Loyola Women’s Basketball ‘Surviving and Advancing’ Over Fordham in A-10 Second Round

Graduate guard Alyssa Fisher led the Ramblers with 14 points in the victory.

The eighth seeded Loyola women’s basketball team won their first ever A-10 post-season game 53-52 against ninth seeded Fordham University in the second round of the Atlantic 10 conference tournament in Henrico, Virginia March 7. The Ramblers will face No. 1 seeded University of Richmond March 8 at 11 a.m. 

Graduate guard Alyssa Fisher led the Ramblers with 14 points and graduate guard Sam Galanopoulos scored 10 in the victory. Graduate guard and forward Ali Berg recorded a team high of 10 rebounds. Fordham’s fourth-year guard and A-10 leading scorer Taylor Donaldson scored 15 points in the Rams’ loss. 

Galanopoulos opened scoring with a mid-range jumper, and first-year center Aminata Ly tied it on a second chance after rebounding a missed 3-pointer from Donaldson. A steal from Ly led to an offensive possession ,and Ly gave the Rams the lead on a third-chance bucket. 

Fourth-year guard Thoranna Kika Hodge-Carr tied the game again on a reverse layup, then Donaldson made a 3-pointer to gain the advantage over the Ramblers. Fordham stayed hot as graduate guard Emy Hayford made a driving layup followed by two pull-up jumpers from Donaldson.

Graduate guard Emma Nolan ended the Rams’ 9-0 run with a layup, setting the score at 13-6 going into the official timeout. 

Galanopoulos started a 10-2 Loyola run with a jumper in the paint, followed by a layup from Hodge-Carr. Galanopoulos added two at the line before a reverse layup by Fisher. Fourth-year guard Matilda Flood stole an in-bounds pass from Berg and dropped in a layup to take the lead for the Rams at the end of the quarter 17-16. 

The second quarter started with a minute-long scoring drought which was broken by a Galanopoulos jumper. Ly made a second-chance layup to take back the lead before Hodge-Carr found fourth-year forward Sitori Tanin through the Rams’ defense who scored on a layup. 

Fisher made two free throws and Galanopoulos drained a turnaround jumper to put the Ramblers ahead 24-19. Fordham’s second-year forward Rose Nelson and third-year guard Taya Davis responded with their own layups before Nelson took the lead back with a layup off of a turnover. 

Hodge-Carr provided another key assist setting up Berg for a layup. Tanin scored off of a miss by Hodge-Carr before Nelson made a layup. Second-year guard Kira Chivers ended the half with a last-second layup to put the Ramblers ahead at the break 30-29. 

Berg came out of the break and scored an open three while Hayford drove down and scored a layup to decrease the Rambler lead. Donaldson kept the Rams’ going and made a 3-pointer to retake the lead and Hayford drove in another layup. 

Fisher tied the game at 36 with a 3-pointer and Emma Nolan made two at the line to bring the Ramblers to 38-36. Fisher flew through the Rams’ defense and added a layup before an official timeout. 

Hayford took the lead back for the Rams at 42-40 with a 3-pointer and a reverse-layup. Chivers shot two at the line and the Ramblers went into the final quarter down by 2 at 44-42. 

Nelson started the quarter off a minute and a half in with a made layup. A deep field-goal from Donaldson created a six-point gap between the two teams before Berg and Fisher built up momentum by hitting a 3-pointer from the logo and making a layup to close the deficit to one. 

Fisher tied the game at 50 after hitting a clean 3-pointer with just a minute remaining. Ly made a jumper to take the lead back for the Rams at 52-50.

In the last minute of play, five timeouts were called between Loyola and Fordham, adding anticipation to the crowd in the Henrico Sports and Event Complex. 

Hodge-Carr put the Ramblers in winning position at 53-52 when she made a turnaround jumper through a foul by Hayford, hitting the and-one and taking the lead. 

Donaldson and graduate guard Mandy McGurk each missed their attempts on Fordham’s final possession, advancing the Ramblers to the next round of the tournament. The team and coaches stormed the court in celebration after the final buzzer rang. 

In her fifth year with the team, Galanopoulos said she has been waiting for the moment to advance in a conference tournament and praised the hard work the team put in to make it this far. 

“I wouldn’t want to advance with any other team, any other staff, any other athletic department,” Galanopoulos said. “As you’ve seen all the hard work we’ve put in, it hasn’t really gone our way, but today, definitely we had everybody on our side and I think you saw it work.” 

Loyola head coach Allison Guth said she was proud of her team in winning their first A-10 conference post-season game. 

“It’s a really exciting feeling to be up here in our first A-10 victory during a tournament,” Guth said. “I am so proud of this team and we’re just really excited. March is about surviving and advancing. Survival was the first thing and now we’re talking about how do we control the controllables as a team.” 

The Ramblers advance to the third round March 8 where they face No. 1 seed University of Richmond. Tip off is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET and the game can be streamed on ESPN+.

Featured Image by Aidan Cahill | The Phoenix

Andi Revesz

Andi Revesz