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Loyola falls to Navy, 55-45

By: Jenna Pizzi

Loyola made a nice comeback attempt in the third quarter but their 29-percent shooting from the floor made it impossible for them to complete it.

The same sort of magical run to complete an improbable comeback just like the last time the Greyhounds played the Mids in Reitz Arena just wasn’t in store for the Loyola women’s basketball team on Wednesday night.

Last year in the Patriot League quarterfinals the Greyhounds recovered from a 14-point deficit and the now graduated Colleen Marshall hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to win the game for Loyola. But on Wednesday the Hounds fell into a state of defeat as the first-place Navy squad finished with a 55-45 victory and Mids head coach Stefanie Pemper earned her 400th career victory.

Loyola had a rough start to the game with a turnover that helped spark the Mids on an 11-point run. Hounds guard Bri Betz-White stepped up with a bank shot to end the run with a 3-pointer that finally got the Greyhounds on the board just under five minutes into the first quarter. Loyola continued to find a few opportunities and they made it an 11-8 game.

In the middle of the second quarter, a heady pass from Lisa Mirarchi into the paint followed by a layup from Stephanie Karcz made it a 15-10 game. But Navy, looking to hold off the Hounds comeback attempt responded with a two-point shot by Sarita Condie to get back up by seven points and they held strong or a 25-16 lead at halftime.

Navy’s always strong defense led to Loyola scoring only eight points in both the first and second quarters. Most of Navy’s point were accounted for by eight of the 12 Loyola turnovers they capitalized on.

Navy’s Justice Swett, the 2016 Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and favorite to win the award for a second-straight season, had another brilliant game, but with passes going away from her it was Hannah Fenske who made Loyola pay with errand throws and mental errors while dribbling as she had five steals in the game. But Karcz for Loyola ranked second to only Swett in the Patriot League in steals heading into the game and also had five steals.

Throughout the game, Karcz helped the Greyhounds by getting the ball back and it led to the Mids scoring only two more points off turnovers in the game, a stat that usually carries Navy to victory.

But while the turnovers didn’t kill Loyola, they shot only 29-percent from the floor, 26-percent from 3-pointers and 46-percent from the foul line. The ball wasn’t getting in the basket enough.

Navy scored five points in a row to start the third quarter as they build a 30-16 lead with 7:44 left in the third quarter.

Loyola had one big run left in them, though. Betz-White nailed a 3-pointer and then had a nice play where she dribbled inside the paint through two Navy defenders to finish with a two. That was a part of a 12-2 Loyola run that trimmed their deficit down to four points at 32-28 with 1:03 left in the third quarter.

But history would not repeat itself with an impressive comeback after trailing by 14 points. Betz-White had some important plays and finished the game with 17 points, but Navy hit two shots late in the second quarter to go ahead 36-28 heading into the final session and was able to hold on for the win by outscoring the Hounds 19-15 in the fourth quarter. It was both team’s most successful offensive period in the game.

Condie and Fenske each scored 11 points to lead Navy.

Loyola will stay at home on Saturday to host Boston University at 4 pm. Navy remains tied for first place with Bucknell with a 10-2 conference record. Loyola is tied for sixth place in the Patriot League at 5-7 in league play.

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Jenna Pizzi

Staff Writer
There has not been one moment in Jenna's life where she was not part of a team. From the age of single digits until high school, soccer became her center. Other sports were attempted, but nothing was as fulfilling as her defending the net or assisting a goal with a wide pass. During her high school days of soccer and track, she was a writer for the school newspaper, covering sports. High School was here her interest in basketball peaked, which is still a favorite of hers. In contrast, her father is a football fan, who watched each game religiously. Her inherited this trait from his mother, who is a Yankees fanatic. To continue the family passion, Jenna is currently a sports writer, both for The Greyhound at Loyola University of Maryland and now at So Much Sports.

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