March 17, 2013
Green Bay, Wis. - Host Green Bay used a 10-2 run midway through the first half to build a double-digit lead and Loyola could not muster enough offense as the Ramblers suffered a 54-38 setback in the Horizon League Championship game this afternoon at the Kress Center. Loyola finishes the season at 17-15, its highest win total since the 1988-89 season, while the Phoenix bring a 29-2 mark into postseason play.
"I could not be happier about our effort," said head coach Eric Simpson. "I thought we played our butts off, especially on the defensive end, but we just could not score enough points against one of the best defenses in the country."
Both teams got off to slow starts on the offensive end, with the game tied at four after five minutes. Green Bay's Adrian Ritchie began to heat up and her three-pointer gave the Phoenix a 21-8 lead at the 7:45 mark. Monica Albano answered with a trey of her own to stem the tide but Green Bay scored the final four points of the period to take its largest lead (34-17) into the locker room at halftime. Loyola shot just 28% over the opening 20 minutes and missed four of six from the foul line.
Loyola came out inspired in second half, particularly on the defensive end, and gave itself a chance. Baskets from Simone Law and Troy Hambric on the first two possessions got the Ramblers back in it and a three-pointer from Katie Faught and a Taylor Johnson free throw made it a 38-27 game midway through the half. A Sarah Eichler basket stemmed the tide and Lydia Bauer hit a running jumper at the end of the shot clock to bump it back to 15 and Loyola would get no closer than 13 the rest of the way.
Law, who was named to the Horizon League All-Tournament team along with Johnson, led the Ramblers with 12 points and tied her career high with 14 rebounds. Albano finished with nine points and seven rebounds, closing out her illustrious career with 1,350 points, good for fourth on school's all-time list.