Nov. 29, 2008
Las Cruces, N.M. - Elyse VanBogaert scored 21 points and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds as Loyola raced out to a 21-point halftime lead and cruised to a 103-71 win tonight over Western New Mexico in the final game of the Aggie Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, N.M. The Ramblers move back above .500 at 3-2 while the Mustangs drop to 2-3 with the loss.
Maggie McCloskey helped Loyola get off to a fast start, scoring eight of LU's first 10 points as the Ramblers jumped out to a 10-2 lead after just two minutes. A pair of McCloskey free throws minutes later boosted the lead to double figures (16-5) and a VanBogaert jumper later capped a 7-0 LU spurt that made it a 33-17 game with just over eight minutes left on the clock. The Ramblers kept pushing, dictating tempo with intensity on both ends of the court, and led by as many as 22 before settling for a 53-32 halftime lead after a Lisa Samplawski lay-up in the final minute. Loyola asserted itself inside in the opening 20 minutes, scoring 24 points in the paint, and hit 20-of-37 (54%) field goals to grab the sizable lead at intermission.
After giving up two free throws to open the second half, Loyola rattled off six points in 28 seconds thanks to a pair of steals for lay-ups as the lead ballooned to 59-34 in the opening minute of the period. The lead hovered between 20 and 25 for a majority of the half and Brittney Marshall hit a pair from the line with 1:21 left to give the Ramblers 100 points for the first time since hanging 107 on Detroit back on Feb. 15, 2001.
In all, 12 of Loyola's 13 players scratched the scorebook and all 13 contributed in a comprehensive team effort. The Ramblers finished the game shooting 55% from the floor while holding the Mustangs to just 35% accuracy.
VanBogaert, who had her double-double at halftime (14 points, 11 rebounds), hit 8-of-12 from the floor for the game to lead the way. Collins and McCloskey finished with 19 points apiece while Shannon Finnegan added 14 in her first start of the season.
Loyola returns to action next Friday night (Dec. 5) when it travels to face SIU-Edwardsville at 6 p.m.