIC scored a minute and a half into the fourth quarter when Ellew made a tough shot along the baseline. The Flames immediately returned on offense off another Loyola turnover, but graduate forward Sophia Nolan was able to draw a physical offensive foul.

Loyola returned fire with a three from Ramage and a layup from Fisher on the following possession to bring them back within 12. UIC pulled themselves further away with six points before first-year forward Audrey Deptula made her first basket with a three-point shot.

With four minutes left, UIC third-year forward Ky Dempsey-Toney took the ball into the paint to score a tight layup. Fisher responded with a layup on a fast-break and Loyola missed another chance to score as Middleton converted another layup to make the score 61-44.

Fisher earned a trip to the free throw line and only hit one before UIC effectively ended any chance of a comeback by scoring another six straight points. With a minute left, Fisher managed to get off two three-pointers and as the final buzzer sounded the scoreboard read 67-51 score.

The Ramblers shot 35.1% on 57 attempts, only capitalizing on six of 16 attempts beyond the arc. UIC was comparatively better in almost every category, registering 36 rebounds, 17 assists and 15 steals compared to Loyola’s 36, 16 and 10, respectively.

One noticeable aspect of the game that played a large part in the Flame’s win was their consistently heavy backcourt press, which accounted for some of Loyola’s 29 turnovers. 

Guth noted how even after seven successful days of preparation for the UIC press, it didn’t come to fruition in the game. 

“A little bit confusing, even if you break down possession for possession,” Guth said. “Some of those are not forced turnovers, which is unbelievable. We prepared for UIC to try to speed us up, and unfortunately they had success in it even though we worked on it in practice.”

Fisher said the team is still learning, but also indicated the high level of intensity the team played with was a good sign.

“We went out there and we played really hard,” Fisher said. “Kept fighting to the end. We just need to work on our defense more and getting more stops in.”

Loyola’s next matchup will be against Chicago State University Nov 9. at the Jones Convocation Center at 4 p.m. Broadcast information is to be determined.

Featured image by Aidan Cahill | The Phoenix

Alexander Sciarra

Alexander Sciarra