Jan. 31, 2013
Milwaukee, Wis. - Taylor Johnson finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, Monica Albano added 31 and Loyola scored the final 15 points of the game to snatch an 84-74 win over Milwaukee tonight at the Klotsche Center. Loyola improves to 7-12 (2-4 Horizon) and has won the last four meetings against Milwaukee (5-12, 1-4).
"It was really nice to see us come out hungry tonight," said head coach Eric Simpson. "I thought we got off to a great start on both ends of the court and Taylor and Monica were outstanding and really carried the brunt of the offensive load tonight."
Loyola got off to a strong start, scoring on its first three possessions to take a 6-0 lead. Albano's first three-pointer made it a double-digit lead (13-3) less than six minutes into the game and the lead fluctuated between five and 10 points for the next four minutes. Albano had 15 of Loyola's first 24 points before Johnson scored all 10 points in a 10-2 LU spurt that gave the visitors its largest lead (34-19) with 6:42 left in the half. The lead was still 13 (44-31) with two minutes left before UWM scored the final five points of the period to make it a 44-36 game at halftime. Albano finished the half with 18 points (6-11 FGs) with Johnson adding 17 points and five assists in the opening 20 minutes.
After UWM scored the first three points of the second half to get within five, Albano buried another three and Johnson converted another traditional three-point play to bump the lead back to double figures. However, Loyola went cold and the Panthers took advantage, burying three treys to kickstart a 13-0 run that gave the home team their first lead of the night, 52-50, at the 12:32 mark. A 7-0 Milwaukee run later put Loyola in a 70-62 hole with 4:36 to go but the Ramblers were able to finish strong. Johnson knocked down a three from the left wing to make it a five-point game and scored again off an offensive rebound to get LU within one possession. The teams traded points to 74-69 before the Ramblers' game-ending charge.
Albano started the run with her seventh trey and added a pair from the free throw line to tie the game at 74. A Johnson steal led to an Albano lay-up that gave LU the lead and a turnover in the backcourt turned into a Johnson lay-up to give LU a 78-74 lead with 1:09 left. After Milwaukee missed the front-end at the line, Ayrealle Beavers fed Johnson for another basket to make it a six-point game and the Ramblers closed it out for the win.
"One of the things that I was most proud of was how we hung in there and never hung our heads," continued Simpson. "They made a run and gained a bit of separation there in the second half but we executed very well over the last four minutes and clamped down defensively and were able to find a way to win the ballgame."
Johnson's 33 points are career high and her 11 boards equal her career best. For Albano, it was the third 30-point game of her career, as she finished 10-of-20 from the floor, including 7-of-13 from downtown. Troy Hambric also reached double figures, finishing with 10 points, five rebounds and two blocks.
Loyola has the weekend off before returning to the court next Thursday (Feb. 7) against Green Bay. Tip time is set for 7 p.m. at Gentile Arena.
NOTES: Loyola's 84 points are a season high and the Ramblers are now 3-0 this season when scoring 80 or more ... Johnson's 33 points are seven better than her previous career high of 26 set on Nov. 17 against Southern Illinois ... In addition, this marks her fourth double-double of the season ... Albano tied her career-high with the seven three-pointers, set earlier this month (Jan. 5) at Eastern Michigan and her 31 points are three shy of her career-best total of 34 set at Youngstown State in March, 2011 ... Loyola, which entered the game shooting 65% from the free throw line, went a perfect 13-for-13 from the stripe tonight ... Despite scoring only two points, Beavers tied her career high with seven assists and did not turn the ball over in her 28 minutes