Loyola looks to snap a two-game losing streak when it returns home to take on Western Illinois at Gentile Arena
The Ramblers have won all four of the previous meetings between the teams, most recently a 64-59 win here on Dec. 22, 2010
After trailing by 10 points at halftime, Loyola put together a spirited second-half comeback last Friday night at Northern Illinois, eventually taking a six-point lead before watching the Huskies rally for a 67-63 victory
Monica Albano led four Ramblers in double figures with 20 points while Simone Law (13 pts, 10 reb) racked up her third double-double of the season
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 43-54 (.443) into tonight's game
Strong Versus Summit
Loyola enters tonight's game 8-3 (.727) all-time against current Summit League schools, including a perfect 4-0 mark against Western Illinois. The Ramblers have won three straight against Summit League foes and their last loss to a Summit League team was a 74-69 (OT) loss at IUPUI on Dec. 8, 2004. Interestingly, Loyola faces two Summit League squads this week as they take on Nebraska Omaha on Saturday.
Fabulous Freshman To Super Sophomore
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 early 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 in the early going this year (14.2 ppg, 10.0 rpg). She racked up her third double-double in the last four games, posting 13 points and 10 rebounds on Friday night at Northern Illinois.
Monica's Moving Up The Charts
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. Her 20 points on Friday against Northern Illinois gives her 1,043 for her career, 24 shy of Sheryl Porter (1988-90) for 19th on the school's all-time list.
One of the things that makes Loyola difficult to defend is the fact that it has many different players who can score the ball. Through six games, the Ramblers have five players averaging between 7.8 and 14.2 ppg, including three in double figures (Law, Johnson, Albano). Loyola put four (Albano, Johnson, Law, Skube) in double figures at Northern Illinois, the third time in four games that the Ramblers had at least four score 10 or more points. In addition, when Law poured in 27 points and Johnson added 26 against Southern Illinois, it marked the first time that LU had two players score at least 25 points in the same game since Lora Wolf (29) and Claire Molloy (25) did it against Wright State way back on Jan. 28, 1995.
Skube Steppin' Up
After struggling early with an ankle injury, Abby Skube has settled in and has been playing terrific basketball. Skube missed the opener at Lafayette and played only three minutes at La Salle while recovering but has been solid since then, reaching double figures in three of Loyola's last four games, averaging 9.8 points and 4.5 rebounds over that span. She posted season-highs of 14 pts and 8 reb at Northern Illinois in her first start of the season and is averaging 14.4 ppg and 5.7 rpg in 19 career starts