Big Three Pushes Loyola Past Eastern Michigan, 64-54
Jan. 5, 2013
Ypsilanti, Mich. - Loyola used a 29-6 run that spanned both halves to open up a double-digit lead and cruised to a 64-54 win over Eastern Michigan this afternoon at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, Mich. Monica Albano poured in a game-high 23 points and added a career-high nine steals to pace the Ramblers (5-8). Eastern Michigan slips to 2-11 with the loss.
Seven points from EMU's Sara Stone gave the home team an early 11-4 lead and the Ramblers trailed 17-8 before an Albano three-pointer and baskets from Molly Crosby and Taylor Johnson pulled LU within a basket (17-15) midway through the half. The Eagles built their lead back to eight on a Desyree Thomas lay-up before the Ramblers clamped down on the defensive end. Albano answered Thomas' basket with another trey and Loyola held EMU scoreless for the final 4:27 of the period, rattling off the last 11 points of the half to storm to a 30-27 lead at intermission.
Loyola kept the pressure on in the always-important first five minutes of the second half to build a lead. Simone Law opened the second half with a three-point play and Albano buried three more from downtown to cap the Ramblers' game-changing run that gave LU a 48-33 lead with 14:33 left to play.
Eastern Michigan responded by scoring the next eight to cut the deficit to seven but the Ramblers scored nine of the next 11 to grab a 57-43 lead with 8:12 on the clock and the Eagles would get no closer than nine the rest of the way.
Loyola shot a sizzling 57% in the second half and finished at 46% for the game. Meanwhile, its defense turned in another solid performance, holding Eastern Michigan to 32% shooting and forcing 25 turnovers, 19 as the result of steals.
The trio of Albano, Law and Johnson led the way for LU. Albano knocked down seven three-pointers en route to her 23 points and supplemented that with her nine steals. Law posted her sixth double-double of the season, racking up 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Johnson played a terrific all-around game, finishing with nine points (4-6 FGs), eight rebounds, five assists and six steals. Loyola also got a nice boost off the bench from Crosby, who tied her career high with eight points in 11 minutes.
Loyola has a week off before opening Horizon League play next Saturday at home against UIC. Tip from Gentile Arena is scheduled for 2 p.m.