Dec. 6, 2012
Loyola (3-4) at Nebraska Omaha (5-2)
Sat., Dec. 8 2 p.m.
Omaha, Neb. Sapp Fieldhouse
Loyola hopes to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Western Illinois, and snap a three-game losing streak in the process, when it travels to battle Nebraska Omaha this afternoon
The Ramblers won the only previous meeting between the two teams, cruising to a 69-57 win at Gentile Arena last December
This is Loyola's second consecutive games against Summit League opposition, as the Ramblers squandered a 10-point, second-half lead to fall to Western Illinois on Wednesday night
Freshman Taylor Johnson continued her terrific start, leading LU with 16 points, while Lyndsey Booker provided a lift off the bench with 10 points and nine rebounds 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 43-55 (.439) into today's game
Searching For Split Versus Summit
Loyola enters today's game 8-4 (.667) all-time against current Summit League schools but needs a win this afternoon to salvage a split against conference foes this week. The Ramblers loss to Western Illinois on Wednesday night was their first to a Summit League school since Dec. 8, 2004 (74-68, OT at IUPUI).
Foul At The Free Throw Line
Although Loyola has gotten off to a relatively slow start shooting the basketball overall, its struggles at the free throw line, particularly over the last four games, are newsworthy. Annually among the Horizon League's best from the line (Loyola shot 73% last season), the Ramblers are shooting just 61.2% this season and have been under 50% from the stripe in three of their last four games, including a 4-for-10 (40%) showing (0 for 3 in second half) on Wednesday against Western Illinois
In freshman Taylor Johnson, it appears that Loyola's tradition of strong guard play will continue for the foreseeable future. After two decent games on the road to start the season, Johnson exploded against Southern Illinois, posting career-highs of 26 points, six rebounds, seven assists and four steals against the Salukis, and she has been solid ever since. Johnson led the Ramblers with 16 points against Western Illinois and she brings averages of 12.6 ppg and 4.1 rpg into play today as well as a 1.38;1 assist/turnover ratio (18:13)
Book It...Lyndsey Gives Big Lift
One of the bright spots from Wednesday night's game with Western Illinois was the play of Lyndsey Booker. Despite seeing some action in the post, Booker was terrific against the Leathernecks, finishing with 10 points and a career-high-tying nine rebounds in 34 minutes off the bench. Booker is the only Loyola reserve to see action in every game this season and is averaging 3.1 ppg and 2.9 rpg for the season in just under 19 minutes of action per game.
Becca Getting Better
While classmate Taylor Johnson has played extended minutes from the get-go, freshman Becca Smith has played her way into Loyola's rotation. Smith played a career-best 26 minutes on Wednesday night, finishing with seven points, four rebounds and three assists against Western Illinois.