After earning a split on its season-opening road trip through Pennsylvania, Loyola is ready for its home opener tonight against Southern Illinois at Gentile Arena
Senior guard Monica Albano needs just two points to become the 19th player in Loyola history to reach 1,000 career points
Tonight is the fourth meeting between the two teams with Southern Illinois winning two of the first three matchups
However, Loyola earned a 66-44 win last year in Carbondale in what was the first game between the two squads in over 27 years (Feb., 1984)
The Ramblers return four starters from last year's team including Preseason All-Horizon League Second Team picks Simone Law and Patrice King as well as high-scoring Monica Albano
Simone Law finished one rebound shy of a double-double in both games last weekend, incredibly the seventh and eighth times in her short career in which that has happened
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 41-52 (.441) into this afternoon's game
Couldn't Find Basket But Loyola Finds 'W'
After shooting just 17% in the second half of its season-opening loss to Lafayette, Loyola was only marginally better in the win over La Salle. The Ramblers connected at just a 28% clip for the game against the Explorers, the first time in program history that they have won a game when shooting under 30%. Their previous low in a victory was a 30.2% performance in a 64-61 win over Cleveland State on Feb. 17, 2001.
Ain't It Grand? Albano A Deuce Short of Milestone
Senior guard Monica Albano has a chance to put her name in the Loyola record book tonight as the high-scoring guard enters play just two points shy of becoming the 19th player in Loyola history to score 1,000 career points. Albano still managed to average 11.2 points per game last season despite missing three games due to injury and being hampered by nagging ailments for the majority of the season's second half. In addition, she also has an outside chance to become Loyola's all-time leading scorer as she is 484 points away from Sherry Metz's career mark (1,482). Albano is one of just five different LU players to have scored 500 points in a single season, pumping in 517 her sophomore campaign.
Comforts of Home (Openers)
Loyola opens the home portion of its schedule tonight looking to build upon its recent string of success. The Ramblers are 19-14 (.576) all-time in home openers and have won five straight dating back to the 2006-07 season.
Good Golly Miss Molly
One of the bright spots from the opening road trip was the play of Molly Crosby. The sophomore scored six quick points in the first half against Lafayette to help Loyola shake off a slow start and open a double-digit lead and finished with eight points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench against the Leopards. She earned her first collegiate start on Sunday at La Salle, posting five points and six boards in a career-high 26 minutes. To put things in the proper perspective, Crosby played just 16 minutes total in six games off the bench last season and missed the final six weeks of the campaign with a wrist injury.