(New Orleans, La.) The Loyola University New Orleans women’s basketball team entered Thursday night’s game having just found out that their matchup against No. 14 Bethel University this Saturday was selected as the NAIA Network Game of the Week.
However, before Loyola could turn its attention toward Saturday’s marquee game against the Wildcats the team first had to handle business against the University of Mobile on Thursday night at home.
Although Thursday was much closer than recent games, the Wolf Pack managed to hold on to defeat the Rams 67-63 at First NBC Court to improve to 21-5 overall and 13-3 in the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC).
Loyola featured four players in double figures, led by Zoie Miller (JR/Frisco, Texas)’s game-high 18 points off the bench. Kaila Anthony (FR/Pflugerville, Texas) and Di’Mond Jackson (JR/Baton Rouge, La.) both chipped in 13 points in the win while Meghan Temple (SR/Houston, Texas) notched her four double-double in seven games after putting up 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
The Wolf Pack shot 23-of-61 (37%) from the field and dropped in 8-of-24 (33%) shots from beyond the arc on Thursday. Despite being outshot overall (40%-37%) in the game, Loyola was able to come out victorious thanks in large part to a 33-10 advantage in bench scoring.
The Rams rode the hot shooting of Starla Daggan in the first quarter to grab the 17-12 advantage after the first ten minutes.
Mobile held that lead for the first five minutes of the second before a layup by Miller and a free throw by Anthony put Loyola back on top 27-25 at the five-minute mark. The half ended with a jumper by Mobile’s Sydney Westry to bring the score to 34-33 in favor of the home team.
The Rams retook the lead in the third and managed to stretch the cushion to as much as eight points in the frame. Down 44-49 with just 12 seconds remaining, Anthony drained a triple to cut the deficit to 47-49 entering the final 10 minutes of action.
A jumper by Mobile’s Kali Koenig to start the fourth put the visitors up 51-47 before a 9-0 spurt by Loyola gave the Wolf Pack the 56-51 lead with 7:02 remaining. A two-pointer from Jazmine Atkins brought Mobile within one (62-61) late but Loyola managed to close out the game by hitting four clutch free throws to escape Thursday with the 67-63 conference victory.
The Wolf Pack will welcome Bethel University to First NBC Court on Saturday, Feb. 18, for the NAIA Network Game of the Week. This is the second-straight year that Loyola and the Wildcats have met in New Orleans for the national game of the week as then-No. 4 Bethel defeated the then-No 25 Wolf Pack 71-52 last season.