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Seniors lead Loyola to senior day win

By: Amanda Ghysel

Senior Katie Sheahin recorded her seventh-career double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds in her final home game.

Senior Katie Sheahin recorded her seventh-career double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds in her final home game.

No matter the situation, no matter the circumstances, no matter what the game means in the grand scheme of things senior night is always an emotional night as players who have invested the past few years of their lives to their program, their school and their team take their home court for one final time. On Friday night the Loyola women’s basketball team celebrated there senior night, honoring three players before tip-off, and those two teams up for 37 points and 17 rebounds as the Greyhounds beat the Fairfield Stags 56-48.

Senior Alyssa Sutherland tied a career-high with 18 points while fellow seniors Katie Sheahin scored 17 points with 10 rebounds for her seventh career double-double. Senior Candice Walker had a season-high five rebounds to go with two points.

“I was happy with the team’s overall focus tonight,” Loyola Head Coach Joe Logan said. “We executed what we wanted to do offensively and defensively.”

The Stags jumped out to an early 5-2 lead but the next few minutes would turn into an Alyssa Sutherland spectacle event as she sank three in a row and came up with a big steal on the defensive end to put the Greyhounds up 8-5.

The Stags would push out ahead again with a basket from junior Katie Cyzinski, who led Fairfield with 14 points in the game, and a three-pointer from way downtown from junior Alexys Vazquez.

Sutherland would hit another jumper, though, to tie the game at 10 with just under 13 minutes remaining in the half. A Kara Marshall layup moments later would put the Hounds back in front by two.
Marshall and Sheahin both capitalized to push Loyola’s lead to 18-10 before three-straight Stag field goals would bring them back within two.

After a Steph Smith shot from the baseline Stags senior Katelyn Linney hit a three to cut her team’s deficit to one. A long stint on the Fairfield offensive end would conclyde with points from Cynzinski to put the Stags on top 21-20.

However, this would be Fairfield’s final lead of the game as Sheahin dropped one from behind the arc to regain the advantage for the Hounds. Loyola played hearty defense in the waning moments of the half to maintain their 23-21 lead going into the locker room.

The Stags would score first in the second half, retying the score and holding the Greyhounds scoreless for the first 3:10 of the frame.

But the Hounds worked to regain and extend their lead as Nneka Offodile was awarded the first set of free throws in the game, sinking one to bring the score to 28-23 in favor of Loyola.

A three from Linney would get the Stags back withing two but the Hounds graduating class answered with two points each.

Fairfield would come as close as four as senior Laura Vetra hit a three with just over four minutes to go. The Hounds would push it back to 52-46 before Fairfield’s slew of intentional fouls to stop the clock began. The fouls led to two trips to the charity stripe for Sheahin, where she went 4-for-4.

The Stags would sink a final basket but Loyola would hold on for the 56-48 victory.

“We broke the curse!” Sutherland said triumphantly, explaining that the team has a tendency to lose on senior night.

“I’m going to miss it a lot,” Sheahin said. Both Sheahin and Sutherland had tears in their eyes as they spoke about there final game at Reitz Arena. “We worked really well together,” Sheahin continued about the duo’s big night. “We always have. We don’t even have to talk, we just read facial expressions.”

Logan had some parting words for the seniors as well: “Candice is a special kid,” he said after explaining that she has had an injury-riddled career at Loyola and was expected to “be in the starting lineup for four years” though she wound up staying for six. “Katie works harder than anybody,” he added. “Alyssa is the energizer bunny. They deserved the win.”

The Greyhounds head to St. Peter’s on Sunday for their final game of the regular season before making the trip to Springfield, Mass. at the end of the week for the MAAC Championship tournament.

“We want to be playing our best basketball going into the tournament,” Logan said.

Though the team will most likely be heading to the tournament as the No, 10 seed Sheahin had faith, simply saying: “If we play our game, anything can happen.”

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Amanda Ghysel

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