Women’s basketball beats Loyola Maryland
Eagles controlled the pace for a decisive win
Coming into this matchup, the Eagles had lost to Bucknell and Lehigh on Feb. 15 and Feb. 18, respectively, but won against Navy on Feb. 22. They had also won their previous game versus Loyola Maryland on Jan. 2.
The first quarter was a battle of bigs, as junior forward Emily Johns went basket-for-basket with Loyola’s center, Lex Therien. However, the Eagles’ pace on offense was not consistent, allowing Loyola to get stops and score on the other end. Despite this, by the end of the first quarter, American was up 21-14, fueled by two straight transition baskets.
Early in the second quarter, the Eagles had multiple defensive breakdowns on the interior, letting Therien score in the low post and under the basket. American’s offense kept them in control of the game as senior forward Lauren Stack hit a 3-pointer and junior guard Kayla Henning made a mid-range jumper off the dribble on back-to-back possessions.
The Eagles’ offense ran into problems toward the middle of the second quarter, but they regained momentum after breaking Loyola’s full-court press and scoring an easy layup. This reinvigoration continued on the defensive end as American forced a five-second violation on an inbound pass. The Eagles maintained their lead going into the second half, finishing the second quarter up 38-29.
To open the second half, American and Loyola exchanged 3-pointers. The third quarter was their weakest; after leading by as much as 12, the Eagles were only up 4 with five minutes left in the quarter. With three minutes left in the third quarter, Loyola led for the first time.
The Eagles’ defensive momentum looked like it was breaking down until junior guard Ivy Bales stole the ball in the backcourt and was fouled on a jump shot. After completing the and-1, Bales put the Eagles back up by 2.
The next few possessions would be the most pivotal of the game for the Eagles. Johns extended the lead to 4 with a quick drop-step move, then blocked Therien on the other end. On the next offensive possession, Johns got an offensive rebound and was fouled on her putback attempt. She made both free throws, extending the lead to 5. On American’s last possession of the quarter, Bales made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer off the backboard, further extending the lead to 52-44 after three quarters.
American opened the fourth quarter with 6 unanswered points, but as the game got tenser, both teams committed many turnovers. The tension continued as Stack blocked Loyola’s center under the basket.
The Eagles secured the win after Bales stole the ball with just over a minute left. Loyola tried to intentionally foul, but American made all of their free throws. The Eagles won 67-59, improving their record to 8-20.
American will travel to Pennsylvania on March 1 to play Bucknell for their final regular season game before the Patriot League Tournament.
This article was edited by Penelope Jennings, Delaney Hoke, and Nina Heller. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis, Sophia Rocha and Natasha LaChac.