FINAL: Loyola 52, DePaul 78
Two games in a row Allison Guth has been able to coach against someone with whom she has a personal connection. Two games in a row their pregame hugs held a little more weight. And yet, the results of the games could not have been any more different. DePaul’s head coach Doug Bruno, who Allison Guth admiringly calls, “the godfather of women’s college basketball in Chicago”, was able to guide his team to a dominant victory over one of his former assistants in Allison Guth’s Ramblers. Loyola was able to hold tough against the Blue Demons through one quarter. The second and third quarters were a onslaught of offensive execution from DePaul, who was up 36 points at one point. When all was settled Loyola lost 78-52. I think the whole Ramblers team would like a mulligan if given the chance.
How it Happened:
The Ramblers played well in the first quarter. After going down 7-2, the Ramblers came back and snatched the lead after scoring on 4 consecutive possessions to go up 11-9. I’m sure most Rambler faithful, would have liked to stop the game right there. Spanning from the second and into the third quarter, the Blue Demons went on a 42-4 run. That’s not a typo. The Blue Demons were powered mostly by Second-Team All American, Aneesah Morrow and All Big East Freshman First Teamer, Darrione Rogers. Morrow came into the game averaging 24 points and 12.4 rebounds per game. She finished with 25 and 14. The Blue Demons physicality and determination on offense seemed nearly unstoppable at times. Just when the Ramblers would pack the paint, Morrow or Rogers would hit an impressive three or turn around jumper. The Ramblers tried all sorts of mixing and matching with their lineups including a first look at playing 5 guards at once, but nothing seemed to work. They desperately were missing their leading rebounder, Junior Forward Sitori Tanin, who was out with a cast on her left arm.
The Ramblers did have a fourth quarter to play. And even though they were down 32 points heading into the fourth, Coach Guth challenged her players to go out and win the fourth quarter – and that they did. They won the fourth quarter 23-17. Maya Chandler was terrific in the fourth quarter. She was 4-4 from the field and 3-4 from the free throw line. She had 12 of her career high 23 point in the fourth stanza. Sam Galanopoulos also had a gutsy effort. She was giving 100% effort on every single play including diving for loose balls and taking charges – even when the Ramblers were down 30. As the Ramblers continued to fight there were a few nice moments. Anna Brown was able to hit a couple three pointers, which had to feel great considering she had made just 2 of her last 14 three pointers before the fourth quarter Wednesday. Chivers made a few nice plays on defense including a steal and two forced jump balls. This team needs Brown, Chandler, and Galanopoulos to start click to get things pointed back in the right direction.
We’ve seen this type of performance from Maya in both the games against Milwaukee and Virginia. She’s able to go on tears, get down hill, make contested layups, and get to the free throw line. I think the next step for her is to facilitate the basketball in tandem with her scoring outbursts. Coach Guth agrees with me, “You have got to have an offense that understands each other and shares the basketball and plays to each other’s strengths.” Even if she and Sam can coordinate their better stretches to be at the same time, that could go a long way for the team’s performance.
Coach Guth confirmed on Wednesday that they’ll be without leading rebounder Sitori Tanin for at least a month with a left arm injury that has her wearing a cast. With Tanin out, the Ramblers are going to need all three “tall kids” to up their games. Emma Nolan, Sophia Nolan, and Julia Hoefling are going to need to improve their toughness and take on a larger workload with Tanin sidelined.
The Ramblers on Saturday they travel to Marquette to take on the #24 ranked Golden Eagles at 2pm. Coach Guth said that the Ramblers need to show some “resilience against the runs”. This game against Marquette is a perfect opportunity to show some resilience.
photo credit: Steve Woltmann