Loyola Wraps Up Non-Conference Play at Eastern Michigan

Jan. 4, 2013

Loyola (4-8) at Eastern Michigan (2-10)
Sat., Jan. 5 • 1 p.m. CT
Ypsilanti, Mich. •Convocation Center

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Ramblings
• Loyola looks to snap out of the holiday doldrums when it wraps up non-conference play with an afternoon game at Eastern Michigan
• The Ramblers have dropped seven of their last eight games, most recently a tough 72-69 loss to Eastern Illinois on Wednesday in Chicago
• Loyola came all the way back from a 14-point, second-half deficit to tie and had the ball with a chance to win before a turnover enabled Eastern Illinois to escape
• This afternoon in the seventh meeting between the two teams with Eastern Michigan holding a 5-1 edge in the all-time series
• The Eagles are the second Mid-American Conference squad that Loyola has faced this season (L, 67-63 at Northern Illinois, Nov. 30)
• The Ramblers, who were picked fourth in the Horizon League Preseason Poll, return four starters from last year's team including Preseason All-Horizon League Second Team picks Simone Law and Patrice King

Head Coach Eric Simpson
In his fourth season at the helm, Eric Simpson has a lot of weapons at his disposal as the Ramblers, with a talented group of veterans and newcomers, look to move up the Horizon League standings. Simpson put together the best season of any first-year Loyola coach in 2009-10, leading the Ramblers to a 15-15 mark with a senior-laden squad, and this year's team returns its top five scorers from last year. Simpson graduated from Northwestern in 1994 with a degree in history and brings a career record of 44-59 (.427) into today's game. He is 0-2 (.000) in his career against Eastern Michigan and 3-6 (.333) all-time against MAC schools

Loyola/Eastern Michigan - The Series
Today is the seventh meeting between the two teams with Eastern Michigan holding a 5-1 lead in the all-time series. Loyola won the very first meeting between the teams (62-61, Dec. 21, 1989) but has seen EMU rattle off the last five, including wins in each of the past two seasons. The Eagles came away with a 63-55 win last season in a game played at North Park College and they earned an 82-64 victory in the most recent contest in Ypsilanti back on Nov. 12, 2010

Opponents Struggling To Handle Long Arm(s) of the Law
Sophomore post Simone Law made an immediate impact last season, giving the Ramblers a presence in the paint, and has continued to play at a high level this year. A member of the 2011-12 Horizon League All-Newcomer Team and a Preseason All-Horizon League Second Team choice this fall, Law became the first freshman in program history to lead the team in both scoring (13.9 ppg) and rebounding (7.2) last season and she is pacing the Ramblers in both categories again this year (13.2 ppg, 9.5 rpg). Law left the Western Illinois game with a concussion that forced her to miss one additional game but she eased back in off the bench against DePaul and has started the last three games (17.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg)

Close But No Cigar (Or Win)
Loyola's 72-69 loss to Eastern Illinois on Wednesday night continued a trend that the Ramblers would like to reverse. With that close setback, Loyola is now 0-3 (.000) this season in games decided by five points or less and 4-10 (.286) in such games dating back to the start of the 2011-12 season. In addition, aside from its losses to three BCS schools (all by double figures), Loyola's other five losses have come by an average of 5.0 ppg (25 total pts)

Monica Still Moving Up Chart
Senior guard Monica Albano finally put her name in the Loyola record book as she became the 21st player in Loyola history to score 1,000 career points, reaching the milestone against Southern Illinois. With 15 points against Eastern Illinois, Albano upper her career total to 1,120 and moved ahead of Lauren Sirus into 15th on the Ramblers' all-time list, one point behind Nicole Richards

This Taylor's A Great Fit
In freshman Taylor Johnson, it appears that Loyola's tradition of strong guard play will continue for the foreseeable future. Johnson burst on the scene against Southern Illinois, posting a career-high 26 points, and she has been solid ever since. She followed up a 16-point, eight-rebound, six-assist performance against DePaul by posting her first career double-double against Chicago State, finishing with 12 points and 10 steals in only 20 minutes of action. Already a two-time Horizon League Newcomer of the Week honoree, Johnson leads all Horizon League freshmen this season in scoring (11.6 ppg) and steals (2.6 spg) and is third in assists (3.1 apg)

Big Or Small, Booker Does It All
One of Loyola's unsung heroes this season has been junior Lyndsey Booker. In addition to seeing some action in her natural backcourt position, Booker has also seen extended minutes at the 4 spot due to injuries. The Farmington Hills, Mich. native has been a bump in her playing time over the last month, averaging 28.5 minutes per game over the last six contests, and although many of her contributions do not necessarily show up in the box score, Booker has put up 6.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg and 1.7 spg in that span