FINAL: Loyola Chicago 51, La Salle 67
The Ramblers got off to a blazing hot start, but cooled off after half time. Loyola built an 8 point lead and was up 28-20 late in the second quarter, but La Salle fought back to gain a 30-28 lead going into halftime. That 10-0 run to end quarter 2 was part of a larger 21-0 run that extended La Salle’s lead to 41-28, before a few Emma Nolan free throws ended the La Salle run.
A couple of the bench players provided a huge lift in the first half to help them gain the lead — Mallory Ramage and Jala Johnson scored 14 of the Ramblers 28 points in the first half. Mallory has really showed a bunch of improvements over the year. While Jala has been dealing with small injuries throughout the season. Coach Guth agreed, “Those two gave us a spark off the bench. Mallory is learning to play in the system and change speeds. They were our leading scorers in limited minutes.” Jala looked fantastic in the fast break, while Mallory can create her own offense, and has improved her all around game.
How it Happened
The quick 7-0 burst to start the game was an impressive show of teamwork and quick pace. Baskets from Tanin, Galanopoulos and a three from Brown prompted an early timeout from La Salle’s head coach, Mountain MacGillivray. It seemed like in the early going the only reason La Salle stayed in the game was because the Explorers made threes. 12 of their 13 points in the first quarter came from made three pointers. La Salle is shooting 31% from three point range on the year. They shot 42% (10 of 24) from three point land on Sunday. The Ramblers got out to a 28-20 lead, but should have probably scored and extended the lead even more. They missed a couple lay ups and an open three pointer that could have extended their lead to double digits. La Salle rattled off 10 points in the last 2:16 of the second quarter, that gave them a 2 point lead heading into halftime.
The third quarter was more of the same. The Explorers rattled off 11 straight points to cap a 21-0 run. The Ramblers were struggling to find answers an offense. They missed a handful of shots that they usually make, and they also struggled from three point range. They shot 25% for the game, 3 for 12. I asked Coach Guth about their struggles from three point range after the game. Over their last 4 games, the Ramblers have made 14 of 70 three pointers. That’s 20% overall.
Kira Chivers was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time on Sunday. She has been consistently playing big minutes. She averages 25 minutes per game, which is good for fourth most on the Ramblers. She also leads the Ramblers in assist to turnover ration of 2:1 (44 AST, 22 TOs). I asked Coach Guth after the game if Kira has earned a starting spot or if this was a matchup based decision. “She has absolutely earned [a starting role]. I really like the pace we can play at with Kira.” Chivers gives the Ramblers offense more depth. She pushes the ball on the fast break and hounds opposing point guards with her intense defense.
Mallory Ramage has also played her way into more playing time. Offense has never been an issue for the Mattoon High School product, where she scored more than 2000 points in her high school career. Coach Guth has continued to tell me that Mallory gives 1000% effort every single day at improving her defense, rebounding, and integration into the Loyola system. It has been showing. She has shown the ability to contact, chase shooters, box out bigger girls, and can score from anywhere. I am very excited to watch her continue to improve this year and during her collegiate career.
Loyola will take on George Washington Wednesday 1/25 at home for an afternoon bout that starts at 11 AM central time. They will then travel to VCU on Sunday to take on the Rams.
photo credits: Chris Kohley