Feb. 28, 2013
CHICAGO - Simone Law set a new career high for the second straight game, pouring in 33 points, and Loyola outscored Milwaukee 42-18 in the paint en route to a 92-76 win tonight at Gentile Arena. The Ramblers extended their Horizon League winning streak to seven games and wrapped up a 7-1 month of February, both equaling achievements during the 1988-89 season.
"Milwaukee is a very dangerous team," said head coach Eric Simpson. "They have some excellent players, spread the floor well and can really shoot it from the three-point line. We made some adjustments defensively and were able to take advantage on the offensive end by getting the ball inside."
Milwaukee opened the game hot from outside, knocking down three triples to take an early 9-4 lead. Law and Troy Hambric were able to score effectively inside but the Panthers kept hitting and eventually opened up a 20-12 lead on an Angela Rodriguez jumper at the 12:41 mark. Loyola began to settle in defensively while maintaining its offensive efficiency and the home team took its first lead (25-24) on a Law basket with just over seven minutes left in the half. UWM quickly responded and rebuilt a six-point lead but the Ramblers finished the half strong, holding the visitors scoreless for the last 3:50 and scoring the last eight of the period to take a 38-36 lead into halftime.
After Sami Tucker scored on the opening possession of the second half, Loyola took off. Monica Albano knocked down a pair of three-pointers in a 12-2 run that gave the Ramblers their first double-digit lead of the game (50-40). A corner three-ball from Lyndsey Booker later bumped the lead to 13 with just under six minutes elapsed in the half and Loyola held a 64-49 advantage close to the midway point of the period after Johnson fed Law for a fastbreak lay-in.
Loyola maintained its double-digit lead for the next five minutes until Milwaukee made a push. A Rodriguez three-pointer and a Macie Dorow free throw sliced the LU lead to seven but two Law free throws and a jumper from Hambric restored an 11-point lead at the 4:58 mark and UWM would get no closer than nine the rest of the way.
Law and Hambric were terrific in the second half, combining for 34 points on 13-of-16 shooting, as Loyola shot 57% after halftime to finish at 54% for the game. Law added 12 rebounds to her 33 points for her eighth double-double of the season while Hambric just missed one, racking up 18 points and nine boards in 22 minutes of play. Albano also had another solid game, finishing with 16 points while playing 40 turnover-free minutes, passing both Lisa Kasprowicz and Ciara Henderson to move into fifth on Loyola's all-time scoring list. Taylor Johnson gave the Loyola a fourth player in double figures, ending with 13 points and five assists.
"Simone was very efficient, scoring 33 points on only 18 shots," continued Simpson. "And I thought both Troy and Monica were outstanding tonight as well. Troy is still fighting through the back trouble but she wanted to be a part of something special this year and she keeps battling and I thought Monica showed great patience tonight, took what the defense gave her and did some great things out there."
After wrapping up a tough stretch of four games in eight days, Loyola gets a week off before putting its winning streak on the line next Thursday at No. 21 Green Bay. Tip time from the Kress Center is set for 7 p.m.