Sunday, January 28, 2007

Stags Sweep Loyola, Win 63-51

The women’s basketball team came into its game Sunday looking for a season sweep of Loyola.

A win would vault the Stags in front of the Greyhounds for third place in the MAAC, based on head-to-head competition.

Fairfield did just that, beating Loyola 63-51.

Loyola struggled throughout the game to score. The Greyhounds are second in the MAAC in scoring with 65.6 points per game, led by Jill Glessner, who is second in the league in scoring at 14.8 ppg.

The Stags held the Greyhounds to only 51 points and Glessner to 12. She was the only player for Loyola to score in double-digits.

Vika Sholokhova, a dangerous center who can shoot behind the arc as well, was held to only seven points.

The Greyhounds only shot 37.7 percent for the game while Fairfield was able to shoot 49.1 percent.

Head Coach Dianne Nolan said she was pleased with the team’s defensive efforts.

“I thought that [Loyola] couldn’t find openings at times. [Our players] knew where the shooters were and they rotated out on them,” she said.

Junior guard Sabra Wrice echoed that sentiment.

“Defense is very important to us. We feel like everything starts from the defensive end. We get a stop and it helps us to focus on our offense more because we just got a stop,” she said.

Wrice had a game-high 19 points on nine of 15 shooting. She also came up with three steals and dished out three assists. Her 19 points also give her 916 points for her career.

While Wrice led the backcourt, the frontcourt also stepped up.

Sophomore Baendu Lowenthal was in double-digits as well in points with 10. In addition, freshman Stephanie Geehan did a little of everything. She provided tough defense with four blocks and three steals while also pulling down five rebounds and scoring six points. Overall, the Stags out-rebounded the Greyhounds 36-30 for the game, led by Lowenthal who had eight.

Nolan recognized the importance of the stellar frontcourt play.

“We talk about our frontcourt being played by committee,” she said. “They just keep banging in there. We can wear on people because we can bring in someone off the bench who can contribute.”

The Stags scored 40 of their 63 points in the paint compared to Loyola’s 30.

The win improves Fairfield to 11-10 overall on the year and 7-3 in the MAAC. Loyola fell to 7-3 in the MAAC and 12-8 overall.

However, the tie with Loyola is broken by the Stags' sweep of the Greyhounds during the regular season. The Stags are now in third place in the MAAC, one game behind Iona for second place.

-Chris Simmons

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