FINAL: Loyola 73, EIU 83
The Loyola Ramblers took a drive down to face off against their in state rival, Eastern Illinois University. For Rambler freshman, Mallory Ramage it was a homecoming of sorts. She went to high school in Mattoon which is just a 10 minute drive from EIU. To the delight of her many family members and friends, she was able to net her fourth collegiate point in the third quarter on a free throw. But when the clock struck 12 on the game, Ramage and her court found themselves on the wrong end of a loss to the Panthers.
How it Happened:
Loyola jumped out to an early 13-7 lead in the first quarter ignited by two three balls from Sophia Nolan. Their offense spread the floor, took chances to push the pace, and converted on their free throws. In the second quarter, Loyola spread the ball around which helped them score 23 points. Sam Galanopoulos stepped up to help rebound as well as score the ball. She had a bounce back game after struggling to get going the first three games. The Panthers struggled to get their offense going in the first half. The Ramblers contested all of their outside shots, leading to EIU shooting 1 for 11 from three point land in the first half. Maya Chandler ended the half with a buzzer beating jump shot to give the Ramblers a 10 point cushion.
The second half was a different story. The Panthers used a double dose of post Macy McGlone and OVC Preseason Player of the year, Lariah Washington to overtake the Ramblers in the second half. When McGlone wasn’t scoring in the paint, Washington was hitting tough shots after isolation ball. Maya Chandler did her best to keep Loyola in the game. She scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half. Anna Brown hit a three pointer with 6 minutes left in the game to trim the deficit to 3 points, but that was the closest the Ramblers would get. The Panthers stretched their lead to 10, and ended up winning 83 to 73.
Sophia Nolan was excellent in the first half, and continued to play well in the second half as well. She led the Ramblers with a career high of 19 points. Her three pointers, footwork in the paint, and determination to get to the hoop was crucial for the Ramblers. Before this season, the most minutes she had played in college was 11 against Army during her freshman year. She played 37 against EIU. I thought she played more aggressive and fought for rebounds. Coach Guth agrees, “Soph has beautiful length and I know she wants to be more aggressive on the ball”. With Hoefling out and her sister Emma playing limited minutes, Sophia and Sitori Tanin are going to have to anchor the post play for Loyola.
Sam Galanopoulos bounced back from a slow start. She did a little bit of everything for the Ramblers on Sunday. Her line of 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists doesn’t completely cover her impact on the game. In addition to her offensive contributions, she only turned the ball over once in her 36 minutes of play. Her leadership is what this team needs in order to hold on to leads late in ball games. The Ramblers need her to take another step in order to be where they want to be.
Although Emma Nolan, Mallory Ramage, and Whitney Dunn saw playing time — combined they played less than 10 minutes. For this game, Coach Guth went with a 6 woman rotation. As of now, the Ramblers are dealing with injuries to Destiny Jackson, Jala Johnson, and Julia Hoefling. Coach Guth told me that she didn’t think they’d get any of those three girls back for the upcoming game against Miami.
It’s a quick turnaround for Loyola. They play University of Miami (FL), 4-1 this season, at home on Tuesday, and then play St. Francis (PA), 0-4 this season, at home on Friday.