FINAL: Loyola 59, Massachusetts 76
UMass and Loyola played a highly competitive game for 3 quarters on Saturday afternoon. The Minutewomen used a hot shooting streak to extend their lead in the fourth and win by a comfortable 17 point margin. In a game that saw 6 lead changes and 3 ties, Loyola seemed to get a bunch of momentum coming out in the second half. They started the third quarter on a 10-2 run, which was capped with a Emma Nolan three pointer that tied the game at 34. After that, UMass made 6 of their next 10 three pointers. The Minutewomen came in shooting under 30% from three point range on the season. They shot 43.5% from three on Saturday. The Ramblers trimmed the UMass lead back down to 3 and 6, but it seemed like anytime the Ramblers would hit a big bucket, UMass would respond with a timely three pointer. Sitori Tanin led the way for the Ramblers. She scored a career high 19 points. Sam Breen led UMass with 23 points.
How it Happened:
The Ramblers came out and played some inspired defense. They held the Minutewomen offense to 10 first quarter points. UMass shot 31% in the first quarter, and Loyola’s defense created 4 first quarter turnovers. Sitori Tanin came out ready to play. She was a consistent source of scoring for the Ramblers. She scored in the post, got to the free throw line, and had three And1 opportunities. Coach Guth used substitutions very creatively on Saturday. She would often sub in “line changes” where she would bring in 5 new players at a dead ball. This allowed the Ramblers to try to keep up with the Minutewomen’s fast paced offense and defense. Even though UMass was up 8 going into halftime, more Tanin offense and a three from Mallory Ramage kept the Ramblers in the ball game.
In the second half, the Ramblers looked like the better team at times. They played some great defense, and Loyola held UMass without a made bucket for the first 3 and a half minutes of quarter 3. Emma Nolan tied the game with one of her three, three point field goals at 34 with 6:54 left in the third. Emma Nolan was able to show off her well rounded game. She was active on defense, a great passer from the high post, and a capable scorer. Coach Guth told me, “We felt really good about how well Emma’s been practicing. I’m happy with Emma on what she could produce tonight”. The problem was that UMass started hitting threes. After Loyola tied the game at 34, UMass made 6 threes the rest of the way. All 6 three pointers came right after a Rambler made basket. Sydney Taylor made 3 three pointers, while Breen, Mayo and Philoxy each made one.
I’ll be the first to admit when I need to admit my words. After the last game against Richmond, I criticized the Ramblers post play and said that they needed more from that spot. Sitori Tanin and Emma Nolan provided more and then some on Saturday. They combined for 31 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals, and 2 blocked shots. Both Tanin and Nolan have dealt with injuries this year that have held them out of games. If they both are fully healthy now, that would provide some much needed stability for the Ramblers from that position.
The Ramblers continue with their conference slate on Tuesday. They will travel to Philadelphia to take on St. Joseph’s. The Hawks are 13-2 overall and they are 3-0 in Atlantic 10 play.
Photo Credit: Chris Kohley