Feb. 8, 2007
CHICAGO - Visiting Butler used a 13-3 run midway through the second half to take the lead and held off a determined Loyola squad, 71-67, tonight at the Gentile Center. Loyola, which lost its second straight game by four points or less, falls to 6-16 (4-7 Horizon) while the Bulldogs improve to 10-12 (7-3) with the win.
The teams opened the game scoring at a furious pace, with Butler hitting its first six shots and the Ramblers hitting six of their first seven. A Susan Lester hoop gave Butler a 17-14 lead after just six minutes but hoops from Jessica Hylton and Marquise Hanser put the Ramblers back on top. The pace slowed from that point on, as both teams tightened up defensively. Jackie Closser knocked down a three from the top of the key to put BU up 28-24 at the 4:51 mark but that would prove to be the visitors final points of the period, as Loyola reeled off the final seven, the last four coming from Elyse VanBogaert, to take a 31-28 lead into the locker room.
The teams opened the second half the same way as the first, and Butler recorded six points on its first two possessions of the period to reclaim the lead. After a Lester three-pointer gave Butler a 41-36 lead, Loyola responded behind VanBogaert, who scored twice in the paint to cut it back to one. The Ramblers finally got over the hump minutes later, as an Emily Ponder hoop tied the game at 48 and Jenna Real hit a pair from the line on the next possession to give LU a 50-48 edge. However, Lade Akande scored inside for Butler and was fouled, but her missed free throw was put back in by Lester for a four-point possession that helped the Bulldogs reclaim the lead. Maggie McCloskey stepped up and buried a three to put the Ramblers back in front but served as LU's only hoop in the decisive run that ended with Butler holding a 61-53 lead with 6:08 on the clock. A Real hoop cut the deficit to four and Jennifer Juergens scored a tough hoop inside to make it a 63-61 game at the 3:21 mark. After the teams traded free throws, Butler was forced to inbound the ball under its basket with one second on the shot clock. Tara Miller's long three-pointer managed to hit the rim and Akande was there for the put-back to give Butler a four-point lead with 1:34 to play. The Bulldogs added two free throws after a Loyola miss to extend the lead to six before McCloskey buried another three to cut the margin to three (70-67) with 14 ticks left. However, Miller hit one from the line to make it a two-possession game and seal the win.
Real was joined in double figure by VanBogaert (10 points) and Hanser, who recorded her first double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 boards, while adding five assists without a turnover in 36 minutes. Akande had a game-high 25 points to lead Butler while Lester added 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Loyola returns to action on Saturday afternoon when it battles Wright State at the Gentile Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.