Loyola Knocks Off UIC In Regular Season Finale, 78-68
March 9, 2013
CHICAGO - Simone Law led five players in double figures with 21 points and Loyola led by as many as 18 in the second half en route to a 78-68 win over UIC this afternoon at the UIC Pavilion. The Ramblers (15-14, 10-6 Horizon) reach double digits in conference wins for the first time since the 1988-89 season and earned the No. 3 seed in next week's Horizon League Tournament. UIC ends the regular season at 9-20 (5-11).
"I am so proud of this group," said head coach Eric Simpson. "We exceeded the expectations put on us in the (Horizon League) Preseason Poll and this program has not finished this high in the standings in many years. While it is a nice achievement, we know that the real season begins on Wednesday night and we are going to be focused and ready for a good Milwaukee club."
Knowing before the game that third place was theirs with a win, the Ramblers started strong. Law scored the first five points of the game and an Ayrealle Beavers basket made it a 7-0 game 76 seconds into the game. UIC was able to settle in and pull within a point but six points from Monica Albano helped LU build a nine-point lead (15-6) at the 13:26 mark. Loyola was able to keep the Flames at an arm's length the rest of the period, leading by as many as 11 before settling for a 35-26 lead at halftime. Law was the catalyst, hitting 5-of-6 from the floor and pouring in 13 first-half points, while Albano added 10 of her own.
Two buckets from Taylor Johnson in the early moments of the second half made it a 12-point game before Troy Hambric got hot. The junior scored 11 consecutive Loyola points to help the Ramblers maintain their double-digit lead with the margin ballooning to 18 (64-46) on an Albano three-pointer with 6:36 to go. Consecutive three-pointers from UIC's Taylor Foulks quickly got the Flames within 12 but they would never get closer than seven, with Loyola hitting 10-of-12 from the line over the final 1:44 to ice the win.
Loyola shot 46% for the game and hit 25-of-31 (81%) from the foul line to earn the road win.
Law led the way with 21 points and was joined in double figures by Johnson (16 points, six rebounds), Albano (13 points, six steals), Hambric (11 points) and Beavers (11 points, seven assists, four steals, three blocks). Rachel Story led UIC with 20 points.
"This is the first time that we have been in a position to host a quarterfinal game," continued Simpson. "I want to encourage all the students, who will be back on campus, to come out and support us. I think we have a group that will make you proud."
The Ramblers open Horizon League Tournament play on Wednesday night when it will host a quarterfinal game at Gentile Arena. Tip time is scheduled for 7 p.m.